You can thank the legislature for adding years to your life. Well, not exactly to "your life", but to all our lives generically.
What they did was adopt SB 168 which contains a new "mortality table" for Coloradoans. Ever since 1893, the legislature has passed a life expectancy table (usually every decade) to let you know how long the average person your age is expected to continue living.
The tables come from the National Center for Health Statistics in Atlanta, GA., based on today's health risks and demographics. Women live longer than men, but the table we use in Colorado lumps them together to reach an average. So based on your sex, life expectancy can be a little longer or a little shorter than what the table shows.
Why have a mortality table? It helps determine premium costs for life insurance and it's used in litigation. The courts and the statute recognize the tables are not conclusive evidence, just a starting point along with other evidence as to your health, habits and occupation.
I was curious enough to look at the 1893 table. The first age used was 10. That may have been because life expectancy for babies and the very young wasn't as good as it is with today's medical care and vaccinations. The table adopted in 2002 begins with birth. The 1893 table ended with age 95. Today's table ends with age 100.
Here is a comparison between 1893 and 2002:
Would you like a copy of SB 168 showing your exact age and expected longevity? Ask your state legislator. The table didn't change as the bill progressed, so any copy or just the pages involved are enough. Call 303-866-3055 or your legislator's separate number.
In the same SB 168, the legislature repealed 39 pages of statutes on an old inheritance tax mortality table. If every legislator successfully carried a bill that repealed 39 pages, the 13 legislative volumes would be reduced to 11.
I testified before House and Senate committees on the bill, having either carried or drafted it over many decades. At one time our table went to 110, but the statistics now end at 100.
One legislator in committee pointed out the difference and asked "What do you tell someone who is over 100?" The only response I could think of was "Well, I would tip my hat to them."
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Back in January, when the legislative session began, I wrote a column urging legislators to "clean out the fridge" by getting rid of moldy, obsolete laws. And they have. I already mentioned the 39 pages of estate tax laws.
Sen. Doug Lamborn (R-El Paso) was chief sponsor of another measure. Lamborn's bill took out 5 pages of obsolete fiscal information and amended a curious law from 1911 that required the state board of stock inspection commissioners' secretary to hunt the owner of an injured or dead animal by an ad in a local paper. But the statute limited what could be spent on the weekly ad to $1 per animal. That would buy you about 10 words in 2002. The board can now spend what is needed.
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado legislature.)
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