February 27, 2017

SB 17-035: Increasing Penalties for Tampering with Oil and Gas Equipment or Facilities

On January 11, 2017, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg introduced SB 17-035, “Concerning Tampering with Equipment Associated with Oil and Gas Gathering Operations.”

There is a current crime of tampering with equipment associated with oil or gas gathering operations. The bill includes placing another at risk of death or serious bodily injury as part of the crime and increases the penalty from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee. It was amended in committee and referred to the Senate Committee of the Whole for Second Reading. The bill was amended on Second Reading and laid over.

SB 17-061: Requiring School Districts to Distribute Mill Levy Revenue to Charter Schools

On January 13, 2017, Sens. Angela Williams & Owen Hill and Rep. Lang Sias introduced SB 17-061, “Concerning Distribution of Additional Operational Funding to Charter Schools.”

Beginning in the 2017-18 budget year, the bill requires a school district to distribute revenue it receives from ongoing local property tax mill levies equally, on a per-student basis, to the school district charter schools. Under specified circumstances, the school district may distribute the revenue using a different calculation. The bill does not require a school district to redistribute to charter schools any amount of the mill levy revenue that it distributed in budget years before the 2017-18 budget year.

The bill directs the department of education to calculate a mill levy equalization payment for each institute charter school in the amount of the per pupil share of the mill levy overrides of an institute charter school’s accounting district. The state will pay the mill levy equalization amounts, subject to annual appropriations.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Education Committee. It was amended in committee and referred to the Senate Committee of the Whole for Second Reading. It was amended on Second Reading and re-referred to the Appropriations Committee.

HB 17-1167: Requiring Existing Businesses to be Included in Business Improvement Districts

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Timothy Leonard and Sen. Tim Neville introduced HB 17-1167, “Concerning a Requirement that a Business Improvement District Include Existing Businesses.”

A business improvement district (district) is a type of special district created within a municipality to fund certain types of improvements that will, among other things, promote the continued vitality of existing business areas within the municipality. The law currently allows a municipality to include areas in a district that do not have any existing businesses. The bill requires these areas to have existing businesses.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Business Affairs and Labor and Appropriations committees. It was postponed indefinitely by the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

SB 17-102: Prohibiting Use of Student Information Collected by School Service Providers

On January 27, 2017, Rep. Rachel Zenzinger and Sen. Brittany Pettersen introduced SB 17-102, “Concerning Prohibitions Affecting the Student Information that School Service Providers Collect.”

The bill defines ‘classification information’ as information that identifies the citizenship status or religion of a student or the student’s family. The bill prohibits a school service contract provider from collecting, using, or sharing classification information. With regard to existing statutory exceptions that allow a school service contract provider to share or sell certain student personally identifying information, the bill prohibits the sharing or sale of classification information.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Education Committee. The committee voted to postpone the bill indefinitely.

SB 17-107: Creating Performance Indicator for Schools Regarding Art Performance

On January 27, 2017, Sen. Michael Merrifield and Rep. Barbara McLaughlin introduced SB 17-107, “Concerning Measures to Reward Public Education Entities that Provide Student Access to Arts Education Programs.”

Under current law, the accreditation for school districts and the state charter school institute (institute) and the level of performance for public schools is based on the attainment of specified performance indicators. The bill creates an additional performance indicator that measures the degree to which a public school, a school district, or the institute provides access to courses or educational programs in dance, drama and theater, music, and visual arts. The state board of education must adopt rules by which a public school, a school district, or the institute will receive additional credit toward the accreditation or performance ratings based on the arts performance indicator.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs and Appropriations committees. It passed through the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee with no amendments and was referred to Appropriations.

SB 17-090: Requiring Commissioner of Agriculture to Measure THC in Industrial Hemp

On January 18, 2017, Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush introduced SB 17-090, “Concerning How to Measure the Level of Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol in Industrial Hemp.”

The bill requires the commissioner of agriculture to determine the level of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol in industrial hemp by measuring the combined concentration of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and its precursor tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee. It passed in the committee with amendments and was amended again on Second Reading. It passed Third Reading in the Senate with no further amendments, and was introduced in the House. It was assigned to the House Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee.

HB 17-1159: Adding Remedies in Forcible Entry and Detainer Actions

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Jon Becker and Sen. John Cooke introduced HB 17-1159, “Concerning Actions Related to Forcible Entry and Detainer.”

The bill adds to the current descriptions of forcible detainer the act of a person preventing an owner from access to or possession of property by locking or changing the lock on the property.

The bill creates a procedure for the plaintiff to seek a temporary, mandatory injunction giving the plaintiff possession of the property if a complaint for forcible entry or detainer is filed. The procedure requires the plaintiff to store any personal property found on the property but allows the plaintiff to recover the costs of the storage.

The bill establishes as new crimes related to forcible entry and detainer the crimes of unlawful occupancy and unlawful reentry.

The bill was introduced into the House and assigned to the Judiciary and Appropriations committees.

SB 17-099: Entering Into an Agreement with Other States to Adopt Popular Vote in Presidential Elections

On January 27, 2017, Sen. Andy Kerr and Rep. Paul Rosenthal introduced SB 17-099, “Concerning Adoption of an Agreement Among the States to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote.”

The bill enacts and enters into with all other states joining therein the agreement among the states to elect the president of the United States by national popular vote (agreement). Among other provisions, the agreement:

  • Permits any state of the United States and the District of Columbia to become members of the agreement by enacting the agreement;
  • Requires each member state to conduct a statewide popular election for president and vice president of the United States;
  • Prior to the time set for the meeting and voting of presidential electors, requires the chief election official of each member state to determine the number of votes cast for each presidential slate in a statewide popular election and to designate the presidential slate with the largest national popular vote total as the national popular vote winner;
  • Requires the presidential elector certifying official of each member state to certify the appointment in that official’s own state of the elector slate nominated in that state in association with the national popular vote winner. At least 6 days before the day fixed by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, requires each member state to make a final determination of the number of popular votes cast in the state for each presidential slate and to communicate an official statement of the determination within 24 hours to the chief election official of each other member state. Requires the chief election official of each member state to treat as conclusive an official statement containing the number of popular votes in a state for each presidential slate made by the day established by federal law for making a state’s final determination conclusive as to the counting of electoral votes by congress.
  • Specifies that the agreement governs the appointment of presidential electors in each member state in any year in which the agreement is in effect on July 20 in states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes;
  • Permits a state’s withdrawal from the agreement, except in limited circumstances;
  • Specifies that the agreement will terminate if the electoral college is abolished; and
  • Provides that the invalidity of any of the agreement’s provisions do not affect the remaining provisions.

The bill specifies that when the agreement becomes effective, it supersedes any conflicting provisions of Colorado law.

When the agreement becomes effective and governs the appointment of presidential electors, each presidential elector is required to vote for the presidential candidate and, by separate ballot, vice-presidential candidate nominated by the political party or political organization that nominated the presidential elector.

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

HB 17-1155: Allowing Cure of Campaign Finance Disclosure Violations Without Penalty

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sen. Bob Gardner introduced HB 17-1155, “Concerning the Ability to Cure Campaign Finance Reporting Deficiencies without Penalty.”

Upon receipt of a complaint alleging that a campaign finance disclosure report contains errors or omissions, the bill requires the secretary of state to give notice to the committee or party treasurer by e-mail of the deficiencies alleged in the complaint. Upon receipt of the notice from the secretary of state, the committee or party treasurer may request from the appropriate officer a postponement of a hearing on the complaint and, if such request is timely submitted, has 15 business days from the date of the notice to file an addendum to the relevant report that cures any such deficiencies.

Where the committee or party treasurer files an addendum that cures all deficiencies alleged in the complaint before the expiration of the 15-day period specified in the bill, the bill prohibits the appropriate officer from assessing a penalty against the committee or treasurer that otherwise would have been assessed for the for the deficiencies for the period from the first date of the alleged violation through the expiration of the cure period. Upon filing an addendum to the relevant report by the committee or party treasurer that cures all such deficiencies, the appropriate officer is required to set a hearing to determine whether all issues raised by the complaint have been resolved. If the committee or party treasurer fails to cure any such discrepancy, any penalty imposed for such deficiency continues to accrue until further resolution of the matter.

The bill’s requirements only apply in the case of a good faith effort by a committee or party treasurer, as applicable, to make timely disclosure or where the disclosure report is in substantial compliance with governing legal requirements.

The bill was introduced in House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. It is scheduled to be heard in committee on February 23 upon adjournment.

HB 17-1169: Giving Construction Professionals the Right to Cure Alleged Defects

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Timothy Leonard and Sen. Jack Tate introduced HB 17-1169, “Concerning a Construction Professional’s Statutory Right to Repair under the ‘Construction Defect Action Reform Act’.”

The bill clarifies that a construction professional has the right to receive notice from a prospective claimant concerning an alleged construction defect; to inspect the property; and then to elect to either repair the defect or tender an offer of settlement before the claimant can file a lawsuit seeking damages.

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 March 1, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

HB 17-1139: Exposing Medicaid Providers to Civil Damages for Improper Billing

On February 1, 2017, Reps. Lois Landgraf & Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sens. John Kefalas & Beth Martinez Humenik introduced HB 17-1139, “Concerning Improving Medicaid Client Protections Through Effective Enforcement of Medicaid Provider Requirements.”

The bill subjects a provider of medicaid services to a civil monetary penalty if the provider improperly bills or seeks collection from a medicaid recipient or the estate of a medicaid recipient.

In addition, the bill allows the department of health care policy and financing (department) to require a corrective action plan from any provider who fails to comply with rules, manuals, or bulletins issued by the department, the medical services board, or the department’s fiscal agent or from a provider whose activities endanger the health, safety, or welfare of a medicaid recipient. Based on good cause, the department may suspend the enrollment of a medicaid provider for a period of time set forth in the bill. The provider has the right to appeal the suspension administratively.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Public Health Care & Human Services Committee.

HB 17-1134: Creating Civil Remedy Against Elected Officials in Sanctuary Jurisdictions

On January 30, 2017, Rep. Dave Williams and Sen. Vicki Marble introduced HB 17-1134, “Concerning Holding Colorado Government Accountable for Creating Sanctuary Jurisdiction Policies.”

The bill is known as the ‘Colorado Politician Accountability Act’.

The bill includes a legislative declaration that states that addressing sanctuary jurisdictions is a matter of statewide concern and that makes findings about how sanctuary policies are contrary to federal law and state interests.

The bill creates a civil remedy against the state or a political subdivision of the state (jurisdiction) and against its elected officials for creating sanctuary policies. The bill also creates a crime of rendering assistance to an illegal alien that can be brought against an elected official for creating a sanctuary jurisdiction.

An elected official is responsible for the creation of a sanctuary jurisdiction if the elected official votes in favor of imposing or creating a law, ordinance, or policy that allows the jurisdiction to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction, fails to take steps to try to change a law, ordinance, or policy that allows the jurisdiction to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction, or is a county sheriff who imposes or enforces a policy that allows the jurisdiction to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction in a county in which the elected officials have not voted to impose or create a sanctuary jurisdiction.

The bill allows any person who claims that he or she is a victim of any crime committed by an illegal alien who established residency in a sanctuary jurisdiction to file a civil action for compensatory damages against a jurisdiction and against the elected officials of the jurisdiction who were responsible for creating the policy to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction. Notwithstanding the protections of the ‘Colorado Governmental Immunity Act’, the jurisdiction and its officials who are responsible for creating a sanctuary jurisdiction are civilly liable for damages if the person who engaged in the criminal activity:

  • Is determined to be an illegal alien;
  • Had established residency in the sanctuary jurisdiction; and
  • Is convicted of the crime that is a proximate cause of the injury to a person or property.

The maximum amount of compensatory damages for injury to persons is $700,000 per person or $1,980,000 for injury to 2 or more persons; except that no person may recover in excess of $700,000. The maximum amount of compensatory damages for injury to property is set at $350,000 per person or $990,000 for injury to multiple persons; except that no person may recover in excess of $350,000.

The bill defines a ‘sanctuary jurisdiction’ as a jurisdiction that adopts a law, ordinance, or policy on or after the effective date of this bill that prohibits or in any way restricts an official or employee of the jurisdiction from:

  • Cooperating and complying with federal immigration officials or enforcing federal immigration law;
  • Sending to or receiving from or requesting from federal immigration officials information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an individual;
  • Maintaining or exchanging information about an individual’s immigration status, lawful or unlawful, with other federal agencies, state agencies, or municipalities;
  • Inquiring about an individual’s name, date and place of birth, and immigration status while enforcing or conducting an official investigation into a violation of any law of this state;
  • Continuing to detain an individual, regardless of the individual’s ability to be released on bail, who has been identified as an illegal alien while in custody for violating any state law; or
  • Verifying the lawful presence and eligibility of a person applying for a state or local public benefit as required by state and federal law.

The bill sets forth the requirements for determining when an illegal alien has established residency in a sanctuary jurisdiction. An ‘illegal alien’ is defined as a person who is not lawfully present within the United States, as determined by federal immigration law.

The governing body of any jurisdiction is prohibited from adopting a law, ordinance, rule, policy, or plan or taking any action that limits or prohibits an elected official, employee, or law enforcement officer from communicating or cooperating with an appropriate public official, employee, or law enforcement officer of the federal government concerning the immigration status of an individual residing in the state. The governing body of a jurisdiction is required to provide written notice to each elected official, employee, and law enforcement officer of the jurisdiction of his or her duty to communicate and cooperate with the federal government concerning enforcement of any federal or state immigration law. The governing body of any jurisdiction in this state is required to annually submit a written report to the department of public safety (department) that the jurisdiction is in compliance with the cooperation and communication requirements. If the department does not receive those written reports, the department is required to provide the name of that jurisdiction to the state controller.

A law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction who has reasonable cause to believe that an individual under arrest is not lawfully present in the United States shall immediately report the individual to the appropriate U.S. immigration and customs enforcement office (ICE) within the department of homeland security. The governing body of any jurisdiction is required to report annually to the department on the number of individuals who were reported to ICE by law enforcement officers from that jurisdiction. The department is directed to compile and submit annual reports on compliance to the general assembly and to the state controller. The state controller is required to withhold the payment of any state funds to any jurisdiction that is found by the department to have failed to comply with these reporting requirements. The state controller shall withhold funds until the department notifies the state controller that the jurisdiction is in compliance.

The bill creates the crime of rendering assistance to an illegal alien through a sanctuary jurisdiction, which is a class 4 felony. A person who is an elected official of a jurisdiction commits rendering assistance to an illegal alien through a sanctuary jurisdiction if, with intent to hinder, delay, or prevent the discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of illegal aliens within the jurisdiction:

  • He or she was responsible for creating a sanctuary jurisdiction in the jurisdiction to which the official is elected; and
  • When, as a result of the protection afforded by a sanctuary jurisdiction, a third person engages in criminal activity and the third person:
  • Is an illegal alien as legally defined by federal immigration law;
  • Had established residency in the sanctuary jurisdiction that was created by the official; and
  • Has been convicted of a crime that caused injury to a person or to property.

A person who has knowledge of a crime committed by an illegal alien as a result of the creation of a sanctuary jurisdiction may file an affidavit with the attorney general or with a district attorney outlining the crime and requesting that charges be brought or that a grand jury be impaneled. The attorney general or district attorney shall investigate and respond in writing with his or her decision to the person filing the affidavit within 49 days. If the attorney general or district attorney declines to bring charges or impanel a grand jury, the person may file a second affidavit directly with the applicable court.

The bill includes a severability clause and a provision that states that the bill is not subject to judicial review.

The bill takes effect upon passage and applies to acts or omissions occurring on or after said date.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs and Judiciary committees. It is scheduled to be heard in the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee on February 22, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.