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March 17

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In this issue:   March 17, 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.

The LPC did not meet on Friday, March 14.

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At the Capitol—Week of March 10

A scorecard of the committee and floor work follows.

In the House

Monday, March 10

Passed 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1141. Concerning the confidentiality of social security numbers under the “Colorado Consumer Protection Act.” Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
  • SB 14-97. Concerning the immunity of public agencies against liability arising from the wildfire mitigation activities of insurance companies. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
  • SB 14-138. Concerning civil immunity for community volunteers assisting at an emergency. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
  • SB 14-121. Concerning financial assistance for local governments after a declared disaster emergency. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
  • SB 14-96. Concerning renaming state veterans’ nursing homes to veterans community living centers to more accurately reflect the wide array of services provided to state veterans. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.

Tuesday, March 11

  • SJM14-1. Memorializing former Senator Ken Gordon. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused. In a joint-session, the House and Senate met to consider SJM14-001 Memorializing former Senator Ken Gordon.

Wednesday, March 12

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1136. Concerning exempting a continuing professional education program that is approved by a state professional licensing board from regulation by the division of private occupational schools in the department of higher education. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 absent or excused.
  • HB 14-1216. Concerning required safety markings for certain towers over fifty feet in height that are located in unincorporated areas of the state. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 absent or excused.
  • HB 14-1131. Concerning harassment against a minor by using an interactive computer service. Vote: 54 yes, 10 no, and 1 excused.
  • HB 14-1149. Concerning making acts related to the advertisement of children for the purposes of transferring their care to others trafficking in children. Vote: 64 yes, 0 no, and 1 excused.
  • SB 14-80. Concerning the elimination of the list of certain additional qualifications that apply to property valuation appeal arbitrators. Vote: 64 yes, 0 no, and 1 excused.
  • HB 14-1280. Concerning limits on liability for agritourism. Vote: 64 yes, 0 no, and 1 excused.

Thursday, March 13

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1277. Concerning eligibility requirements for recipients of grants from the military family relief fund. Vote: 61 yes, 2 no, and 2 absent or excused.
  • SB 14-63. Concerning the mandatory review of existing executive branch agency rules conducted by each principal department. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 absent or excused.

In the Senate

Monday, March 10

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • SB 14-125. Concerning the regulation of transportation network companies, and, in connection therewith, requiring transportation network companies to carry liability insurance, conduct background checks on transportation network company drivers, inspect transportation network company vehicles, and obtain a permit from the public utilities commission; and making an appropriation. Vote: 29 yes and 6 no.
  • HB 14-1172. Concerning exempting certain public safety departments from certain statutory requirements related to the impact of a criminal conviction on state employment opportunities. Vote: 35 yes and 0 no.

Tuesday, March 11

  • SJM14-1. Memorializing former Senator Ken Gordon. Vote: 63 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused. In a joint-session, the House and Senate met to consider SJM14-001 Memorializing former Senator Ken Gordon.

Wednesday, March 12

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • SB 14-32. Concerning elimination of restrictions on the ability of alternative health care providers to treat children. Vote: 18 yes and 17 no.
  • HB 14-1224. Concerning a set aside goal in state procurement for service-disabled veteran owned small businesses. Vote: 27 yes and 8 no.

Thursday, March 13

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • Consent Calendar: Vote 33 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
    1. SB 14-51. Concerning access to records relating to the adoption of children, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
    2. HB 14-1103. Concerning the criteria that certain securities must meet to qualify as legal investments for public funds.
  • SB 14-131. Concerning the removal of certain identifying information from a motor vehicle registration card. Vote: 33 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
  • SB 14-117. Concerning the reauthorization of the regulation of real estate appraisers by the board of real estate appraisers through a recreation and reenactment of the relevant statutes incorporating no substantive amendments other than those approved during the first regular session of the 69th general assembly. Vote: 30 yes, 3 no, and 2 excused.
  • HB 14-1077. Concerning an increase in the statutory cap on the two-year average of the unobligated portion of the oil and gas conservation and environmental response fund. Vote: 27 yes, 6 no, and 2 excused.

Friday, March 14

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • SB 14-23. Concerning an authorization of the voluntary transfer of water efficiency savings to the Colorado water conservation board for instream use purposes in water divisions that include lands west of the continental divide. Vote: 25 yes, 9 no, and 1 excused.
  • HB 14-1152. Concerning passive surveillance records of governmental entities. Vote: 34 yes, 0 no and 1 excused.

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10 Bills of Interest
House Bills

HB 14-1214. Concerning an increase in the penalties for certain offenses committed against an emergency medical service provider.

By Rep. Gerou and Sen. Balmer

The bill increase the penalties for assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and murder in the first degree against an emergency medical service provider if the victim was engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the offender knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was an emergency medical service provider.

The bill requires a court to sentence a person to the department of corrections if the person is convicted of assault in the first degree or assault in the second degree against an emergency medical service provider.

The bill lists the intentional killing of an emergency medical service provider engaged in the performance of his or her official duties as an aggravating factor for class 1 felonies.

The bill defines emergency medical service provider. The bill makes conforming amendments.

On February 11, the Judiciary Committee approved the bill and sent it the Appropriations Committee.

HB 14-1215. Concerning the ability of a federal home loan bank to enforce its rights with regard to collateral subject to a security agreement.

By Rep. Ginal and Sen. Tochtrop

In statutes governing the disposition of the assets of insolvent insurers, the bill generally prohibits a receiver or liquidator from avoiding the obligations of the insolvent insurer to a federal home loan bank with respect to collateral under a security agreement or related agreement to which the bank is a party. The bill passed out of both houses and was sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper on March 14.

HB 14-1216. Concerning required safety markings for certain towers over fifty feet in height that are located in unincorporated areas of the state.

By Rep. Sonnenberg and Sen. Brophy

Towers under 200 feet in height are not currently regulated by the federal aviation administration and, consequently, may not have certain safety markings that are required for taller towers.

The bill creates specified safety marking requirements for towers located in rural areas of the state, including the marking of guy wires supporting the towers and painting the towers in alternating colors. An exception is created for specific towers, including electric utility towers, certain facilities licensed by the federal communications commission, towers within a ski area, certain wind generators, and street lights erected or maintained by the department of transportation.

Previously constructed towers are given one year to comply with the requirements of the bill. Noncompliance with the requirements constitutes a misdemeanor.

The bill passed 3rd Reading in the House on March 12.

HB 14-1217. Concerning a clarification of the legal rights of a county government in connection with property owned by the county.

By Rep. Rankin

As introduced, the bill clarifies the legal rights of county governments in connection with real property owned by the county in the following respects:

  • The bill modifies existing statutory provisions pertaining to county powers in connection with the purchase and possession of real and personal property to clarify that the county may own, besides purchasing and holding, such property and expressly specifies that such property includes oil, gas, mineral, and other property interests for county revenue generation and other county government operations, projects, or purposes.
  • The bill clarifies requirements relating to the publication of notice of a sale by the county of mineral rights. The bill clarifies that oil and gas reserved rights are included within the mineral rights that the board of county commissioners (board) may lease for exploration, development, and production purposes. The bill deletes language placing a time limit on a lease of mineral rights by the county and clarifies that leases entered by the board prior to January 1, 2014, are legal and within the board's authority.
  • The bill clarifies that revenue generation is among the purposes for which the county may lease real estate or other interests and that the board has authority to approve the terms and conditions of such leases. The bill also deletes existing statutory requirements imposing time limits on the length of a lease of oil and gas rights and imposing other conditions on the lease.
  • The bill adds oil, gas, and minerals to modify the word “lands” in the definition of “public projects.” The bill also provides that a public project may be acquired, owned, held, or developed by a county to generate county revenue.
  • Existing statutory provisions hold that certain places designated as public use on a map or plat are the public property of a city or town and that fee title is vested in the city or town. The bill adds counties and city and counties to the list of local governments whose interests are protected under these provisions.
  • The bill eliminates outmoded legal language from an existing statutory provision specifying when a fee simple estate of land is a fee simple estate of inheritance.
  • The bill clarifies that, whenever land is acquired for road, transit, or mass transit purposes, the right to subsurface support of the land surface is deemed to be acquired as well regardless of whether a fee, limited fee, or right-of-way is acquired. This section of the bill also deletes existing statutory language denying a governmental entity the right to acquire certain mineral resources beneath the real property through condemnation under certain circumstances.
  • The bill modifies existing statutory provisions allowing the acquisition by counties of land for highways including by means of condemnation to specify that nothing in these provisions modifies or restricts the powers or authority conferred on counties or the board with respect to county roads or revenue generation. The bill addresses existing statutory provisions governing the declaration of certain land as public highways. The bill specifies that public highways include all lands dedicated to public use by deed conveying a fee simple, limited fee, easement, or right-of-way, filed with the county clerk and recorder of the county in which the land is located, when the dedication has been accepted by the board and board has approved the surface of the land for use as a public road. The bill goes on to clarify that the fee or other estate conveyed from the grantor to the grantee is conclusively established by the language in the deed of conveyance that is pre-printed or inserted by the grantor or the grantee. The bill also clarifies that roads include certain strips of land, and that the acquiring government also owns in fee simple mineral rights under such strips of land.

On March 6, the Local Government Committee amended the bill and laid it over for a final vote.

HB 14-1222. Concerning modification of the terms under which a county may issue tax-exempt private activity bonds on behalf of an eligible applicant for the purpose of financing a geothermal energy project on the applicant’s property.

By Rep. McLachlan and Sen. Schwartz

Current law allows a county to issue private activity bonds on behalf of a property owner or group of property owners who do not own an entire cooperative electric association (eligible applicant) for the purpose of constructing, expanding, or upgrading an eligible clean energy project on the eligible applicant's property. For an eligible clean energy project that is a geothermal energy project only, the bill reduces the minimum amount of private activity bonds that a county may issue for an eligible applicant from $1 million to $500,000, extends the maximum repayment term for bonds from 10 years to 15 years, and allows the bonds to be correlated to the revenue stream of the project up to 75% so long as bond payments do not exceed 75% of project revenue.

The bill passed out of the House on February 24. On March 13, the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee approved the bill and sent it to the Senate floor for consideration on 2nd Reading.

HB 14-1224. Concerning a set aside goal in state procurement for service-disabled veteran owned small businesses.

By Rep. Gardner and Sen. Herpin

The bill establishes a goal that, in awarding contracts that are subject to the "Procurement Code," the state will award at least 3% of all contracts by dollar value to service-disabled veteran owned small businesses. To satisfy this goal, a state agency may grant a preference for service-disabled veteran owned small businesses.

In awarding a contract to a business in furtherance of the 3% goal, a state agency is required to obtain verification from the business that the business is a certified service-disabled veteran owned small business by the United States department of veterans’ affairs.

The executive director of the department of personnel is required to submit an annual report regarding the state's progress in satisfying the 3% goal to the department of military and veterans affairs, to the members of the Colorado board of veterans affairs, and to the members of the committees of the house of representatives and the senate that have jurisdiction over state affairs and veterans affairs.

The bill passed out of both houses and was sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper on March 14.

HB 14-1229. Concerning authorizing sharing information between state and local government agencies related to legal marijuana.

By Rep. Kagan and Sen. Johnston

For retail marijuana licensing purposes, the bill allows a local jurisdiction to submit fingerprints for purposes of conducting a criminal history background check or to acquire a name-based criminal history check if the licensee's fingerprints are unclassifiable.

The bill passed out of both houses and was sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper on March 12.

Senate Bills

SB 14-154. Concerning funds administered by the division of fire prevention and control in the department of public safety.

By Sen. Lambert and Rep. Gerou
Joint Budget Committee

The bill:

  • For 3 fiscal years, commencing with the 2014–15 fiscal year, reduces by $95,000 the moneys transferred annually from the operational account of the severance tax trust fund (operational account) to the healthy forests and vibrant communities fund and, correspondingly, transfers $95,000 annually from the operational account to the wildfire preparedness fund (WPF) administered by the division of fire prevention and control (division) in the department of public safety;
  • Directs the state treasurer to make a one-time transfer of $285,000 from the healthy forests and vibrant communities fund to the WPF; and
  • Specifies the purposes for which the division may use all of the above-referenced transferred moneys.

The bill exempts the wildfire emergency response fund and the WPF from the statutory limit on uncommitted cash reserves.

The bill is assigned to the Appropriations Committee.

SB 14-155. Concerning grant funding for medical marijuana health effects studies.

By Sen. Steadman and Rep. May
Joint Budget Committee

The bill creates a health research subaccount (subaccount) in the medical marijuana program cash fund (cash fund). The subaccount provides funding for medical marijuana health research. The department of public health and environment (department) may transfer moneys from the cash fund to the subaccount and has continuous spending authority over the subaccount. No more than $10 million may be transferred to the subaccount.

The bill creates a medical marijuana research grant program (grant program) in the department. The grant program will provide the framework for funding research to ascertain the general medical efficacy, and appropriate administration of marijuana. The state board of health (state board) shall promulgate rules for the administration of the grant program, including:

  • The procedures and timelines for applying for grants;
  • Grant application contents;
  • Criteria for selecting grantees and determining the amount and duration of the grants; and
  • Reporting requirements for grantees.

The bill creates a scientific advisory council (council) to evaluate research proposals seeking a grant from the grant program. The executive director of the department shall appoint the members of the council, and the chief medical officer of the department will also serve on the council and act as chair. The members will serve two-year terms that may be reappointed and will be reimbursed for travel expenses.

The grant recommendations will be submitted to the state board for a final determination.

The grant program shall report annually to the state board on the progress of the medical marijuana studies.

The bill directs the attorney general to seek federal authority to allow Colorado institutions of higher education to cultivate marijuana for research funded by this bill.

The bill is assigned to the Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 14-156. Concerning a requirement that a public benefit corporation file an annual report.

By Sen. Kefalas and Rep. Lee

The bill requires public benefit corporations to file an annual report.

The bill is assigned to the Business, Labor, and Technology Committee.