From the Colorado Bar Association - Department of Legislative Relations
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/
• Activity at the Capitol – Week of February 1
Bills where the CBA has taken a position:
On Friday afternoon, the House Health and Human Services Committee gave its unanimous approval to HB 1025 - Concerning updates to the "Colorado Medical Treatment Decision Act.” One of the interesting features of the bill is the elimination of the statutory form to make the declaration. The bill was amended to catch a few technical changes. The next stop for the bill is 2nd Reading on the Senate floor. The CBA is supporting this legislation.
On Thursday afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved HB 1097 -Concerning temporary injunctions in proceedings involving minor children. The CBA supports this bill that creates an automatic temporary injunction, upon personal service on the respondent, in paternity proceedings and in proceeding involving the allocation of parental responsibilities that are not brought as part of a divorce or legal separation action. The CBA is supporting this legislation.
Also on Thursday, on a 10-1 roll call vote, the House State Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee moved HB 1007 - Concerning an adjustment of fees charged by a county clerk and recorder for filing a document with the county to the floor of the House for 2nd Reading. One technical amendment was added to the bill. This bill modifies the per page filing fees for entries to the grantor/grantee index in the clerk and recorders offices across the state. The CBA is supporting this legislation.
Due to a full calendar, HB 1100 - Concerning withdrawal of an initiative petition was not heard by the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee on Thursday and has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 9 at 1:30 p.m. The CBA has voted to oppose this legislation.
• CBA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC)
The Legislative Policy Committee did not meet on Friday, February 5.
• Introduced Legislation.
10 BILLS (from each house) OF INTEREST:
In the House
HB 1061 - Concerning the creation of the Colorado medical donation program to be administered by the state board of health. By Rep. Merrifield and Sen. Tochtrop. The bill establishes the Colorado medical donation program for the purpose of allowing certain facilities to donate medications, medical devices, and medical supplies to eligible patients in Colorado. The program is modeled after the "Colorado Cancer Drug Repository Act" established by the general assembly in 2005. The state board of health is required to administer the program. Under the program, specific health facilities are allowed to donate, receive, and dispense approved medications, medical devices, and medical supplies to patients who are uninsured or underinsured. The bill specifies that participation by facilities is voluntary and that certain medications are exempted from the program. The state board is directed to promulgate rules to implement the program. Assigned to the Health and Hyman Services Committee.
HB 1063 - Concerning the authority for the publication of a legal notice in a newspaper without United States periodicals mailing privileges within a municipality where no newspaper that has such privileges is published within the municipality. By Rep. Todd and Sen. Gibbs. Current law specifies that no publication, no matter how frequently published, shall be considered a legal publication unless it has been admitted to the United States mails with periodicals mailing privileges.
The bill specifies that if no newspaper is published within the territorial boundaries of a municipality that satisfies the existing requirements for a legal publication, but a newspaper that provides local news and that would satisfy the requirements to be admitted to the United States mails with periodicals mailing privileges but for the absence of paid circulation is distributed within such territorial boundaries, the municipality may publish any legal notice or advertisement required by law in such newspaper. Amended version of the bill passed 3rd Reading in the House on January 29; the bill is assigned to the Senate Local Government and Energy Committee.
HB 1065 - Concerning a prohibition against counting any time a juvenile spends on escape status toward completion of the juvenile's commitment. By Rep. McCann and Sen. Tochtrop. The bill prohibits counting any time that a juvenile may spend on escape status toward completion of the juvenile's commitment. On February 4, the unamended bill passed 2nd Reading; the bill awaits action on 3rd Reading.
HB 1068 - Concerning the delivery of paper documents to a person's property. By Rep. Ferrandino. The bill prohibits a basic telephone service provider from delivering a white page directory to a customer unless the customer requests the delivery. The bill prohibits a person from delivering paper documents to another person's property in excess of one pound unless the recipient requests the delivery, which request remains valid for 5 years. A violation is punishable by a $50 fine per delivery for the first 100 recipients and $1,000 per recipient for subsequent deliveries, and the fines are capped at $100,000 per year. Assigned to the Transportation and Energy Committee.
HB 1072 - Concerning the conversion of the general fund reserve into a state budget stabilization reserve fund, and, in connection therewith, increasing the amount of the reserve fund in certain future fiscal years above the amount of the general fund reserve currently required for such years, requiring reserve fund interest and income to be credited to the reserve fund, and reducing the percentage of estimated reserve fund depletion that will require the governor to formulate a plan for reducing general fund expenditures from the percentage of estimated general fund reserve depletion that currently triggers that requirement. By Rep. Court and Sen. Heath. The bill makes legislative findings and declarations that:
The state should save substantial amounts of money during periods of significant economic growth in order to prevent drastic cuts in core state services during economic downturns;
By enacting Senate Bill 09-228, which will, if significant economic growth occurs, increase the amount of the required general fund reserve for future fiscal years, as a first step towards ensuring that the state saves more money in the future, the general assembly has recognized that the state has not saved enough money during past periods of significant economic growth;
Based on the experience of the state during recent economic downturns, the increased general fund reserve required by Senate Bill 09-228 is likely to prove inadequate to fully stabilize the state budget and prevent drastic cuts in state services during future economic downturns; and
It is necessary, appropriate, and in the best interest of the state to:
1. Convert the general fund reserve to a state budget stabilization reserve fund;
2. Further increase the amount of general fund revenues that the state is required to save; and
3. Promote fiscal discipline in state government and protect against rapid depletion of the reserve fund by reducing the percentage of estimated reserve fund depletion that will require the governor to formulate a plan for reducing general fund expenditures from the percentage of estimated general fund reserve depletion that currently triggers that requirement.
The bill creates the state budget stabilization reserve fund and requires fund investment earnings to be credited to the fund. Beginning in FY 2009-10, the bill also requires increasing amounts of general fund moneys, measured as a percentage of annual general fund appropriations, to be credited to the fund at the end of each fiscal year until the fund balance can be maintained at 15% of general fund appropriations.
The bill reduces the percentage of estimated general fund reserve depletion for a fiscal year that triggers a requirement that the governor formulate a plan for reducing general fund expenditures from 50% of the amount of the existing general fund reserve to the greater of 2% of the amount appropriated for expenditure from the general fund for the fiscal year or one-third the amount of the fund that is replacing the general fund reserve. The bill also makes a conforming amendment regarding the trigger for transferring general fund moneys previously credited to the capital construction fund back into the general fund. Assigned to the Finance Committee.
HB 1077 - Concerning authorization for fusion voting by which a candidate in an election for a partisan political office may be the nominee of more than one political party. By Rep. Tyler. The bill amends the "Uniform Election Code of 1992" to allow fusion voting in elections for federal and state partisan political offices. Fusion voting is a type of voting in which the same candidate for a partisan political office may be the nominee of more than one political party. Assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.
HB 1081 - Concerning money laundering. By Rep. Priola and Sen. Steadman. The bill eliminates money laundering as a criminal offense specific to the "Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1992" and relocates it, with amendments, as a criminal offense involving fraud. The bill also adds money laundering to the definition of "racketeering activity" for the purposes of the "Colorado Organized Crime Control Act." Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
HB1087 - Concerning the elimination of the requirement that an employer withhold Colorado income tax. By Rep. Swalm and Sen. Cadman. Currently, an employer is required to deduct and withhold Colorado income tax from an employee's wages. The bill eliminates the mandatory deduction and withholding. Instead, an employer will only deduct and withhold Colorado income tax from an employee's wages if the employee and employer voluntarily agree to it. Assigned to the Finance and Appropriations Committees.
HB 1089 - Concerning placement after a parole revocation of a parolee who is a sexually violent predator. By Rep. Waller and Sen. Newell. The bill requires that a parolee who has been designated a sexually violent predator be placed in a department of corrections facility after having his or her parole revoked. Amended bill passed out of Judiciary Committee on January 28 and was referred to the Appropriations Committee.
HB 1090 - Concerning the punishment for a person who is convicted of driving a motor vehicle with knowledge that his or her driver's license is under restraint. By Rep. Waller and Sen. Morse. The bill eliminates the mandatory 5-day jail sentence for a person who is convicted of driving a motor vehicle or off-highway vehicle upon any highway of the state with knowledge that his or her license or privilege to drive, either as a resident or a nonresident, is under restraint for any reason other than conviction of driving under the influence, DUI per se, driving while ability impaired, habitual user, or underage drinking and driving. Amended version of the bill passed 2nd Reading in the House on February 4; awaiting 3rd Reading.
In the Senate
SB 74 - Concerning incentives for the generation of electricity from cleaner-burning fuels. By Sen. Penry. The bill directs the public utilities commission to convene a rule-making proceeding to determine how much of the cost of these long-term natural gas supply contracts may be capitalized. It limits the amount capitalized to the equivalent of the supply contract costs approved for the Comanche III coal-fired plant, and requires the PUC to begin its rule-making by July 1, 2010. Assigned to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
SB 76 - Concerning unreasonable insurance claims settlement practices. By Sen. Carroll. The bill defines an unfair claim settlement practice and a deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance the practice of providing compensation to induce or encourage the decision to deny or delay resolution of a claim or to cancel or rescind an insurance policy. In civil actions in which a jury is to determine whether an insurer's delay or denial of a claim was reasonable, the bill allows the court to instruct the jury that the willful payment of a financial incentive is prohibited and may be considered if the prohibited conduct caused or contributed to the delay or denial and the claimant's injury, damage, or loss.
The bill establishes a presumption of unreasonableness when a claim for benefits is denied or delayed and the person who makes the decision to delay or deny payment of the claim receives any personal financial incentive, including compensation, to deny or delay the claim. Assigned to the Health and Human Resources Committee.
SB 77 - Concerning the regulation of appraisal management companies. By Sen. Heath and Rep. Ferrandino. The bill authorizes the board of real estate appraisers in the division of real estate in the department of regulatory agencies to regulate appraisal management companies. Necessary terminology is defined and the registration of appraisal management companies is required. The bill sets forth the requirements for registration and exemptions for certain types of activities. Requirements for owners and controlling persons of appraisal management companies are established, including a requirement that certain persons submit information, including fingerprints, for criminal history record checks. The bill sets forth prohibited activities and grounds for disciplinary actions against appraisal management companies and owners and controlling persons.
Administrative and criminal penalties for violations are provided for and the board of real estate appraisers is granted the power to administer the provisions of the bill. On February 2, the Business, Labor & Technology Committee heard testimony and delayed action to a later date.
SB 80 - Concerning allowing court-entered civil protection orders to include directives concerning animals. By Sen. Newell and Rep. Frangas. The 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. A court-entered civil protection order may also specify arrangements for possession and care of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by any other party.
The bill amends the definitions of "abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult," "domestic abuse," and "protection order" as necessary to include threats or actions against animals. The CBA LPC Committee previously voted to support this legislation. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
SB 84 - Concerning the creation of a Colorado peace officers' bill of rights. By Sen. Tochtrop and Rep. Gagliardi. While individual law enforcement agencies in the state may have adopted civil service systems or may be a part of a collective bargaining process that establishes rights of peace officers, there is no consistency among state and local governments who hire peace officers for law enforcement duties. The bill establishes minimum standards that all employing agencies must provide to peace officers as part of their employment regarding:
A peace officer's ability to engage in political activity;
Entry of adverse comments in a peace officer's personnel records;
Participation in employee organizations;
Bringing suit arising out of the performance of a peace officer's duties;
Truth verification tests;
Public statements regarding internal investigations;
Tests of blood, breath, or urine;
Internal noncriminal investigations;
Predisciplinary administrative hearings; Availability of a third-party review of major disciplinary decisions; and
Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
SB 85 - Concerning the creation of a business personal property tax exemption reimbursement pilot program. By Sen. Scheffel and Rep. Priola. The bill establishes a pilot program to reimburse 5 participating counties for revenue lost as a result of a business personal property tax exemption. To qualify as a participating county, a county must:
Enact an ordinance to eliminate the business personal property tax for 5 years; and
Have a population that is greater than 20,000 but less than 500,000.
The state will reimburse a participating county for lost property tax revenue for 4 of the 5 years that the exemption is in place. The first year the reimbursement will be 100% of the lost property tax revenue, and that percentage will be reduced by 25% in each of the next 4 years. After the 5 years of the county business personal property tax exemptions, legislative council staff will undertake a study to determine whether the exemptions stimulated economic growth. Staff will prepare a report of the findings to be delivered to legislative committees. Assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.
SB 86 - Concerning a phased-in exemption for fully depreciated business personal property. By Sen. Scheffel and Rep. Priola. The bill exempts a percentage of all business personal property that is fully depreciated beginning in the 2011 property tax year. The exemption percentage starts at 25% and increases every 4 years until the property is entirely exempt beginning with the 2023 property tax year.
The bill also clarifies that the new exemption shall apply before an existing exemption, which is on a per personal property schedule basis. Assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.
SB 92 - Concerning the exemption from federal regulation of certain items related to exercising the right to bear arms. By Sen. Schultheis and Rep. King. The bill exempts from federal laws and regulations all firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition that are manufactured in Colorado by persons who are not federally licensed and that are sold and remain in Colorado. The bill makes conforming amendments. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
SB 93 - Concerning the orderly resolution of claims in foreclosures involving junior liens. By Sen. Lundberg. The bill clarifies that the holder of a Certificate of Purchase of property at a public trustee's sale or sheriff's sale is entitled to pay off junior lienors during the redemption period for the amount of the lien plus allowable fees and costs. The bill requires a junior lienor to accept the tendered payment and to execute a release of the lien.
Requires junior lienors to accompany their notice of intent to redeem with a true statement of the amount due on their lien and allows the holder of the COP to avoid redemption by a junior lienor by recording the release obtained under section 1 of the bill. The bill also clarifies the right of litigants to claim damages for misstatements of the amount due on a lien or of the lienor's entitlement to use the redemption process. On February 1, the Business, Labor & Technology Committee heard testimony and delayed action to a later date.
SB 109 - Concerning regulation of the physician-patient relationship for medical marijuana patients. By Sen. Romer and Rep. Massey. Under the bill, the department of public health and environment will promulgate new rules related to standards for issuing registry identification cards, documentation for physicians who prescribe medical marijuana, and sanctions for physicians who violate the bill.
A physician who certifies that a patient can use medical marijuana shall certify certain information to the department and maintain a separate record-keeping system for his or her medical marijuana patients. A physician who certifies that a patient can use medical marijuana shall not receive remuneration from or offer it to a primary caregiver, distributor, or any other provider of medical marijuana.
The bill creates a medical marijuana review board that will consider requests by nonveteran patients under 21 years of age who want to be registered medical marijuana patients. For a patient who is under 21 years of age to become a registered medical marijuana patient, a majority of the board must determine that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and could benefit from the use of medical marijuana.
The bill adds the medical marijuana program to the list of statutes that involve medical records. The bill has passed the Senate. On February 4, the House Judiciary Committee amended the bill and referred it to the Committee on Appropriations.