January 22, 2017

SB 17-005: Allowing School Employees to Carry Concealed Weapons

On January 11, 2017, Sen. Chris Holbert and Rep. Patrick Neville introduced SB 17-005, “Concerning Handgun Safety Training Courses for School Employees, and, in Connection Therewith, Permitting Certain School Employees to Carry Concealed Handguns in Public Schools.”

The bill allows a county sheriff to provide a handgun safety training course to any employee of any public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school who also possesses a permit to carry a concealed handgun. A sheriff who provides a handgun safety training course shall consult with the board of education of each school district in the sheriff’s county, and, as may be appropriate, with the state charter school institute, to establish the curriculum for the course. The sheriff and each school district board, and, as may be appropriate, the state charter school institute, shall ensure that the curriculum includes consideration of any existing emergency response framework.

A person who possesses a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun (permittee) who is employed by a school district, charter school, or institute charter school may carry a concealed handgun onto the grounds of any school or charter school of the district or of the institute charter school if:

  • The permittee has successfully completed a school employee handgun safety course provided by a county sheriff;
  • The local board of education of the school district (local board) or, in the case of an institute charter school, the state charter school institute, has approved the curriculum of the sheriff’s department that provided the handgun safety course;
  • The permittee has received permission from the local board or, in the case of an institute charter school, from the state charter school institute, to carry a concealed handgun onto school grounds; and
  • The permittee has notified the administration of the school, charter school, or institute charter school that he or she may be carrying a concealed handgun on school grounds.

Each local board and the state charter school institute may:

  • Establish a maximum number of employees who may carry a concealed handgun in each school, charter school, and institute charter school; and
  • Deny permission to carry a concealed handgun to any employee if granting permission to the employee would result in such a limit being exceeded.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.

HB 17-1036: Permitting the Carrying of Concealed Handguns on Public School Grounds

On January 11, 2017, Reps. Patrick Neville & Kim Ransom and Sen. Tim Neville introduced HB 17-1036, “Concerning Permitting the Carrying of Concealed Handguns on Public School Grounds.”

With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school grounds. The bill removes this limitation.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 1/19/2017

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and 22 unpublished opinions.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/19/2017

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and no unpublished opinion.

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

HB 17-1013: Concerning the Free Exercise of Religion

On January 11, 2017, Reps. Stephen Humphrey & Dave Williams and Sens. Tim Neville & Vicki Marble introduced HB 17-1013, “Concerning a Person’s Free Exercise of Religion.”

The bill:

  • Specifies that no state action may burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to a person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest;
  • Defines ‘exercise of religion’ as the practice or observance of religion. The bill specifies that exercise of religion includes the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief; except that it does not include the ability to act or refuse to act based on race or ethnicity.
  • Provides a claim or defense to a person whose exercise of religion is burdened by state action; and
  • Specifies that nothing in the bill creates any rights by an employee against an employer unless the employer is a government employer.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. It is scheduled to be heard in committee on January 25, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.

HB 17-1026: Concerning Reverse Mortgage Repayment when Home Uninhabitable

On January 11, 2017, Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sen. Matt Jones introduced HB 17-1026, “Concerning the Suspension of a Borrower’s Obligation to Repay a Reverse Mortgage when a Force Majeure Renders the Subject Property Uninhabitable as a Principal Residence.”

Under current law, the borrower in a reverse mortgage transaction is relieved of the obligation to occupy the subject property as a principal residence if the borrower is temporarily absent for up to 60 days or, if the property is adequately secured, up to one year. The bill adds a third exception to the principal-residence requirement to cover situations in which a natural disaster or other serious incident beyond the borrower’s control renders the property uninhabitable. The maximum time allowable for a temporary absence under these circumstances is 5 years.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Local Government committee. It is scheduled to be heard in committee on January 25, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/18/2017

On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and one unpublished opinion.

United States v. Gross

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

SB 17-004: Allowing Nonenrolled Medicaid Providers to Charge for Services

On January 11, 2017, Sen. Jake Tate and Rep. Cole Wist introduced SB 17-004, “Concerning Access by Medicaid Recipients to Nonenrolled Medical Providers.”

Under current law, recipients of services under the Colorado medical assistance program (medicaid) are not responsible for the cost of services by a medical provider or the cost remaining after payment by medicaid or another private insurer, regardless of whether the medical provider is enrolled in the medicaid program, unless the medical services provided are nonreimbursable by medicaid. The bill amends the statute so that the prohibition on charging medicaid recipients for medical services applies only if the medical provider is enrolled in medicaid.

Prior to providing medical services to a medicaid recipient, a nonenrolled provider must enter into a written agreement with the recipient as specified in the bill. If the requirements are met, the medicaid recipient would be responsible for the cost of the medical services.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Health & Human Services Committee. It is scheduled to be heard in committee on January 26, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

SB 17-003: Repealing the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act

On January 11, 2017, Sen. Jim Smallwood and Rep. Patrick Neville introduced SB 17-003, “Concerning the Repeal of the ‘Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act.'”

In 2010, pursuant to the enactment of federal law that allowed each state to establish a health benefit exchange option through state law or opt to participate in a national exchange, the general assembly enacted the ‘Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act’ (act). The act created the state exchange, a board of directors (board) to implement the exchange, and a legislative health benefits exchange implementation review committee to make recommendations to the board. The bill repeals the act, effective January 1, 2018, and allows the exchange to continue for one year for the purpose of winding up its affairs. The bill also requires the board, on the last day of the wind-up period, to transfer any unencumbered money that remains in the exchange to the state treasurer, who shall transfer the money to the general fund.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Finance Committee.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/17/2017

On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and one unpublished opinion.

Wickware v. Johns Manville

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Colorado Supreme Court: Announcement Sheet, 1/17/2017

On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the Colorado Supreme Court issued three published opinions.

People v. Boyd

Russell v. People

People v. Wolf

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Attorney’s Prelitigation Statements Must Be Made in Good Faith to Qualify as Privileged

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Begley v. Ireson on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Belinda Begley and Robert Hirsch, and their joint revocable trust (collectively, plaintiffs), purchased a property in Denver with the intent of demolishing the existing house and building a new house. Their architect’s plans were approved by the City & County of Denver, and plaintiffs contracted with a builder to begin demolition in anticipation of construction. The builder demolished the old house and began the shoring work for the new house. The neighbors, Ireson and Hoeckele, along with their attorney, Gibbs (collectively, defendants), made several threatening statements to the builder, which caused him to cease work and breach his contract with plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs filed a complaint against defendants, alleging intentional interference with a contract and intentional interference with prospective contractual relations. Several days later, defendants filed suit against plaintiffs, and moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint under C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5) for failure to state a claim, arguing that their allegedly tortious statements were made in anticipation of litigation and were therefore protected. The district court apparently took judicial notice of defendants’ suit and granted their C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5) motion. Plaintiffs appealed.

The Colorado Court of Appeals first noted that motions to dismiss under C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5) are viewed with disfavor. The district court had ruled that the plaintiffs’ complaint failed to state a claim because there was no allegation that the statements by Hoeckele, Ireson, and Gibbs caused the builder to breach his contract. The court of appeals found this was error. The complaint alleged with specificity several incidents in which Ireson, Hoeckele, and Gibbs interfered with the construction contract, and the court held that nothing more was required to survive the motion to dismiss. The court reversed the district court’s grant of defendants’ motion.

The district court next ruled that because Gibbs’ statements and communications to the builder were made while he was representing Ireson and Hoeckele and were “in anticipation and in furtherance of litigation,” they were absolutely privileged against the torts that plaintiffs alleged. The court of appeals again found that this ruling was in error. The court analyzed several state appellate court decisions, as well as section 586 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, and determined that prelitigation statements must be made in good faith to be privileged. Because the district court made no finding as to whether Gibbs’ statements were made in good faith, the court of appeals reversed and remanded.

The court of appeals reversed the district court’s rulings and remanded for further proceedings.