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.
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CBA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC)
Highlights of LPC activity from the meeting on Friday, April 2:
On Friday, April 2, the Legislative Policy Committee reviewed the status of various bills on which the CBA has taken positions.
Bills of Interest (and status):
HB 1373 - Concerning changes to sentencing provisions for escape crimes. By Rep. Carroll and Sen. Hudak. Under current law, a person who commits an escape crime is subject to a mandatory consecutive prison sentence. The bill limits that requirement to those persons who commit an escape crime while on inmate status, which is defined as being under sentence to the department of corrections or in the physical custody of any local or state law enforcement agency while being held on or convicted of a felony. Introduced on March 23, the bill is assigned to the Judiciary Committee. Introduced on March 23, the bill is assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
HB 1374 - Concerning parole. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. Penry. The bill directs the sex offender management board to develop a specific sex offender release guideline instrument for the state board of parole to use in determining when to release a sex offender on parole.
The bill directs the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety to develop, in consultation with the parole board, an administrative release guideline instrument for the parole board to use in determining when to release an offender on parole. The bill directs the department of corrections to develop, in consultation with the parole board, administrative revocation guidelines for the parole board to use in determining when to revoke an offender's parole. The bill removes the statutory provision that requires a parole officer to arrest a parolee as a parole violator if the parolee is located in a place without lawful permission to be there.
Under current law, certain offenders who are serving sentences for lower-class, nonviolent felonies can earn more earned time per month than other offenders. The bill changes the qualifications that an offender must meet in order to earn additional earned time.
The bill repeals and reenacts the parole guideline statute. The parole board will consider a new set of circumstances when considering an offender for parole. The parole board will use both a risk assessment scale and administrative release guidelines that are based on evidence-based practices in addition to their professional judgment in making parole decisions. The parole board will use administrative revocation guidelines and consider a new set of factors when considering a parole revocation.
The bill directs the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety to develop the Colorado risk assessment scale and the parole board action form and provide training on the Colorado risk assessment scale and the administrative release guideline instrument.
Introduced on March 23, the bill is assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
Two weeks of “The Budget.”
Last week the House considered the Long Bill. The fun started on Monday with review by committees of reference whose jurisdiction touched on an area of the budget, e.g. the Judiciary Committee listened to a Joint Budget Committee overview of the following departments: Judicial, Corrections, Law, and Public Safety. The Joint Budget Committee Overview was followed by political party caucus reviews of the entire budget. By Thursday, the Long Bill passed on 3rd Reading. The process is mirrored in the Senate this week.
HB 1376 - Long Appropriations Bill. By Rep. Pommer and Sen. Keller. This is the “Long Bill” or "Budget Bill" for the state. This bill passed out of the House on Thursday, April 1. The Senate will begin consideration of the bill on Monday, April 5.
Also, several bills that are needed to help balance the budget will run along a parallel path to the Long Bill. Those bills follow.
HB 1377 - Concerning the temporary funding of certain agriculture programs entirely with cash funds, and making appropriations therefor. By Rep. Lambert and Sen. Tapia. Budget Package Bill. For fiscal years 2010 and 2011 only, the bill changes the funding structure for several agricultural programs, which would otherwise be financed by moneys from both cash funds and the general fund, to be entirely cash-funded. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1378 - Concerning moneys appropriated in the 2010-11 fiscal year for health clinics, and making appropriations therefor. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. Keller. Budget Package Bill. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the bill authorizes appropriation from the tobacco tax revenues credited to the primary care fund.
The bill directs the department of health care policy and financing to develop a distribution formula to allocate the moneys in the Colorado health care services fund to Denver health and hospitals and to community health clinics.
The bill specifies how moneys in the primary care special distribution fund are to be allocated between providers that participate in the Colorado indigent care program and providers that do not participate. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1379 - Concerning a reduction in the general fund portion of the per diem rates paid to nursing facilities for the 2010-11 fiscal year, and making an appropriation in connection therewith. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. Current law reduces the general fund portion of per diem rates paid to nursing facilities by 1.5%. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the bill increases that reduction to 2.5%.
Current law allows the general fund portion of the per diem rates paid to nursing facilities to increase by up to 5% over the previous year for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The bill provides that, for the 2010-11 fiscal year, the general fund portion shall not increase by more than 1.9% over the previous year. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1380 - Concerning the use of moneys in the supplemental old age pension health and medical care fund to pay for services received by certain persons in the state Medicaid program, and making an appropriation therefor. By Rep. Pommer and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. The bill allows up to $4,850,000 in fiscal year 2010-11 and up to $3,000,000 in fiscal year 2011-12 of moneys in the supplemental old age pension health and medical care fund to be used to offset general fund costs for state Medicaid program services for persons 65 years of age or older. The provisions repeal on July 1, 2012. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1381 - Concerning the use of tobacco revenues for health-related purposes during a state fiscal emergency, and making an appropriation therefor. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. Pursuant to a declaration of a state fiscal emergency under section 21 of article X of the state constitution, for the 2010-11 fiscal year only, the bill allows tobacco tax revenues in the tobacco education programs fund, the prevention, early detection, and treatment fund, and the health disparities grant program fund to be used for any health-related purpose and to serve populations enrolled in the children's basic health plan and the Colorado medical assistance program at the programs' respective levels of enrollment as of January 1, 2005. The bill amends the tobacco cash fund statute to reflect the declaration of a state fiscal emergency for fiscal year 2010-11. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1382 - Concerning the repeal of the delay of certain payments made under public medical assistance programs. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. Senate Bill 09-265 authorized the department of health care policy and financing to delay the last normal provider payment cycle for the 2009-10 fiscal year until after July 1, 2010. The bill repeals this authorization. Senate Bill 09-265 also specified that after June 1, 2010, capitated payments made to various managed care entities shall be made on the first day of the month following the enrollment of recipients in the managed care entity. The bill repeals these provisions. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1383 - Concerning funding for student financial aid for higher education, and making an appropriation therefor. By Rep. Pommer and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. The bill expands the use of the Collegeinvest scholarship trust fund to include funding need-based financial aid. The bill makes a one-time transfer of $29.8 million from the Collegeinvest scholarship trust fund to the general fund. The bill removes the requirement for fiscal year 2010-11 concerning increasing appropriations for student financial assistance. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1384 - Concerning the alignment of eligibility for the old age pension program with eligibility for other public benefit programs, and, in connection therewith, aligning the waiting period for the old age pension with the waiting period for other public benefit programs, enforcing financial responsibility requirements for relative sponsors of noncitizens, and making an appropriation. By Rep. Lambert and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. The federal "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" requires a 5-year waiting period for access to public benefits for all qualified aliens except those subject to specific federal exclusions.
Current state law has a 3-year waiting period for the old age pension (OAP) for qualified aliens. The bill conforms the waiting period for OAP for qualified aliens with the federal 5-year waiting period. These provisions take effect July 1, 2010.
Coloradolaw requires the enforcement of financial responsibility requirements on people who sponsor the entry of noncitizens - qualified aliens - into the United States for the noncitizen to be eligible for public benefits, including the temporary assistance for needy families program, aid to the needy disabled, and aid to the blind. The bill aligns the noncitizen eligibility for the OAP with those financial responsibility requirements. The bill eliminates conflicting statutory provisions for determining eligibility of noncitizens for OAP by eliminating the language that allows qualified aliens to be eligible for OAP without regard to a relative sponsor's income or resources. Under the bill, the income and resources of all sponsors (relatives and non-relatives) of a qualified alien will be counted in determining the eligibility for the OAP. This change in the statute will remove most sponsored noncitizens from the OAP. However, it will not affect refugees or other groups who are exempted from such requirements under federal law.
The bill is drafted to state that the additional requirements regarding the five-year bar on receipt of benefits and the deeming of sponsor income to relative sponsors do not affect the eligibility for OAP for a qualified alien who meets the eligibility criteria for OAP:
If the county department of social services determines that the qualified alien has been abandoned by or is being mistreated by his or her sponsor or is an abused spouse; or
If the qualified alien is also eligible for supplemental security income benefits.
The bill also directs that, for benefits provided on and after January 1, 2011, or the later effective date contained in the bill, the department of human services may pursue repayment from a qualified alien's sponsor for the amount of OAP provided to a qualified alien during the time that the sponsorship affidavit of support is in effect as determined by the United States citizenship and immigration services or its successor agency.
The bill appropriates moneys in FY 09-10 and FY10-11 to the department of health care policy and financing and to the department of human services and appropriates moneys in FY10-11 to the office of state planning and budgeting in the governor's office for the costs to make changes to the Colorado benefits management system to implement the bill. The bill also makes an adjustment to the 2010 long bill to decrease moneys in the old age pension cash assistance program by $14,108,817. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1385 - Concerning fees collected by the division of insurance to fund insurance fraud cases pursued by the department of law, and making appropriations in connection therewith. By Rep. Lambert and Sen. Tapia. Budget Package Bill. Under current law, insurance companies pay an annual insurance fraud fee of $425 to fund part of the department of law's expenses in investigating and prosecuting allegations of insurance fraud. The revenue from this insurance fraud fee is deposited in the division of insurance cash fund.
The bill redirects the insurance fraud fee into the newly created insurance fraud cash fund, and replaces the fixed insurance fraud fee, as set in statute, with a fee set annually by the attorney general at a level sufficient to provide for the department of law's direct and indirect costs for insurance fraud investigations and prosecutions and to allow for the creation and maintenance of a 3-month reserve in the fund, phased in over 3 fiscal years. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1386 - Concerning the amounts of filing fees charged by the property tax administrator for purposes of exemption of property from general taxation, and making an appropriation therefor. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. The bill adjusts the filing fees that accompany applications to the property tax administrator for tax-exempt status for real and personal property and that accompany annual reports filed by owners of exempt property.
Currently, the fees charged by the administrator are not adequate to fully fund the administrator's related costs. The bill sets new minimum fee amounts and allows the administrator to adjust the fees on an annual basis by rule to ensure that the fees remain adequate to fully fund the related costs. The bill also gives the administrator discretion to waive late filing fees for good cause shown as determined by the administrator. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1387 - Concerning the financing of the division of motor vehicles in the department of revenue, and making appropriations therefor. By Rep. Pommer and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. The bill permanently diverts from the highway users tax fund (HUTF) to the licensing services cash fund the revenue from the fees for driver's license examinations and issuance or renewal of instruction permits, driver's licenses, and identification cards. The bill permits the use of funds in the motorist insurance identification subaccount of the HUTF to be used for expenses incurred by the department of revenue in licensing drivers and issuing identification cards.
The bill permits the use of funds in fiscal year 2010-11 in the HUTF "off-the-top" appropriation to be used for the expenses incurred by the department of revenue in licensing drivers and issuing identification cards. Makes corresponding adjustments to the 2010-11 long bill. On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1388 - Concerning the augmentation of the general fund through transfers of certain moneys. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. Tapia. Budget Package Bill. For the purpose of augmenting the amount of revenues in the state general fund for the 2010-11 state fiscal year, on June 30, 2011, the state treasurer is required to transfer specified amounts of moneys to the general fund from the following funds:
The medical marijuana program cash fund;
The perpetual base account of the severance tax trust fund;
The local government severance tax fund; and
The alternative fuels rebate fund.
On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1389 - Concerning transfers of moneys relating to capital construction. By Rep. Ferrandino and Sen. Tapia. Budget Package Bill. In the 2008-09 fiscal year, changes the $9 million transfer from the general fund exempt account to the general fund. For the 2009-10 fiscal year:
Transfers $13,317,845 from the capital construction fund to the general fund;
Transfers $750,000 from the higher education federal mineral lease revenues fund to the general fund;
Transfers $5,054,918 from the Fitzsimons trust fund to the general fund;
Repeals $1,807,306 in statutory transfers from the general fund to the capital construction fund and from the capital construction fund to the corrections expansion reserve fund.
For the 2010-11 fiscal year:
Transfers $7 million from the higher education federal mineral lease revenues fund to the general fund;
Transfers $3,448,537 from the Fitzsimons trust fund to the general fund;
Transfers $8,625,506 from the general fund to the capital construction fund; and
Transfers $500,000 from the general fund exempt account to the capital construction fund.
On April 1, the bill passed out of the House.
HB 1390 - Concerning the general fund reserve required for the 2010-11 state fiscal year. By Rep. Pommer and Sen. White. Budget Package Bill. If the June 2010 revenue estimate for the 2010-11 state fiscal year indicates that general fund expenditures based on appropriations then in effect will exceed the amount of general fund revenues available, excluding the statutorily required reserve, upon written order, the governor may further reduce the 4% reserve to a lower percentage but to not less than 2% as is necessary to cover, to the greatest extent possible, any general fund appropriations for which general fund revenues would not otherwise be available. The bill passed 2nd Reading in the House on April 1.
No late bills were filed in the Senate.