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March 24

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In this issue:   March 24, 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 met on Friday, March 21, but did not take any new positions on legislation.

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At the Capitol—Week of March 17

A scorecard of the committee and floor work follows.

In the House

Monday, March 17

Passed 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1285. Concerning a requirement that a professional tax preparer provide certain disclosures to a client when preparing tax documents for the client. The CBA LPC took a neutral position on the bill but authorized the Taxation Section to seek an exemption for attorneys; the Taxation Section was successful in amending the bill. Vote: 36 yes and 29 no.
  • SB 14-102. Concerning the addition of employment positions held at financial institutions to the circumstances under which an employer may use consumer credit information for employment purposes. Vote: 60 yes and 5 no.
  • SB 14-137. Concerning certification of workers’ compensation insurance forms. Vote: 65 yes and 0 no.
  • SB 14-89. Concerning a prohibition for the state to enter into an agreement for a payment in lieu of taxes. Vote: 36 yes and 29 no.
  • HB 14-1299. Concerning the repeal of the six-year limitation on applying a salvage brand to a motor vehicle whose cost of being repaired exceeds the value of the vehicle without the recent damage. Vote: 43 yes and 22 no.

Tuesday, March 18

  • HB 14-1260. Concerning the creation of three mandatory minimum presumptive ranges for defendants convicted of a felony sex offense involving intrusion against a child who is under 12 years of age when the adult defendant is at least 10 years older that has one of the ranges starting at 10 years as the minimum in the range, and, in connection therewith, creating an indeterminate lifetime sentence with a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 10 to 16 years for a class 4 felony; a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 18 to 32 years for a class 3 felony; and a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 24 to 48 years for a class 2 felony. Vote: 65 yes and 0 no.

Wednesday, March 19

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • SB 14-62. Concerning reinstatement of the parent-child legal relationship. Vote: 64 yes, 0 no, and 1 excused.
  • SB 14-106. Concerning the appropriation of federal mineral lease moneys from the local government permanent fund to the department of local affairs, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: Vote: 52 yes and 13 no.
  • SB 14-109. Concerning the use of the prevention, early detection, and treatment fund, and, in connection therewith, eliminating the annual transfer of two million dollars from the fund to the department of health care policy and financing for medicaid disease management and treatment programs that address cancer, heart disease, and lung disease or risk factors associated with those diseases and increasing the amount annually appropriated from the fund to the prevention services division of the department of public health and environment for the cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic pulmonary disease prevention, early detection, and treatment program by two million dollars. Vote: 65 yes and 0 no.
  • SB 14-132. Concerning the repeal of the requirement that a soldier be killed while deployed to a combat zone to issue a fallen soldier license plate. Vote: 65 yes and 0 no.

Friday, March 21

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1282. Concerning the specification of what materials may be provided in a language other than English by an insurer to a customer. Vote: 62 yes, 0 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1057. Concerning the Colorado fraud investigators unit. Vote: 42 yes, 20 no, and 3 excused.
  • HB 14-1291. Concerning authorizing a charter school to employ a school security officer by contract to carry a concealed handgun if the person has a valid concealed carry permit. Vote: 59 yes, 3 no, and 3 excused.
  • 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. Vote: 36 yes, 26 no, and 3 excused.
  • SB 14-18. Concerning the prohibition against furnishing nicotine products to persons under eighteen years of age. Vote: 43 yes, 19 no, and 3 excused.

In the Senate

Monday, March 17

  • Consent Calendar: Vote 33 yes and 0 no.
    1. HB 14-1107. Concerning the authority of the department of revenue to offer taxpayers the option to receive electronic notices.
    2. HB 14-1129. Concerning the submission by a state agency to a local government of information related to an application to the local government to approve a major utility facility.
    3. HB 14-1125. Concerning the circumstances under which a unit owners’ association may disclose contact information for members and residents under the “Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act.”
  • Passed on 3rd Reading
    1. HB 14-1163. Concerning a clarification of the cap imposed on the enterprise zone investment tax credit. Vote: 19 yes and 16 no.
    2. HB 14-1060. Concerning the authority of a municipality to compensate members of a municipal planning commission. Vote: 20 yes and 15 no.

Tuesday, March 18

  • Consent Calendar: Vote 31 yes, 0 no and 4 excused.
    1. HB 14-1082. Concerning a requirement for written notice of cancellation of individual life insurance policies, and in connection therewith, requiring written notice prior to the lapse of individual life insurance policies.
    2. HB 14-1265. Concerning the regulation of games of chance.
    3. HB 14-1171. Concerning rules on forensic medical evidence in sexual assault cases.
  • Passed on 3rd Reading
    1. HB 14-1108. Concerning limits on copayments made by a covered person for physical rehabilitation services. Vote: 19 yes, 12 no, and 4 excused.
    2. HB 14-1191. Concerning the creation of an emergency alert program to notify the public after a serious hit-and-run accident. Vote: 30 yes, 1 no, and 4 excused.

Wednesday, March 19

  • Consent Calendar:
    1. HB 14-1177. Concerning requirements governing meetings of the boards of county commissioners of the larger counties. Vote: 33 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
    2. SB 14-143. Concerning payment of amounts awarded through nursing facility provider reimbursement appeals from the medicaid nursing facility cash fund. Vote: 31 yes, 2 no, and 2 absent.
    3. SB 14-92. Concerning the creation of the crime of insurance fraud, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. Vote: 33 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
  • Passed on 3rd Reading
    1. HB 14-1030. Concerning the establishment of incentives for the development of hydroelectric energy systems. Vote: 19 yes, 0 no.
    2. 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. Vote: 21 yes, 12 no, and 2 absent.
    3. HB 14-1117. Concerning the creation of the Colorado premature birth commission. Vote: 24 yes, 9 no, and 2 interim.

Thursday, March 20

Passed on 3rd Reading:

  • HB 14-1092. Concerning the voluntary contribution designation benefitting the Colorado Youth Conservation Corps fund that appears on the state individual income tax return forms. Vote: 20 yes, 9 no, 5 excused, and 1 absent.
  • SB 14-123. Concerning the authority of the peace officers standards and training board, and, in connection therewith, providing additional rule-making authority; raising the maximum fee for certification and skills exams; allowing awarding grants to nonprofit organizations; denying certification for municipal violations; and making an appropriation. Vote: 18 yes, 11 no, 5 excused, and 1 absent.

Friday, March 21

  • Consent Calendar: Vote: 33 yes, 0 no, and 2 excused.
    1. HB 14-1148. Concerning guidelines for ensuring the rights of victims of crime to participate in the criminal justice system.
    2. HB 14-1206. Concerning modifications to the “Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act,” and, in connection therewith, prohibiting certain charitable solicitation practices, modifying the secretary of state's fining authority, adjusting registration statement requirements, and specifying requirements for appointing registered agents.

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10 Bills of Interest
House Bills

HB 14-1231. Concerning the acquisition of a talent analytics tool by the Colorado office of economic development to assess the strength of the state’s market intelligence.

By Rep. Buckner

The bill requires the Colorado office of economic development (office) to enter into a contract to obtain access to a talent analytics tool.

The office is required to use the talent analytics tool to conduct a study of the state’s talent base, including several specified factors. For the 2014–15 fiscal year, the bill requires the general assembly to appropriate specified amounts to the office to acquire access to the talent analytics tool and to conduct the study of the state’s talent base.

The office is required to include the results of the study in its annual report to the general assembly.

On February 18, the Business, Labor, Economic, & Workforce Development Committee approved the bill and sent it to the Appropriations Committee.

HB 14-1253. Concerning implementing the recommendations of the 2013 civil commitment statute review task force.

By Rep. McCann and Sen. Newell

The bill consolidates administrative provisions related to substance misuse or substance use disorders evaluation and treatment through emergency holds and extended-care certifications into a single statutory article. Currently, provisions for five-day emergency holds and short-term and long-term certification for alcohol treatment are found in one statutory article, while similar provisions for five-day emergency holds and short-term and long-term certification for drugs and other substances are found in another statutory article. The bill combines the two articles and creates a single process for emergency holds and short-term and long-term treatment for substance misuse and substance use disorders.

The bill adds revised definitions for “danger to self or others” and “gravely disabled” as approved by the 2013 civil commitment statute review task force.

The option for a jury trial for a certification for either a mental health or substance misuse hold is removed.

The term “imminent” is removed from “imminent danger” from the section concerning an emergency hold related to a mental illness.

Language is added to encourage treatment facilities to inquire about whether an individual has an advance directive for persons with a behavioral health illness at the time of admission and, if so, to refer to such advance directive and take it into account if medically appropriate. The bill makes conforming amendments.

On February 25, the Health, Insurance, & Environment Committee amended the bill and sent it the the full House for consideration on 2nd Reading.

HB 14-1254. Concerning a requirement to disclose fees charged to a unit owners’ association by a community association manager.

By Rep. Labuda and Sen. Balmer

The bill requires a licensed community association manager who performs services for a homeowners’ association (HOA) through employees or subcontractors to fully disclose to the HOA, during contract negotiations and annually thereafter, all fees and charges that the manager will bill to the HOA for services performed by those employees or subcontractors.

The bill passed out of the House on February 26. On March 21, the Senate adopted the bill on 2nd Reading with amendments.

HB 14-1257. Concerning the authority of the state auditor to conduct a performance audit of the Colorado health benefit exchange.

By Rep. Sonnenberg and Sen. Balmer
Legislative Audit Committee

The bill allows the state auditor to conduct a performance audit of the Colorado health benefit exchange and submit a written report to the legislative audit committee with any findings and recommendations. The authority to conduct performance audits continues as long as the state auditor or the legislative audit committee deems it appropriate.

The bill passed out of the House on March 7. On March 12, the bill was assigned to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 14-1260. Concerning the creation of three mandatory minimum presumptive ranges for defendants convicted of a felony sex offense involving intrusion against a child who is under 12 years of age when the adult defendant is at least 10 years older that has one of the ranges starting at 10 years as the minimum in the range, and, in connection therewith, creating an indeterminate lifetime sentence with a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 10 to 16 years for a class 4 felony; a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 18 to 32 years for a class 3 felony; and a mandatory minimum presumptive range of 24 to 48 years for a class 2 felony.

By Rep. Foote and Sen. Johnston

The bill requires a court to impose a sentence within an indeterminate minimum presumptive range to a maximum of the offender’s life upon an adult offender if he or she commits a class 2, class 3, or class 4 felony sexual assault that includes intrusion or penetration against a child who is under 12 years of age at the time of the offense and the offender is at least 10 years older than the child. For a class 2 felony the presumptive range is 24 to 48 years, for a class 3 felony it is 18 to 32 years, and for a class 4 felony it is 10 to 16 years.

The bill passed out of the House on March 18. On March 21, the bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Appropriations Committees.

Senate Bills

SB 14-157. Concerning the commission of a report by the department of military and veterans affairs that examines the comprehensive value of United States military activities centered in Colorado.

By Sen. Carroll and Rep. Ryden

The department of military and veterans affairs (department) is required, not later than August 1, 2014, to solicit proposals through a request for proposals from prospective contractors interested in preparing a comprehensive written report (report) assessing the overall strengths and advantages of the state of Colorado in meeting the strategic objectives of the department of defense (DoD).

The bill requires the selected contractor to consolidate its analysis into a report supported by independently derived and verified information to be used as a tool for demonstrating to policymakers how military mission and defense industry retention and expansion and defense spending and investment in Colorado best serves DoD from the standpoint of both national security and cost effectiveness. The bill specifies the matters the report is required to analyze.

The bill sets forth minimum qualifications for the contractor to include in the request for proposals and also specifies minimum qualifications the contractor must possess.

Not later than October 1, 2014, the department is required to accept a proposal submitted by a particular contractor and award to the contractor whose proposal it accepts a fully executed contract to prepare the report.

In completing the report, the bill permits the contractor whose proposal is selected to enter into a contract with one or more individuals or entities as necessary to fulfill any portion of the work required under the contract.

The bill obligates the contractor to complete the report not later than April 15, 2015. The bill exempts the department from the state procurement code in issuing a request for proposals, selecting a contractor, executing the contract, or performing its other duties under the bill.

The bill directs the department, in consultation with the office of economic development, to prepare the request for proposals, select the contractor, and perform all other duties delegated to the department under the bill.

The bill creates in the state treasury the comprehensive report on the value of United States military activities fund. The bill specifies the source of moneys that will comprise the fund.

The bill is assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.

SB 14-158. Concerning the harmonization of statutory recall election provisions with the recall provisions in the state constitution to reflect the manner in which contemporary elections are conducted, and, in connection therewith, aligning circulator regulation and petition requirements with initiative and referendum circulator and petition requirements.

By Sen. Steadman and Rep. Hullinghorst

The bill makes various changes to the laws governing conduct of recall elections (recall laws). The bill contains a nonstatutory legislative declaration. The bill defines terms used in statutory and constitutional recall election provisions. The bill prohibits a designated election official from suspending or avoiding the requirement that recall elections be conducted by mail ballot.

The bill:

  • Harmonizes the affidavit contents that recall petition circulators must execute with the affidavits that ballot initiative or petition circulators must execute;
  • Clarifies when the designated election official must certify a recall question to the ballot and call the election; and
  • Reorganizes for chronological clarity the provision setting forth the opportunity to resubmit signed petitions or circulator affidavits.

The bill applies the laws pertaining to initiative and referendum petitions and circulators to recall elections.

The bill conforms to the state constitution the statutory time within which a recall election date must be set by a designated election official and extends the election date in the case of protest and adjudication.

The bill:

  • Requires a designated election official to develop and submit to the secretary of state a mail ballot plan for a recall election;
  • Specifies the times during which the office of the designated election official functions as a voter service and polling center and mail ballots must be sent; and
  • Sets forth the number of voter service and polling centers required for each recall election.

The bill harmonizes with the state constitution the deadline by which a successor candidate must file his or her nomination petition and specifies the times within which such petitions must be verified and the recall election ballot certified.

The bill eliminates the statutory “prior participation requirement”, i.e. the condition that an elector cast a vote on the question of recall in order to have his or her vote for a successor candidate counted.

The bill:

  • Allows an elector who is registered in the political subdivision of a recalled elected official to file a protest alleging that a winning successor candidate is not qualified to assume the recalled officer’s office; and
  • Requires a vacancy election if the court finds that the successor candidate is not qualified.

The bill specifies that, in case of conflict between the recall laws and other provisions of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”, the former controls.

The bill removes an obsolete reference to recall elections that appears under provisions governing petitions for candidacy in other types of elections. Previously, the statutes governing petitions for recall and petitions for candidacy were combined under a single statutory part. House Bill 95-1241 bifurcated the petition laws but neglected to amend this particular provision.

The bill applies the laws regarding recall of elected municipal officers to the recall of local government officers.

The bill makes conforming amendments.

The bill is assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.

SB 14-159. Concerning implementation of standardized rules for use in processing medical claims, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

By Sen. Aguilar and Rep. Primavera

Under current law, the medical clean claims task force in the department of health care policy and financing (department) is tasked with developing a standardized set of payment rules and claim edits for use by payers in processing medical claims for which coverage is undisputed. Carriers in the state are required to use the standardized payment rules and claim edits developed by the task force by January 1, 2014, for commercial health plans, and by January 1, 2015, for domestic, nonprofit health plans.

Since the clean claims task force is still developing the standardized set of payment rules and claim edits, the bill delays implementation until January 1, 2017, and requires all carriers to implement and use the standardized payment rules and claim edits by that date when processing medical claims under health plans issued in this state, other than those plans governed by federal law superseding state authority. The clean claims task force is to develop the complete set by December 31, 2014, and submit a report to the executive director of the department and to specified committees of the general assembly concerning the complete set.

The task force is to make the complete set of payment rules and claim edits available for public review and comment throughout 2015 and to modify the complete set as necessary based on public feedback. By January 31, 2016, the clean claims task force is to submit a final report to the executive director of the department and to specified committees of the general assembly and, throughout 2016, is to provide assistance to users preparing to implement the standardized payment rules and claim edits by January 1, 2017.

Additionally, the bill requires the executive director of the department to work with the United States department of health and human services to facilitate the use of the standardized payment rules and claim edits adopted in Colorado as the model for use nationally.

$128,188 is appropriated from the general fund to the task force for use in the 2014–15 fiscal year in developing and assisting with implementation of the standardized payment rules and claim edits.

The bill repeals the medical clean claims task force on December 31, 2016.

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

SB 14-160. Concerning removing limitations on a transitional living program for a person with a brain injury.

By Sen. Newell and Rep. Primavera

Under current law, for persons with a brain injury, the transitional living program is limited to a 6- to 12-month period. The bill removes this limitation.

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

SB 14-161. Concerning the modernization of provisions of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” that ensure voter access for eligible electors, and, in connection therewith, reducing the deadline by which a voter registration application must be submitted via certain methods, altering procedures pertaining to national change-of-address searches, allowing emergency ballots to be obtained for nonmedical reasons, amending provisions relating to military and overseas voters, increasing the penalty for providing false residential information, and making the aiding or abetting the provision of false residential information a new felony offense.

By Sen. Ulibarri and Rep. Hullinghors

The “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act,” enacted in 2013, made various changes to the “Uniform Election Code of 1992.” To facilitate implementation of that act and the conduct of elections generally, the bill makes various corrections, clarifications, and alterations to the code.

The bill defines the term “post office box” as compartments on premises administered by the United States postal service or other commercial mail service entity.

Currently, when a person moves from one county or precinct in the state to another with the intention of making the new county or precinct his or her permanent residence, the person is considered to reside in that new county or precinct. The bill modifies this provision to apply to any in-state changes of residence when the elector intends the new residence to be his or her sole legal place of residence.

Various deadlines apply by which voter registration must be completed, depending on the method of application. The bill imposes the same deadline (i.e., eight days prior to the date of an election) for voter registration applications by any method of submission, except for applications submitted through voter registration drives or at voter service and polling centers (VSPCs). Further:

  • The bill requires a person to register to vote on or before the eighth day before an election in order to receive a mail ballot for that election;
  • The bill clarifies the time during which voter registration applications may be submitted at VSPCs for elections, other than general elections, coordinated by a county clerk and recorder; and
  • The bill allows voter registration applications to be processed after the 8-day deadline, though voters so registering must still obtain ballots in person.

Currently, to change an address or political party affiliation using the on-line voter registration system, an elector is required to provide the last four digits of his or her social security number. The bill makes the provision of this information optional. The bill also eliminates the requirement that a county clerk and recorder send a nonforwardable postcard to an elector’s former address of record after the elector effects a change of residence using the on-line voter registration system.

The bill harmonizes the self-affirmation a person makes when registering to vote with the statutory residency requirements.

Regarding the monthly national change of address search that the secretary of state must undertake, the bill:

  • Specifies that the search must be performed using the database maintained by the United States postal service;
  • Allows elector registration records to be changed only if the elector has signified that his or her move was permanent;
  • When a search indicates that an elector has added or changed a post office box, directs the county clerk and recorder to update only the elector’s deliverable mailing address and to notify the elector of such change by sending him or her a conformation card;
  • Repeals the prohibition on changing an elector’s record within 60 days of a primary or general election; and
  • Requires that electors who appear, pursuant to such change of address search, to have moved within a county be treated the same whether active or inactive, requires the new addresses of such electors be kept current when confirmation cards mailed to their old addresses are returned as undeliverable.

Because registration records are maintained and accessible electronically, the bill removes obsolete requirements that county clerk and recorders maintain original records at their offices.

The bill makes the use of ballot stubs and duplicate stubs optional and repeals provisions relating to acceptance and processing of those stubs and instead requires election judges to issue credit for ballots provided to each elector in the voter registration list.

The bill eliminates the requirements for electors to manually write in signature card information and instead directs election judges to prepare signature cards using elector information contained in the on-line voter registration system for those cards. The bill also harmonizes the self-affirmation contained on signature cards with those that appear on return envelopes for voted mail ballots.

The bill consolidates provisions pertaining to persons who assist electors with disabilities or who do not speak English. As a result of this consolidation, the bill makes a conforming amendment, and updates terminology pertaining to the physical area in which an elector votes.

The bill modifies the bases on which VSPCs are required for certain elections.

With respect to military and overseas voters:

  • The bill clarifies that ballots cast in accordance with the “Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act” (UMOVA) are deemed timely and are counted pursuant to that act;
  • In the same way that children are covered by the UMOVA, the bill adds spouses and civil union partners of UMOVA-covered voters who are United States citizens to the purview of that act;
  • The bill removes the deadline by which an election official must receive a declaration from such voters in order for processing prior to an election; and
  • The bill deems electronic requests for ballots to be timely if received any time through seven days prior to election day.

Currently, an elector may obtain an emergency replacement ballot if he or she, or a member of his or her family, is confined to a hospital or residence on election day. The bill allows electors to obtain and vote such ballots for nonmedical reasons, including natural disasters.

The bill requires a self-affirmation on a mail ballot to be signed by the elector, and not a person acting on the elector’s behalf, to be valid.

The bill makes corrections to the bases on which the residency or age of voters are challenged.

With regard to criminal offenses relating to elections:

  • The bill makes the tampering with, or unauthorized opening of, a ballot box a class 5 felony.
  • Currently, the offense of knowingly giving false information regarding an elector's place of present residence constitutes a class 6 felony. The bill makes that offense a class 5 felony.
  • The bill makes knowingly aiding or abetting an elector in committing the offense of knowingly giving false information as to the elector's place of present residence a class 6 felony.

Currently, county clerks and recorders are directed to verify the changes of addresses of voters who, pursuant to information received from the United States post office or a driver's license examination facility, appear to have moved in-state. The bill repeals this verification requirement.

The bill is assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.