March 2, 2015

Governor Hickenlooper Signs First Bills of 2015 Legislative Session

On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper signed three bills into law. These three bills are the first bills of the 2015 legislative session to be approved by the governor. The three bills are

  • HJR 15-1006Concerning Approval of Water Project Revolving Fund Eligibility Lists Administered by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. By Rep. Edward Vigil and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The joint resolution adopts additions to the Drinking Project Eligibility List.
  • SB 15-035Concerning the Enactment of Colorado Revised Statutes 2014 as the Positive and Statutory Law of the State of Colorado. By Sen. Michael Johnston and Rep. Elena Kagan. The bill enacts the 2014 Colorado Revised Statutes.
  • SB 15-098Concerning the Codification of Certain Phrases Previously Included in Appropriation Clauses. By Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Dave Young. The bill attempts to omit superfluous language in appropriation clauses by codifying language.

Stay tuned for more information about Governor Hickenlooper’s 2015 legislative decisions.

e-Legislative Report: February 17, 2015

legislationCBA Legislative Policy Committee

For followers 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 from requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association.

Meeting held Friday, February 13

SB 15-129 — Preserving Parent-child Relationships
Sponsor: Senator Kevin Lundberg (R)
The LPC voted to oppose this bill in part because of the fundamental way that it changed the presumption of parenting time away from the “best interest of the child” to a different standard more focused on the parents in divorce proceedings. The bill was heard in committee on Wednesday the 11th and was passed on a party line vote after substantial amendments. SB-129 was referred to the Appropriations Committee for consideration of the bill’s fiscal impact.

SB 15-174 — Uniform Substitute Decision Making Documents Act
Sponsor: Senator Patrick Steadman (D)
The LPC voted to oppose this bill. The committee felt that the bill conflicts with existing statute, was unnecessary in many respects and that it potentially created more gaps and questions with existing law than its adoption would solve.

HB 15-1091 — Policies On Juvenile Shackling In Court
Sponsors: Representative Susan Lontine (D), Senator Michael G. Merrifield (D)
The LPC was concerned that while this bill was very well intentioned, it raised significant potential problems with separation of power between the legislative and judicial branches.

At the Capitol: Week of February 9

SB 15-049 — Real Estate Title Vests In Entity Once Formed
Sponsors: Senator Beth Martinez Humenik (R), Representative Jon Keyser (R)
This bill, supported by the Bar, passed through the Senate this past week. It has been assigned to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee and has not yet been calendared for a hearing.

HB 15-1121 — Wind Energy Generation
Sponsors: Representative Jon Becker (R), Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R)
The bill, supported by the Bar, also passed through its first chamber (the House) last week. It will next be heard in the Senate, where it has been assigned to the Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee. It will be heard by that committee on February 19.

SB 15-077 — Parents’ Bill of Rights
Sponsors: Senator Tim Neville (R), Representative Patrick Neville (R)
The bill passed out of the Senate committee hearing on a party line vote, and was debated on the floor. The bill was passed with amendments, and now moves to the House for consideration. It has not been calendared for consideration.

SB 15-042 — Mandatory Reports Of Animal Abuse
Sponsors: Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R), Representative Jon Becker (R)
This bill was Postponed Indefinitely (killed) in committee. It will not be considered again this year. The CBA was opposed to the legislation.

HB 15-1101 — Public Defender ADC Records Open Records
Sponsors: Representatives Rhonda Fields (D), Polly Lawrence (R)
This bill was Postponed Indefinitely (killed) in committee. It will not be considered again this year. The CBA was opposed to the legislation.

HB 15-1174 — Information Protections Domestic Violence Victims
Sponsors: Representative Terri Carver (R), Senator Laura Woods (R)
The CBA has not taken a position on this bill—though we are working with the sponsors to ensure that the program will work as intended and not harm the real estate transaction process as a result of its adoption or implementation. It is likely that the CBA and its sections will participate in stakeholder groups and work sessions this summer.

New Bills of Interest

Senate

SB 15-177 — HOA Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines
Sponsors: Brian DelGrosso (R), Mark Scheffel (R), Jonathan Singer (D), Jessie M. Ulibarri (D)
The bill states that when the governing documents of a common interest community require mediation or arbitration of a construction defect claim and the requirement is later amended or removed, mediation or arbitration is still required for a construction defect claim. These provisions are in section 2 of the bill.

Section 2 also specifies that the mediation or arbitration must take place in the judicial district in which the community is located and that the arbitrator must:

  • Be a neutral third party;
  • Make certain disclosures before being selected; and
  • Be selected as specified in the common interest community’s governing documents or, if not so specified, in accordance with the uniform arbitration act.

Section 1 adds definitions of key terms. Section 3 requires that before a construction defect claim is filed on behalf of the association:

  • The parties must submit the matter to mediation before a neutral third party; and The board must give advance notice to all unit owners, together with a disclosure of the projected costs, duration, and financial impact of the construction defect claim, and must obtain the written consent of the owners of units to which at least a majority of the votes in the association are allocated.

Section 4 adds to the disclosures required prior to the purchase and sale of property in a common interest community a notice that the community’s governing documents may require binding arbitration of certain disputes.

House

HB 15-1025 — Competency To Proceed Juvenile Justice System
Sponsors: Representative Paul Rosenthal (D), Senator Linda M. Newell (D)
The bill establishes a juvenile-specific definition of “incompetent to proceed” for juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system, as well as specific definitions for “developmental disability”, “intellectual disability”, “mental capacity”, and “mental disability” when used in this context. The bill clarifies the procedures for establishing incompetency, as well as for establishing the restoration of competency.

HB 15-1216 — Basis For Expert Opinion Testimony
Sponsors: Representative Kevin Priola (R), Senator John Cooke (R)
The bill prohibits a person from testifying concerning the person’s expert opinion unless certain conditions are met.

e-Legislative Report: February 10, 2015

legislationCBA Legislative Policy Committee

For followers 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 from requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association.

Meeting held Friday, February 6
The following bills were discussed for action during last Friday’s LPC meeting.  Other bills of interest from that agenda are tracked and updated below.

SB 15-042 – Mandatory Reports Of Animal Abuse
(Senator Sonnenberg & Representative J. Becker)
The intent of the sponsors was to criminalize the recording of undercover videos showing animal cruelty in farming practices.  The Bar sections could not support the bill, or a subsequent “strike below”* amendment, because the language was overly broad, potentially unconstitutional and would lead to unintended consequences.  The LPC voted to oppose this bill at the recommendation of the Animal Law and Agricultural Law Sections.

HB 15-1101 – Public Defender ADC Records Open Records
(Representatives Field and Lawrence)
The LPC voted to oppose this bill as well.  The committee was concerned about the impact of Rule 1.6 and the financial impact of the bill to the State.  There was also concern that this bill would open the door for CORA requests of the Judicial Branch – and the potential impact that would have.  The LPC voted unanimously to oppose this bill.

HB 15-1037 – Freedom of Conscience Higher Ed
(Representative Priola & Senator Neville)
This bill was considered at the request of the Civil Rights Committee who presented that the bill was intended to “protect religious freedom and the right of association.”  After some discussion, the LPC voted to take no position on this bill.

At the Capitol: Week of February 2

HB 15-1135 – Terminally Ill Individuals End-of-life Decisions
(Representatives Court and Ginal & Senator Guzman)
HB 1135 was the big bill last week at the capitol.  Testimony began a little after 9:30am and concluded shortly before 10pm!  The emotional level of testimony was compelling.  There were approximately 120 people that signed up to testify for the bill ranging from all types of organizations and all walks of life. Many made passionate testimony on both sides of the bill which was a true indicator that our group made the correct policy decision to fix the issues and then maintain our neutrality. It is an issue that people either feel at a core level to support or they don’t.  The Committee voted to send the bill to the next committee Appropriations.  That motion failed 8-5.  There was a motion to Postpone the bill indefinitely, (passing 9-4) killing the bill for the remainder of the session.

Many Bar sections weighed in on the bill, its technical merits, and the drafting problems of the bill.  While individual sections had vigorous debates on the policy of “death with dignity” or physician assisted suicide, the LPC took no position on the bill itself.

SB 15-077 – Parents’ Bill of Rights
(Senator Neville & Representative Neville)
This Senate Bill sponsored by the father-son legislative team from Jefferson County was heard and passed out of the Senate committee last week.  The bill is set for its key second reading on Wednesday. Senate Bill 77, the so-called “Parents’ Bill of Rights” sponsored by Sen. Tim Neville and Rep. Patrick Neville, would give parents certain rights over the health care, education and mental health care of minor children.  The Bar Association voted to oppose this legislation at its LPC meeting on January 30.

SB 15-049 – Real Estate Title Vests In Entity Once Formed
(Senator Martinez Humenik & Representative Keyser)
This bill – supported by the bar – continues through the legislature on a straightforward course. It has now passed the Senate and will be heard in the Hose Business Affairs and Labor Committee, where Rep. Keyser will be the key sponsor.

HB 15-1121 – Wind Energy Generation
(Representative J. Becker & Senator Sonnenberg)
This Bar supported bill is also progressing through the legislative process.  Representative Becker has successfully completed the House process, and the bill passes to Senator Sonnenberg for the final leg of its legislative journey.

New Bills of Interest

Senate

SB 15-129 – Preserving Parent-child Relationships
(Senator Lundberg)
The bill amends provisions relating to best interests of a child in domestic relations actions and certain other actions in the juvenile code. With respect to such actions, the bill:

Amends the legislative declaration to emphasize the fundamental liberty interest of both parents and children in maintaining the parent-child relationship;

With respect to temporary orders hearings, if there has been a temporary or permanent protection order entered against one or both parties either prior to or in conjunction with the domestic relations action, requires the court to grant an expedited hearing at the request of either party for purposes of modifying provisions in the protection order relating to parenting time, communication, and access to a child. The court shall order substantially equal parenting time and access to the child unless it finds that such orders are clearly not in the child’s best interest. The court shall also enter any orders necessary for the safety of the protected party relating to the restrained party’s parenting time with the child.

Changes the nature of an investigation by a court-appointed child and family investigator (CFI) from evaluation and recommendations to investigation and fact-finding. CFIs will conduct an objective investigation of issues as specifically directed by the court and will provide written factual findings to the court that are supported by credible evidence. A CFI’s report will not make recommendations regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities but will provide the court with the factual findings the court deems necessary to make such determinations.

Amends language in the legislative declaration regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities relating to the best interests of the child. Also, the bill requires the court to allocate substantially equal parenting time unless the court finds that doing so would endanger a child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development. In addition, the court shall award mutual decision-making responsibilities with respect to the child unless the court finds that such an order is clearly not in the child’s best interest.

For purposes of temporary orders in a domestic relations action, requires the court to award substantially equal parenting time to the parties unless the court finds that doing so would endanger a child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development. In addition, the court shall order mutual decision-making responsibilities unless mutual decision-making is clearly not in the child’s best interest.

Changes the nature of an evaluation by a court-appointed parental responsibilities evaluator to an investigation by a mental health professional. The mental health investigation is limited to mental health diagnoses, assessments of relevant addictions, or other mental health-related issues that are relevant to the court’s allocation of parental responsibilities for the child. The investigator’s report shall contain findings of fact but shall not contain conclusions or recommendations relating to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.

Clarifies that the 2-year restriction on filing motions that request a substantial change in parenting time and that also change the party with whom the child resides the majority of the time do not apply to moderate changes to parenting time when the existing parenting time order awarded substantially equal parenting time to the parties; and

Amends the provisions relating to modification of decision-making responsibility for a child from requiring the court to retain the prior decision-maker unless certain criteria are met to permitting the court to change the decision-maker after considering certain criteria, including whether an award of mutual decision-making responsibilities is now in the child’s best interest.

SB 15-174 – Uniform Substitute Decision Making Documents Act
(Senator Steadman)
Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws. The bill adopts, with amendments, the “Uniform Substitute Decision-making Documents Act” as Colorado law. The bill establishes the circumstances under which a substitute decision-making document (document) executed outside this state is valid in this state. A person may assume in good faith that a document is genuine, valid, and still in effect and that the decision-maker’s authority is genuine, valid, and still in effect. A person who is asked to accept a document shall do so within a reasonable amount of time. The person may not require an additional or different form of document for authority granted in the document presented. A person who refuses to accept a substitute document is subject to:  A court order mandating acceptance of the document; and Liability for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in an action or proceeding that mandates acceptance of the document. A person is not required to accept a substitute document under certain described conditions.

House

HB 15-1043 – Felony Offense For Repeat DUI Offenders
(Senators Cooke and Johnson & Representatives McCann and Saine)
Under current law, a DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI is a misdemeanor offense. The bill makes such an offense a class 4 felony if the violation occurred: (1) After 3 or more prior convictions for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide; vehicular assault; or any combination thereof; or (2) not more than 7 years after the first of 2 prior convictions for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide; vehicular assault; or any combination thereof, if the violation included at least one of the following circumstances: One or more persons less than 18 years of age were present in the person’s vehicle at the time of the violation;  In committing the violation, the person caused damage or injury to any property or persons;  After committing the violation, the person fled the scene; or At the time of the violation, or within 2 hours after the violation, the person’s BAC was 0.15 or higher. Under current law, aggravated driving with a revoked license is a class 6 felony. The bill changes the penalty to a class 1 misdemeanor but requires a sentencing court to ensure that an offender spends a minimum of 60 days in the custody of a county jail. Under current law, a person whose privilege to drive was revoked for multiple convictions for any combination of a DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI must hold an interlock-restricted license for at least one year following reinstatement prior to being eligible to obtain any other driver’s license. The bill expands this period to a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years. The bill repeals provisions relating to the crime of aggravated driving with a revoked license when the offender also commits DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI as part of the same criminal episode. The bill makes conforming amendments.

HB 15-1161 – Public Accommodation First Amendment Rights
(Representative Klingenschmitt)
The bill specifies that neither the civil rights division, the civil rights commission, nor a court with jurisdiction to hear civil actions brought under the public accommodations laws may compel involuntary speech or acts of involuntary artistic expression or involuntary religious expression by a person when such speech or acts of artistic or religious expression would lead to that person directly or indirectly participating in, directly or indirectly supporting, or endorsing or impliedly endorsing an ideology, ceremony, creed, behavior, or practice with which the person does not agree.

HB 15-1189 – Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act
(Representative Keyser & Senator Steadman)
Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws. The bill enacts the “Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act”, as amended, as Colorado law. The bill sets forth the conditions under which certain fiduciaries may access: The content of an electronic communication of a principal or decedent; A catalog of electronic communications sent or received by a decedent or principal; and  Any other digital asset in which a principal has a right or interest or in which a decedent had a right or interest at death. As to tangible personal property capable of receiving, storing, processing, or sending a digital asset, a fiduciary with authority over the property of a decedent, protected person, principal, or settlor may access the property and any digital asset stored in it and is an authorized user for purposes of computer fraud and unauthorized computer access laws.

“Fiduciary” means a personal representative, a conservator, an agent, or a trustee. A custodian and its officers, employees, and agents are immune from liability for an act or omission done in good-faith compliance with the provisions of the bill.

HB 15-1203 – Concerning earned time for certain offenders serving life sentences as habitual offenders
(Representative Rosenthal & Senator Steadman)
Under current law, an offender who was sentenced to a habitual offender 40-calendar-year life sentence before July 1, 1993, is not accruing earned time. The bill permits those sentenced under those circumstances to accrue earned time.

HB 15-1212 – Authority To Sell State Trust Lands To Local Gov
(Representative KC Becker & Senator Kerr)
In 2010, a law was enacted that allowed the state board of land commissioners (board) to convey land to units of local government if the conveyance would add value to adjoining or nearby state trust property, benefit board operations, or comply with local land use regulations. When enacted, the authority was set to repeal on July 1, 2015. The bill repeals that automatic repeal and makes the board’s authority permanent.

 

*a “Strike Below” amendment essentially replaces the entire bill below the title with an entirely different bill.  In practice this changes almost everything about the bill – but addresses the same topic, allowing for the sponsor to retain his/her bill and to continue working on the topic.  It is generally used when interested parties and stakeholders need a complete rewrite of the bill as originally introduced in ordrr to try and reach consensus.

 

SB 15-099: Eliminating Certain Duties for Probation Officers

On January 21, 2015, Sen. John Cooke introduced SB 15-099 – Concerning Eliminating Certain Duties for Probation OfficersThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Several provisions of current law address the performance of certain duties by probation officers. The bill amends these provisions to eliminate these duties. Specifically, the bill so amends provisions concerning: The performance of supplemental evaluations concerning disputed issues in cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities with respect to a child; The exercise of continuing supervision over a case to ensure that terms relating to an allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time are carried out; The duty to make a social study and written report in all children’s cases under the “Colorado Children’s Code”; and The appointment of a probation officer as attendance officer of a school district.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 15-086: Repealing Requirement of Criminal Background Check Prior to Gun Sales

On January 14, 2015, Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Janak Joshi introduced SB 15-086 – Concerning Criminal Background Checks Performed Pursuant to Transfer of FirearmsThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill repeals the requirement that before any person who is not a licensed gun dealer transfers possession of a firearm to a transferee, he or she must require that a criminal background check be conducted of the prospective transferee and must obtain approval of the transfer from the Colorado bureau of investigation (CBI). The bill repeals the requirement that CBI impose a fee for performing an instant criminal background check pursuant to the transfer of a firearm. The bill makes conforming amendments.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 15-079: Increasing County Clerk Document Recording Surcharge

On January 14, 2015, Sen. Jessie Ulibarri introduced SB 15-079 – Concerning Modifications to the Document Recording Fee Imposed by Counties for the Purpose of Financing a Statewide Affordable Housing Investment FundThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Section 1 of the bill raises to $2 the surcharge to be imposed by each county clerk and recorder (clerk) for each document received for recording or filing in his or her office on or after July 1, 2015. The surcharge is in addition to any other fees permitted by statute. Out of each $2 collected, the bill requires the clerk to retain one dollar to be used to defray the costs of an electronic or core filing system in accordance with existing law. The bill requires the clerk to transmit the other dollar collected to the state treasurer, who is to credit the same to the statewide affordable housing investment fund (fund). Section 2 of the bill creates the fund in the Colorado housing and finance authority (authority). The bill specifies the source of moneys to be deposited into the fund and that the authority is to administer the fund. Moneys in the fund are to be expended by the authority for the development and preservation of affordable housing on a statewide basis. Section 2 of the bill also requires the authority to submit a report, no later than June 1 of each year, specifying the use of the fund during the prior calendar year to the governor and to the senate and house finance committees.

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

HB 15-1011: Narrowing Prohibition on Disclosing For Whom a Person Has Voted

On January 7, 2015, Rep. Paul Rosenthal introduced HB 15-1011 – Concerning the Disclosure of the Contents of an Elector’s Voted BallotThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

For elections conducted under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992″, current law, which applies to any person, makes disclosing how or for whom an elector has voted a misdemeanor. The bill narrows this provision to those persons who, in the course of performing any elections-related duty or function, obtain any knowledge as to how a person has voted. Additionally, both the “Uniform Election Code of 1992″ and the “Municipal Election Code” prohibit a voter from showing to anyone else his or her ballot in such way as to reveal its contents. The bill repeals this provision.

The bill was assigned to the House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee, where it was postponed indefinitely on January 28.

HB 15-1035: Allowing Compensation for Certain Crime Victims and Their Families

On January 7, 2015, Rep. Rhonda Fields and Sen. John Cooke introduced HB 15-1035 – Concerning Changes to Crime Victim CompensationThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Under current law, in an incident of hit and run or careless driving, crime victim compensation (compensation) is only available if a death results. The bill allows for compensation when an incident of hit and run or careless driving causes bodily injury. The bill allows compensation to a person who is a dependent of the accused if the accused provided support for the person or the person’s dependents. The bill expands compensable losses to include the cost of rekeying vehicles or other locks necessary to ensure a victim’s safety. The bill clarifies the confidentiality of records of a crime victim compensation board (board) by prohibiting the discovery of certain records in a civil or criminal case except: To the extent necessary for a judicial review of the board’s decision; or Upon a showing that the information is only in the records of the board, and, after review by the court, the court determines that the disclosure would not endanger the victim or another person. The bill increases the maximum compensation to $30,000 and emergency compensation to $2,000 and eliminates the requirement that losses be at least $25. The bill requires medical service providers to suspend collection proceedings for 90 days while a claim for compensation is considered. Finally, the bill specifies that a court shall include the amount of compensation requested by a crime victim compensation board in a restitution order and how the amount may be established.

The bill was assigned to the Judiciary and Appropriations committees.

HB 15-1053: Changing Mandatory Ages for Compulsory Education

On January 7, 2015, Rep. Kim Ransom introduced HB 15-1053 – Concerning the Ages at which Children Must Attend SchoolThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Under current law, a child who is at least 6 years of age and under 17 years of age must attend school. The bill changes the ages of compulsory education to at least 7 years of age and under 16 years of age.

The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee, where it was postponed indefinitely on January 26.

HB 15-1063: Prohibiting Certain Communications Concerning Patents

On January 7, 2015, Rep. Dan Pabon and Sen. David Balmer introduced HB 15-1063 – Concerning Prohibited Communication Concerning PatentsThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill prohibits a person from making a written or electronic communication with another concerning a patent if: The communication falsely states that litigation has been commenced against the recipient or an affiliated party; The communication threatens litigation and there is a consistent pattern of such threats having been made but no litigation is filed; or The allegations in the communication lack a reasonable basis because of specified deficiencies. The bill contains specified exclusions from the prohibition. The bill authorizes only the attorney general to file an action to enforce the prohibition and authorizes specified damages.

The bill was assigned to the Business Affairs and Labor Committee, where it passed unamended. It was referred to the Appropriations Committee on January 29.

SB 15-016: Clarifying Changes to Civil Unions When Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal

On January 7, 2015, Sen. Pat Steadman introduced SB 15-016 — Concerning Marriages by Individuals who are Parties to a Civil Union, and, in Connection Therewith, Prohibiting Marriages in Circumstances in which One of the Parties is Already in a Civil Union with Another Individual, Addressing the Legal Effect of Parties to a Civil Union Marrying Each Other, Clarifying the Dissolution Process when Parties to a Civil Union Marry, and Amending the Bigamy Statute to Include Parties to a Civil Union. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill addresses issues that have arisen in Colorado regarding marriages by individuals who are in a civil union or who will enter into a civil union after recent court decisions have declared same-sex marriage bans, such as section 31 of article II of the state constitution, unconstitutional. The bill amends the statute on prohibited marriages to disallow a marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier civil union of one of the parties, except a currently valid civil union between the same 2 parties. The executive director of the department of public health and environment is directed to revise the marriage license application to include questions regarding prior civil unions. The bill states that the “Colorado Civil Union Act” (act) does not affect a marriage legally entered into in another jurisdiction between 2 individuals who are the same sex. The construction statute for the act is amended to clarify that it must not be construed to create a marriage, including a common law marriage, between the parties to a civil union. Two parties who have entered into a civil union may subsequently enter into a legally recognized marriage with each other by obtaining a marriage license from a county clerk and recorder in this state and by having the marriage solemnized and registered as a marriage with a county clerk and recorder. The bill states that the effect of marrying in that circumstance is to merge the civil union into a marriage by operation of law. A separate dissolution of a civil union is not required when a civil union is merged into a marriage by operation of law. If one or both of the parties to the marriage subsequently desire to dissolve the marriage, legally separate, or have the marriage declared invalid, one or both of the parties must file proceedings in accordance with the procedures specified in the “Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act”. Any dissolution, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity of the marriage must be in accordance with the “Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act”. If a civil union is merged into marriage by operation of law, any calculation of the duration of the marriage includes the time period during which the parties were in a civil union. The criminal statute on bigamy is amended, effective July 1, 2015, to include a person who, while married, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in this state with another person and to include a person who, while still legally in a civil union, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in this state with another person.

The bill was assigned to the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, where it was postponed indefinitely on January 21, 2015.

SB 15-049: Vesting Title to Real Estate in An Entity Upon Formation

On January 8, 2015, Sen. Beth Martinez-Humenik and Rep. Jon Keyser introduced SB 15-049 — Concerning the Vesting of Title to Real Estate in a Grantee that is an Entity that has not yet Been Formed Once the Entity has Been Formed. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Current law specifies that when a grantee of a deed is a corporation whose incorporation papers have not yet been filed, title to the real estate vests in the corporation once the papers are filed. The bill expands this law to apply to all entities, specifying that title vests once the entity is formed.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.