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CBA E-Legislative Report -- May 3, 2010

 

May 3, 2010
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Highlights:

CBA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC)

Late Bills of Interest (and status)

- 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/

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• CBA Legislative Policy Committee (LPC)

At the regularly scheduled meeting on Friday April 30, the Legislative Policy Committee voted to support SB 193 - Concerning the safe treatment of pregnant persons in custody. By Sen. Hudak and Rep. Levy. The Civil Rights Committee was granted authority to support this bill that requires that the least restraint necessary to ensure safety be used on a woman in her second or third trimester of pregnancy. The bill was approved by the Appropriations Committee on Friday, April 30 and will be taken up on 2nd Reading in the House sometime this week.

• Late Bills of Interest (and status):

It’s true; the late bills just keep on comin’. Nineteen bills (eleven in the Senate and eight in the House) were introduced during the week of April 26. Here is a short list of the bills that are the most interesting to bring to the attention of CBA members.

In the House

HB 1423 - Concerning the elimination of the requirement that an initiative petition circulator be a resident of the state. By Rep. Court and Sen. Heath. Currently, an initiative petition circulator must be a resident of the state. The bill eliminates this requirement and changes the notarized petition affidavit to reflect that residency is no longer required. The bill was introduced on April 26 and has been assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee. The bill is not listed on the printed calendar but will most likely be added to the State Affairs Calendar sometime this week.

HB 1424 - Concerning the deadline for filing an initiative petition with the secretary of state. By Rep. Court and Sen. Heath. House Bill 09-1326 modified the deadline for filing an initiative petition with the secretary of state from 3 months prior to the election at which the initiative is to be voted on to 3 months and 3 weeks prior to such election. The bill returns the language of the statutes that referenced the deadline to the same form as it existed prior to House Bill 09-1326. The bill was introduced on April 26 and has been assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee. The bill is not listed on the printed calendar but will most likely be added to the State Affairs Calendar sometime this week.

HB 1429 - Concerning the legislative review of tax benefits. By Rep. Weissmann. The bill requires the finance committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate, joint finance committee, to jointly conduct meetings on an annual basis to review specified state tax benefits and determine whether they should be continued, repealed, or modified. The meetings will be during the legislative session or, if approved by the executive committee of legislative council, during the interim. State tax benefits include credits against and exemptions from the state severance tax, gasoline and special fuel tax, alcohol beverage tax, sales and use tax, and income tax. In making their determination regarding a tax benefit, the joint finance committee shall consider:

  • Any known economic benefits related to the tax benefit;
  • Whether the tax benefit is accomplishing the purpose for which it was created;
  • The amount of state and local government tax revenue that is directly lost as a result of the tax benefit;
  • The fairness of the tax benefit; and
  • Whether the tax benefit is in the public interest.

Legislative council staff will prepare a report on the fiscal impact of each tax benefit prior to the joint finance committee's meetings. The director of legislative council staff will also be responsible for determining which sales and income tax benefits are reviewed in a particular year. The department of revenue shall, to the extent reasonable, provide legislative council staff with aggregated information to assist in the preparation of the report.

Any legislation recommended by the joint finance committee to repeal or modify any tax benefit shall not be subject to any introduction deadlines or bill limitations imposed by the rules of the general assembly. The bill was introduced on April 28 and assigned to the Finance Committee. On April 30, the Finance Committee amended the bill and referred it to the House for consideration on 2nd Reading.

In the Senate

SB 202 - Concerning savings accounts for job retraining. By Sen. Whitehead. Under current law, anyone may open a college savings account through a college savings plan for any beneficiary. The bill specifies that any adult may open an account for the benefit of himself or herself in furtherance of the adult's own postsecondary educational and job retraining goals. The authority that administers the college savings plan is directed to:

  • Promote the use of accounts by adult learners and to develop and implement procedures to allow an employer to make a matching contribution to an adult learner's account for any contribution made by the adult learner;
  • Develop procedures to provide college planning and preparation for adult learners through college in Colorado; and
  • Develop procedures for coordinating with the department of labor and employment to make information regarding accounts for adult learners available to potential participants.

The authority is directed to work with the financial institutions that manage the accounts to determine the savings options that would be most beneficial to adult learners, and the financial institutions are directed to develop and implement a plan to expand the promotion of the college savings program to encourage adults to open accounts and participate as adult learners.

Any employer matching contribution to an account for an adult learner is subtracted from federal taxable income.
The job retraining cash fund is created in the state treasury and an amount from the fund shall be annually transferred to the general fund for specified state fiscal years to assist in defraying the cost to the state of people contributing to an account for an adult learner. The moneys in the fund shall consist of a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the loan assets of the authority.

The bill was introduced on April 26 and assigned to the Education Committee. The Education committee will consider the bill on Wednesday, May 5, upon adjournment.

SB 203 - Concerning independent expenditures in Colorado elections after the United States Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n. By Sen. Carroll and Rep. Weissmann. Restrictions on political activity by foreign corporations
The bill provides a definition of "foreign corporation" limited to corporations from foreign countries for the "Fair Campaign Practices Act" (FCPA) as a foundation for other provisions in the bill restricting certain political activity by such entities. The bill makes conforming amendments to other sections in the FCPA to accommodate the new statutory definition.

The bill prohibits any foreign corporation from expending moneys on an independent expenditure in connection with an election in the state.

Registration, disclosure, and disclaimer requirements in connection with independent expenditures

The bill also:

  • In accordance with a recent decision of the Colorado Supreme Court, affirms that corporations and labor organizations shall not be prohibited from making independent expenditures. The bill requires all such expenditures to be disclosed in accordance with the existing constitutional and statutory requirements. This section specifies that any use of the word "person" shall be construed to include, without limitation, any corporation or labor organization.
     
  • Requires any person that accepts a donation that is given for the purpose of making an independent expenditure or that makes an independent expenditure to register with the secretary of state not later than the date on which the aggregate amount of donations accepted or expenditures made reaches or exceeds $1,000. The bill specifies the required components of the registration.
     
  • Supplements existing campaign finance disclosure requirements by requiring any person making an independent expenditure in the aggregate amount of $1,000 or more in any one calendar year to report certain additional information to the appropriate officer; except that any person making an independent expenditure within 30 days before a primary or general election must disclose the expenditure within 48 hours after obligating moneys for the independent expenditure.
     
  • Requires any communication that is broadcast, printed, mailed, delivered, or otherwise circulated that constitutes an independent expenditure for which the person making the independent expenditure expends $1,000 or more on the communication to include in the communication a disclaimer statement containing certain information.
     
  • Requires any person that expends any moneys on an independent expenditure in an aggregate amount of $1,000 or more in any one calendar year to deliver to the appropriate officer written notice that shall list with specificity the name of the candidate whom the independent expenditure is intended to support or oppose.
     
  • Requires any person that accepts any donation that is given for the purpose of making of an independent expenditure or expends any moneys on an independent expenditure in an amount of $1,000 or more in any one calendar year to establish a separate account in a financial institution for the deposit of moneys donated for the making of the independent expenditure and the withdrawal of moneys used for the expenditure. Section 5 also restricts discovery of information concerning the person's use of the account.
     
  • Requires any person that donates $1,000 or more to any person during any one calendar year for the purpose of making an independent expenditure to report the donation in accordance with the existing disclosure schedule.
     
  • Requires all new information to be disclosed to the secretary under the bill to be posted on the web site of the secretary within 2 business days after its receipt by the secretary.

Enforcement and sanctions

The bill:

  • Depending on the circumstances, authorizes or requires an administrative law judge to impose specified penalties for failure to file certain reports, statements, or other documents required to be filed under the bill.
     
  • In connection with a complaint, authorizes an ALJ to order disclosure of the source and amount of any undisclosed contributions, donations, or expenditures.
     
  • Prohibits disclosure, by means of discovery or any other manner, of the membership lists of a labor organization or, in the case of a publicly held corporation, a list of the shareholders of the corporation.

Immunity from liability

The bill creates immunity from civil liability for media outlets where the media outlet withdraws advertising time or voids an advertising contract in the case of a person purchasing advertising time for an independent expenditure that is not compliant with the requirements of the bill.

Restrictions on political activity by the state and political subdivisions

The bill expands existing statutory restrictions on the ability of the state or any political subdivision of the state from making any contribution in campaigns involving the nomination, retention, or election of any person to any public office to prohibit such entities from making any donation to any other person for the purpose of making an independent expenditure. Section 8 also removes a statutory limitation that had restricted the prohibition on political involvement by the state or political subdivisions to the use of public moneys so that the prohibition will now apply to all moneys. Finally, the bill makes a legislative declaration and provides a definition of a new term.

The bill was introduced on April 26 and assigned to the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. The State Affairs Committee will consider the bill on Monday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m.

SB 204 - Concerning the penalty for careless driving resulting in death. By Sen. Shaffer. The bill increases the number of points from 4 to 12 that accumulate on a person's driver's license as a result of a conviction for careless driving resulting in death. The bill was introduced on April 27 and assigned to the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will consider the bill on Monday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m.

SB 208 - Concerning repealing references to the referral and placement committee to reflect current usage of interdisciplinary teams in developing individualized plans for persons with developmental disabilities. By Senator Keller and Rep. Acree. The bill updates language and references to the referral and placement committee, which committee duplicates efforts of the interdisciplinary teams in developing and reviewing individualized plans for persons with developmental disabilities. The bill was introduced on April 29 and assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee. The Health and Human Services Committee will consider the bill on Wednesday, May 5, upon adjournment.

SB 212 - Concerning the repeal of mechanisms to refund excess state revenues. By Sen. Cadman. Section 20 (7) (d) of article X of the state constitution requires the state to refund any state revenues in excess of the state fiscal year spending limit. In accordance with this constitutional requirement, the general assembly enacted methods to refund the excess state revenues. The bill was introduced on April 30 and has been assigned to the Finance Committee.
The bill is not listed on the printed calendar but will most likely be added to the Finance Committee’s Calendar sometime this week.

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