April 28, 2017

Bills Regarding Notice of Medicaid Appeals, Special Respondents in Dependency and Neglect, and More Signed

On Thursday, April 6, 2o17, Governor Hickenlooper signed 15 bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 137 bills into law this legislative session. Some of the bills signed Thursday include a bill amending the definition of “special respondent” in the Colorado Children’s Code, a bill prohibiting a court from requiring a medical marijuana patient to abstain from marijuana use as a condition of bond, a bill codifying the presumption that a conveyance of land also includes the property interest in an adjacent vacated right-of-way, and a bill granting qualified immunity to persons performing land stewardship activities on public lands. These bills and the others signed Thursday are summarized here.

  • HB 17-1126: “Concerning the Review of Legal Sufficiency of Medicaid Appeals,” by Reps. Jessie Danielson & Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill requires an administrative law judge hearing Medicaid appeals to review the legal sufficiency of the notice of action from which the recipient is appealing at the commencement of the appeal hearing if the notice of action concerns the termination or reduction of an existing benefit, and to take appropriate action if the notice is insufficient.
  • HB 17-1173:“Concerning Medical Communications Regarding Disagreements in Health Care Decisions,” by Rep. Chris Hansen and Sen. Tim Neville. The bill requires a contract between a health insurance carrier and a health provider to include a provision that prohibits a carrier from taking an adverse action against the provider due to a provider’s disagreement with a carrier’s decision on the provision of health care services.
  • HB 17-1183: “Concerning the Repeal of the Condition Required to be Satisfied for a Provision of Law Governing the Disclosure of Communications with Mental Health Professionals to Take Effect,” by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill repeals the contingency provision contained in HB 16-1063 regarding the HIPAA privacy rule.
  • HB 17-1197: “Concerning the Exclusion of Marijuana from the Definition of ‘Farm Products’ with Regard to Regulation of Farm Products under the ‘Farm Products Act’,” by Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. Don Coram. The bill excludes marijuana from the definition of ‘farm products’ requiring licensure under the Farm Products Act.
  • HB 17-1198“Concerning the Authority for a Special District to Increase the Number of Board Members from Five to Seven,” by Rep. Matt Gray and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill allows a special district to increase the number of board members by adoption of a resolution by the board and the approval of the resolution by the board of county commissioners or the governing body of the municipality that approved the service plan of the special district.
  • SB 17-046: “Concerning the Modernization of Procedures Pertaining to Warrants and Checks not yet Presented to the State Treasurer for Payment,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Jeni Arndt. The bill modernizes current practices relating to warrants and checks not timely presented to the state treasurer for payment.
  • SB 17-065: “Concerning a Requirement that Health Care Providers Disclose the Charges they Impose for Common Health Care Services when Payment is made Directly Rather than by a Third Party,” by Sen. Kevin Lundberg and Rep. Susan Lontine. The bill creates the ‘Transparency in Health Care Prices Act’, which requires health care professionals and health care facilities to make available to the public the health care prices they assess directly for common health care services they provide.
  • SB 17-097“Concerning the Presumption that a Conveyance of an Interest in Land Also Conveys an Interest in Adjoining Property Consisting of a Vacated Right-of-Way,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. James Coleman. The bill broadens the application of the presumption of conveyance of an adjoining vacated right-of-way to include not only warranty deeds but also all forms of deeds, leases, and mortgages and other liens.
  • SB 17-100: “Concerning Qualified Immunity for Persons Performing Land Stewardship Activities on Public Lands,” by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. Jeni Arndt & Lois Landgraf. The bill strengthens existing legal protections under the federal ‘Volunteer Protection Act of 1997’ and Colorado’s ‘Volunteer Service Act’ for individual volunteers and nonprofit entities who build or maintain recreational trails and related facilities pursuant to grants received under Colorado’s ‘Recreational Trails System Act of 1971’.
  • SB 17-142: “Concerning the Requirement to Include Notification to a Patient Regarding the Patient’s Breast Tissue Classification with the Required Mammography Report,” by Sen. Angela Williams and Rep. Jessie Danielson. The bill requires that each mammography report provided to a patient include information that identifies the patient’s breast tissue classification based on the breast imaging reporting and data system established by the American College of Radiology.
  • SB 17-144: “Concerning the Recommended Continuation of the Education Data Advisory Committee by the Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies,” by Sens. Owen Hill & Rachel Zenzinger and Rep. Brittany Pettersen. The bill implements the recommendation of the Department of Regulatory Agencies to continue the education data advisory committee.
  • SB 17-146“Concerning Access to the Electronic Prescription Drug Monitoring Program,” by Sen. Cheri Jahn and Rep. Joann Ginal. The bill modifies provisions relating to licensed health professionals’ access to the electronic prescription drug monitoring program.
  • SB 17-177: “Concerning Amending the Definition of ‘Special Respondent’ in the Children’s Code to Allow a Person to be Voluntarily Joined in a Dependency or Neglect Proceeding,” by Sen. John Cooke and Rep. Paul Rosenthal. The bill amends the Children’s Code definition of “special respondent” to allow a party to be voluntarily joined in a dependency or neglect proceeding.
  • SB 17-178“Concerning Prohibiting a Court from Requiring a Medical-Marijuana Patient to Abstain from the Use of Marijuana as a Condition of Bond,” by Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Jovan Melton. The bill prohibits a court from imposing as a bond condition a ban on marijuana use if the person possesses a valid medical marijuana registry identification card.
  • SB 17-230“Concerning Payment of Expenses of the Legislative Department,” by Sens. Lucia Guzman & Chris Holbert and Reps. Patrick Neville & KC Becker. The bill makes appropriations for matters related to the legislative department for the 2017-18 state fiscal year.

For a list of the governor’s 2017 legislative actions, click here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Trial Court Correctly Found that Crop Recovery Claims were Equitable in Nature

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, ACA v. Mason on Thursday, April 6, 2017.

Credit Agreement—Jury Demand—Equitable—Non-Disclosure—Abandonment—Estoppel—Waiver—Consent—Conversion—Bankruptcy—Collateral Estoppel—Damages.

Zachary funded his farming operations with loans from Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, ACA and Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, FLCA (collectively, Farm Credit). Zachary was having difficulty paying his debt to Farm Credit and had planted crops on seven farms for the coming harvest. Written agreements between Farm Credit and Zachary granted Farm Credit a perfected security interest in Zachary’s crops (Crop Collateral) and their proceeds. Farm Credit refused to continue funding Zachary’s farming operations and Zachary was unable to cultivate the Crop Collateral. Zachary’s father, James, thereafter took over the cultivation of the Crop Collateral. James never attempted to transfer the Crop Collateral or its proceeds to Farm Credit. Farm Credit filed a complaint for various claims against Zachary and other parties, but not James. Zachary thereafter filed for bankruptcy. As part of a bankruptcy adversary proceeding, Farm Credit filed an amended complaint alleging that Zachary transferred the Crop Collateral to James. Farm Credit later amended the state trial court complaint to add James as a defendant. Ultimately, the trial court entered a judgment against James, finding him liable for converting the Crop Collateral and awarding Farm Credit damages plus interest.

On appeal, James argued that the trial court erred in striking his demand for a jury trial. Based on the complaint, Farm Credit’s remedy was in the nature of a foreclosure, an equitable action. Because the basic thrust of the underlying action was equitable and not legal in nature, the trial court did not err in striking James’s demand for a jury trial.

James also asserted that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of Zachary’s debt because Farm Credit did not disclose it before trial, and this nondisclosure was intentional and material. However, this nondisclosure was harmless because the amount of debt far exceeded the most optimistic estimate given for the Crop Collateral’s value at the time of conversion. Therefore, James was not denied an adequate opportunity to defend against Farm Credit’s assertion that the value of the outstanding debt exceeded the value of the collateral, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to dismiss the action as a result of this nondisclosure.

James next contended that the trial court reversibly erred when it determined that the defenses of abandonment, estoppel, waiver, and consent did not relieve him of liability for conversion. The written agreements evidencing Farm Credit’s perfected security interest in the Crop Collateral were “credit agreements” within the meaning of the Credit Agreement Statute of Frauds. Thus, any waiver involving Farm Credit’s rights to the Crop Collateral, including proceeds, would need to be in writing to be effective. Here, there was never a written waiver. Additionally, while the record shows that Farm Credit acquiesced to James’s cultivation and harvest of the otherwise doomed Crop Collateral, it does not show that Farm Credit consented to its security interest being completely extinguished. Finally, there is no evidence in the record showing Farm Credit manifested intent, or took action, to abandon the Crop Collateral and related claims at any point, including during the bankruptcy adversary proceeding. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in rejecting James’s defenses of waiver, consent, abandonment, and estoppel.

James further contended that the trial court erred when it determined that the bankruptcy court’s decision did not preclude Farm Credit from recovering on its claims and denied James’s motion for a directed verdict. Here, the legal issues before the bankruptcy court were different from those before the trial court. Because the issues litigated in the two proceedings at issue were not identical, the trial court correctly determined that collateral estoppel did not apply to the legal issues before it and properly denied James’s motion for a directed verdict.

Lastly, James argued that the trial court misapplied the law when assessing damages by determining that the date of conversion was the date of harvest rather than when James took over the crops’ cultivation. Because the trial court applied the correct standard in assessing damages and the record supports the trial court’s factual findings, there was no error with the damages award.

The orders and judgment were affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Correcting Statutory References, Changing Child Welfare Allocations, Implementing State Engineer’s Functions, and More Signed

On Friday, March 17, 2017, the governor signed 21 bills into law. To date, he has signed 63 bills this 2017 legislative session. The bills signed Friday include a bill to update statutory references to people with disabilities, a bill outlining the procedure to correct statutory references in administrative procedural rules, a bill redetermining the child welfare allocation formula, and a bill exempting steroids injected into nonhumans from controlled substances statutes. The bills signed Friday are summarized here.

  • HB 17-1006“Concerning the Authorization of a Process to Correct Statutory Citations Contained in Executive Branch Agency Rules Published in the Code of Colorado Regulations without the Requirement to Follow Rule-Making Procedures,” by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. Daniel Kagan. The bill allows agencies to correct statutory citations in the code of Colorado regulations without notice, comment, or a hearing by submitting to the secretary of state a specific, written determination by the attorney general.
  • HB 17-1011“Concerning a Limitation on When Certain Disciplinary Actions may be Commenced Against a Mental Health Professional, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring that a Mental Health Professional Provide Notice to Former Clients Regarding Record Retention and that All Complaints be Resolved by the Agency within Two Years after the Date the Complaint was Filed,” by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill requires that any complaint filed with the division of professions and occupations in the department of regulatory agencies against a mental health professional alleging a maintenance-of-records violation must be commenced within 7 years after the alleged act or failure to act giving rise to the complaint.
  • HB 17-1014“Concerning the Elimination of the Criminal Penalty Imposed Upon an Elector for Disclosing the Contents of the Elector’s Voted Ballot,” by Reps. Paul Rosenthal & Dave Williams and Sens. Kerry Donovan & Owen Hill. The bill deletes the ballot selfie prohibition in the Uniform Election Code provided certain conditions are met.
  • HB 17-1032“Concerning the Evidentiary Privilege for Communications Made During the Provision of Certain Peer Support Services,” by Rep. Jeni Arndt and Sen. John Cooke. The bill clarifies that privileged peer support communications need not be made during individual meetings in order to be confidential.
  • HB 17-1034“Concerning Licensing Changes to the Medical Marijuana Code to Conform with the Retail Marijuana Code,” by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill creates a requirement for a medical marijuana business operator to be licensed, and allows a medical marijuana licensee to move his or her business anywhere in Colorado upon approval of the state and local jurisdiction. The bill also allows a medical marijuana licensee to remediate its product if it contains a foreign substance.
  • HB 17-1046“Concerning Updating Statutory References to Certain Limited Outdated Terms Relating to People with Disabilities,” by Rep. Steve Lebsock and Sen. Kerry Donovan. The bill updates certain limited terms in statute that refer to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities or physical disabilities using insensitive or outdated terminology.
  • HB 17-1050“Concerning the Annual In-Service Training Required for a County Sheriff,” by Rep. Hugh McKean and Sen. Daniel Kagan. The bill specifies that each sheriff undergo at least the number of hours required for all certified peace officers by the peace officers standards and training board (POST board), but in no case less than 20 hours.
  • HB 17-1052“Concerning Factors to Take Into Consideration in Determining the Child Welfare Allocation Formula in a Given Fiscal Year,” by Rep. Susan Beckman and Sen. Jim Smallwood. The bill removes certain data-gathering factors currently required to be taken into consideration in determining a fiscal year’s child welfare allocation formula for counties and replaces those with a broader scope of factors that directly affect the population of children in need of child welfare services.
  • HB 17-1054“Concerning Partnerships Between Local Governments and Military Installations, and, in Connection Therewith, Identifying Shared-Service Opportunities to Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiencies,” by Reps. Terri Carver & Dan Nordberg and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill directs the department of local affairs to support cooperative intergovernmental agreements between military installations and local governments to the extent possible.
  • HB 17-1055“Concerning a Voluntary Contribution Designation Benefiting the Urban Peak Housing and Support Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness Fund that Appears on the State Individual Tax Return Forms,” by Rep. Leslie Herod and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill creates the Urban Peak Housing and Support Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness fund in the state treasury and adds a check-off to state tax returns for five years.
  • HB 17-1094“Concerning Modifications to the Requirements for Health Benefit Plans to Cover Health Care Services Delivered via Telehealth,” by Reps. Perry Buck & Donald Valdez and Sens. Kerry Donovan & Larry Crowder. The bill makes several changes to broaden the application of telehealth services.
  • HB 17-1105“Concerning Narrowing the Circumstances in Which Physical Inspection of a Vehicle is Required before Issuing Legal Documentation Identifying the Vehicle,” by Rep. Jon Becker and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill specifies that the department of revenue may not require physical inspection of a vehicle, including a VIN inspection, to verify information about the vehicle before registering or titling the vehicle if certain requirements are met.
  • HB 17-1137“Concerning the Scheduled Repeal of Reports by the Department of Revenue to the General Assembly,” by Reps. Dan Thurlow & Edie Hooton and Sens. Dominick Moreno & Jack Tate. The bill amends reporting requirements of the Department of Revenue.
  • HB 17-1140“Concerning Permitted Uses of Fee-for-Service Contract Money by the Colorado School of Mines,” by Rep. Jessie Danielson and Sen. Tim Neville. In addition to tuition supports, the bill allows Colorado School of Mines to use state fee-for-service contract money to fund  other services and programs, including counseling, academic support, student recruiting, and precollegiate programs.
  • SB 17-026“Concerning Requirements Governing Implementation of the State Engineer’s Functions, and, in Connection Therewith, Restructuring the Fee that the State Engineer may Charge for Rating Certain Types of Water Infrastructure, Repealing Certain Requirements, and Updating Language in the Statutes Regarding the Division of Water Resources,” by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. Jeni Arndt. The bill makes several changes to the state engineer’s functions and fee requirements.
  • SB 17-030“Concerning the Exemption from the Schedules of Controlled Substances any Anabolic Steroid that is Administered through Injection into Nonhuman Species,” by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Daneya Esgar. The bill exempts from the definition of ‘anabolic steroid’ human chorionic gonadotropin licensed for animal use only if it is expressly intended for administration through implants or injection into cattle or other nonhuman species.
  • SB 17-034“Concerning Extension of the Period Following the Declaration by the Governor of a Disaster Emergency in a County Within Which the Board of County Commissioners of the County may Transfer County General Fund Money to the County Road and Bridge Fund for the Purposes of Disaster Response and Recovery,” by Sens. Kevin Lundberg & Matt Jones and Reps. Hugh McKean & Mike Foote. The bill extends from 4 years to 8 years the period within which the board of county commissioners of the county may transfer general fund money to the road and bridge fund for disaster response and recovery.
  • SB 17-050“Concerning the Consolidation of Grant Programs Relating to Forest Management,” by Sen. John Cooke and Reps. Jeni Arndt & KC Becker. The bill transfers a forest management grant program from the Department of Natural Resources to the Forest Service, and realigns the funding for the new grant program and the healthy forest and vibrant communities fund.
  • SB 17-056“Concerning the Scheduled Repeal of Reports by the Department of Public Health and Environment to the General Assembly,” by Sen. Andy Kerr and Rep. Jeni Arndt. The bill addresses reporting requirements of the department of public health and environment.
  • SB 17-090“Concerning How to Measure the Level of Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol in Industrial Hemp,” by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush. 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.
  • SB 17-127“Concerning an Expansion of the Exemption from the Requirements that Apply to a Mortgage Loan Originator to Include Up to Three Loans Per Year Without Compensation Between Family Members,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill expands the mortgage loan originator exemption to include up to 3 loans per year without compensation, other than interest, between family members, and directs the board of mortgage loan originators to define ‘family member’ by rule.

For a list of the governor’s legislative actions, please visit here.

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 17-1118: Exempting Colorado from Daylight Savings Time

On January 20, 2017, Rep. Phil Covarrubias introduced HB 17-1118, “Concerning an Exemption from Daylight Savings Time.”

Currently, ‘United States Mountain Standard Time’ (MST) is the standard time within Colorado, except during the period of daylight saving time (i.e., the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November) when time is advanced one hour. The bill exempts the state from observing daylight saving time, making MST the standard time year-round.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee. It is scheduled for hearing in committee on February 6 at 1:30 p.m.

Top Ten Programs and Homestudies of 2016: The Best of the Rest

The year is drawing to a close, which means that the compliance period is ending for a third of Colorado’s attorneys. Still missing some credits? Don’t worry, CBA-CLE has got you covered.

Today on Legal Connection we are featuring the Best of the Rest: the top programs and homestudies in the areas of law not previously covered, including construction law, disability law, agricultural law, water law, natural resources law, immigration law, and marijuana law. Although these practice areas are varied, the homestudies and programs featured below are top-notch. For practitioners in these areas of law, visit cle.cobar.org/Practice-Area to find more programs and homestudies in your area of practice, and visit cle.cobar.org/Books to search our selection of books.

Construction Law — Residential Construction Defect Law 2016: Intermediate to Advanced Class
The program will highlight significant construction defect liability, damages and insurance developments occurring over the past two years and described in the Fifth Edition of Residential Construction Law in Colorado (CLE in Colo., 2015) written by Ronald M. Sandgrund, Scott F. Sullan and Leslie A. Tuft. A copy of the book is included as part of the course materials. No written materials other than a list of cases and statutes discussed will be supplied. This program is an advance program and is not intended to provide a general overview of construction defect law or practice. Each Homestudy includes a PDF copy of the CLE book, Residential Construction Law in Colorado, 5th Edition. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 3 general credits.

Immigration Law — Immigration Law 2016
Attend this program and you will receive practical training for representing individuals in immigration proceedings, including juveniles and survivors seeking asylum and other humanitarian relief. Topics covered include: Immigration Law 101, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U Visas, T Visas, and VAWA, Cancellation of Removal and Trial Advocacy Skills in Immigration Court, Asylum Law, and Model Asylum Hearing. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits.

Water Law — Water Law 101 in 2016
This is the eighth in a series of courses related to Colorado water law and administration. This particular course will introduce you to the basic legal framework governing Colorado water law, rights, and administration as of 2016. You will become familiar with court cases, matters and issues critical to your understanding of water and water law in Colorado. You will learn about Colorado’s different types of water rights, how they are administered, the role of the State and Division Engineers, and what is required for changes of water rights. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits.

Environmental Law — Colorado’s Future Energy Economy: Legal Landscape
Attend this program and hear perspectives of officials and leaders at national and state and federal government levels on the direction of Colorado’s energy industry. Plus, gain invaluable insights on such from environmentalists, the energy industry, academia, and private firm practitioners. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn about the latest developments in the legal landscape behind Colorado’s energy and natural resources industries. Attend this program and personally unravel the issues with the experts. AND, at the same time, you will sharpen your practice skills and expand your knowledge to better serve your clients! Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

Natural Resources Law — Oil, Gas, and Mining: Current Legal Issues
This Oil, Gas and Mining Law program is the one to attend to get up to speed on energy issues currently affecting Colorado and the West. You will leave this seminar with a better understanding of the latest regarding pertinent litigation, regulations and solutions for quieting title, financing, and distressed companies. Taught by experts, this program will provide you with an opportunity to network with colleagues and experts, and to catch up on hot topics in the energy law arena. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 9 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

Disability Law — Social Security Disability: Advanced Practice
Your distinguished panel of Judges, ODAR and Colorado Disability Determination Services Officials, a vocational expert, and seasoned private firm SSDI practitioners will provide you with the latest information on: Changes, Statistics, and Findings of the Colorado Disability Determination Services Office, What’s Happening in Region 8 and at Headquarters – Office of Disability Adjudication and Review?, State of the Denver Regional Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Attorney Fee Agreements and Fee Petitions, How-to’s of Vocational Expert Examination, Perspectives of the Appeals Council, Appeals Council and Federal District Court Arguments, Case Law and Rulings, and How to File in Federal Court and Win! Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 8 general credits.

Agricultural Law — Rural Land Transactions: Contract Issues
Whether you represent the buyer or seller of ranch land, cattle, timber or recreational ranches, farms or other rural lands, this program is for you! Attend and your faculty of seasoned real estate attorneys and brokers will guide you through the nuances of rural land transactions, and help you avoid mistakes and potential pitfalls. You will receive straightforward guidance on Buyer Entity Pros and Cons, Federal Grazing Permits, Water, Mineral and Wind Rights, Growing Crops, and much more. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 4 general credits.

Marijuana Law — Enforcing Cannabis Contracts, Including the Use of Arbitration in the Cannabis Industry
A key fear in the cannabis industry is the extent to which cannabis-related contracts are enforceable. This goes beyond contracts for the sale of cannabis itself and may include any number of legal instruments that touch a cannabis business. Although a number of recent court decisions in the Colorado state and federal courts indicate a trend toward the enforcement of cannabis-related contracts, and these cases will be discussed, many doubts remain regarding the enforceability of cannabis-related contracts. Arbitration provides a unique forum for the resolution of cannabis-related disputes that may provide greater legal certainty and enforceability. This CLE presentation covers the nuts and bolts of arbitration law relevant to the enforcement of purportedly illegal contracts, and goes beyond to identify techniques counsel should consider when drafting arbitration clauses for cannabis businesses and their partners. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 3 general credits.

Bills Requiring Electronic Recording of Certain Interrogations, Promoting Employment for Disabled Individuals, and More Signed

On Friday, June 10, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed 96 bills into law, and allowed one to pass to the Secretary of State without a signature. In the 2016 legislative session, the governor signed 371 bills, vetoed two, and allowed two to pass without a signature this legislative session. The bills signed Friday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1014 – Concerning the Creation of the Business Intelligence Center Program Within the Department of State, by Rep. Angela Williams and Sen. Jack Tate. The Secretary of State’s Office currently operates a Business Intelligence Center under its Business and Licensing Division to streamline access to public data and provide resources to make the data more useful. This bill formally creates the BIC in statute and authorizes the department’s operation of the program.
  • HB 16-1021 – Concerning Providing the Opportunity to Collect Identifying Information from Applicants for State-Issued Cards, by Rep. Joseph Salazar and Sens. Jessie Ulibarri & Ellen Roberts. The bill requires the DMV to modify the application process for state ID cards and drivers’ licenses, requiring the revised application to allow applicants to self-identify their race or ethnicity.
  • HB 16-1031 – Concerning a Requirement that Legislative Council Staff Present a Study of the Transportation Commission Districts of the State to the Transportation Legislation Review Committee, by Rep. Terri Carver and Sen. John Cooke. The bill requires that the Legislative Council Staff with the cooperation of the Colorado Department of Transportation submit a report to the Transportation Legislation Review Committee no later than August 1, 2016, that details changes since the last time the Transportation Commission districts were modified.
  • HB 16-1034 – Concerning Emergency Medical Responder Registration in the Department of Public Health and Environment, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Lang Sias and Sen. Leroy Garcia. The bill renames “first responders” as “emergency medical responders” and requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to begin a voluntary registration program on July 1, 2017.
  • HB 16-1056 – Concerning a Requirement that the Holder of an Abandoned Motor Vehicle Use the Records of a National Title Search to Notify Persons with an Interest in the Motor Vehicle that the Vehicle has been Towed and is Subject to Sale, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Max Tyler and Sens. Randy Baumgardner & Nancy Todd. The bill broadens the records search employed by the Department of Revenue to locate owners and lienholders of abandoned motor vehicles.
  • HB 16-1077 – Concerning the Recreation of the Statutory Revision Committee, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The statutory revision committee was initially created in 1977 to investigate statutory defects, but was repealed in 1985. This bill recreates the eight-member committee in the Legislative Department and establishes guidelines for committee selection, composition, and procedures.
  • HB 16-1080 – Concerning Assault by Strangulation, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Mike Foote & Lois Landgraf and Sens. John Cooke & Michael Johnston. The bill classifies strangulation with the intent to cause serious bodily injury as first degree assault, and strangulation with intent to cause bodily injury as second degree assault. The bill designates second degree assault by strangulation as an extraordinary risk crime, thus increasing the maximum presumptive sentence range.
  • HB 16-1112 – Concerning the Creation of the Training Veterans to Train Their Own Service Dogs Pilot Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Lois Landgraf and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill creates the Training Veterans to Train Their Own Service Dogs Pilot Program in the Department of Human Services. The program will identify up to ten eligible veterans to pair with dogs selected by qualified trainers. Program participants will foster, train, and ultimately use the dogs as their own service or companion animals.
  • HB 16-1117 – Concerning a Requirement that Custodial Interrogations Related to Investigations for Certain Serious Felonies be Electronically Recorded, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Daniel Kagan & Lori Saine and Sens. Irene Aguilar & John Cooke. The bill requires law enforcement officials who are investigating a class 1 or 2 felony or a felony sexual assault to make an audio-video recording of custodial interrogations occurring in a permanent detention facility.
  • HB 16-1160 – Concerning the Continuation of the Surgical Assistant and Surgical Technologist Registration Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Joann Ginal & Chuck Longtine and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill extends the sunset of the regulation of surgical assistants and surgical technologists until September 1, 2021.
  • HB 16-1172 – Concerning the Reestablishment of a Standing Efficiency and Accountability Committee by the State Transportation Commission, and, in Connection Therewith, Expanding the Membership and Responsibilities of the Committee, Subjecting the Committee to Sunset Review, Requiring a Committee Member to Disclose a Personal or Private Interest that Could be Affected by a Proposed Committee Recommendation and Abstain from Any Committee Vote to Adopt or Reject the Recommendation, and Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Lori Saine & Dianne Primavera and Sens. Chris Holbert & Tim Neville. The bill requires the Transportation Commission to reestablish the standing Efficiency and Accountability Committee under the Colorado Department of Transportation. It expands committee membership to include four state legislators and representatives of counties, municipalities, nonpartisan good governance organizations, and others as determined by the commission.
  • HB 16-1175 – Concerning the Administration of the Property Tax Exemptions for Qualifying Seniors and Disabled Veterans, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Dianne Primavera & Dan Nordberg and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Tim Neville. The bill requires the sharing of information among state and local government agencies to help identify applicants that do not meet the legal requirements for the Senior and Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemptions.
  • HB 16-1211 – Concerning Licensing Marijuana Transporters, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sens. Randy Baumgardner & Cheri Jahn. The bill creates state medical and retail marijuana transporter licenses to be issued by the Marijuana Enforcement Division in the Department of Revenue, and allows for the issuance of a local medical marijuana transporter license. A marijuana transporter provides logistics, distribution, and storage of medical and retail marijuana and marijuana-infused products, but is not authorized to sell marijuana under any circumstances.
  • HB 16-1222 – Concerning Increasing the Availability of Supplemental Online Education Resources, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating the Statewide Supplemental Online and Blended Learning Program and Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Bob Rankin & Max Tyler and Sens. Nancy Todd & Owen Hill. The bill creates the Supplemental Online and Blended Learning Program and requires that the Colorado Department of Education designate a Board of Cooperative Educational Services to design and articulate a statewide plan for supplemental online and blended learning, and to lead, manage, and administer that statewide program.
  • HB 16-1232 – Concerning Continuation of the Authority of the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue to Issue Written Responses Upon the Request of a Taxpayer, by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill continues the authority of the Department of Revenue to issue general information letters and private letter rulings through September 1, 2023.
  • HB 16-1234 – Concerning the Consideration of Methods for Selecting State Assessment Alternatives that Maintain the Existing State Assessment Requirements, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Gordon Klingenschmitt & Jonathan Singer and Sens. Michael Merrifield & Vicki Marble. The bill requires that the Colorado Department of Education investigate methods for and costs of creating or selecting new state assessments in mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies.
  • HB 16-1260 – Concerning Extending the Criminal Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Assault to Twenty Years, by Rep. Rhonda Fields and Sens. John Cooke & Michael Johnston. The bill extends the criminal statute of limitations for felony sexual assault to 20 years. The sexual assault offenses covered by the bill may be class 2, 3, or 4 felonies, depending on the circumstances.
  • HB 16-1261 – Concerning Continuation of the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2015 Sunset Report Issued by the Department of Regulatory Agencies and Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Randy Baumgardner. The bill extends the sunset of the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code until September 1, 2019, and makes several changes regarding licensing, rulemaking, industry operations, county-initiated ballot measures, and criminal provisions.
  • HB 16-1262 – Concerning Measures to Improve Peace Officer Hiring, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring Employment Waivers as Part of the Background Check Process for a Person Applying for a Position as a Peace Officer who has Worked as an Officer and Giving the P.O.S.T. Board the Authority to Deny Certification to an Applicant who Entered into a Deferred Agreement, by Rep. Angela Williams and Sen. John Cooke. The bill requires that each candidate for a peace officer position execute a waiver to allow a hiring state or local law enforcement agency or the Department of Revenue to obtain all records about that candidate from another law enforcement or governmental agency. The hiring agency, including higher education law enforcement agencies, public transit law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Revenue, must submit the waiver to each applicable prior employer at least 21 days before making a decision.
  • HB 16-1263 – Concerning Updates to the Statutory Prohibition on Profiling by Peace Officers, by Rep. Angela Williams and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri. The bill modifies the prohibition in current law against racial profiling by law enforcement by changing the definition to include the practice of relying on race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability in determining probable cause or scope of investigation.
  • HB 16-1264 – Concerning Prohibiting the Use of a Chokehold by a Peace Officer, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. Michael Johnston. The bill clarifies that a peace officer may only use a chokehold when he or she reasonably believes that it is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third party is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury or to effect an arrest or prevent escape under certain conditions.
  • HB 16-1265 – Concerning Expungement of Arrest Records Based on Mistaken Identity, by Reps. Jovan Melton & Daneya Esgar and Sens. Michael Johnston & John Cooke. The bill requires the court to expunge the arrest and criminal records of a person who was arrested as a result of mistaken identity and who did not have charges filed against him or her.
  • HB 16-1286 – Concerning an Increase in the Percentage of a Landowner’s Costs Incurred in Performing Wildfire Mitigation Measures that may be Claimed by the Landowner for Purposes of the Wildfire Mitigation Income Tax Deduction, by Rep. KC Becker and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill increases the percentage of the wildfire mitigation state income tax deduction from 50 percent to 100 percent of the costs incurred for performing wildfire mitigation on a taxpayer’s property.
  • HB 16-1311 – Concerning Court Orders Requiring Payment of Monetary Amounts, by Rep. Joseph Salazar and Sens. Morgan Carroll & Vicki Marble. When a court imposes a sentence requiring a defendant to pay a monetary amount, the court may make arrangements for payment at a future date or in installments and must provide certain instructions to defendants. The bill specifies that these same rules apply when the court enters a judgment or issues an order requiring payment. The bill also specifies that when imposing a monetary obligation, the court must inform the defendant that if he or she is unable to pay, the court may not jail the defendant for failure to pay.
  • HB 16-1321 – Concerning Medicaid Buy-In for Persons Eligible for Certain Medicaid Waivers, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Michael Merrifield & Jack Tate. The bill directs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to seek federal authorization to implement a Medicaid buy-in program for adults who are eligible to receive home-and community-based services under the Supported Living Services Medicaid waiver, the Brain Injury waiver, and the Spinal Cord Injury waiver pilot program. HCPF must implement the Medicaid program no later than three months after receiving federal approval.
  • HB 16-1324 – Concerning the Availability of Compounded Pharmaceutical Drugs for Use by a Veterinarian to Treat a Patient’s Emergency Condition, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill allows a veterinarian to keep an office stock of compounded drugs and administer the drug to an animal for treatment of the animal’s emergency condition.
  • HB 16-1328 – Concerning Statutory Provisions Related to the Use of Seclusion on Individuals, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Pete Lee & Beth McCann and Sens. Kent Lambert & Kevin Lundberg. The bill expands the “Protection of Individuals from Restraint and Seclusion Act.” The bill adds seclusion wherever the use of restraint is limited, prohibited, or subject to specific requirements; adds that restraint and seclusion must never be used as punishment, as part of a treatment plan, as retaliation by staff, or for protection, unless ordered by the court or in an emergency; and expands the restrictions on use of restraint and seclusion to include youth, defined as anyone less than 21 years old.
  • HB 16-1339 – Concerning Agricultural Property Foreclosures, by Reps. Perry Buck & Joann Ginal and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. Under current law, the number of calendar days that must elapse between the date of the foreclosure notice and the foreclosure sale is between 110 and 125 days for residential property, and between 215 and 230 days for agricultural property. Current law requires that agricultural property be entirely agricultural in foreclosure proceedings. This bill allows property that is any part agricultural to be considered agricultural and entitled to the longer time frame.
  • HB 16-1345 – Concerning the Continuation of the Sex Offender Management Board, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2015 Sunset Report Issued by the Department of Regulatory Agencies, by Rep. Daniel Kagan and Sen. John Cooke. The bill extends the sunset of the Sex Offender Management Board until September 1, 2019, and requires the board to revise its standards and guidelines.
  • HB 16-1356 – Concerning Requirements Related to the Satisfaction of Indebtedness Secured by Real Property, by Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Kevin Nordberg and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Chris Holbert. The bill modifies the treatment of a line of credit lien secured with real property (i.e. a home equity line of credit) that has been satisfied. Under the bill, the lien continues and no release is required until the line of credit expires and the debt is satisfied, unless the debtor relinquishes all right to make further use of the line of credit by either requesting, in writing, that the line of credit be cancelled; or provides notice that the property is being conveyed upon payment of the debt.
  • HB 16-1359 – Concerning the Use of Medical Marijuana While on Probation, by Rep. Joseph Salazar and Sen. Lucia Guzman. The bill alters one of two exceptions to the prohibition against a court requiring that a person on probation refrain from possessing or using medical marijuana.
  • HB 16-1360 – Concerning the Continuation of the Regulation of Direct-Entry Midwives by the Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations Contained in the Sunset Report Prepared by the Department, by Rep. Lois Landgraf & Susan Lontine and Sen. Kevin Lundberg. The bill extends the sunset of the regulation of direct-entry midwives until September 1, 2023, and makes several changes to the scope of practice for direct-entry midwives.
  • HB 16-1362 – Concerning the Transfer of the Functions of the License Plate Auction Group to the Colorado Disability Funding Committee, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill transfers the functions of the License Plate Auction Group to the Disability Benefit Support Contract Committee and renames the entity the Colorado Disability Funding Committee.
  • HB 16-1363 – Concerning Rule-Making Authority for Medical Marijuana Advertising Directed at Underage Persons, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sens. Linda Newell & Jack Tate. The bill authorizes the Marijuana Enforcement Division in the Department of Revenue to promulgate rules related to advertising that is likely to reach underage persons under the Medical Marijuana Code.
  • HB 16-1367 – Concerning the Re-Categorization of Certain Counties for the Purpose of Determining Salaries Paid to County Officers in Those Counties, by Reps. Millie Hamner & Bob Rankin and Sens. Mary Hodge & Vicki Marble. The salary of county officers is set in statute and determined by the category of the county in which the officer serves (I through VI). Four subcategories, A through D were added to each category in 2015 under Senate Bill 15-288 for the purpose of increasing or decreasing county officer salaries. All counties are currently in subcategory A, which would result in a 30 percent increase to county officers beginning January 2019, when they are sworn in. This bill recategorizes counties resulting in smaller increases for the elected officers of those counties.
  • HB 16-1378 – Concerning Requiring Courts to Collect Money from DUI Offenders for the Purpose of Reimbursing Law Enforcement Agencies for the Cost of Performing Chemical Tests, by Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill clarifies that, when the court orders that a defendant reimburse the costs associated with the collection and analysis of chemical tests, the court is required to collect those moneys and transfer them to the law enforcement agency that performed the chemical test, except that the court is not required to do this for the Colorado State Patrol within the Department of Public Safety.
  • HB 16-1386 – Concerning a Program to Cover Vulnerable Populations’ Costs of Acquiring Necessary Documents, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill creates the Necessary Document program in the Office of Health Equity in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The purpose of the program is to help Colorado residents who are victims of domestic violence, impacted by a natural disaster, low-income, disabled, homeless, or elderly pay the fees to acquire a necessary document, includingsocial security cards, driver’s licenses, identification cards, or a vital statistics report.
  • HB 16-1391 – Concerning a Prohibition Against Nonattorneys Providing Legal Services Related to Immigration Matters, by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sen. Kevin Lundberg. The bill makes it a deceptive trade practice for anyone other than a licensed attorney or someone federally authorized to represent others in immigration matters to provide or to offer to provide legal services in an immigration matter.
  • HB 16-1393 – Concerning Procedures for Ordered Testing for Communicable Diseases, by Reps. Daneya Esgar & Michael Foote and Sen. John Cooke. Under current law, any person bound over for trial for assault; convicted of assault; or found to have provided bodily fluids to another person indicted, bound over for trial, or convicted of assault is required to submit to a medical test for communicable diseases if his or her bodily fluids came into contact with a victim, peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, or emergency medical service provider. This bill repeals that portion of current law and replaces it with a requirement that, unless a person has admitted that he or she has a communicable disease and provides confirmation, a law enforcement agency is required to ask the person to voluntarily consent to a blood test if certain conditions are met.
  • HB 16-1398 – Concerning the Requirement that the Department of Human Services Use a Request-for-Proposal Process to Contract with an Entity to Implement Recommendations of the Respite Care Task Force, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Dave Young & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Pat Steadman. The bill requires the Department of Human Services to use a competitive request-for-proposal process to select a contractor to implement the recommendations of the Respite Care Task Force. The selected contractor must have a presence in Colorado and serve individuals with disabilities or chronic conditions by providing and coordinating respite care.
  • HB 16-1402 – Concerning a Prohibition on the Use of a Device to Allow a Person to Place a Wager on a Previously Run Sporting Event, by Reps. KC Becker & Polly Lawrence and Sens. Chris Holbert & Leroy Garcia. The bill prohibits the state or any local government, or its agencies, boards, commissions, or officials from permitting the use of a racing replay and wagering device. Horse racing and related business licensees may not operate or allow any person to use racing replay and wagering devices to wager on any previously run sporting event.
  • HB 16-1404 – Concerning the Regulation of Fantasy Contests, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Cole Wist and Sens. John Cooke & Lucia Guzman. The bill establishes the registration of small fantasy contest operators and the licensure of all other large fantasy contest operators by the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies. The bill defines a fantasy contest operator as an entity that offers a fantasy contest with an entry fee and cash prize to the public.
  • HB 16-1422 – Concerning Financing Public Schools, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Millie Hamner & Bob Rankin and Sens. Kent Lambert & Pat Steadman. The bill changes the “Public School Finance Act of 1994” by modifying the funding for K-12 public schools in FY 2016-17. The bill increases base per pupil funding to $6,367.90, to reflect a 1.2 percent inflation rate.
  • HB 16-1423 – Concerning Measures to Maximize Trust in the Use of Student Data in the Elementary and Secondary Education System, by Reps. Paul Lundeen & Alec Garnett and Sen. Owen Hill. The bill creates the Student Data Transparency and Security Act, and requires that the State Board of Education, the Colorado Department of Education, and schools, school districts, and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services take actions to increase the transparency and security of student personally identifiable information.
  • HB 16-1424 – Concerning Qualifications for the Administration of Medications in Facilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Ed Vigil and Sen. Leroy Garcia. The bill changes the way state agencies handle the training and registration of personnel authorized to administer medications in certain state facilities, and changes the definition of “facility” to include services offered to intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals by the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.
  • HB 16-1425 – Concerning the Requirement for a Licensed Child Care Center to Obtain Records for a Child Enrolled in the Center on a Short-Term Basis, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill specifies that a licensed child care center is not required to obtain immunization records for any enrolled child that attends the center on a short-term basis which is defined as up to fifteen days and no more than twice per year with at least 60 days between 15-consecutive-day periods.
  • HB 16-1426 – Concerning Intentional Misrepresentation of Entitlement to an Assistance Animal, by Reps. Dianne Primavera & Yeulin Willett and Sens. Jack Tate & Cheri Jahn. The bill creates a class 2 petty offense for the intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal, for purposes of obtaining a reasonable accommodation in housing or for the misrepresentation of a service animal or service animal in training for purposes of obtaining a reasonable accommodation.
  • HB 16-1427 – Concerning Exempting Multi-Serving Liquid Retail Marijuana Products from the Sales Equivalency Limitation, by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sen. Owen Hill. The bill exempts multi-serving liquid retail marijuana products from the edible retail marijuana requirement that products be marked with a standard symbol indicating that the product contains marijuana and is not for consumption by children if the product complies with all statutory and regulatory packaging requirements for multi-serving edibles.
  • HB 16-1432 – Concerning the Rights of Private Sector Employees to Inspect Their Personnel Files, by Rep. Faith Winter and Sen. Owen Hill. The bill requires that an employer, at least annually, permit a requesting current or former employee to inspect and obtain a copy of his or her personnel file.
  • HB 16-1436 – Concerning a Prohibition on Edible Marijuana Products that are Shaped in a Manner to Entice a Child, by Reps. Dan Pabon & Joann Ginal and Sens. Linda Newell & Randy Baumgardner. The bill requires the Marijuana Enforcement Division in the Department of Revenue  to promulgate rules that prohibit the production and sale of edible medical marijuana-infused and retail marijuana products shaped like a human, animal, or fruit.
  • HB 16-1439 – Concerning the Creation of a New Alcohol Beverage License Under the “Colorado Liquor Code” to Permit a Lodging and Entertainment Facility to Sell Alcohol Beverages by the Drink for Consumption on the Licensed Premises, and, in Connection Therewith, Allowing the Holder of a Tavern License to Convert the Tavern License to a Lodging and Entertainment License or Other Appropriate License Under Specified Conditions, by Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill creates a new lodging and entertainment liquor license for facilities that provide lodging, sports, or entertainment activities as their primary business and, incidental to that business, sell and serve alcoholic beverages by the drink for consumption on the premises. These facilities must have sandwiches and light snacks available for consumption.
  • HB 16-1440 – Concerning Reducing Administrative Requirements that Pertain to the Elementary and Secondary Public Education System, by Reps. Jim Wilson & Brittany Pettersen and Sens. Michael Johnston & Chris Holbert. The bill prohibits the State Board of Education or the Colorado Department of Education from publishing the teacher effectiveness ratings for a grade level, subject area, school, or school district if the number of teachers in the reported group is small enough to enable a person to identify an individual teacher’s effectiveness rating.
  • HB 16-1442 – Concerning Technical Modifications to Laws Enacted in 2014 Governing the Administration of Nonpartisan Elections Conducted by a Local Government that are Not Coordinated by a County Clerk and Recorder, by Rep. Su Ryden and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri. The bill makes various updates to the Colorado Local Government Election Code, which governs nonpartisan special district elections that are not coordinated by a county clerk.
  • HB 16-1448 – Concerning the Relative Guardianship Assistance Program, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sens. Andy Kefalas & Kevin Lundberg. The makes several changes to the Relative Guardian Assistance Program to comply with federal regulations and clarify the qualifying legal relationships and situations that are eligible for the program. Specifically, the bill clarifies that relatives, kin, and other persons with a family-like relationship, including foster parents, are eligible for relative guardianship assistance in certain situations when a child or children cannot be returned to the physical custody of parents or legal guardians and adoption or reunification is either unavailable or not appropriate.
  • HB 16-1451 – Concerning a Requirement that the Department of Personnel Create a Procurement Code Working Group to Study Ways to Improve the State’s “Procurement Code,” by Reps. Su Ryden & Bob Rankin and Sens. Ray Scott & Rollie Heath. The bill directs the executive director of the Department of Personnel and Administration to convene a working group to meet during the 2016 interim between legislative sessions to study ways to improve the state procurement code.
  • HB 16-1457 – Concerning a Clarification of the Existing Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Residential Energy Sources, by Reps. Alec Garnett & Jim Wilson and Sens. Tim Neville & Leroy Garcia. The bill clarifies that the state sales and use tax exemption for residential uses of electricity, coal, wood, gas, fuel oil, and coke (energy sources) applies when energy sources are resold or sold to persons who are not occupants of the residence.
  • HB 16-1459 – Concerning an Increase in the Dollar Threshold for the Review of Capital Construction or Capital Renewal Projects that are Not for New Construction or New Acquisitions of Real Property for Auxiliary and Academic Facilities to be Funded Solely from Cash Funds Held by an Institution of Higher Education, by Reps. KC Becker & J. Paul Brown and Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg & Andy Kefalas. Under current law, higher education institutions may submit lists of capital construction projects anticipated to be commenced within the next two years using institutional cash funds, and costing more than $2 million, to the Capital Development Committee for review and approval. This bill increases the threshold for projects reviewed through two-year cash lists from $2 million to $10 million for everything but acquisitions, new construction, and projects financed using the state’s credit rating.
  • HB 16-1460 – Concerning the Authority of the Commissioner of Agriculture to Dispose of and Acquire Specified Real Property in Furtherance of the Department of Agriculture’s Office Consolidation, by Reps. KC Becker & Ed Vigil and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill gives the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Office of the State Architect within the Department of Personnel and Administration, the authority to sell and acquire real property specified in the bill.
  • HB 16-1467 – Concerning a State Income Tax Deduction for Amounts Earned on the Investment of Money in a First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Joseph Salazar and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill allows for the creation of first-time home buyer savings accounts, and starting tax year 2017, allows an income tax deduction for account holders equal to the interest and other income earnings on account contributions.
  • SB 16-006 – Concerning the Use of Qualified Insurance Brokers to Enroll Eligible Participants in Health Benefit Plans through the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Lang Sias. The bill requires the Colorado health benefit exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, to provide certain information about insurance brokers and health care navigators when consumers contact Connect for Health Colorado and request assistance.
  • SB 16-019 Concerning a Requirement that Court-Ordered Mental Condition Examinations be Recorded, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. John Cooke and Reps. Lori Saine & Mike Foote. The bill requires audio-visual recording of court-ordered mental condition examinations for individuals charged with class 1 or 2 felonies and felony sex offenses under sections 18-3-402, 18-3-404, 18-3-405, and 18-3-405.5, C.R.S. The court is required to notify a defendant that any examination with a psychiatrist or forensic psychologist may be audio and video recorded.
  • SB 16-030 – Concerning the Surcharges for Violating Motor Vehicle Weight Limits, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Mary Hodge and Rep. Max Tyler. Under current law, individuals convicted of violating motor vehicle weight limits or the terms of overweight permits must pay a variable penalty and a surcharge, depending on the level of excess weight. The bill changes the variable surcharge rate to a flat 16 percent of the penalty for all violations.
  • SB 16-036 – Concerning Surety Requirements when a Taxpayer Appeals a Tax Bill that the State or a Local Government Claims is Due, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Tim Neville & Cheri Jahn and Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Lang Sias. The bill changes the circumstances under which a taxpayer is required to set aside money when he or she files a notice of appeal of a tax decision with a court. The bill repeals the requirement that a taxpayer set aside money for all appeals to a district court, except in cases of a frivolous tax claim submission as determined by the Department of Revenue.
  • SB 16-040 – Concerning Changes to the Requirements for Owners of a Licensed Marijuana Business, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Chris Holbert and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill replaces the current statutory definition for owner of a licensed medical or retail marijuana business with two new ownership categories: direct beneficial interest owners  and indirect beneficial interest owners.
  • SB 16-056 – Concerning Broadening Protections of the State Whistleblower Protection Law for State Employees Who Disclose Confidential Information to Certain State Entities that have Legal Requirements to Preserve the Confidentiality of the Information Disclosed, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Pete Lee. The bill expands whistleblower protections by creating whistleblower review agencies to determine if information about state operations or conduct provided by a state employee is protected from inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act, or any other provision of law.
  • SB 16-062 – Concerning Modifications to the Regulation of Veterinary Pharmaceuticals, by Sen. Vicki Marble and Reps. Jon Becker & Ed Vigil. The bill creates the Veterinary Pharmaceutical Advisory Committee in the Department of Regulatory Agencies to hear matters concerning veterinary pharmaceuticals referred by the State Board of Pharmacy, specifically related to board action on an investigation or complaint, application review, and rules.
  • SB 16-065 – Concerning Criminal Restitution, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Pete Lee. The bill modifies the treatment of restitution for criminal offenses. Specifically, it clarifies that a restitution order is in effect until paid in full or until two years after the offender’s death. Two years after the presentation of the defendant’s original death certificate to the clerk of court or the court collections investigator, the court may terminate the remaining balance of the judgment and order for restitution if, after notice, the district attorney does not object and there is no evidence of a continuing source of income of the defendant to pay restitution. This termination does not affect an associated judgment against another defendant.
  • SB 16-077 – Concerning a Collaborative Multi-Agency Approach to Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Advancing an Employment First Policy, by Sen. Andy Kefalas and Reps. Joann Ginal & Dianne Primavera. The bill outlines policies designed to increase employment opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The bill specifies five agency partners—the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, the Department of Education, the Department of Higher Education, and the Department of Human Services—that must work together to identify employment and educational opportunities for persons with disabilities.
  • SB 16-106 – Concerning Measures to Facilitate the Efficient Administration of Colorado Laws Governing Campaign Finance, by Sen. Chris Holbert and Rep. Joseph Salazar. The bill requires an Administrative Law Judge that hears campaign finance complaints to complete four credit hours of continuing legal education annually. The four credit hours must be related to election or campaign finance law and must be certified by the Colorado Supreme Court.
  • SB 16-111 – Concerning Authorizing the Colorado Mounted Rangers as Certified Reserve Peace Officers, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Paul Lundeen. The bill creates the Peace Officer Authority Colorado Mounted Rangers Study Task Force. This task force must study and make recommendations regarding whether it is appropriate for the Colorado Mounted Rangers to receive peace officer standards and training.
  • SB 16-115 – Concerning an Electronic Filing System for Documents Recorded with a County Clerk And Recorder, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating the Electronic Recording Technology Board, which is an Enterprise; Authorizing the Board to Set an Additional Filing Surcharge for a Five-Year Period; Requiring Counties to Transmit the Proceeds of the Board’s Surcharge to the State for Deposit in a Cash Fund Administered by the Board; Requiring the Board to Make Grants from the Fund to Counties to Create, Maintain, Improve, or Replace Electronic Filing Systems; Establishing Reporting Requirements for the Board; Increasing a Local Filing Surcharge; and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Reps. Dominick Moreno & Kathleen Conti. The bill creates the Electronic Recording Technology Board to issue revenue bonds.
  • SB 16-116 – Concerning the Creation of an Alternative Simplified Process for the Sealing of Criminal Justice Records Other than Convictions, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Michael Johnston and Reps. Pete Lee & Steve Lebsock. The bill provides a simplified process for sealing criminal justice records. Whenever a defendant is acquitted, completes a diversion agreement or a deferred sentence, or whenever a case against a defendant is dismissed, the court must give an eligible defendant the option to immediately seal criminal justice records. The defendant may make an informal motion in open court at the time of dismissal or acquittal or may later file a written motion.
  • SB 16-131 – Concerning the Management of Assets for Individuals, and, in Connection Therewith, Clarifying that a Fiduciary’s Authority is Suspended after a Fiduciary Receives Notice that a Petition for the Fiduciary’s Removal has been Filed, Protecting an Adult Ward or Protected Person’s Right to an Attorney Post-Adjudication, and Preventing a Fiduciary from Paying Court Costs or Fees from out of an Estate after Receiving Notice of an Action for the Fiduciary’s Removal, by Sen. Jack Tate and Reps. Dan Pabon & Yeulin Willett. The bill reorganizes and updates the probate code and laws governing the management of an individual’s assets. It clarifies when an unprobated will may be used as part of a proceeding and that judgment and decree will convey legal title as opposed to equitable title.
  • SB 16-140 – Concerning Certificates of Title Issued for Motor Vehicles Purchased from Motor Vehicle Dealers, by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp. The bill provides an affirmative defense that a dealer has taken reasonable action to deliver or facilitate the delivery of the certificate of title within 30 days if the dealer has, at a minimum processed and mailed any required loan payoffs; contacted the prior lender and taken the necessary action to obtain the vehicle’s title or duplicate title, which must be free of liens; taken any action necessary to obtain information or signatures from the prior owner; submitted all paperwork that the dealer has obtained to the county clerk; and corrected any errors in any filings with the DOR in a reasonable amount of time.
  • SB 16-143 – Concerning a Reduction in Annual Liquor Licensing Fees for Specified Licensees, by Sen. Owen Hill and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill changes the amounts for annual license fees for a distillery or rectifier manufacturer’s license and for a wholesaler’s liquor license.
  • SB 16-145 – Concerning an Alternative Mechanism for Creating a Subdistrict of the Colorado River Water Conservancy District, by Sens. Randy Baumgardner & Kerry Donovan and Reps. Dianne Mitsch Bush & Yeulin Willett. The bill provides an alternative method for the Colorado River Water Conservation District to form subdistricts.
  • SB 16-147 – Concerning Creating the Colorado Suicide Prevention Plan to Reduce Death by Suicide in the Colorado Health Care System, by Sens. Linda Newell & Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Brittany Pettersen. The bill establishes the Colorado suicide prevention plan within the Office of Suicide Prevention in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Through system-level implementation in the criminal justice and health care systems, the plan is intended to reduce suicide rates in Colorado.
  • SB 16-156 – Concerning Certain Legislative Oversight Committees, and, in Connection Therewith, Modifying the Manner in Which Members are Appointed to the Committees, Allowing Temporary Appointments to the Committees, and Specifying that the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council Also Serve as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Legislative Council, by Sens. Mark Scheffel & Lucia Guzman and Reps. Crisanta Duran & Brian DelGrosso. Under current law, legislators are appointed to the Legislative Audit Committee, Committee on Legal Services, and the Legislative Council by either the President of the Senate or Speaker of the House and are approved by a majority of members in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. The bill specifies that the appointing authority for each of the three applicable committees may make appointments to temporarily replace a current committee member.
  • SB 16-163 – Concerning a Study of an Organizational Recoding of Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes Governing Professions and Occupations, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Michael Johnston and Rep. Daniel Kagan. The bill requires the Office of Legislative Legal Services to study a recodification of Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which contains state laws regulating professions and occupations. OLLS must solicit input, including estimates of the fiscal impact, from the Judicial Department, specified state agencies, local governments with regulatory authority, representatives of the regulated professions and occupations, and the public.
  • SB 16-164 – Concerning Clarification that a Private Probation Supervision Provider can File Legal Process Against a Probationer Under His or Her Supervision, by Sen. John Cooke and Rep. Pete Lee. The bill allows a private probation provider to issue a summons and file a complaint with the court for a defendant under his or her supervision.
  • SB 16-165 – Concerning the Requirements for an Insurance Company to be Deemed to Maintain a Home Office or Regional Home Office in This State for Purposes of the Tax on Insurance Premiums Collected by the Insurance Company, by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Dave Young. The bill expands the criteria that an insurance company may satisfy in order to qualify for a reduced insurance premium tax rate. Specifically, it removes the requirement that companies that maintain significant direct insurance operations perform specific operational functions in Colorado in order to qualify for the lower insurance premium tax paid by companies with home offices or regional home offices in Colorado.
  • SB 16-166 – Concerning the Creation of Transportation Fuel Distributors’ Tax Liens, by Sen. Laura Woods and Rep. Daniel Kagan. The bill allows a fuel distributor to file a lien against a fuel retailer for any unreimbursed gasoline and special fuel taxes that the distributor pays to the Department of Revenue. It also establishes the priority for the lien and requirements for filing and enforcing the lien.
  • SB 16-167 – Concerning a Reduction in the Severance Tax Occupational Fund Reserve for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year, by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Bob Rankin. Under current law, the reserve requirement for the Severance Tax Operational Fund for a given fiscal year is equal to total operating appropriations for Tier 1 programs and 15 percent of Tier 2 transfers. This bill reduces the portion of the reserve requirement based on the Tier 1 programs by $2.98 million for FY 2016-17 only.
  • SB 16-172 – Concerning the Election by a Person to Receive Electronic Notification of Certain Information from a County Relating to a Pending Property Tax Dispute, by Sen. Laura Woods and Reps. Max Tyler & Perry Buck. Under current law, a county board of equalization must mail notices of hearings and decisions to the petitioner’s who dispute property tax valuations made by the county assessor. This bill allows a board of county commissioners to pass ordinances allowing for notices of hearings for the abatement and refund of taxes, notices of hearings for petitions for appeal, and decisions related to these hearings to be emailed or faxed to the petitioner or the petitioner’s agent.
  • SB 16-173 – Concerning Authorization for Golf Cars to Cross State Highways in Order to Use a Local Road as Authorized by Local Authorities, by Sen. Rollie Heath and Rep. KC Becker. The bill allows a local authority to authorize a person driving a golf car on a local road to cross a state highway at an at-grade crossing in order to continue traveling on the local road.
  • SB 16-178 – Concerning the Grand Junction Regional Center Campus, by Sens. Kent Lambert & Andy Kefalas and Reps. Dave Young & J. Paul Brown. The bill directs the Department of Human Services, within the parameters of certain guiding principles related to relocating individuals receiving services on the campus to home-like settings of their choosing, to vacate the Grand Junction Regional Center campus and list the campus for sale no later than July 1, 2018.
  • SB 16-179 – Concerning Improvements to the Processes Used by the Department of Labor and Employment Regarding the Employment Classification of an Individual for Purposes of Unemployment Insurance Eligibility, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Ellen Roberts & Rollie Heath and Reps. Brian DelGrosso & Pete Lee. The bill directs the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to develop guidance on and establish a position to serve as a resource for employers on the proper classification of workers for unemployment insurance purposes, audit findings, and options for appealing or curing an audit.
  • SB 16-180 – Concerning a Specialized Program Within the Department of Corrections for Certain Offenders who were Convicted as Adults for Offenses They Committed as Juveniles, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Laura Woods & Cheri Jahn and Reps. Daniel Kagan & Kim Ransom. The bill requires the Department of Corrections to create a specialized program for offenders who committed a felony as a juvenile and were sentenced as an adult.
  • SB 16-181 – Concerning the Sentencing of Persons Convicted of Class 1 Felonies Committed While the Persons Were Juveniles, by Sens. Laura Woods & Cheri Jahn and Reps. Daniel Kagan & Timothy Dore. The bill allows for juvenile offenders who were sentenced to a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a class 1 felony committed as a juvenile between July 1, 1990, and July 1, 2006, to petition the court for a resentencing hearing. It specifies factors that can be considered in order to make a finding of the presence of extraordinary mitigating circumstances, such as the offender’s age and maturity level at the time of the crime, and his or her capacity for rehabilitation.
  • SB 16-183 – Concerning a Clarification of the General Assembly’s Intent to Maintain the Public Utilities Commission’s Authority Over Basic Emergency Services while Prohibiting the Regulation of Internet-Protocol-Enabled Services by Defining the Term “Basic Emergency Service” in a Manner that is Consistent with Such Intent, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Mark Scheffel & Andy Kerr and Reps. Angela Williams & Polly Lawrence. The bill clarifies that the Public Utilities Commission in the Department of Regulatory Agencies has no regulatory authority over the originating service providers of basic emergency service.
  • SB 16-186 – Concerning Disclosure Requirements to be Applied to Small-Scale Issue Committees Under Colorado Law Governing Campaign Finance, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Susan Lontine. The bill defines a small-scale issue committee as an issue committee that has accepted or made contributions or expenditures in an amount that does not exceed $5,000 during an applicable election cycle for the purpose of supporting or opposing any ballot issue or question. This bill amends the disclosure, reporting, and registration requirements for small-scale issue committees under the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
  • SB 16-197 – Concerning the Retail Sale of Alcohol Beverages, and, in Connection Therewith, Restricting the Issuance of New Liquor-Licensed Drugstore and Retail Liquor Store Licenses Except Under Specified Circumstances; Allowing Liquor-Licensed Drugstore and Retail Liquor Store Licensees to Obtain Additional Licenses Under Limited Circumstances; Repealing the Limit on the Alcohol Content of Fermented Malt Beverages on January 1, 2019; and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Reps. Angela Williams & Dan Nordberg. The bill makes several changes to laws related to the licensing of liquor-licensed drugstores and retail liquor stores licensed with the Liquor Enforcement Division within the Department of Revenue. Click here to read the governor’s press release about this bill.
  • SB 16-199 – Concerning Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and, in Connection Therewith, Determining the Capitated Rate for Services and Creating an Ombudsman for Participants in Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Ray Scott & Pat Steadman and Reps. Brian DelGrosso & Joann Ginal. The bill requires that contracts between the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and organizations providing a program of all-inclusive care for the elderly include the negotiated monthly capitated rate for services. The rate must be less than the amount that would have been paid for services to the PACE participant under the regular Medicaid state plan if the person were not enrolled in PACE.
  • SB 16-208 – Concerning Maintaining the Same Funding Calculation for a Charter School that Converts from a District Charter School to an Institute Charter School or from an Institute Charter School to a District Charter School, by Sen. Owen Hill and Reps. Angela Williams & Lang Sias. The bill clarifies that if a district charter school converts to an institute charter school, or an institute charter school converts to a district charter school, the converted school’s funding is still calculated using the formula that applied to the school before the conversion.
  • SB 16-217 – Concerning Measures to Expedite the Litigation of Workers’ Compensation Claims, by Sen. Owen Hill and Rep. Angela Williams. The bill establishes new requirements concerning the reduction of workers’ compensation payments in cases that involve an admission of liability by an employer and propose to reduce the amount of compensation paid to a claimant.
  • SB 16-218 – Concerning Matters Related to State Severance Tax Refunds, by Sens. Kent Lambert & Pat Steadman and Reps. Millie Hamner & Bob Rankin. The bill addresses a severance tax refund obligation arising as a result of the Colorado Supreme Court’s April 25, 2016, decision in BP America v. Colorado Department of Revenue. The bill creates a mechanism for refunds of severance tax revenue to businesses, including businesses that revise their severance tax returns to claim additional tax deductions for tax years 2012 through 2015.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2016 legislative decisions, click here.

e-Legislative Report: Week of March 14, 2016

Welcome to another edition of the e-leg report. We’re nearing the halfway point at the capitol, and that means the state budget debate is at hand. A number of bills that the CBA is working are subject to appropriations – and only after the budget debate is settled will we know whether they are likely to be funded or not.

Feel free to drop me a line on how we are doing or raise an issue on a piece of legislation. Contact me at jschupbach@cobar.org.

CBA 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. Members are welcome to attend the meetings—please RSVP if you are interested.

LPC Meeting held Friday, February 26, 2016

There was no meeting of the LPC on March 4. We will be considering a number of bills this coming week, but here is a quick rundown of the bills on which we have recently taken a position.

HB 16-1165 – Colorado Child Support Commission Statutory Changes
The LPC voted to seek an amendment to this bill, which was subsequently added in the House before the bill was passed on to the Senate. The amendments offered clarify the calculations of parenting time in certain circumstances

HB 16-1275 – Taxation Of Corporate Income Sheltered In Tax Haven
The LPC voted to oppose this bill because of vague language that could result in unnecessary litigation and an additional burden on the judiciary.

HB 16-1270 – Security Interest Owner’s Interest In Business Entity
This is the first of a package of four business law clean-up bills from the Business Law Section. It aims to protect the security interest of owners and secure the “pick a partner” provision in Colorado law for all types of business entities.

SB 16-131 – Overseeing Fiduciaries’ Management Of Assets
This bill, written by members of the Trust & Estate and Elder Law sections, clarifies provisions in the Colorado Probate Code regarding a person’s right to counsel and the removal of a fiduciary.

SB 16-133 – Transfer Of Property Rights At Death
This bill clarifies the process and rights associated with property transfers after death by clarifying existing law and providing that the Colorado Probate Code prevails over the Uniform Power of Appointment Act where the Colorado Probate Code is better suited for the state’s probate process.

Bills that the LPC is monitoring, watching or working on can be found here.

New Bills of Interest

HB 16-1339 – Agricultural Property Foreclosure
Current law establishes the initial date of sale of foreclosed property based on who is selling the property and whether the property is agricultural or nonagricultural. Property is nonagricultural unless all of the property is considered agricultural. The bill extends the provisions relating to agricultural property to property in which any part is agricultural.

SB 16-148 – Require Civics Test Before Graduating from High School
Under existing law, each high school student must satisfactorily complete a civics course as a condition of high school graduation. In connection with this requirement, the bill requires each student who is enrolled in ninth grade during or after the 2016-17 school year to correctly answer, before graduating from high school, at least 60 questions from the civics portion of the naturalization test (test) used by the United States citizenship and immigration services. The school district, charter school, or school operated by a board of cooperative services (local education provider) that enrolls the student may allow the student to take the test on multiple occasions while enrolled in ninth through twelfth grade and, if necessary, to repeat the test until the student correctly answers at least 60 questions. Once the student correctly answers 60 questions, the local education provider will note the accomplishment on the student’s transcript. A student who has a disability is excused from this requirement, except to the extent it may be required in the student’s individualized education program. The superintendent or principal of a local education provider may waive the requirement for a student who meets all of the other graduation requirements and demonstrates the existence of extraordinary circumstances that justify the waiver. Each local education provider has complete flexibility in determining the manner of delivering the test and may incorporate the test into its existing curriculum. A local education provider shall not use the results of the test in measuring educator effectiveness.

SB 16-150 – Marriages By Individuals In Civil Unions
The bill addresses issues that have arisen in Colorado regarding marriages by individuals who are in a civil union or who entered or who will enter into a civil union after the passage of the bill. 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 two 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 two individuals who are the same sex. The bill states that a civil union license and a civil union certificate do not constitute evidence of the parties’ intent to create a common law marriage. 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 the 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 a 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, 2016, to include a person who, while married, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in the state with another person not his or her spouse and to include a person who, while still legally in a civil union, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in the state with another person not his or her civil union partner. mmittees of the Bar Association.

Top Ten Programs and Homestudies for Construction, Environmental, Water, and Oil and Gas Law

As 2015 winds to a close, we continue our review of the Top Ten Programs and Homestudies in various practice areas. In case you missed it, we previously reviewed the Top Ten Programs and Homestudies in ethics, family law, trust and estate law, real estate law, litigation, business law, employment law, and criminal law. Today, we have consolidated several related practice areas, because there is often a great deal of overlap in the programs for these practice areas. And now, here are the Top Ten Programs and Homestudies for Construction, Environmental, Water, and Oil and Gas Law.

10. Mechanics’ Liens: Advanced Issues. Mechanics’ liens are the stuff of nightmares for homeowners. This program tackles some of the tough issues with mechanics’ liens, including oil and gas liens, priority following a public trustee sale, and the impact of a bankruptcy filing on a mechanics’ lien. Three general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

9. Oil and Gas Law Nuts and Bolts. This Oil and Gas Law Nuts and Bolts program is for attorneys who are new to the oil and gas arena or want to expand their practice. It is also for attorneys who have been practicing in the area and want to refresh their knowledge, get up-to-date on recent developments, or simply want essential information on oil and gas law. Eight general credits, including one ethics credit; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

8. Agricultural, Environmental, and Water Law Symposium 2014: The Great Drought and What It Means To You. From agriculture to tourism, real estate, and oil and gas development, the lack of water is affecting many segments of our economy and communities across the state. This program brings together some of the top public officials, academics, and attorneys to address the great western drought and how you can help your clients respond to it. Four general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

7. Oil and Gas Law Advanced Topics 2015. Power up your oil and gas practice and knowledge as you learn about the legal framework for oil and gas in the Rocky Mountain West region, emerging title issues, ethics, master limited partnerships, and federal access issues. Eight general credits, including one ethics credit; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

6. Colorado’s River Basins: A Comprehensive UpdateThis program provides insights on basins in 6 of Colorado’s 7 water divisions. Topics discussed include water administration related to marijuana cultivation, alternative transfer methods, surface water irrigation improvement rules implementation, water rights versus property rights in storm water management, new/proposed groundwater rules, and more. Seven general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

5. Oil and Gas Development in Colorado: Balancing Energy and the Environment. Striking the balance: energy production and use is desirable, but not without challenges and risks. Environmental regulation is effective and positive, but not without costs. Learn how hot button energy and environmental interests are being balanced by state and local governments, the energy industry, environmental and technical professionals, and practitioners. Eight general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

4. Mechanics’ Liens: Getting Paid for Accomplished Work. When a homeowner does not pay for work that has been done on his or her property, the construction workers can assert a lien on the subject property. Whether you represent the homeowner or the construction worker, there is much to learn about this area of the law! Although mechanics’ liens are effective tools, there are numerous pitfalls in meeting the deadlines for recording a mechanics’ lien, for accurately drafting the lien, and for correctly serving the lien. Learn about the nuances of mechanics’ liens in this program. Four general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

3. Water, Oil, and Gas: Nuts and Bolts of Oil and Gas Leases, Surface Use Agreements, and Water Rights for Non-Oil and Gas Attorneys. This program focuses on critical water, oil and gas issues in Colorado. This program provides those who don’t practice in the area with essential information regarding oil and leases, surface use agreements, government’s role in authorizing locations for oil and gas development; the ins and outs of nontributary and produced nontributary ground water and nontributary ground water as a landowner asset. Six general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

2. Residential Construction Defect Law Update 2014. The program will highlight recent liability, damages and insurance developments as discussed in the 2013 Fourth Edition of Residential Construction Law in Colorado (CLE) authored by Ronald M. Sandgrund, Scott F. Sullan and Leslie A. Tuft. A PDF copy of the book is included as part of the course materials, along with a summary list of significant, recent cases. Three general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

1. Basics of Mechanics’ Liens and Verified Claims. The ins and outs of mechanics’ liens are addressed in this program, including who can claim a lien, what may be liened, commercial and residential property, what pleadings are needed to assert a lien, lien waivers, and more. A PDF copy of the CLE book, Colorado Liens and Claims Handbook, is included as part of the course materials. Five general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Special District May Regulate Use of Property It Owns

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Aspen Springs Metropolitan District v. Keno on Thursday, July 16, 2015.

Metropolitan District—Real Property—Trespass—Willful—Fence Law—Contempt—Remedial Sanctions—Purge Clause.

Keno maintained a flock of sheep and grazed it on a parcel of land known as the “Greenbelt.” The Greenbelt was owned by Aspen Springs Metropolitan District (Aspen Springs). In 2011, the Aspen Springs Board passed a resolution prohibiting the grazing or tethering of livestock on the Greenbelt without the Board’s prior written permission. Keno continued to graze his sheep on the Greenbelt, and Aspen Springs sought an injunction preventing the grazing. Keno nonetheless continued to pasture his sheep on the Greenbelt and had twice been found in contempt by the time the court issued its final judgment permanently enjoining Keno from allowing his animals to graze on the Greenbelt.

On appeal, Keno contended that, as a special district and creature of statute, Aspen Springs lacks authority to regulate the use of property it owns. Among the express powers granted to special districts are the powers “[t]o acquire, dispose of, and encumber real and personal property including, without limitation, rights and interests in property, leases, and easements necessary to the functions or the operation of the special district.” The right to own property is necessary to these express powers. Property ownership generally includes the power to exclude others. Therefore, a special or metropolitan district may regulate the use of and access to property it owns. Accordingly, the district court did not err in holding that Aspen Springs has the power to prohibit and limit grazing activities on the Greenbelt.

Keno also contended that the district court erred in concluding that the Fence Law protects Aspen Springs from a willful trespass onto the Greenbelt, despite the fact the Greenbelt is unenclosed by a lawful fence. The Fence Law does not protect livestock owners who deliberately pasture their livestock on unenclosed lands of another, particularly when done against the owner’s will. Accordingly, the district court did not err in concluding that the Fence Law protects Aspen Springs from willful trespass onto its property.

Keno further asserted that the court erred in awarding attorney fees and costs as a remedial sanction after finding him in contempt a second time for violating the preliminary injunction. A remedial sanction must include a purge clause. Because the sheep grazing activities that resulted in Keno’s contempt citation were not ongoing at the time of the contempt hearing, Keno could not purge his contempt because he could not undo what he had done. Therefore, remedial sanctions, such as the assessment of costs and attorney fees, could not be imposed against Keno under these circumstances, and the trial court erred in awarding them. Instead, the court could impose only punitive sanctions. The judgment was affirmed in part and the order was vacated in part.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Regarding Renewable Energy Credits, Pesticide Applicators, and Drinking Water Fund for Nonprofits Signed

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper signed three bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 227 bills into law. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 15-1377 – Concerning the Ability of Cooperative Electric Associations to Obtain Renewable Energy Credits Through the Operation of Shared Retail Distributed Generation Facilities, by Reps. Dominick Moreno & Jon Becker and Sens. Kevin Grantham & Kerry Donovan. The bill allows shared generation of renewable energy from sources other than community solar gardens.
  • SB 15-119 – Concerning Continuation of the Regulation of Pesticide Applicators by the Department of Agriculture, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2014 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies, by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. KC Becker. The bill continues the Pesticide Applicators’ and changes membership of the Pesticide Advisory Committee.
  • SB 15-121 – Concerning the Eligibility for Financing Provided by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority of a Public Water System that is Not Owned by a Governmental Agency, by Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Timothy Dore. The bill allows the Drinking Water Revolving Fund to be used for nonprofits for drinking water projects.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2015 legislative decisions, click here.

Tenth Circuit: The Government Has the Right to Regulate Its Own Property

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Jones on Friday, October 3, 2014.

Stanley Jones is a cattle rancher in Wyoming. His brother owns base properties close to two BLM public lands — the Sandstone and Cannady allotments. Mr. Jones frequently allows his cattle to graze on the BLM lands, despite lacking a permit to do so lawfully. After numerous administrative trespass notices and fines, the BLM brought criminal charges against Jones through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wyoming for one count of unlawful use of public lands and two counts of allowing his livestock to graze on public lands without authorization. Mr. Jones pled not guilty to all charges and requested a jury trial. At trial, Mr. Jones was convicted on all counts and sentenced to two years probation on each count, to be served concurrently, a $3,000 fine, a $75 special assessment fee, all contingent on his compliance with certain terms and conditions. Pro se, Mr. Jones appealed his convictions.

Mr. Jones implored the Tenth Circuit to consider the true and honest facts, which the Tenth Circuit considered a sufficiency of the evidence challenge. The Tenth Circuit considered the evidence against Mr. Jones, including that he has never been a permittee for grazing on public lands, he was told numerous times that he was not allowed to graze his cattle on the lands, he was told to remove his property from public lands, and he was fined for failure to remove his property and cattle from the public lands. The Tenth Circuit found overwhelming evidence to support Mr. Jones’ convictions.

The Tenth Circuit next addressed Mr. Jones’ contention that the trial court should have allowed his proposed testimony that the government should comply with Wyoming’s fence-out laws. However, this testimony was not related to the issues at hand, and it would have confused the jury. The government has the right to regulate its own property. The trial court’s exclusion of the fence-out evidence was proper.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed Mr. Jones’ convictions.