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Jan. 20

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In this issue:   Jan. 20, 2014
eLegislative Report from Michael Valdez

Welcome to the 2014 edition of the CBA e-legislative report. This CBA member benefit will be delivered to your Inbox on Monday afternoons and will recap legislation from the current legislative session and the role the CBA plays at the State Capitol.

In addition to updates on the positions taken by the CBA through our Legislative Policy Committee the e-leg report will highlight legislation that is of interest to the practicing bar.

We welcome your feedback. We welcome your questions. Or just drop me a line on how we are doing or raise an issue on a piece of legislation. Contact me at mavaldez@cobar.org.

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CBA Legislative Policy Committee

For readers who are new to CBA legislative activity, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) is the CBA’s legislative policy-making arm during the legislative session. The LPC meets weekly during the legislative session to determine CBA positions on requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association.

At its Jan. 17 meeting, the LPC voted to support HB 14-1050. Concerning an increase in the number of judges for the eighteenth judicial district. By Rep. Kagan and Sen. Guzman. The bill increases the number of judges for the 18th judicial district from 21 to 23. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on a 9–0 vote on Jan. 16. The bill moves to the Appropriations Committee for consideration of the cost to the state.

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At the Capitol—Week of Jan. 13

The week of Jan. 13 was relatively light in terms of bills running through the committees of reference and floor work in both chambers. A recap of the committee and floor work follows.

In the Senate

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the Senate Finance Committee gave initial approval to SB 14-19. Concerning the state income tax filing status of two taxpayers who may legally file a joint federal income tax return. By Sen. Steadman and Rep. Moreno. The CBA LPC voted to support this legislation at its Dec. 13, 2013 meeting. The bill requires any two taxpayers who may legally file a joint federal income tax return to file separate state income tax returns if they file separate federal income tax returns and to file a joint state income tax return if they file a joint federal income tax return. The bill was amended to allow amended tax returns three years in the past. The bill moves to the floor for debate and vote on 2nd Reading.

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved—with amendments—SB 14-27. Concerning criminal history background checks for professionals who have the authority to appear in court. By Sen. Guzman. The bill requires a fingerprint-based criminal history background check for a law license applicant and a child and family investigator. The CBA LPC voted to support this legislation at its Dec. 13 meeting. The bill moves to the Finance Committee for review. The Senate Judiciary Committee also amended and approved SB 14-09. Concerning a disclosure of possible separate ownership of the mineral estate in the sale of real property. By Sen. Hodge and Rep. Moreno. As the bill title states, the bill requires a seller to disclose in the sale of real property that a separate mineral estate may subject the property to oil, gas, or mineral extraction.

In the House

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the House Judiciary Committee approved (unanimous vote) HB 14-1019. Concerning the enactment of Colorado Revised Statutes 2013 as the positive and statutory law of the state of Colorado, by Rep. Gardner and Sen. Steadman. The bill moved to the floor where it was approved on 2nd Reading on Friday, Jan. 17. Also on a unanimous vote, the Judiciary Committee defeated HB 14-1025. Concerning the determination of competency to proceed for individuals in the juvenile justice system, by Rep. Rosenthal and Sen. Newell.

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the House Transportation and Energy Committee approved HB 14-1027. Concerning the clarification of the definition of a plug-in electric motor vehicle, by Rep. Fischer and Sen. Jones. The bill, among other things, defines “plug-in electric motor vehicle” to include motor vehicles that are certified to be eligible for a particular federal tax credit. The bill moves to the floor of the House for consideration on 2nd Reading.

The House Judiciary Committee

The Judiciary Committee gave unanimous approval of the legislation to increase the number of judges in the 18th Judiciary District on Thursday, Jan. 16. The bill, HB 14-1050. Concerning an increase in the number of judges for the eighteenth judicial district, by Rep. Kagan and Sen. Guzman, increases the number of judges in the 18 JD from 21 to 23. The bill moves to the Appropriations Committee for consideration of the Fiscal Impact to the state. This bill will be on a fast track due to internal legislative rules that require bills to increase the number of judges to be through the entire legislative process by March 7. The CBA LPC voted to support this legislation at its Jan. 17 meeting.

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10 Bills of Interest
House Bills

HB 14-1014. Concerning modifications to the job growth incentive tax credit.

By Rep. DelGrosso and Sen. Heath

For income tax years commencing on or after Jan. 1, 2014, the bill modifies the job growth incentive tax credit by extending the tax credit claim period from 60 months to 96 months, lowering the average wage match from 110 to 100 percent, and changing the language that governs the commission’s approval of a project to show that the credit is a substantial factor in the decision to locate or retain the project in Colorado. Assigned to the Business, Labor, Economic, & Workforce Development Committee.

HB 14-1017. Concerning measures to expand the availability of affordable housing in the state, and, in connection therewith, making modifications to statutory provisions establishing the housing investment trust fund, the housing development grant fund, and the low-income housing tax credit.

By Rep. Duran and Sen. Ulibarri

In connection with the existing housing investment trust fund, the bill:

  • Changes the name of the fund from the home investment trust fund to the housing investment trust fund (trust fund);
  • Expands the sources of moneys that may be used to support the trust fund to include any moneys made available by the general assembly, all moneys collected by the division of housing (division) for the purpose of the trust fund from federal grants and from contributions, other grants, gifts, bequests, and donations received from any other organization, entity, or individual, public or private, and any fees or interest earned on such moneys;
  • Clarifies that the division is authorized and directed to solicit, accept, expend, and disburse all moneys collected for the trust fund from the various public and private sources identified in the bill for the purpose of making, not just loans as under existing law, but also loan guarantees, and for program administration. The bill specifies that any moneys in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year do not revert to the general fund and that moneys in the trust fund are continuously appropriated to the division for the purposes specified in statute.
  • Under current law, upon the approval of the state housing board, the division is authorized to make a loan from moneys in the trust fund to any local housing authority, public nonprofit corporation, or private nonprofit corporation for development or redevelopment costs incurred prior to the completion or occupancy of low- or moderate-income housing or for the rehabilitation of such housing. The bill deletes the enumeration of the entities entitled to borrow such moneys and also eliminates the requirement that such loan moneys may be used for development or redevelopment costs incurred prior to the occupancy of low- or moderate-income housing; and
  • Permits the division to charge the borrower an origination fee for loans made from the trust fund. The fee must be used for direct and indirect costs associated with the administration of the trust fund.

In connection with the existing housing development grant fund (fund), the bill:

  • Expands the permissible uses of moneys in the fund to include program administration;
  • Strikes existing language authorizing the division to make a grant or loan from the fund to finance foreclosure prevention activities, which has been repealed effective June 30, 2011;
  • Eliminates the requirement that the borrower is required to seek replacement loans or funding no later than 180 days from the date of the loan; and
  • Under current law, not more than $250,000 may be appropriated from the general fund in any one state fiscal year for any uses not related to construction grants or loans. The bill changes this requirement so that not more than 20 percent of the balance of moneys in the fund calculated as of July 1 of any state fiscal year may be appropriated from the general fund in any one state fiscal year for any housing-connected uses not related to construction grants or loans.

The bill also deletes obsolete language in existing statutory provisions governing the two funds.

In connection with the existing state low-income housing tax credit, the bill adds as a requirement for establishment of the credit that, where the qualified development contains 100 or more total residential units, at least 10 percent of the residential units in the development must be occupied by qualified residents. Where the qualified development contains less than 100 total residential units, not less than 15 percent of the total number of residential units in the development must be occupied by qualified residents. “Qualified resident” means an occupant of a residential unit in a qualified development whose household income is not more than 30 percent of the adjusted median income of the area in which the qualified development is located.

HB 14-1020. Concerning the consolidation of two reports on taxable property that county assessors submit to their boards of equalization.

By Rep. Lebsock and Sen. Balmer

County assessors annually submit two separate reports (one regarding taxable real property and the other regarding taxable personal property), on different dates, to their county boards of equalization. The bill requires both reports to be submitted simultaneously and specifies that the submission must occur on or before each July 15 or, for counties that have elected to use an alternate protest and appeal procedure, on or before each Sept. 15. Assigned to the Finance Committee.

HB 14-1022. Concerning alignment of the duration of the child care authorization notice with the child care assistance eligibility period for children participating in the Colorado child care assistance program.

By Rep. Landgraf and Sen. Newell
Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission

The bill clarifies that, if a child is enrolled in the Colorado child care assistance program, the duration of the child care authorization notice, which authorizes payment of child care costs, is the same as the period for which the child’s family is eligible for child care assistance. However, the state board of human services, by rule, may identify specific circumstances in which the authorization notice term may be less than the full period of eligibility. A county may reduce the number of families served by the child care assistance program if necessary to avoid overspending its child care block grant allocation for a fiscal year. Assigned to the Public Health Care & Human Services Committee.

HB 14-1023. Concerning the provision of social workers to juveniles.

By Rep. Lee and Sen. Ulibarri
Juvenile Defense Attorney Interim Committee

The state public defender may hire social workers to assist in defending juvenile defendants. Any report prepared by such a social worker and submitted to the court by the juvenile's attorney shall be considered as evidence in the proper disposition of the juvenile’s case. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bills

SB 14-13. Concerning resources received by a recipient of an old age pension.

By Sen. King

For a person eligible for an old age pension, the bill allows the person to receive up to $300 per month in gifts, grants, or donations without reducing the amount of the pension or reporting the gifts, grants, or donations. Assigned to the Finance Committee.

SB 14-16. Concerning the ability of certain health care facilities to provide emergency services outside a hospital setting.

By Sen. Aguilar and Rep. Moreno

Under current law, the department of public health and environment issues a community clinic license to a community clinic that provides emergency services.

The bill permits the department to continue issuing a community clinic license to a community clinic that provides emergency care if the community clinic is located more than 25 miles from a hospital in the state. On or after two years from the bill’s effective date, all other freestanding emergency rooms must be owned and operated by a licensed or certified hospital. Assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 14-17. Concerning a limitation on the approval of real estate developments that use water rights decreed for agricultural purposes to irrigate lawn grass.

By Sen. Roberts and Rep. Vigil

The bill prohibits a local government from approving an application for a development permit unless the local government has adopted an enforceable resolution or ordinance that limits, as a prerequisite for approval of the development permit, the amount of irrigated grass on residential lots in the development to no more than 15 percent of the total aggregate area of all residential lots in the development. “Irrigated” means supplied with water for lawn grass and does not include the use of raw water for irrigation. The 15 percent limit applies only if any part of the water supply for the development is changed from agricultural irrigation purposes to municipal or domestic use on or after Jan. 1, 2016. Assigned to the Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee.

SB 14-19. Concerning the state income tax filing status of two taxpayers who may legally file a joint federal income tax return.

By Sen. Steadman and Rep. Moreno
The CBA LPC voted to support this legislation at its Dec. 13, 2013 meeting.

The bill requires any two taxpayers who may legally file a joint federal income tax return to file separate state income tax returns if they file separate federal income tax returns and to file a joint state income tax return if they file a joint federal income tax return. Assigned to the Finance Committee.

SB 14-21. Concerning the treatment of persons with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice systems.

By Sen. Tochtrop and Rep. Wright
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.

The bill extends the repeal date for the 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 and associated task force from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2020. The legislative oversight committee and task force are renamed the legislative oversight committee and task force concerning the treatment of persons with mental illness in the criminal and juvenile justice systems (oversight committee and task force), and the cash fund is renamed accordingly. Two new members are added to the task force, one from the office of the child’s representative and one from the office of the alternate defense counsel. The task force is assigned additional duties. Authorization is granted to provide travel compensation and reimbursement for members of the task force, subject to available funds. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.