April 20, 2014

Update: FTC Eases Enforcement of Anti-Identity Theft “Red Flags” Rule Among Lawyers, Other Professionals

The National Law Journal reports this week that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has bowed to Congressional pressure to dial back enforcement of the so-called “Red Flags” Rule, which directs certain professionals, including lawyers and doctors, to develop written measures to detect and thwart identity theft within their organizations.

Lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are considered “creditors” and “financial institutions” under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (.pdf), designations disputed by the American Bar Association and American Medical Association in lawsuits filed against the FTC.

The FTC has agreed to ease enforcement of the Red Flags Rule until the end of 2010.

Legislation: Ritter Signs 35 Legislative Bills in Pre-Holiday Weekend Blitz

Gov. Bill Ritter signed nearly three dozen legislative bills last Thursday, in advance of the State’s extended holiday weekend. The governor traveled to Breckenridge for a signing ceremony at Colorado Mountain College, where he enacted five bills sponsored by two legislators, Sen. Dan Gibbs (D-Silverthorne) and Rep. Christine Scanlan (D-Dillon), whose districts include parts of the mountain areas west of Denver. Of Sen. Gibbs and Rep. Scanlon, Ritter remarked:

Sen. Gibbs and Rep. Scanlan have been strong leaders, great partners and bold advocates for their constituents. Their bills will improve our transportation and education systems, strengthen our economy and boost our overall quality of life. I am proud to sign these bills into law here in their district.

The governor, at  the Breckenridge signing ceremony, enacted:

  • SB 10-101 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, and Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon) permits Colorado Mountain College to offer bachelor degree programs.
  • SB 10-184 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sens. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, and Chris Romer, D-Denver; and Reps. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, and Steve King, R-Grand Junction) grants a study of the feasibility of “zipper” lanes to ease ski-traffic congestion on I-70.
  • SB 10-196 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, and Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon) resets minimum speed limits on I-70.
  • HB 10-1131 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, and Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne) creates the Colorado Kids Outdoors Grant Program to encourage Colorado children to appreciate and enjoy the great outdoors.
  • HB 10-1399 (sponsored by Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Boulder, and Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne) authorizes Colorado fire chiefs to access the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in arson investigations.

Ritter also signed on Thursday another 30 bills. The 15 enacted Senate bills were:

  • SB 10-011 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, and Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver) reduces conflicts of interest in workers’ compensation cases.
  • SB 10-013 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, and Rep. Su Ryden, D-Aurora) concerns accountability for workers’ compensation insurers.
  • SB 10-103 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Paula Sandoval, D-Denver, and Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs) creates a special Colorado State Parks license plate.
  • SB 10-108 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, and Rep. Karen Middleton, D-Aurora) implements general education core classes in higher education institutions.
  • SB 10-139 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Ken Kester, R-Lamar, and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling) creates a voluntary donation on the state income tax form to care for unwanted horses.
  • SB 10-159 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Joan Foster, D-Denver, and Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver) allows a victim to give a written victims impact statement to a community corrections board during an offender’s review.
  • SB 10-169 (.pdf) (sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, and Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley) subjects a state hospital provider fee cash fund to matching federal funds for state Medicaid expenditures.
  • SB 10-183 (.pdf) (sponsored by Senate Majority Leader John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton; and Rep. Sara Gagliardi, D-Arvada) continues statutory prohibition of balance billing of certain for healthcare services.
  • SB 10-186 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, and Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield) voids tax refunds not presented for payment within six months of issuance.
  • SB 10-187 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, and Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley) revises various provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • SB 10-190 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sens. Al White, R-Hayden, and Maryanne “Moe” Keller, D-Wheat Ridge; and Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley) suspends property tax exemptions for certain seniors during certain property tax years.
  • SB 10-193 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Arvada, and Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder) prohibits the use of restraints on pregnant inmates in state correctional facilities.
  • SB 10-205 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, and Reps. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, and Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock) concerns school district funding derived from property taxes.
  • SB 10-208 (.pdf) (sponsored by Sen. Maryanne “Moe” Keller, D-Wheat Ridge and Rep. Cindy Acree, R-Aurora) repeals certain statutory language regarding the development of individualized plans for persons with developmental disabilities.
  • SB 10-217 (.pdf) (sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, and Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley) modifies nursing-sensitive quality measures in the comprehensive hospital information system.

The governor also signed 15 House bills:

  • HB 10-1032 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Jerry Frangas, D-Denver, and Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood) creates a coordinated crisis response system to aid first responders with persons in crisis due to mental health or substance abuse issues.
  • HB 10- 1045 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver, and Chris Romer, D-Denver) allows electors to electronically change their address in State records.
  • HB 10-1099 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, and Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo) allows alcohol to be consumed anywhere on the grounds designated for alcohol consumption at the Colorado State Fair.
  • HB 10-1161 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, and Senate Minority Whip Nancy Spence, R-Centennial) creates a livery license plate for transporting people for hire.
  • HB 10-1172 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, and Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs) concerns registering mobile machinery to pay ownership taxes.
  • HB 10-1200 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, and Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder) repeals investment tax credits in certain properties in excess of $500,000.
  • HB 10-1209 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial, and Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne) authorizes the voluntary placement of active or veteran armed service status on state-issued identification.
  • HB 10-1211 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Max Tyler, D-Golden, and Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora) reduces the penalty for certain late vehicle registration.
  • HB 10-1271 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Curry, U-Gunnison, and Senate Majority Leader John Morse, D-Colorado Springs) changes the date of registration eligibility for persons seeking a partisan office seat.
  • HB 10-1291 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton) eliminates certain court witness fees.
  • HB 10-1335 (.pdf) (sponsored by Reps. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, and Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon; and Sen. Paula Sandoval, D-Denver) creates in the Department of Education a BOCES Healthy Food Grant Program to assist boards of cooperative services in providing school food.
  • HB 10-1375 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley, and Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins) provides access to favorable financing to Metropolitan State College of Denver.
  • HB 10-1386 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver and Sen. Al White, R-Hayden) changes the dollar amount of filing fees charged by the property tax administrator.
  • HB 10-1393 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, and Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton) delineates what information is available via public access to the online state financial system.
  • HB 10-1425 (.pdf) (sponsored by Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver, and Sen. Joan Foster, D-Denver) concerns exemption from the post-retirement employment limit for certain PERA retirees in the DPS system.

The 2010 legislative session ended May 12. The governor has until June 11 to pass or veto the remaining bills sent to his office for signature.

(image source: Office of the Governor)

Colorado Supreme Court: Consolidated Workers’ Compensation Cases

The Colorado Supreme Court on June 1, 2010, issued its opinion in two consolidated workers’ compensation law cases: Benchmark/Elite, Inc. v. Simpson; City of Colorado Springs v. Bennett.

Workers’ Compensation—Maximum Rate of Benefits.

The Supreme Court consolidated two court of appeals opinions that address statutory limits on workers’ compensation benefits. The Court concluded that a workers’ compensation claimant is entitled to the maximum rate of benefits in effect at the time of injury. In a 2008 case, Avalanche Industries, Inc. v. Clark, 198 P.3d 589, 597-98 (Colo. 2008) (section III.C.), the Court held that “time of injury” could mean either the time of accident or the time of disablement.

In each of the cases here, the court of appeals relied on section III.C. of Avalanche Industries to hold that the claimant was entitled to have his benefits calculated based on the maximum rate in effect at the claimant’s time of disablement. The Court held that section III.C. of Avalanche Industries was unnecessary to decide that case, and overruled the holding that the claimant’s “time of injury” could mean either time of accident or time of disablement. Because the court of appeals’ opinions relied on section III.C. of Avalanche Industries in these cases, the Court reversed those decisions.

Summary and full case also available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: In re Marriage of Thornhill

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Marriage of Thornhill on June 1, 2010.

Divorce—Disposition of Property—Marketability Discounts—Maintenance.

Antoinette F. Thornhill (wife) and Chuck Thornhill (husband) separated after twenty-seven years of marriage. In a temporary orders hearing, the magistrate awarded wife temporary maintenance, taking into consideration the significant increase in the parties’ standard of living in the final years of the marriage due to husband’s formation of an oil and gas company. The trial court adopted the temporary maintenance award as part of its permanent orders and, after hearing expert testimony on the appropriateness of a marketability discount, found enforceable a separation agreement between the parties that valued husband’s ownership interest in the oil and gas company, subject to a 33 percent marketability discount.

The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s award of temporary maintenance on the ground that the magistrate’s findings were unclear and conflicting, and because the magistrate improperly considered the parties’ standard of living in the threshold test for determining maintenance entitlement under CRS § 14-10-114(3). Additionally, after finding the separation agreement unconscionable, the court of appeals rejected an argument by wife that marketability discounts are never appropriate when valuing a closely held corporation in marriage dissolution proceedings.

The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ determination with respect to marketability discounts, holding that trial courts may in their discretion apply marketability discounts when valuing an ownership interest in a closely held corporation in marriage dissolution proceedings. The Court found that the court of appeals erred in reversing the maintenance award. The Court held that the threshold inquiry under § 14-10-114(3) contemplates that a trial court will consider the particular circumstances surrounding the marriage, including the parties’ standard of living. The case is remanded for further proceedings.

Summary and full case also available here.