Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we erroneously published an e-Legislative Report from 2015. The current e-Legislative Report is below. We apologize for the confusion.
Hello loyal e-leg report readers, here is this week’s installment of the world under the Gold Dome; as always, we welcome your feedback, thoughts, comments and questions. This news report is designed to keep you up to date on the activity of interest to the bar, and to lawyers across practice areas that are happening at the Capitol.
Things move pretty fast this time of year, and we’re off to a busy start – the legislature has released over 300 bills for consideration, committees are meeting and negotiations and amendments are happening hundreds of times a day. The capitol is humming for sure!
Feel free to drop me a line on how we are doing or raise an issue on a piece of legislation. Contact me at email@example.com
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, January 29, 2016
The following bills were discussed at the LPC last week. Other bills of interest from that agenda are tracked and updated below.
SB 16-013 Concerning Statutory Changes Related to the Office of the Child Protection
The bill addresses several items in the statutes relating to the office of the child protection ombudsman (office), including:
Clarifying that the child protection ombudsman board’s (board) duties are advisory only; Shifting the responsibility for accountability in policies and procedures from the board to the office; Clarifying that the ombudsman cannot be subpoenaed by independent parties to testify in personal custody proceedings; and Removing the statutory requirement for an audit of the office by the office of the state auditor but leaving it at the discretion of the legislative audit committee to request such an audit at a future date.
The CBA – through the Legislative Policy Committee is seeking to amend this bill to restore the ability to subpoena the Ombudsman. This is an important part of the process, and a vital step to access to data that might be otherwise unavailable.
HB 16-1085 Concerning Simplifying the Process for Returning to a Proper Name after Decree of Dissolution
Under current law, a party to a divorce or legal separation may request in the petition that his or her prior name be restored as part of the decree of dissolution or legal separation. This process to restore a prior name does not involve a background check or publication of the name. However, if the party does not change his or her name at the time the decree of dissolution or legal separation is entered, he or she must follow the procedures for a name change under civil law that include a fingerprint-based background check and publication of the name.
Subject to certain conditions, the bill permits a party to a dissolution or legal separation action to request the restoration of his or her prior full name by filing a motion in the court that granted the divorce or legal separation. The ex-parte motion does not require notice to the other party to the divorce or legal separation. The bill includes the requirements for filing the motion and the conditions under which the court must grant the motion.
The bill also clarifies that the provisions of the adult name change statute do not apply to a party to a dissolution or legal separation action who requests restoration of a prior name pursuant to the new statute.
The CBA supports this legislation. We are working with the sponsor with respect to an amendment that would require notice be given to the other party in the dissolution.
Bills that the LPC is monitoring, watching or working on can be found at this link:
@ the Capitol – These are the bills we are focused on:
HB 16-1051 Forms To Transfer Vehicle Ownership Upon Death
On and after the effective date of the bill, the department of revenue (department) shall make available a beneficiary designation form (form) that allows the owner or joint owners of a vehicle to arrange to transfer ownership of the vehicle to a named beneficiary upon the death of the owner or upon the death of all joint owners of the vehicle. Upon the death of the owner or of the last surviving joint owner, the beneficiary may present the form to the department and request a new title of ownership of the vehicle in the beneficiary’s name. The request must be accompanied by: Proof of the death of the vehicle’s owner or proof of the death of the last surviving joint owner of the vehicle; and the statutory fee for an application for a certificate of title.
Upon the presentation of a properly executed and notarized form and the accompanying documents and fee, the department, subject to any security interest, shall issue a new certificate of title to the beneficiary.
The transfer of ownership of a vehicle via a form is not considered testamentary and is not subject to the provisions of the “Colorado Probate Code”.
The CBA is working with the sponsor and other attorneys to ensure that the intent of the bill is harmonized with existing laws, and that it will work well once enacted into law.
HB 16-1077 Recreate Statutory Revisions Committee
The statutory revision committee created in 1977 and repealed in 1985, was a standing body tasked with making an ongoing investigation into statutory defects and anachronisms. The bill recreates the committee. The recreated committee is comprised of 8 members, with the majority and minority party leaders of each chamber of the general assembly appointing 2 members of those bodies. The committee is staffed by the office of legislative legal services, and is charged with: Making an ongoing examination of the common law and statutes of the state and current judicial decisions for the purpose of discovering defects and anachronisms in the law and recommending needed reforms; Receiving, soliciting, and considering proposed changes in the law from legal organizations, public officials, lawyers, and the public generally as to defects and anachronisms in the law; Recommending legislation, from time to time, to effect such changes in the law as it deems necessary in order to modify or eliminate antiquated, redundant, or contradictory laws; and Reporting its findings and recommendations from time to time to the committee on legal services and annually to the general assembly.
The CBA is working with the Sponsors to offer amendments to shape the scope and membership of this committee. We believe that the members and expertise of the Bar Association can provide value to the committee upon enactment, and into the future, should the bill pass.
HB 16-1145 Documentary Fee For Residential Real Property
Currently, a person filing a real property conveyance document with a county clerk and recorder must pay a documentary fee if the consideration for the conveyance is more than $500. The amount of the fee is based on the consideration paid, which is the total sales price to the purchaser, unless there is evidence of a separate consideration paid for personal property.
For purposes of the documentary fee, the bill changes the determination of the consideration paid for the grant or conveyance of residential real property as follows: Eliminates any reduction for a separate consideration paid for personal property from the total sales price; Generally requires the consideration amount listed on the grant or conveyance document to be used to determine the documentary fee; and If there is no consideration amount or the amount listed on the grant or conveyance document is $500 or less, and there is a related declaration filed, then the total sales price listed on the declaration is used to determine the documentary fee. The bill also specifies that, unless indicated as commercial or industrial real property at the time of recording, a grant or conveyance is deemed to be of residential real property for the purpose of determining the documentary fee.
The CBA has significant concerns about this bill and the effects it will have upon real property transactions across the state. We have been working with the stakeholders and sponsors to try and improve the bill, and to try and find a solution to the documentary fee challenges, but without harming other important aspects of property transactions.
SB 16-026 Personal Rights Of Protected Persons
A guardian or conservator shall not restrict a protected person’s right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons, including the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, or personal mail, unless such restrictions are authorized by a court order. A court may issue an order restricting the communications, visitations, or interactions that a person may have with a protected person upon a showing of good cause by a guardian or conservator. In determining whether to issue such an order, the court shall consider certain factors. An interested person, including the protected person, who reasonably believes that a guardian or conservator has violated a court order or abused his or her discretion in restricting a protected person’s right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons may move the court to: Require the guardian or conservator to grant a person access to the protected person; Restrict, or further restrict, a person’s access to the protected person; Modify the guardian or conservator’s duties; or Remove the guardian or conservator.
A guardian or conservator who knowingly isolates a protected person in violation of law or a court order is subject to removal. With certain exceptions, a guardian or conservator shall promptly notify a protected person’s closest known family members and any person designated by the protected person to be notified in the event that the protected person: Changes his or her residence; Resides at a location other than the protected person’s residence for more than 7 days; Is admitted to a medical facility for acute care or
emergency care; or Dies.
The CBA supports the intent and purpose of this legislation. We offered testimony that outlined our belief that this was a significant bill, outlined some concerns we had for how the bill might not work well with existing statute, and reaffirmed our commitment to continuing our work with the sponsor.
New Bills of Interest
These are a few of the new bills. They have been sent to our Sections for review and comment. If you have any questions about these – or any other bills at the legislature, please drop me a line and I’m happy to help you however I can.
HB 16-1115 Prohibition of Sealing Municipal Domestic Violence Convictions
Under current law, conviction records related to municipal offenses are eligible for record sealing. The bill prohibits sealing a municipal assault or battery conviction or any other municipal conviction, if the conviction involves the underlying factual basis of domestic violence.
HB 16-1117 Electronic Recording for Certain Custodial Interrogation
The bill requires all law enforcement agencies to have audio-visual recording equipment available and policies and procedures in place for preserving custodial interrogations by January 1, 2017. A peace officer must record custodial interrogations occurring in a permanent detention facility if the peace officer is investigating a class 1 or 2 felony or a felony sexual assault. A peace officer does not have to record the interrogation if: the defendant requests that the interrogation not be recorded and the defendant’s request is preserved by electronic recording or in writing; The recording equipment fails; The recording equipment is unavailable, either through damage or extraordinary circumstances; Exigent circumstances related to public safety prevent recording; or The interrogation takes place outside of Colorado.
The court may admit evidence from a custodial interrogation that is not recorded. When offering evidence from an unrecorded interrogation, if the prosecution shows by a preponderance of the evidence that one of the exceptions apply or that the evidence is offered as rebuttal or impeachment evidence, the court may admit the evidence without a cautionary instruction. If the prosecution does not meet that burden, the court shall issue a cautionary instruction to the jury after admitting the evidence.
HB 16-1154 Employer Definition Clarify Franchisee Status
The bill clarifies that the definition of “employer” only includes a person that possesses authority to control an employee’s terms and conditions of employment and actually exercises that authority directly. The bill specifies that a franchisor is not considered an employer of a franchisee’s employees unless a court finds that a franchisor exercises a type or degree of control over the franchisee or the franchisee’s employees not customarily exercised by a franchisor for the purpose of protecting the franchisor’s trademarks and brand.