June 22, 2018

Archives for June 6, 2018

Governor Vetoes MMJ for Autism Bill, Investment in Marijuana Businesses Bill, and More

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed three bills into law and vetoed four bills. To date, he has signed 370 bills, sent two bills to the Secretary of State without a signature, and vetoed nine bills. The bills signed and vetoed Tuesday are summarized here.

Signed

  • HB 18-1136 – “Concerning Treatment for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders, and, in Connection Therewith, Adding Residential and Inpatient Treatment to the Colorado Medical Assistance Program and Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Sens. Kevin Priola and Cheri Jahn. The bill adds residential and inpatient substance use disorder services and medical detoxification services to the Colorado medical assistance program. The benefit is limited to persons who meet nationally recognized, evidence-based level of care criteria for residential and inpatient substance use disorder treatment.
  • HB 18-1266 – “Concerning Expanding the Career Development Success Pilot Program,” by Reps. Daneya Esgar & James Wilson and Sens. Owen Hill & Nancy Todd. The bill amends the existing career development success pilot program, which provides a distribution of up to $1,000 to school districts and charter schools for each high school student who successfully completes an identified industry-certificate, internship, or pre-apprenticeship program or computer science advanced placement course. The bill limits the distribution for industry certificates for a single school district or charter school to 10% of the total number of completed industry certificates reported.
  • SB 18-206 – “Concerning Ensuring Affordability at Public Research Universities in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Kevin Priola & Andy Kerr and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Cole Wist. Under current law, the number of in-state students enrolled at public institutions of higher education is governed by various percentage limits and requirements. The bill standardizes the calculation for public research institutions in several ways.

Vetoed

  • HB 18-1011 – “Concerning Measures to Allow Greater Investment Flexibility in Marijuana Businesses, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Dan Pabon & Kevin Van Winkle and Sens. Tim Neville & Cheri Jahn. The bill would have repealed certain requirements for marijuana business owners, and would have created and defined two new ownership licenses, controlling beneficial owners and passive beneficial owners, and a new investment type, indirect financial interest holder. The bill also would have given the state licensing authority rulemaking authority related to the parameters of, qualifications of, disclosure of, requirements for, and suitability for the new license types and investment type. “The marijuana industry is organically expanding. While we wish to encourage business opportunity, we must approach capital expansion in the market in a way that is consistent with our federal oversight, and not degrade the robust regulatory system that Colorado worked so hard to establish,” said Governor Hickenlooper in the veto letter.
  • HB 18-1083 – “Concerning a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Aircraft to be Used by On-Demand Air Carriers,” by Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Lang Sias and Sens. Jack Tate & Angela Williams. The bill would have created a sales and use tax exemption for aircraft used or purchased for use in interstate or intrastate commerce by an on-demand air carrier. “The bill’s proponents contend that exempting privately purchased aircrafts from sales and use taxes will create jobs in Colorado and prevent certain private aircraft owners from purchasing and storing planes in other states,” said Governor Hickenlooper in the veto letter.  “We are unpersuaded by that argument as stronger data was not presented demonstrating this bill will lead to greater aircraft purchases – specifically, purchases that would not have otherwise occurred in the absence of this bill – and private aircrafts stored in Colorado. We believe that a more comprehensive analysis of tax policy around aircrafts is warranted.”
  • HB 18-1263 – “Concerning Adding Certain Conditions to the List of Disabling Medical Conditions for Medical Marijuana Use, and, in Connection Therewith, Adding Autism Spectrum Disorders,” by Reps. Edie Hooten & Jovan Melton and Sens. Don Coram & Stephen Fenberg. The bill would have added autism spectrum disorders to the list of disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition. “While we are very sympathetic with families advocating medical marijuana (MMJ) as a safer and more effective treatment for their children, we cannot ignore such overwhelming concerns from the medical community,” said Governor Hickenlooper in the veto letter. He went on to say, “In vetoing this bill, we do so on sole concern that medical efficacy on MMJ to treat ASD has yet to be fully studied by medical professionals and scientific experts entrusted to this role at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).”
  • SB 18-156 – “Concerning the Publication of Fiscal Information by a County,” by Sen. John Cooke and Rep. Chris Kennedy. Current law requires each county to publish a report about its expenses and contracts, the salaries of public employees and officials in the county, and the financial statements for each fund kept by the county treasurer. The expense report is published monthly and the salary report is published twice per year. The bill would have changed the salary report to an annual report. Commencing January 1, 2020, the bill would have allowed a county to publish the expense report, the salary report, and the financial statement on a county website with a link to the report published in at least one legal newspaper. “The underlying law was enacted in a time when newspapers were the dominant, if not sole, form of public information in all communities. For some communities, this is still the norm,” said Governor Hickenlooper in the veto letter. “We are persuaded that the sponsors’ concept is sound and the bill’s time is near. But that time must closely align with full broadband availability throughout the State. To that end, we encourage the sponsors to bring this bill next year with trigger language taking effect not at a date certain, but rather once full broadband buildout is achieved.”

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2018 legislative actions, click here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Formerly Secretary of State Properly Subject to Jurisdiction of Independent Ethics Commission

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Gessler v. Smith on Monday, June 4, 2018.

Amendment 41—Independent Ethics Commission—Jurisdiction.

The supreme court considered whether Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission (the IEC) had jurisdiction pursuant to article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution to hear a complaint based on allegations that then-Secretary of State Scott Gessler (the Secretary) breached the public trust by using money from his statutorily provided discretionary fund for partisan and personal purposes. The IEC investigated the complaint, held an evidentiary hearing, and determined that the Secretary’s conduct breached the public trust. The Secretary sought judicial review of the IEC’s ruling, arguing that the IEC lacked jurisdiction over the case, the relevant jurisdictional language must be narrowly construed to avoid unconstitutional vagueness, and the IEC violated his procedural due process rights. Both the district court and the court of appeals affirmed the IEC’s ruling.

The court held that relevant jurisdictional language in Colo. Const. art. XXIX, § 5 authorizes the IEC to hear complaints involving ethical standards of conduct relating to activities that could allow covered individuals, including elected officials, to improperly benefit financially from their public employment. The court further held that C.R.S. § 24-18-103 is one such ethical standard of conduct. This provision establishes that the holding of public office or employment is a public trust, and that a public official “shall carry out his duties for the benefit of the people of the state.” Because the allegations against the Secretary clearly implicated this standard, the court concluded that the complaint fell within the IEC’s jurisdiction and rejected the Secretary’s jurisdictional and vagueness challenges. Additionally, the court rejected the Secretary’s procedural due process claim because he failed to demonstrate that he suffered any prejudice as a result of the alleged violation.

The court of appeals’ judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Charge by Information of Class 4 Felony with Crime of Violence Statutorily Entitles Defendant to Preliminary Hearing

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re People v. Austin on Monday, June 4, 2018.

Preliminary Hearings.

Austin petitioned for relief pursuant to C.A.R. 21 from a district court order denying his motion for a preliminary hearing. The supreme court issued its rule to show cause why the order should not be disapproved, and the People responded. The court now makes the rule absolute and orders that Austin be given a preliminary hearing because he was charged by information with a class 4 felony committed as a “crime of violence” as defined in C.R.S. § 18-1.3-406(2)(a)(I)(B) and (II)(C), which statutorily entitles him to a preliminary hearing, whether or not he would actually be subject to mandatory sentencing for a crime of violence.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Trial Courts Must Review Claims in Amended Complaint to Evaluate Eligibility for Jury Trial

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Mason v. Farm Credit of Southern Colorado on Monday, June 4, 2018.

ACA—C.R.C.P. 38—Right to a Jury Trial—Legal or Equitable—Basic Thrust Test.

This case concerns the right to a jury trial in a civil case. The supreme court considered whether trial courts must review the claims in a plaintiff’s amended complaint, as opposed to those in its original complaint, to determine whether a party is entitled to a jury trial under C.R.C.P. 38. The court concluded that its prior cases and the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure require it to answer that question affirmatively. Accordingly, the court held that when a plaintiff amends its complaint and a party properly demands a jury trial under C.R.C.P. 38, the trial court should determine whether the case may be tried to a jury based on the claims in the amended complaint. The court further held that C.R.C.P. 38 permits a case to be tried to a jury when the claims in the plaintiff’s amended complaint are primarily legal, as opposed to equitable. Finally, after examining respondents’ amended complaint, the court concluded that respondents’ claims against petitioner are primarily legal. Thus, petitioner was entitled to a jury trial under C.R.C.P. 38.

The court of appeals’ judgment was reversed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/5/2018