<html xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/2004/12/omml" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40">
The tenth week
of the 71st General Assembly continued with lawmakers attempting to
address controversial issues such as transgender birth certificates, government funded gun ranges, mentally ill treatment standards overhaul, licensed day care facilities and Colorado ‘sanctuary cities.’
controversial pieces of legislation - either introduced or revisited - were
singled out this week by journalist. Some media outlets devoting less than a
handful of stories to the topic. A full
session schedule can be found HERE.
Carr” bill on religious registries and roundups
supply of contraceptives
driver-less vehicle bill headed to Senate debate
bill to reduce early voting centers
payments bill for the wrongly convicted
Legislature Hits Halfway Mark
As lawmakers hit
the halfway mark this week, reports took stock of what had been accomplished so
far this session and what remains still unfinished.
started the session saying that transportation funding and construction
defect litigation reform would be top priorities. As they enter the second half of the
session, lawmakers have a transportation funding compromise — one that asks voters
to approve a 0.62 percent sales tax increase to support $3.5 billion in bonding
— to debate, and construction defects legislation similar to efforts that
failed in previous years is being taken up by the House.
And according to
Denverite.com’s political reporter, there are hints that a key Democratic
budget reform — reclassification of the hospital provider fee — might not be
dead after all.
worked at the state Capitol, Colorado’s judiciary was making both state and
nation news. Top of mind continues to be the approaching confirmation hearings
of Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Judge Neil Gorsuch
The Senate will
begin its confirmation hearings for President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme
Court on March 20. In the days leading up to the hearings, Colorado media
continues to speculating on possible positions Judge Gorsuch might take if
confirmed to the High Court. Reporters
focusing on topics that might be considered a barometer for senators and the
growing list of supporters have weighed into the conversation supporting the
confirmation of Judge Gorsuch. In a Denver Post op-ed this week, former Colorado
Governor Bill Ritter and former Colorado Attorney General John Suthers made
their case saying,
is time to use this confirmation process to examine and exalt the
characteristics of a judge who
demonstrates that he or she is scholarly, compassionate, committed to the law, and will function as part of a truly
independent, apolitical judiciary. Judge Gorsuch
fits that bill.”
While ColoradoPolitics.com points out that it is probable that Democratic
Sen. Michael Bennet will likely vote not to confirm Gorsuch, CBS4 reports the judge will receive full-throated support from Colorado’s
Republican Senator Cory Gardner.
resources: The Denver Post and Grand Junction Sentinel.
Colorado Judicial News
This week, the
10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Denver’s emergency request for a stay
of a lower court decision that ordered the city to allow more timely protests
at Denver International Airport.
As reported in
the Denver Post, Nazli McDonnell and Eric Verlo filed a lawsuit against Denver after
they went to DIA two days after Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order that restricted
the travel and immigration to the U.S. of people from seven Muslim-majority
On Tuesday of
this week, a group of Colorado lawyers - specializing in drunken-driving cases
– were quoted in the Denver Post questioning the validity of thousands of
convictions. This, following a technician who certified the state’s breath-test
machines said his signature was forged on more than 100 records in 2013.
rejected a call from the defense bar for an independent investigation into the
certification process used for every breath test machine in the state.
And finally, Fourth
Judicial District Chief Judge Gilbert Martinez, a nearly three-decade
veteran of the local bench, submitted his retirement notice in late February,
he confirmed Wednesday. His retirement becomes effective July 31.
As noted by the Gazette, the retirement of El Paso County's top judge is spurring a
search for someone new to preside over the case of admitted Planned Parenthood
shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr.
story was covered more this week by Colorado press than the debate over
transportation funding. Colorado’s top legislative leaders reached a bipartisan
compromise on a measure that would ask voters for a state sales tax hike and a
bond issue to fund billions of dollars in transportation needs.
But as the Aurora Sentinel reports, lawmakers acknowledged Thursday
that it’s going to be a hard sell — and not just at the ballot box in November.
Proving it was going to be an uphill battle, the debate began almost
immediately with editorials and oped’s from individuals ranging from lawmakers
to possible gubernatorial candidates.
for Prosperity targets four GOP senators over transportation funding
BRAUCHLER: There’s a better path to fixing Colorado roads than raising taxes
Pay your damn share if you want your damn Colorado roads fixed
group nudges — who else? — fellow Republicans to oppose transportation tax
EDITORIAL: Sen. Grantham is a statesman for standing up
for Colorado transportation
Steve Lebsock says he’ll ‘probably be a no vote’ on transportation tax
proposal would raise the state sales tax from 2.9 percent to 3.5 percent —
about 3 1/2 cents on the dollar. It also would lower vehicle registration fees
anywhere from $10 to $70, or about $75 million per year. And it would target
top-priority projects throughout the state, not just in the Denver metropolitan
House Speaker Crisanta Duran
and Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham were quoted in the Aurora Sentinel saying they expect plenty of changes as
the bill makes its way through the Legislature. If it passes, the measure would
require a simple majority by voters in November to take effect.
resources: The Denver Post, Colorado Statesman, Denver Business Journal and ColoradoPolitics.com.
Construction Defects Bill
As the Denver Business Journal reports this week, it looks less likely
that Colorado will see construction reform law come out of this session.
Tuesday, House Speaker Crisanta Duran assigned the business community’s
centerpiece construction-defects reform bill to the so-called “kill committee.”
SB 156 would have required that disputes between condominium
owners and builders over alleged defects go to alternative dispute resolution
such as binding arbitration. It would have required that a majority of condo
owners, rather than just a majority of homeowners-association board members,
vote to move forward with any legal action.
One of the
bill’s sponsors, Assistant House Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial,
told the Colorado Statesman that Duran’s assignment of SB 156 was
“disappointing” and warned that special interests might have again derailed a
solution nearly everyone has said is within sight.
all know what it means when a bill goes to that committee…” Wist said. “The disappointing thing about this getting
sent to the kill committee is that we don’t get it to the floor for discussion.”
defect litigation reform has emerged as one of the most critical issues facing
the legislature this year, according to ColoradoPolitics.com. Duran highlighted it in her opening day
remarks, as did Senate President Kevin Grantham R-Canon City. Gov. John
Hickenlooper, a Democrat, also underscored the issue in his State of the State
bill, House Bill 1169 died in the House State, Veterans and
Military Affairs Committee earlier this month. The bill would have clarified
that a developer has the right to receive notice concerning a proposed defect
lawsuit, and that the developer could inspect the property and then decide to
repair the defect or settle before the association files a lawsuit.
bill, Senate Bill 155 would define “construction defect” in
state law. Homeowners are concerned that the bill would give developers
immunity from having to repair defects by excluding claims for defects creating
a risk of bodily injury or a threat to life, health or safety.
lawmakers are a little past the halfway point for this legislative session and
have little to show for the state’s public schools, according to the reporting
of Chalkbeat. Most
of the proposed legislation making its way through the Capitol so far involve
pilot programs, minor fixes or slight changes on the margins.
handful of the 51 education bills introduced so far have gotten significant
attention. Those include bills equalizing funding for charter schools, banning corporal punishment and providing gun training for school
such as a bill to limit out-of-school suspensions for the state’s youngest students,
that might have been controversial in the past are sailing through with broad
charter schools received support this week in an editorial by the Denver Post. The Post editorial Board advocating for
Senate Bill 61. The proposed legislation would require districts to begin
sharing those additional tax dollars equally with charter schools based on a
per-student allocation. Charter schools would get roughly $19 million in
additional funding under the plan, according to the League of Charter Schools’
lawmakers discussed or introduced.
Aims To Reduce Children Suspended, Expelled From School
is not for everyone,’ senator says, so make tuition assistance flexible
Chamber gives thumbs-up to tech education and tax simplification
Graders Witness Government In Action At State Capitol
Republican-controlled state Senate committee Monday killed a bill that would
have prohibited corporal punishment in Colorado’s public schools and day care
centers that receive state funding.
Judiciary Committee defeated House
Bill 1038, sponsored by
state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, an Arvada Democrat. The bill went down on
party lines, according to the Colorado Independent.
disappointed, to say the least,” Zenzinger said in a statement. “This practice has no place in a modern nation that prides itself on decades of
advancement in the areas of
human rights and racial equality. It’s a black mark on our reputation and
really defies logic.”
Bill 1210 to ban
expelling or suspending children in second grade or younger passed a
Democrat-led House committee. The spankings ban died in the Senate Judiciary
Committee, 3-2, on a party line vote. The HB 1210 passed the House on a
party-line vote on Feb. 13.
voted against the corporal punishment bill as I believe that policies on
student discipline are best left
to the local districts,” Sen. Bob Gardner, a Republican from Colorado Springs told ColoradoPolitics.com.
Wilson, a retired public
school superintendent and a career educator, characterized expulsion as a tool
especially for rural school districts that don’t have restorative justice
counselors for families\, the way urban schools such as Denver might have.
CBS4, Denver Post and Chalkbeat.
Immigration and Immigrant
Judiciary Committee Democrats Thursday evening passed Thornton Rep. Joe Salazar’s
states’ rights Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act. The bill now heads to the House
floor for debate.
Bill 1230, the “Ralph
Carr Freedom Defense Act,” aims to head off involvement on the part of Colorado
state and local officials in any federal government efforts to illegally or
unconstitutionally target for monitoring or detention Coloradans based on race,
ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, or religious affiliation.
outdoor press conference Thursday afternoon acted like another rally for
multi-cultural solidarity in the Trump era, according to the reporting of the Colorado Statesman. The most powerful speeches came like
bookends on controversial chapters of American history.
Ann Ota Fujioka
recounted her experience as a survivor of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive
Order 9066, which forced the removal and internment of some 120,000 Japanese
Americans in camps set up around the country. More than 60 percent of the
people detained were U.S. citizens.
Resources: The Colorado Statesman, ColoradoPolitics.com and Denverite.com.
this week, Colorado lawmakers took up a bill that would expedite immigrant
license renewals. Colorado has issued driver's licenses to unauthorized
immigrant residents since 2014, and lawmakers acted Wednesday to make it easier
to renew them when the first of those licenses start expiring in August.
HB 1206 if approved by the House Local Government Committee would
expedite the process, in part by allowing drivers to renew online or by mail,
as U.S. citizens do, with proof of residency in Colorado.
must provide documented proof of residency and an affidavit declaring they've
applied or intend to apply for citizenship. The licenses are effective for
three years, and the first were issued on Aug. 1, 2014.
then – according to the Gazette - more than 29,000 driver licenses and 4,500 learners'
permits have been issued to people unable to demonstrate they're in the U.S.
legally, said Sarah Werner, spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, which
oversees the DMV.
Resources: Denver7, the Gazette and Denverite.com.
Hickenlooper is threatening to veto legislation that would allow local
governments to extend bar hours past 2 a.m.
In a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver,
and Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, Hickenlooper said he
is “unpersuaded that extending alcohol service hours will enhance public safety
or lead to less intoxicated driving.”
The governor –
according to ColoradoPolitics.com - urged the legislature to either scrap House
Bill 1123 altogether for
a study on public safety impacts, or present “conclusive evidence and data
demonstrating that public safety will not be harmed.”
legislation passed 38-27 out of the House on Feb. 15, and its sponsors, including
state Reps. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, and Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, and
Senate Majority Caucus Chair Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, believe the bill has
more than enough support to pass in the full Senate.
“The state of
Colorado has chosen an arbitrary number of 2 a.m. for bars to close,” Lebsock
told the Colorado Statesman. “We could choose another arbitrary
number like 2:30 or 3 a.m. Instead, we should allow local governments to make
an informed decision in collaboration with residents, their local businesses
and their local law enforcement.”
Drunk Driving sent reporters a list of the organizations that oppose the bill
in the Senate.
Association of Colorado State Patrol Professionals
for Impaired Driving Research and Evaluation
Association of Chiefs of Police
Department of Transportation
District Attorneys’ Council
Organization for Victim Assistance
Enforcement Division, Colorado Department of Revenue
most generous grow-your-own marijuana laws came closer Monday to being curbed
in Colorado, according to the Colorado Statesman. The State House advanced a pair of
bills aimed at cracking down on people who grow weed outside the commercial,
House Bill 17-1220 would set a statewide limit of 16
marijuana plants per house, down from a current limit of 99 plants before
registering with state health authorities. Of the 28 states with legal medical
marijuana, only Colorado currently allows more than 16 pot plants per home.
Also on Monday,
the House gave preliminary approval to a companion measure, House
Bill 1221, which would
create a $6 million-a-year grant program to help local law enforcement crack
down on illegal grows. It will be paid for using unspent money in the state’s
marijuana cash fund, which is funded by marijuana sales taxes.
The two measures
– according to the Denver Post - come amid growing uncertainty over how
the Trump administration will handle states like Colorado that have legalized a
drug that the federal government still considers an illegal, Schedule 1
In an editorial
published in the Denver Post, the editorial board advocates for the passage of
bipartisan authors of the bill — Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Rep.
Cole Wist, R-Centennial —
have crafted a smart compromise bill that avoids shutting down home grows altogether. Gov. John Hickenlooper
in November called the gray market a ‘clear and
present danger’ and asked lawmakers to help him close down the loopholes. We hope they do so this session.”
lawmakers either visited or revisited several topics this week that received a
moderate amount of media attention. We expect these topics will generate more
press in the days to come.
Daylight Savings Time
House committee votes against daylight saving time bill
House committee kills daylight saving time bill
Colorado bill would make daylight savings time last all year
Saving Time bill to be debated at State Capitol on Monday
efforts locally and nationally unite Republicans and Democrats
efforts locally and nationally unite Republicans and Democrats
police chief is ‘caring’ despite blunt remarks about overdose victims
committee kills effort to revive mandatory parental-leave program
strike, Sen. Andy Kerr goes down swinging on parental leave
Kerr, geography teacher, studies middle ground on parental leave
GOP gadfly fights reform of a campaign law that many say has run amok
announce bills to curb the influence of money in politics
lawmakers take on dark money in elections communications
public records bill heads to Senate for debate
public records bill heads to Senate floor with amendments intact and an
Records Bill Heads To Senate For Debate
public records bill heads to Senate for debate
public records bill heads to Senate for debate
flares as Colorado Rep. Foote plans bill to ‘clarify’ setbacks
bill would move oil and gas wells farther back from many schools
by ratepayers: Is Xcel floating legislation for mandated CO version of CPP?
oil and gas industry still prepping in run-up to school setback debate
Texting While Driving
hopeful this change could curb distracted driving in Colorado
will have a profound impact on the Colorado and many areas of law. The
Legislative Policy Team of the Colorado Bar Association is your resource and
connection to the State Legislature. As
we work on the issues and bills these coming 6 months we are working to improve
Colorado Law and the practice of law. Please
don’t hesitate to reach out should you have a question or comment on a bill, or
issue under the dome.
# # #