White Testifies in Support Before Committee
MONTROSE – A bill sponsored by Colorado House District 58 Rep. Don Coram aimed to protect the confidentiality of social security numbers for those serving on boards of directors or other advisory boards has gained traction at the state capitol.
House Bill 14-1141, which passed the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Feb. 24, prohibits an entity with a board of directors, including an advisory board, from requiring unpaid boardmembers from disclosing their social security number to the entity in order to serve on the board.
The bill clarifies that Colorado’s statute on confidentiality of social security numbers does not apply with respect to patient information for entities subject to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, however.
Coram’s Bill was introduced to the Colorado House of Representatives on Jan. 16, two weeks before the Montrose Board of County Commissioners tossed three members of the Montrose Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees for requiring Trustee Richard Harding to submit a social security number. Montrose County Commissioner David White, part of the 2-1 decision to remove the three trustees, testified before the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee last week in support of the bill.
“I went and testified simply because it’s a bill that gives protection to people that have volunteered for boards and commissions where a vetting of that person is done by, in our case, the Board of County Commissioners,” White said this week. “They are volunteers; that’s the bottom line.”
If passed as written, the bill would make it unlawful for the state or any local government to deny an individual a right, benefit or privilege provided by law because that individual refused to disclose a social security number. It would require the state or any local government requesting a social security number to disclose whether the production of that social security number is mandatory or voluntary, and if mandatory, what statutory or other authority requires the disclosure. The governing agency must also disclose what uses will be made of the social security number.
“This is a major issue when it comes to the privacy of an individual,” White said. “As Don Coram said in his opening remarks, when you look at how many people have had their social security numbers compromised – from the Target debacle to identity theft – it is incredible. Hackers can gain incredible access to employee records.”
Efforts to reach Coram by press deadline were unsuccessful. The bill now moves from committee to the House.