Colorado Midwives Statute Sunset 2011
Our Bill Has Been Adopted!
On Wednesday, May 11th the Colorado State Legislature adopted Senate Bill 88 renewing the regulation of Direct-Entry Midwives!
It's been a while since I made an update, so here is the chronology in a nutshell:
- The House Health Committee heard the bill on Thursday, March 31. There was intense opposition to the inclusion of suturing in our bill so our bill sponsor, Rep Cindy Acree, submitted an amendment to remove it and the bill passed unanimously 12-0. If suturing had been included, our bill would not have passed and midwifery would have been de-regulated.
- Then on April 19th our bill was heard by the House Judiciary Committee, specifically to address the issue of malpractice insurance for homebirth midwives. The argument that malpractice insurance is not available nor affordable for midwives was accepted by the committee and the bill again passed unanimously.
- The House Appropriations Committee quickly passed the bill on April 29th and it was then heard for Second Reading on the floor of the House on May 5th--International Day of the Midwife. There was no discussion and the bill passed on a voice vote with lots of "yea's" and no "nays" heard. A final roll call vote of the full House of Representatives on May 6 was unanimous and the bill then returned to the Senate for confirmation.
- On Monday, May 9th the Senate voted not to concur with the amendments made in the House (namely the removal of suturing) and convene a Conference Committee with members of the House to discuss the differences. On May 10th, the results of the Conference Committee included a declaration in the statute to require the various stakeholders to meet and discuss the issue of whether midwives should be authorized to perform suturing of perineal tears.
- And finally, on May 11th, just hours before the end of the 2011 legislative session, Senate Bill 88 was adopted by both chambers of the legislature and will pass into law.
The Colorado Midwives Association wishes to humbly and sincerely thank the thousands of families and midwives who helped make this happen. The power of grassroots activism is staggering and awesome--each and every one of you who made a phone call or sent a letter can celebrate the passage of this law as a victory for homebirth families all across the state. We couldn't have done it without you! Thank you!
Karen Robinson, CPM, RM
We passed the Senate! 3/16/2011
A quick note to let you know that our bill finally passed out of the Senate today, March 16, 2011. We lost two votes that we had last week at Second Reading, but passed on Third Reading, 32-3. Senators Foster (Arapahoe and Denver Counties), Jahn (Jefferson County) and Spence (Arapahoe County) voted against our bill in its entirety--Senator Spence stated she was voting against specifically because of the suturing amendment.
We did, however, have a high number of co-sponsors--Senators who so strongly supported the bill they wanted their names attached to it: Brophy, Cadman, Grantham, Guzman, Harvey, Hodge, King K, Kopp, Lambert, Nicholson, Renfroe, Schwartz, Steadman, White and Williams S.
We are on our way to the House! We should be assigned to a committee some time this week and then will begin the work of lobbying all the Representatives in that committee. We expect a hearing in that chamber within the next few weeks.
We'll keep you posted!
Again, many thanks to all of you for your hard work and help on getting the legislators educated on our issue!
Karen Robinson, CPM, RM
March 11, 2011 Update
A quick note to let you all know that the whole state Senate voted on Second Reading of our bill today. It passed 34:1. Joyce Foster of Denver was the only dissenting vote. There will be one more vote in the Senate, probably early next week, called the Third Reading. We expect to pass that as well, and then will move to the House after that. The committee hearing in the House will likely take place in the next few weeks.
All of the work everyone did, mailing postcards and making phone calls and sending emails, really helped get this bill passed. Many, many thanks to you all!
Karen Robinson, CPM, RM
February 18, 2011 Update
Dear CMA Members,
Our bill passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on a vote of 8:1 yesterday. We now move on to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will hope to get a note of No Fiscal Impact. If/when that happens (sometime in the next couple of weeks, we think), it will go to the House Health and Environment Committee.
The good news I can tell you is that the bill is in good shape right now. It does still include suturing and IVs. Meds look ok, but we have to do a bit of cleanup around transport after the use of an antihemorrhagic.
The doctors are fighting back hard against suturing. The nurses are fighting hard against IVs. The nurse-midwives are in support of the whole bill, as long as we make sure our clients know they are not hiring a CNM for care during their pregnancies. The pediatricians are concerned about what they perceive as our limited knowledge and training in newborn care.
Leo Boyle, our lobbyist, expects the House health committee to be very difficult. They have been very hard on “alternative” health care providers—and although we are not as alternative as some, we got a taste yesterday of how the rhetoric can go.
Hang in there everyone. We’ve just finished the first round and are in the thick of it now.
My thanks for your support!
Karen Robinson, CPM, RM
January 2011 Midwives Legislation Update
On Wednesday, January 19th, the first hearing of the Sunset Review of Direct Entry Midwifery was held in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee at the State Capitol. Midwives who have been involved in Colorado legislation say it was the best hearing we've had in all our years both pre- and post-licensure. The Senators were all pretty supportive. They asked good questions, many of them had actually read the DORA report, and several seemed to be quite current with the issues.
Our lobbyist, Leo Boyle, has been very busy lobbying for us over the past several weeks, and Jan Lapetino and Karen Robinson spent a whole day prior to the hearing at the Capitol, talking with each member of the health committee. We really feel like all our prep work helped clarify the issues for the Senators so that they felt comfortable supporting us. Many of the Senators indicated they had already received messages from constituents--many thanks to you, our supporters, for taking the time to be in touch with your elected representatives!
The Committee voted unanimously to approve the continued regulation of Direct-Entry Midwifery in Colorado. They also voted unanimously to include four additional recommendations from the Department of Regulatory Agencies: the ability for midwives to carry and administer Vitamin K, Rhogam and anti-hemorrhagics, plus a repeal of the prohibition against nurses simultaneously holding a midwifery license.
The group Delivering Natural Care for Families presented testimony and made requests to amend the recommendations to add suturing and IVs to the bill. Those amendments were less popular with the Senators but did pass on a majority vote and will be added to the bill, which has now gone to legislative drafting. It will come back to the Senate health committee in early February and we will have another hearing to review the bill in its entirety. After that it will go to the full Senate, then to the House of Representatives health committee.
The doctors at the hearing were feisty, but not nearly as negative as they could have been. They made statements about how the drugs we are requesting are clearly life-saving, however they would prefer we did not have them. We are, of course, working to make these changes happen in a way that will be acceptable to all parties involved--most importantly the moms and babies we care for!
We have many more hearings to go and we are counting on you, our supporters, to help us convey to the Colorado State Legislature how important this bill is to home-birthing families and the midwives who care for them. The practice of midwifery is an idea whose time has come--things are going well and we hope to ride the wave.
We should also note that we have four sponsors for our bill! Senator Morgan Carroll (Arapahoe County) will be our main sponsor, and Senators Kevin Lundberg (Larimer County), Shawn Mitchell (Adams, Broomfield and Weld Counties) and Betty Boyd (Jefferson County) will co-sponsor. This is a terrific development.
Overall, it was a pretty positive hearing--nice to start the sunset process off on a high note.
We've got a bunch of work to do over the next few weeks. We don't know when the next hearing will be scheduled--it will likely be short-notice again. We will send out information on how to listen to the hearings live via streaming audio on your computer before the next hearing.
Most importantly, it is going to take more letters, phone calls and emails sent by homebirth midwifery supporters for us to succeed. Your willingness to help in this effort, as supporters of the CMA, is vital to our effort! We will be in touch with more details soon.
January 7, 2011 Update
The Colorado Midwives Association successfully lobbied legislation that legalized homebirth midwifery in 1993 and continues to be the main force behind midwifery legislation today. Our membership comprises more than 60% of all Colorado Registered Midwives, plus many others who support direct-entry midwifery and homebirth in this state. The law regulating direct-entry midwifery will go through sunset review this year and the CMA is fully engaged in lobbying the new bill. We have hired a paid lobbyist and developed a network of supportive families all across the state to help us in this effort.
A group called Delivering Natural Care for Families has indicated plans to lobby our bill as well, however their lobbying plans do not coincide with those of the CMA and the majority of midwives in Colorado. We feel it is important for supporters of the continued legal practice of midwifery to work together as harmoniously as possible against the efforts of any opponents who wish to restrict access to homebirth midwifery in this state.
The 2011 legislative session opens January 13th and the CMA will be there in support of midwives and homebirth in Colorado. We welcome anyone to join our network of supporters by signing up on our supporters page .
December 15, 2010 Update
Dear CMA Members,
Well, November swept through my family and work schedule much more quickly than I realized--and here it is the middle of December! Can't complain about this warm weather, but some snow would be appreciated at some point this winter!
I am hoping to start posting bi-weekly updates to keep everyone apprised of what is happening with our Sunset.
It was hard to predict how the races were going to go, but now the elections are over and we finally know who is in the legislature we’ll visit next year. The House now has a Republican majority, while the Senate remains with the Democrats in the majority. Since our bill is non-partisan, this doesn’t have a huge effect on us. Much gratitude goes to all of you who participated in the elections, talking to your candidates, donating money, walking the districts. It all will really help when we get to the Legislature next year. It is so valuable when the members already know about our issue. I hope your favorite candidate won!
Also in November, we received the 2010 Sunset Review of the Regulation of Direct-Entry Midwives . It is a positive review and one to be very happy with. It does not include all of the items we presented as part of the "wish list" developed at the state-wide midwives meeting in March, but it is a great start and one we feel has a good chance of succeeding.
And finally, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, the CMA Legislative Committee was invited to attend a meeting with the Executive Council of the Colorado Chapter of the American College of Nurse Midwives. In this meeting, the CNMs gave their support to us for our Sunset Review next year. This is a terrific surprise and perhaps a sign of a new era in Colorado, an era of midwife unity. We are grateful for the Nurse-Midwives’ support.
So far in December, the CMA has had meetings and conversations with a couple of consumer support groups. We are working to get together with some of the other stakeholders in our law, to broaden the conversation while we can, before the legislative process narrows it. I will keep you posted throughout. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.
With best wishes for a beautiful holiday season,
Karen Robinson, CPM, RM
Get Out the Vote!
October 20, 2011
Dear Colorado Homebirth Midwifery Supporter,
It is a little less than 2 weeks until Elections and it's time for the candidates to hear from us in a big way. All of the Colorado House of Representatives and half of the Colorado Senate are being elected on November 2nd. These are the people who will review the law that regulates direct-entry midwifery in Colorado next year, starting on January 3rd. Candidates for these seats need to know there are voters in their districts who choose to birth at home and want our law to remain intact. They need to know voters in their districts want their support next year when our Bill is in their hands.
Candidates are currently focused on "getting out the vote", going door-to-door asking residents to go to the polls on November 2. Candidates need help with this effort: they need people to walk the districts with them, contacting voters and asking them to exercise their democratic rights in this election.
So, to capitalize on the energy of these next two weeks, the CMA is looking for people who are willing to show up at their local campaign offices--Democrat, Republican, Independent or other--and offer to help with this effort on behalf of the midwives of Colorado. The weather is gorgeous right now--who could resist getting out and walking around your local neighborhoods, talking with your neighbors, helping us with this important cause?
If you are inclined to volunteer your time, please go to your local campaign office, state you are there on behalf of Colorado midwives, and spend a few hours with your local candidates.
To find out which districts you are in, go to http://www.comaps.org/allsearch.html
When you talk to your candidate, please remember that right now, they are only focused on getting elected; the specific issues related to midwifery practice in Colorado will likely not hold much interest for them until after the elections are over. They probably won't know what VBAC is, or what the details related to attending homebirth are. The easiest, most straightforward thing to say is something along the lines of the following:
"I am here on behalf of the homebirth midwives in Colorado. I had a homebirth and would choose one again. Being able to choose homebirth is important to me. Next year the law regulating homebirth midwives will sunset and the Colorado State Legislature will review the new Bill supporting continued regulation of homebirth midwifery. I am here to help you on your campaign; I ask that you support midwives and homebirth next year when you are in the Legislature."
On behalf of the CMA and all the midwives in Colorado, please accept my thanks for your willingness to participate in this effort.
Karen Robinson, CPM, RM
Colorado Midwives Association
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