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CBA e-Legislative Report -- January 25, 2010

January 25, 2010
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Highlights:

CBA Legislative Policy Committee(LPC)

• Introduced Legislation -

10 bills of Interest
-In the House
-In the Senate

From the Colorado Bar Association - Department of Legislative Relations
Michael Valdez

Keeping you apprised of what the General Assembly and your state Bar Association are up to under the Gold Dome.

Follow the Colorado Legislature on their website: http://www.leg.state.co.us/

• CBA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC)


Friday, January 22, 2010

The LPC gave approval for the Family Law Section to support two bills on behalf of the CBA. First, at the request of the Family Law section, HB 1097 - Concerning temporary injunctions in proceedings involving minor children, by Rep. Benefield and Sen. Morse will be supported by the Bar Association. Generally, the bill creates a temporary injunction, upon personal service on the respondent, in paternity proceedings and in proceedings involving the allocation of parental responsibilities that are not brought as part of a divorce or legal separation action. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 4 at 1:30 p.m. The second bill the CBA will be supporting on behalf of the Family Law section is SB 80 - Concerning allowing court-entered civil protection orders to include directives concerning animals, by Sen. Newell and Rep. Frangas. This bill allows a court-entered civil protection order to restrain a party from threatening, molesting, injuring, killing, taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, or disposing of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by any other party. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 3 at 1:30 p.m.
 
The LPC also approved three technical amendments to the Probate Code as Bar Sponsored legislation at the request of the Trusts & Estates Section. First, amendments to 15-12-102 and 15-12-901, both in the nature of housekeeping and reorganization, these changes will better coordinate various Probate Code provisions by recognizing transfers by testate succession without a Colorado probate (proof of will) proceeding. Changes to 15-14-420 will reduce costs and improve efficiencies for filing of conservator reports with the court. Finally, necessary technical corrections and clarifications to the Designated Beneficiary Agreements Act of 2009 will be part of this CBA Probate Code Omnibus legislation.
 

• Introduced Legislation.

10 BILLS (from each house) OF INTEREST:

 

In the House

HB 1011 - Concerning authorization for the department of revenue to obtain fingerprint-based criminal history record checks for employment purposes. By Rep. J. Kerr and Sen. Schultheis. Legislative Audit Committee bill. Authorizes the department of revenue to obtain fingerprint-based criminal history record checks for current and prospective department employees with access to driver's licenses and state identification cards or personal identifying information. Assigned to the Finance Committee.
 
HB 1012 - Concerning limitations on the use of surveillance of employees who have submitted a workers' compensation claim. By Rep. Pace and Sen. Carroll. Interim Committee to Study Issues Related to Pinnacol Assurance bill. Prohibits an insurer or employer from conducting surveillance of an employee who has submitted a workers' compensation claim unless the insurer or employer has a reasonable basis to suspect that the employee has committed fraud or made a material misstatement concerning the claim. Allows the employee to request an expedited hearing before a prehearing administrative law judge. Requires the insurer or employer to provide all materials collected during the surveillance to the injured worker and to destroy all materials collected during the surveillance unless the materials are reasonably necessary to resolve an ongoing claim of fraud. Requires persons conducting surveillance to answer the employee's questions truthfully. Creates a $1,000-per-day penalty for violations. Directs the prehearing administrative law judge to issue an injunction against the surveillance unless the insurer or employer shows that it has a reasonable basis to suspect that the employee has committed fraud or made a material misstatement concerning the claim. Allows the identity of a witness or whistleblower who provides evidence in good faith to be withheld or limited to an in camera review. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
 
HB 1017 - Concerning authorization for certain public entities to enter into voluntary agreements affecting rent on private residential property. By Rep. Kagan and Sen. Boyd. Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force bill. Current law prohibits counties and municipalities from enacting any ordinance or resolution that would control rent on private residential property. The bill clarifies that the rent control statute applies only to private residential housing units. The bill also clarifies that nothing in the rent control statute shall prohibit or restrict the right of a property owner and a state agency, county, municipality, or housing authority from voluntarily entering into and enforcing an agreement that controls rent on a private residential housing unit, whether the agreement is entered into before, on, or after the effective date of the bill. An agreement authorized pursuant to the act may specify how long a unit is subject to its terms, whether or not subsequent property owners are subject to the agreement, and remedies for early termination agreed to by both the property owner and the public entity. Finally, the rent control statute shall not preclude public entities from cooperatively entering into an agreement, nor shall it preclude the assignment of rights and remedies to any party to the agreement. Assigned to the Local Government Committee.
 
HB 1019 - Concerning parking privileges for people with disabilities. By Rep. Frangas and Sen. Williams. Transportation Legislation Review Committee bill. Changes the laws governing enforcement of the reserved parking program for the disabled in the following ways:

  • Authorizes a peace officer to confiscate a placard that is being misused;
  • Prohibits creating a device that mimics a placard;
  • Prohibits retaliation against an employee for notifying the authorities of a violation of a possible reserved parking violation;
  • Authorizes a peace officer or property owner to remove a vehicle that is violating the reserved parking provisions;
  • Prohibits moving a vehicle to avoid time limits on reserved parking spaces;
  • Prohibits using reserved parking for commercial purposes unrelated to transacting business with the person the space is intended to serve.

In the use of a parking space such as a parking lot or parking meter, prohibits taking adverse action against a person with a disability if the method of payment is not reasonably accessible. Assigned to the Transportation and Energy Committee.
 
HB 1021 - Concerning required coverages for reproductive services for health insurance policies. By Rep. Frangas and Sen. Foster. Health Care Task Force bill. The bill requires entities issuing individual sickness and accident insurance polices in this state to provide the same coverage for maternity care as is currently mandated for all group sickness and accident insurance policies. The bill also requires both individual and group policies to provide coverage for pregnancy management, including contraceptive counseling, drugs, and devices. The bill excludes abortion procedures and services from pregnancy management. Assigned to the Business Affairs and Labor Committee.
 
HB 1023 - Concerning clarifying civil liability regarding negligent hiring practices for an employer that hires a person with a criminal record. By Rep Waller and Sen. Hudak. Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force bill. Prohibits information regarding an employee's criminal history from being introduced as evidence in a civil action against an employer if:

  • The nature of the criminal history does not bear a direct relationship to the facts underlying the cause of action;
  • A court order sealed any record of a criminal case or a pardon was issued before the occurrence of the civil action; or
  • The record of an arrest or charge did not result in a criminal conviction.
The bill does not eliminate the requirement for criminal history background checks in hiring for certain employment. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
 
HB 1024 - Concerning eliminating the ability of advanced practice nurses to declare patients terminally ill. By Rep. Balmer and Sen. Williams. Hospice and Palliative Care in Colorado bill. Eliminates the ability of advanced practice nurses to declare a patient terminally ill for purposes of triggering end-of-life decisions and leaves such ability to the sole discretion of a physician. Assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.
 
HB 1025 - Concerning updates to the "Colorado Medical Treatment Decision Act." By Rep. Roberts and Sen. Newell. Hospice and Palliative Care in Colorado bill. The bill repeals and reenacts the "Colorado Medical Treatment Decision Act." The term "artificial nourishment" replaces "artificial nutrition and hydration," the term "lacking decisional capacity" replaces "incompetent," and a new term, "persistent vegetative state," has been added in order to clarify different medical conditions under which the act shall be applied. The options available to the patient when he or she is in a terminal condition, persistent vegetative state or otherwise lacking decisional capacity are clarified. The bill removes from statute the legal form that the declaration as to medical or surgical treatment may take and makes further clarifications concerning the declaration. Any declaration executed in compliance with Colorado law at the time it was made shall continue to be an effective declaration, and any declaration executed in compliance with the laws of another state shall be considered effective in Colorado, granted that such declaration does not violate any Colorado law. Assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee. The bill is supported by the CBA through the Elder and Trusts & Estates Sections.
 
HB 1028 - Concerning agreements for the purchase of medical goods. By Rep. Acree and Sen. Keller. Interim Committee on the Developmental Disability Waiting List bill. The bill directs the department of health care policy and financing to negotiate agreements with suppliers of high-quality durable medical equipment and medical supplies so that persons receiving public medical benefits or who are on a waiting list for the benefits can purchase high-quality equipment and supplies at the lowest cost. Assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.
 
HB 1038 - Concerning a brochure to describe the process for workers' compensation claims. By Rep. Miklosi and Sen. Interim Committee to Study Issues Related to Pinnacol Assurance bill. The bill requires the employer or the employer's insurance carrier to provide a brochure to a workers' compensation claimant, in a form approved by the director of the division of workers' compensation, that describes the entities the claimant may contact for information, the claimant's rights related to his or her medical treatment and rights to receive benefit payments, and the claims process. Assigned to the Business Affairs and Labor Committee.
 

In the Senate

 
SB 14 - Concerning changes to the demonstration programs for system of care family advocates. By Sen. Tochtrop and Rep. Solano. Legislative Oversight Committee for the Continuing Examination of the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness Who Are Involved in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems bill. Under the current demonstration programs for system of care family advocates, the services are provided by family advocates. The bill will allow family system navigators to provide the same services through the demonstration programs. The bill was assigned to the Health and Human Services(HHS)Committee. On January 20 the HHS committee referred the unamended bill to the “Consent Calendar” for 2nd Reading in the Senate.
 
SB 15 - Concerning behind-the-wheel training requirements necessary to receive a driver's license. By Sen. Renfroe and Rep. McNulty. Transportation Legislation Review Committee bill. Changes from 18 to 16 ½ the age at which a minor is required to obtain behind-the-wheel training to obtain a driver's license. Assigned to the Transportation Committee.
 
SB 16 - Concerning modification of the manner in which a civil penalty assessment notice of toll evasion evidenced by automatic vehicle identification technology is provided to the owner of a vehicle so identified. By Sen. Williams and Rep. Vaad. Transportation Legislation Review Committee bill. Modifies the manner in which civil penalty assessment notices of toll evasion evidenced by automatic vehicle identification technology are provided to an owner of a vehicle so identified by:

  • Eliminating the requirement that a second civil penalty assessment notice be sent if the owner does not pay the civil penalty imposed by or otherwise respond to an initial civil penalty assessment notice; and
  • Increasing the length of time to pay or otherwise respond to an initial civil penalty assessment notice from 20 to 30 days.
    Assigned to the Transportation Committee.

SB 20 - Concerning measures to address the financial viability of the CoverColorado program. By Sen. Boyd and Rep. Massey. Health Care Task Force bill. Authorizes the board of directors of the CoverColorado program to establish a schedule of fees for compensating health care providers that render covered health care services to CoverColorado participants. The bill also prohibits health care providers from billing participants for costs in excess of the applicable fee on the fee schedule for services covered by the program. Additionally, the bill authorizes the board to maintain enrollment in the CoverColorado program consistent with the program's financial resources. Assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.
 
SB 27 - Concerning a fine for the unauthorized diversion of surface water. By Sen. Sandoval and Rep. Roberts. Subjects a person who illegally diverts surface water to the same $500-per-day fine that currently applies to illegal diversions of groundwater. Assigned to the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee.
 
SB 28 -Concerning the establishment of the Colorado "Work Share Program" to allow payment of unemployment compensation benefits to eligible employees who have received a reduction in work hours. By Sen. Heath. Directs the director of the division of employment and training in the department of labor and employment to establish a work share program allowing for the payment of unemployment compensation benefits to employees of a particular work unit whose work hours have been reduced at least 10% but not more than 40%. In order to be eligible for payment of benefits, an employer must submit a work share plan to the director for approval. The plan must apply to at least 10% of the employees in the affected unit. The plan must meet specific requirements in order to be approved by the director. Employees must also meet specific eligibility requirements in order to be eligible for the payment of benefits. The bill allows for modifications to a plan if conditions of the employer change. The bill also specifies that the benefits payable under the work share program are not in addition to the total maximum allowable regular unemployment benefits in a benefit year. Assigned to the Business Labor and Technology Committee.
 
SB 29 -Concerning the creation of efficiencies in governmental entities that provide services to the people of the state. By Sen. Penry. The bill creates efficiencies and cost savings in state and local government by:

  • Eliminating all duties of the office of the executive director of the department of local affairs and directing those duties and appropriations to the lieutenant governor;
  • Implementing a 2-year statewide hiring freeze that will require the governor or his or her designee to sign off on all new hires.
  • Eliminating all bonuses paid to any state employee for 2 years;
  • Reducing the personnel budget of the governor's office, the executive directors' offices, and the directors of each principal department's offices to 2005-06 fiscal year levels;
  • Reducing by 3% the number of all full-time equivalent state employees paid in whole or in part with general fund dollars within 5 years;
  • Requiring the governor to report in writing to the general assembly by April 1, 2010, regarding the consolidation of existing boards and commissions;
  • Authorizing the governor to repeal the Colorado commission on higher education and to direct any necessary responsibilities and appropriations to the lieutenant governor;
  • Requiring the governor to report in writing to the general assembly by April 1, 2010, regarding which agencies and departments perform similar or redundant functions and should be consolidated;
  • Limiting the governor's energy office to spending no more than 10% of its total budget on personnel;
  • Requiring that all executive branch expenditures on professional organization dues and memberships be made from gifts, grants, or donations and not from any general fund or cash fund appropriation;
  • Requiring the state school board to strongly encourage school districts to create boards of cooperative services where feasible for the purpose of enabling 2 or more school districts to cooperate in furnishing services authorized by law and for consolidating central administrative services;
  • Requiring that all actions performed by an existing or newly created board of cooperative services that result in cost savings to the member school districts, as compared to the cost of the school districts performing the same actions individually, to be calculated, and requiring each member school district to remit to the state general fund an amount equal to 50% of the savings realized by the member school district.
  • Requiring the governor to reduce by 10% the pay of all full-time equivalent state employees earning $125,000 or more annually, except employees of state institutions of higher education;
  • Requiring the controller to transfer from the general fund to the newly created general fund overflow reserve fund an amount that he or she calculates to be the equivalent of the total amount of general fund moneys appropriated in all bills that are vetoed by the governor, including any general fund line item appropriation in the general appropriation act that is line-item vetoed by the governor;
  • Removing the requirement that motor vehicles have a front license plate.

Assigned to the State Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.
 
SB 30 -Concerning a requirement that vacancies in the office of a United States senator from this state be filled by a vacancy election. By Sen. Kopp. Currently, a vacancy in the office of a United States senator from this state is filled by appointment of the governor. The bill requires such vacancies to be filled by a special senatorial vacancy election. Assigned to the State Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.
 
SB 33 -Concerning the verification of the work eligibility status of new employees through the federal electronic verification program. By Rep. Schultheis and Rep. Baumgardner. Under current law, employers are required to examine, and retain records of examining, the legal work status of new employees. Among other things, the bill repeals the current law and instead creates the "Fair and Legal Employment for Coloradans Act," which requires all nongovernmental employers in the state to participate in the federal electronic verification program for purposes of verifying the work eligibility status of all new employees hired by an employer. A person who employs only H-2A workers would not have to comply with the act. Assigned to the State Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.
 
SB 42 -Concerning prior consent for release of financial information to facilitate investigations of financial exploitation of at-risk adults. By Sen. Schwartz and Rep. Frangas. Under the "Protection Against Financial Exploitation of At-risk Adults Act" in the "Colorado Human Services Code," current law requires banks, industrial banks, federal savings banks, savings and loan associations, building and loan associations, trust companies, and credit unions, only upon request of a consumer, to offer the requesting consumer, who is either over 60 years of age or is an at-risk adult, the option to sign an informed consent form for placement in the consumer's file or records, thereby allowing the financial institution to disclose the consumer's financial information or records in connection with an investigation of known or suspected financial exploitation of the consumer. The bill relocates this provision to the "Colorado Banking Code" and requires financial institutions to inform all account holders who are at-risk adults of their right to voluntarily sign and have placed in their bank records a consent form. The name of the form is changed to a "prior consent" form to reflect that the account holder is giving his or her consent, prior to any alleged or suspected financial exploitation activities, to the release of otherwise confidential records so as to allow a financial institution to alert or notify local law enforcement and the county or district department of social services of potential financial exploitation and provide access to those records to expedite an investigation and minimize losses suffered by victims as a result of financial exploitation. The state bank commissioner is to work with stakeholders to develop a standard prior consent form to be used by financial institutions.

“At-risk adult" is defined, consistent with the "Colorado Criminal Code," as a person who is:

  • 60 years of age or older; or
  • 18 years of age or older and is a person with a disability.

Financial institutions and their employees and agents are granted civil and criminal immunity when they either disclose or fail to disclose an account holder's financial information pursuant to a signed prior consent form or report or fail to report financial exploitation of an eligible account holder. By adding the requirement to the "Colorado Banking Code," the bill allows enforcement of these requirements by the state bank commissioner. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
 
SB 43 - Concerning the repeal date of the office of the child's representative. By Sen. White and Rep. Pommer. The bill extends for 10 years the repeal of the "Office of the Child's Representative Act," which is currently scheduled to repeal on July 1, 2010. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

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