April 27, 2017

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.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Complaint Filed After Denial of Motion to Reconsider was Untimely

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Sterling Ethanol, LLC v. Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

Interlocutory Appeal—Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction.

Sterling Ethanol, LLC and Yuma Ethanol, LLC (collectively, Companies) are ethanol manufacturing plants that are sources of air pollution in northeastern Colorado. They are required to operate in accordance with air permits issued by the Colorado Air and Pollution Control Division (Division). After the Division issued two compliance orders addressing the Companies’ alleged violations of their air permits, Companies sought timely administrative review from the Air Quality Control Commission (Commission), which operates pursuant to the Colorado Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act (APPCA). Following an evidentiary hearing, the Commission issued a final order affirming the Division’s orders.

Companies filed a motion to reconsider, which the Commission denied. Companies then filed a complaint in the district court 69 days after the Commission issued its final order and 35 days after the Commission denied its motion to reconsider. The Commission filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing the complaint was untimely filed. The district court denied the motion. The district court, on the Commission’s request, certified for review the question whether the State Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the APPCA, and the Commission’s procedural rules, read together, compel the conclusion that the complaint was untimely filed, thus depriving the court of appeals of subject matter jurisdiction.

The court held that the district court erred in denying the motion to dismiss because Companies’ complaint was untimely. The party seeking judicial review must file a complaint within 35 days of the effective date of the Commission’s final order, even if that party first filed a motion to reconsider, and the Commission declined to reconsider its order. The plain language of the APPCA, the APA, and the Commission’s procedural rules required such a conclusion.

The order was reversed and the case was remanded for entry of an order dismissing the action.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Binding Precedent Dictates that Tree Straddling Property Line Belongs to Property Where Planted

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Love v. Klosky on Thursday, September 8, 2016.

Tree Straddling Property Line.

Plaintiffs and defendants are adjoining landowners whose common boundary is straddled by a 70-year-old tree. Plaintiffs claimed the tree was a nuisance and wanted to cut it down. Defendants wanted the tree to remain. The tree trunk has been on or over the property line for at least 40 years, and the trunk straddled the property line when both plaintiffs and defendants purchased their properties. The trial court, bound by the one Colorado Supreme Court case on point, Rhodig v. Keck, concluded that the tree was not jointly planted, jointly cared for, or treated as a partition, and entered judgment for plaintiffs. The trial court stayed the effect of its decision pending all appeals.

On appeal, defendants contended that the trial court erred in concluding that they did not jointly care for the tree as required by Rhodig. Because defendants did not provide a complete record on appeal on this issue, the Court of Appeals presumed that the trial court’s findings and conclusions were supported by the evidence.

Defendants also contended that the Colorado Supreme Court should reconsider Rhodig because it is the minority rule and it was based on a misreading of a Nebraska case on which it relied. Under the majority rule, a tree on a boundary line belongs to both owners as tenants in common and neither property owner can remove such a tree without the consent of the other. Under the minority rule enunciated in Rhodig, the landowner of the property where the tree was first planted can cut the tree down over the other landowner’s objections unless the other landowner can prove the tree was jointly planted, jointly cared for, or treated as a partition between the properties. The Court concluded that the Supreme Court might wish to reconsider Rhodig based on the many jurisdictions adopting the majority rule and two decisions in other jurisdictions criticizing Rhodig. If the Supreme Court reconsiders Rhodig and adopts the majority rule, it could remand this case to the trial court to issue an injunction to prevent the Kloskys from cutting down the tree. At oral argument, defendants agreed that the trial court’s stay should remain in effect pending any decision by the Supreme Court or the Loves’ failure to timely petition for certiorari. Accordingly, the trial court’s stay was continued.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Uniform Trust Decanting Act, Governing Law for LLCs, Funding Marijuana Research, and More Bills Signed

On Monday, June 6, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed 34 bills into law. Governor Hickenlooper vetoed a bill on Thursday, HB 16-1231, “Concerning the Limited Use of Automated Vehicle Identification Systems Designed to Detect Disobedience to a Traffic Signal.” To date, the governor has signed 251 bills and vetoed one bill this legislative session.

The bills signed Monday include a bill enacting the Uniform Trust Decanting Act, a bill amending requirements for limited liability companies, a bill limiting the applicability of the statute of frauds to partnerships, a bill allowing appropriations from the marijuana cash fund to finance marijuana research, and more. The bills signed Monday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1040 – Concerning Auxiliary Emergency Communications in the State, and, in Connection Therewith, Establishing the Auxiliary Emergency Communications Unit in the Office Of Emergency Management in the Department of Public Safety, and Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill creates the Auxiliary Emergency Communications Unit, which can establish programs for training auxiliary emergency communications across the state.
  • HB 16-1142 – Concerning the Creation of a Credit Against the State Income Tax for Rural Primary Care Preceptors Training Students Matriculating at Colorado Institutions of Higher Education, by Reps. Perry Buck & Joann Ginal and Sens. Larry Crowder & John Cooke. The bill creates a state income tax credit for licensed Colorado health care professionals who provide uncompensated personalized instruction, training, and supervision to one or more graduate students seeking a medical degree at a Colorado institution for higher education.
  • HB 16-1177 – Concerning the Continuation of the Council of Higher Education Representatives, by Rep. Janet Buckner & Brittany Pettersen and Sen. Owen Hill. The bill extends the sunset of the Council of Higher Education Representatives until September 1, 2021.
  • HB 16-1186 – Concerning the Allocation of a Portion of Fee Revenues Collected from Public Utilities to Meet Colorado’s Grant Match Obligations Under Federal Law Governing the Funding of Fixed Rail Guideway Safety Oversight Programs, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Max Tyler and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill diverts $150,000 of the public utility fees from the General Fund to the Fixed Utility Fund.
  • HB 16-1287 – Concerning a Requirement that the Department of Labor and Employment Study the Integration of Alternative Training by Colorado Businesses, by Reps. Paul Rosenthal & Jim Wilson and Sens. John Cooke & Andy Kefalas. The bill requires the Department of Labor and Employment to review its regulations that may impact the availability of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in Colorado businesses by July 1, 2017.
  • HB 16-1329 – Concerning Laws Governing Limited Liability Companies Codified in Article 80 of Title 7 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, by Rep. Pete Lee and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Rollie Heath. The bill changes state law regarding limited liability companies, including removing the requirement that a partner’s contribution to the LLC is a prerequisite to becoming a member of the company, limits the statute of frauds, and reconciles various partnership and LLC acts.
  • HB 16-1330 – Concerning Authority to File a Correction Statement with the Secretary of State if a Document Previously Filed was Delivered to the Secretary of State for Filing in Error, by Rep. Pete Lee and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Rollie Heath. Under current law, an entity may file a statement of correction with the Secretary of State’s Office to revoke a previously filed document under certain conditions. This bill allows statements of correction to also be filed for a document that was delivered and filed in error.
  • HB 16-1332 – Concerning Modifications to the Income Tax Credits for Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicles, and, in Connection Therewith, Fixing Specified Dollar Amounts for the Credits, Allowing the Credit to be Assigned to a Financing Entity, Requiring Vehicle Identification Number Tracking of the Motor Vehicle for which the Credit is Claimed, and Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Daneya Esgar and Sens. Ray Scott & Michael Johnston. The bill changes two refundable income tax credits in current law: the innovative motor vehicle credit and the innovative truck credit.
  • HB 16-1333 – Concerning Laws Governing Partnerships Codified in Title 7 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, by Rep. Pete Lee and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Rollie Heath. The bill limits the applicability of the statute of frauds to partnerships and specifies which laws govern limited partnerships.
  • HB 16-1348 – Concerning a Specific Crime of Cruelty to a Certified Police Working Dog, by Rep. Su Ryden and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill creates the crime of cruelty to a law enforcement service animal as a class 6 felony for a first offense and a class 5 felony for subsequent offenses.
  • HB 16-1349 – Concerning Continuation of the Voluntary Contribution to the Military Family Relief Fund, by Reps. Su Ryden & Dan Nordberg and Sen. Morgan Carroll. The bill extends the voluntary contribution designation benefitting the Military Family Relief Fund through tax year 2020.
  • HB 16-1368 – Concerning the Codification of Current Practice for the Management of Records of Governmental Agencies, by Rep. Max Tyler and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill clarifies and codifies the current practices of the state archivist in the Department of Personnel and Administration related to the storage and retention of state archives and public records.
  • HB 16-1373 – Concerning Requiring School Districts to Adopt a Policy Permitting the Use of Medical Marijuana by Students Authorized to Use Medical Marijuana, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sens. Chris Holbert & Vicki Marble. The bill allows school districts to adopt policies allowing medical marijuana use by students authorized to use medical marijuana.
  • HB 16-1375 – Concerning Changes to Dates for Submitting Reports that Involve the Department of Higher Education, by Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Jim Wilson and Sens. Nancy Todd & Owen Hill. Under current law, the Department of Higher Education and Department of Education are required to submit a joint report on February 1 annually. The bill changes the due date to April 1.
  • HB 16-1458 – Concerning Measures to Effectuate the Conservation of Nature Species in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Making Appropriations from the Species Conservation Trust Fund for Purposes Recommended by the Department of Natural Resources, by Reps. Ed Vigil & Don Coram and Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg & Leroy Garcia. The bill appropriates $3.0 million from the Species Conservation Trust Fund for programs that are designed to conserve native species that have been listed as threatened or endangered under state or federal law, or are likely to become candidate species.
  • HB 16-1465 – Concerning Modifications to the Colorado Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and, in Connection Therewith, Extending the Period During which the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority may Allocate Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Jon Becker and Sens. Jessie Ulibarri & John Cooke. The bill extends the number of years, from two to five years, in which the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority may allocate low-income housing income tax credits.
  • SB 16-003 – Concerning Increased Methods to Reduce Wildfire Risk, by Sens. Ellen Roberts & Matt Jones and Rep. KC Becker. The bill adds broadcast burning to the types of projects and methods for which the Department of Natural Resources may award grants from the Wildfire Risk Reduction Cash Fund, and authorizes the transfer of a total of $3.0 million into the cash fund.
  • SB 16-041 – Concerning Data Collected by the Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety Concerning the Study of Marijuana Implementation, by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Dan Pabon. Currently, the Department of Criminal Justice is required to study law enforcement activities and costs related to the personal use and regulation of marijuana. This bill repeals the section of statute that requires the study to examine law enforcement costs and repeals the requirement that the study contain information concerning marijuana-initiated contacts by law enforcement, broken down by judicial district and by race and ethnicity.
  • SB 16-085 – Concerning the “Colorado Uniform Trust Decanting Act,” by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Yeulin Willett. The bill enacts the Uniform Trust Decanting Act in Colorado, which allows a trustee to reform an irrevocable trust document within reasonable limits that ensure the trust will achieve the settlor’s original intent. The act prevents decanting—a term to describe the distribution of assets from one trust into a second trust—when it would defeat a charitable or tax-related purpose of the settlor.
  • SB 16-087 – Concerning Funding for the Highway-Rail Crossing Signalization Fund, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Max Tyler. The bill creates a one-time state transfer of $240,000 from off-the-top Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF) revenue to the Highway-Rail Crossing Signalization Fund in FY 2016-17. In FY 2017-18 and each year thereafter, the bill creates a state diversion from the General Fund.
  • SB 16-104 – Concerning Incentives to Become a Teacher in a Rural School District in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Nancy Todd & Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. Jon Becker. The bill creates several new programs to provide incentives for individuals to become teachers in rural school districts, and to support the needs of professional educators in rural school districts.
  • SB 16-132 – Concerning Clarifying that Test Results Relating to Certain DUI Offenses are Not Public Information, by Sen. John Cooke and Rep. Mike Foote. The bill requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to keep all personal identifying information related to blood alcohol content test results confidential, and specifies that the test results may only be released to the individual who is the subject of the test, his or her attorney, a named party in a civil or criminal case to which the test results are directly related, or a prosecuting attorney, law enforcement officer, state agency, or state and local public official legally authorized to use such information to carry out his or her duties.
  • SB 16-135 – Concerning a Pharmacist’s Provision of Health Care Services that have been Delegated by Another Health Care Provider, by Sen. Irene Aguilar and Rep. Joann Ginal. The bill allows health insurance plans to provide coverage for health care services provided by a pharmacist as part of a collaborative pharmacy practice agreement if certain conditions are met. Specifically, the health plan must provide coverage for the same service if it is provided by a licensed physician or an advanced practice nurse and the pharmacist must be included in the insurers network of participating providers.
  • SB 16-146 – Concerning Modernizing Statutes Relating to Sexually Transmitted Infections, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Daneya Esgar. The bill updates state law concerning sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and allows for all STIs to be treated uniformly. It removes language specifically criminalizing HIV infection.
  • SB 16-171 – Concerning Modification and Clarification of the Statutes Pertaining to the New Energy Improvement District, by Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Mark Scheffel and Reps. Max Tyler & Jon Becker. The bill requires treasurers of counties that have authorized the New Energy Improvement District program to retain a 1 percent collection fee for each NEID special assessment that it collects. The bill also requires such treasurers to distribute NEID special assessments to the NEID in the same manner, less the collection fee, as property taxes are distributed.
  • SB 16-189 – Concerning the Nonsubstantive Revision of Statutes in the Colorado Revised Statutes, as Amended, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending or Repealing Obsolete, Imperfect, and Inoperative Law to Preserve the Legislative Intent, Effect, and Meaning of the Law, by Sen. Ray Scott and Rep. Mike Foote. The bill amends or repeals obsolete, unclear, or conflicting laws. The bill also clarifies statutory language, but does not change the intent or meaning of existing statute. The bill’s appendix explains the reasons for each amendment.
  • SB 16-191 – Concerning Marijuana Research Funded by the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Bob Rankin. The bill authorizes the General Assembly to appropriate money from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund to the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System to fund scientific and social science research at CSU-Pueblo concerning marijuana and other matters that impact the state and its regions.
  • SB 16-193 – Concerning the Duties of the Safe2Tell Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Bill Cadman & Mark Scheffel and Reps. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst & Crisanta Duran. The bill requires the Department of Law to provide Safe2Tell program materials to Colorado preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, 4-H extension offices, and boys and girls clubs by August 1 of each year, beginning on June 30, 2017.
  • SB 16-195 – Concerning the Annual Appropriation of Money in the Central Fund for Veterans Centers to the State Department of Human Services, by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Bob Rankin. The bill grants the Department of Human Services continuous spending authority from the central fund for the direct costs of the operation and administration of veterans centers, and for capital construction in connection with the centers.
  • SB 16-196 – Concerning the Creation of a Pilot Program for Inclusive Higher Education for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. John Cooke & Bill Cadman and Reps. Lois Landgraf & Dave Young. The bill creates a pilot program aimed at establishing higher education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program will operate from FY 2016-17 through FY 2020-21 at three institutions: the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and Arapahoe Community College.
  • SB 16-203 – Concerning the Evaluation of State Tax Expenditures, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Reps. Millie Hamner & Bob Rankin. The bill directs the Office of the State Auditor to conduct evaluations of all state tax expenditures, and requires the evaluations to include descriptions of the expenditure’s purpose and intended beneficiaries, whether it is accomplishing its goal, costs and benefits of the expenditure, similar expenditures in other states, other businesses or programs accomplishing the expenditure’s goals, recommended changes, and performance measures used in the evaluation.
  • SB 16-204 – Concerning the Higher Education Revenue Bond Intercept Program, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Bob Rankin. The bill modifies the legislative and executive branch review and conditions of participation in the higher education revenue bond intercept program.
  • SB 16-205 – Concerning Payment for Expenses of Indigent Parents, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Millie Hamner. Under current law, the Office of the State Court Administrator receives funding to pay for an indigent parent to retain one expert witness and to obtain a transcript of the trial during a parent-child termination proceeding. Given that responsibility for retaining counsel for indigent parents in such cases is now managed by the Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC), this bill clarifies that funding for these expenses are to be appropriated to the ORPC.
  • SB 16-209 – Concerning Authorizing a School District Board of Education to Construct a Building for Lease to a State Institution of Higher Education, by Sens. Nancy Todd & Chris Holbert and Reps. Janet Buckner & Kevin Priola. The bill authorizes a school district board of education to lease school district property to a state institution of higher education and to accept in-kind services (such as tuition reduction or scholarships for their students) from the institution as all or part of the lease payments.

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

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Tuition Bill, Debt-Free Schools Act Bill, and More Signed

On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed five bills into law. To date, he has signed 177 bills this legislative session. The bills signed Tuesday include a bill to determine domicile status for in-state tuition purposes for unaccompanied homeless youth, a bill to consider whether health plans should be offered based on a single geographic area, and more. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1100 – Concerning the Ability of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth to Determine Domicile for Purposes of In-State Tuition Status at Institutions of Higher Education, by Reps. Brittany Pettersen & Daneya Esgar and Sen. John Cooke. The bill adds “unaccompanied homeless youth” to the list of persons who are qualified to determine their own domicile and to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes at state supported institutions of higher education.
  • HB 16-1276 – Concerning the Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety’s Ability to Conduct Emergency Responses at Legacy Hard Rock Mining Sites, by Reps. Millie Hamner & Don Coram and Sens. Ellen Roberts & Kerry Donovan. The bill allows the Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety to use funds from the Emergency Response Cash Fund to conduct an emergency response when circumstances exist at a legacy mine site that create a danger to public health or welfare, or to the environment.
  • HB 16-1336 – Concerning the Creation of a Single Geographic Rating Area for Health Insurers to Use When Establishing Rates for Individual Health Insurance Plans, by Reps. Millie Hamner & Bob Rankin and Sen. Kerry Donovan. The bill requires the Commissioner of Insurance to conduct a study to determine the impacts and viability of establishing a single geographic area for use in determining the premium rates for individual health insurance plans issued in Colorado.
  • HB 16-1354 – Concerning Authorization for a School District to Impose an Additional Mill Levy for the Sole Purpose of Funding Capital Construction, New Technology, Existing Technology Upgrade, and Maintenance Needs of the District Without Borrowing Money, by Reps. Diane Mitsch Bush & Jon Becker and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill, known as the “Debt-Free Schools Act,” authorizes a school district, with voter approval, to impose an additional mill levy for the sole purpose of cash funding its capital construction and facility maintenance needs without borrowing money.
  • SB 16-021 – Concerning Recognition of the Third Saturday in May as a State Holiday, and, in Connection Therewith, Designating the Third Saturday in May as “Public Lands Day,” by Sen. Kerry Donovan and Reps. Diane Mitsch Bush & KC Becker. The bill creates a new holiday, “Public Lands Day,” on the third Saturday in May.

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

Colorado Supreme Court: Ballot Initiative for Healthy Environment Consists of Single Subject

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause for 2015–2016 #63 on Monday, May 16, 2016.

Single Subject—Clear Title.

The Supreme Court held that Initiative #63 contains a single subject: the creation of a right to a healthy environment. The Court also held that the title clearly expresses Initiative #63’s single subject. The Court thus affirmed the action of the Title Board.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Implementing “SAFE Act,” Allowing Issuance of Summonses in Lieu of Warrants, and More Signed

On Thursday, April 21, and Friday, April 22, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed more bills into law. He signed 19 bills on Thursday and five bills on Friday. To date, the governor has signed 141 bills this legislative session. Some of the bills signed Thursday and Friday include a bill to limit the imposition of conditions by federal entities on Colorado water rights, changing the statutory purpose of parole in order to facilitate integration into society for parolees, limiting laws governing security interests in business entities, and more. The bills signed Thursday and Friday are summarized here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

  • HB 16-1035 – Concerning the Scope of Statutes Making the Issuance of Securities by a Public Utility Conditional on Approval by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and, in Connection Therewith, Clarifying that the Approval Requirement Applies Only to Electric and Gas Utilities, by Rep. Timothy Leonard and Sen. Ray Scott. The bill clarifies that only public electric and gas utilities are required to apply to the Public Utilities Commission for approval to issue or assume securities.
  • HB 16-1060 – Concerning Roadside Memorials for Fallen State Patrol Officers, by Rep. Max Tyler and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill requires CDOT to erect and maintain a permanent roadside memorial for every Colorado State Patrol officer who has perished on the highway in the line of duty.
  • HB 16-1093 – Concerning the Use of the National Change of Address Database to Maintain Voter Registration Records, and, in Connection Therewith, Clarifying Terminology and Consolidating Procedures for County Clerks and Recorders to Follow when it Appears that an Elector has Moved Within the State, by Reps. Kim Ransom & Su Ryden and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill changes the process that must be followed by county clerks to confirm a voter address if the monthly search determines that a voter may have moved.
  • HB 16-1104 – Concerning the Issuance of a Summons in Lieu of a Warrant for Certain Non-Violent Offenders, by Rep. Kit Roupe and Sen. John Cooke. The bill allows law enforcement officers to issue a summons in lieu of a warrant if the officer believes there is a reasonable likelihood the defendant will appear, the local district attorney approves and has developed criteria for the procedure, the defendant has had no felony arrests in the past five years, there is no allegation that the defendant used a deadly weapon, and there are no outstanding warrants for the defendant’s arrest.
  • HB 16-1109 – Concerning that the Basic Tenets of Colorado Water Law Place on the Ability of Certain Federal Agencies to Impose Conditions on a Water Right Owner in Exchange for Permission to use Federal Land, by Reps. KC Becker & Jon Becker and Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg & Kerry Donovan. The bill states that Colorado water is a transferable property right and that the federal government must comply with state law, through the water court process, to acquire water rights.
  • HB 16-1141 – Concerning the Protection of Colorado Residents from the Hazards Associated with Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in Buildings, and in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. KC Becker & Don Coram and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Ellen Roberts. The bill requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a radon education and awareness program to provide information and education statewide to citizens, businesses, and others in need of information, and requires that, by January 1, 2017, the CDPHE stablish a radon mitigation assistance program to provide financial assistance to low-income individuals for radon mitigation services.
  • HB 16-1153 – Concerning the Annual Date by which the General Assembly Receives a Report Regarding Outcomes of Decisions Made by the State Board of Parole, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. John Cooke. The bill extends the deadline by which reports on parole outcomes made by the State Board of Parole and the Division of Criminal Justice are required from November 1 to March 31.
  • HB 16-1173 – Concerning the Continuation of the Regulation of Vessels by the Department of Natural Resources, by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush and Sen. Ray Scott. The bill indefinitely removes the sunset of the Vessel Registration Program conducted by the Department of Regulatory Agencies to continue the registration and regulation of vessels program by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the Department of Natural Resources.
  • HB 16-1198 – Concerning Computer Science Courses Fulfilling Certain Graduation Requirements, by Reps. Dan Pabon & Jim Wilson and Sens. Jack Tate & Andy Kerr. The bill encourages school districts to treat computer science and coding classes as mathematics or science courses and count completion of such computer-related courses toward the fulfillment of any mathematics or science graduation requirements.
  • HB 16-1215 – Concerning Changing the Statutory Purposes of Parole to Successfully Reintegrate Parolees into Society by Providing Enhanced Supportive Services, by Reps. Beth McCann & Daniel Kagan and Sen. Lucia Guzman. The bill redefines the purpose of parole to enhance public safety by reducing recidivism, select and prepare individuals who will be transitioned into the community, set individualized conditions of parole, and achieve a successful discharge from parole.
  • HB 16-1230 – Concerning the Inclusion of a County’s Financial Information in the State’s Financial Information Database, which is known as the Transparency Online Project, by Rep. Timothy Dore and Sen. John Cooke. The bill requires counties to provide the state Chief Information Officer with a copy of the county’s adopted budget no later than 30 days after the fiscal year begins, starting January 1, 2018.
  • HB 16-1255 – Concerning Additional Methods to Manage Forests to Secure Favorable Conditions for Water Supply, by Reps. Don Coram & Ed Vigil and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill directs the Colorado state forest service to conduct demonstration pilot projects to implement forest management treatments that improve forest health and resilience, supply forest products to Colorado businesses, and target a Colorado watershed.
  • HB 16-1258 – Concerning the Posting by Court Clerks of Process When a Respondent is Served by Publication, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. Kevin Lundberg. Current law mandates that clerks of court post the process for notice of a divorce proceeding on a bulletin board in their office when one party cannot be reached. This bill adds the option that clerks can post the process on a bulletin board or the website of the district court in which the case was filed.
  • HB 16-1259 – Concerning Local District Junior Colleges, and, in Connection Therewith, Changing the Term Local District Junior College to Local District College, by Reps. Diane Mitsch Bush & Jim Wilson and Sens. John Cooke & Kerry Donovan. The bill changes all statutory references to “local junior college” or “junior college” to “local district college” and changes requirements regarding number of board members, actions taken without regular meetings, and annexation.
  • HB 16-1270 – Concerning the Limitation of Laws Governing Security Interests to an Owner’s Interest in a Business Entity, by Rep. Pete Lee and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Rollie Heath. The bill allows small businesses to control their ownership under the Colorado Corporation and Associations Act and the Uniform Commercial Code.
  • HB 16-1271 – Concerning the Ability of a Limited Winery that has a Winery Direct Shipper’s Permit to Deliver Vinous Liquors of its Own Manufacture Directly to a Personal Consumer Without the Use of a Common Carrier, by Reps. Jonathan Singer & Dan Nordberg and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Kevin Lundberg. Under current law, a limited winery licensee with a winery direct shipper’s permit may only use a common carrier to deliver the wine it manufactures to personal consumers within Colorado. This bill allows a limited winery licensee to deliver the wine it manufactures directly to personal consumers without the use of a common carrier, as long as the licensee also has a winery direct shipper’s permit and follows the requirements of the permit.
  • HB 16-1306 – Concerning Revision of the State Statutes Governing Mortgage Loan Originators to Conform More Closely to Applicable Federal Law, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending, Relocating, and Repealing Provisions in Accordance with the Federal “Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act Of 2008,” by Rep. Angela Williams and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill  amends, relocates, and repeals provisions of Colorado’s mortgage loan originator licensing statutes that conflict with or have been rendered unnecessary by recent changes to federal law, or no longer reflect current national industry standards.
  • HB 16-1316 – Concerning Procedures for Changing Venue for Proceedings Relating to a Child Placed in the Legal Custody of a County Department of Social or Human Services, by Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. John Cooke. The bill amends the Colorado Children’s Code to state that a child who is placed in the legal custody of a county department shall be deemed, for the entire period of the placement, to reside in the county in which the child’s legal parent or guardian resides or is located. This applies even if the child physically resides in an out-of-home placement located in another county.
  • HB 16-1327 – Concerning the Colorado Dental Board’s Authority to Promulgate Rules Implementing Financial Responsibility Requirements for Dental Care Providers, by Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill allows the State Dental Board to establish lesser financial responsibility requirements for professional liability insurance for dental hygienists that meet certain criteria.

Friday, April 22, 2016

  • HB 16-1070 – Concerning a Signature Verification Requirement for Municipal Mail Ballot Elections, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Patrick Neville and Sen. Tim Neville. The bill requires an election judge to compare the signature on each ballot return envelope with the signature of the eligible elector stored in the statewide voter registration system for every municipal mail ballot election.
  • HB 16-1155 – Concerning Authorization for a County to Designate a Four-Lane Controlled-Access Highway that is Located in the County as a Primary Road of the County Highway System, and, in Connection Therewith, Specifying the Jurisdiction, Control, and Duties of the County and of a Municipality Through which the Highway Passes with Respect to Such a Highway, by Reps. Lori Saine & Diane Mitsch Bush and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill allows a county with a population of 250,000 or more to designate a four-lane, controlled-access county highway in an unincorporated county area that intersects with an interstate highway or a U.S. numbered highway as a primary road of the county if the construction begins in 2016.
  • HB 16-1323 – Concerning Changing the Name of the Division of Labor to the Division of Labor and Statistics, by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. John Cooke. The bill changes the name of the Division of Labor and Employment within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics.
  • HB 16-1350 – Concerning the Department of Higher Education’s Authority to Make Transfers Relating to a Governing Board’s Fee-For-Service Contracts for Specialty Education, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Grantham. Under current law, the Department of Higher Education may transfer up to ten percent of the annual total governing board appropriation for an institution of higher education between that governing board’s appropriation for college opportunity fund (COF) stipends, and that governing board’s fee-for-service (FFS) contracts for higher education services and programs. The bill expands the department’s authority to transfer between the COF and FFS appropriations for specialty education programs.
  • HB 16-1352 – Concerning the Appropriation of Moneys from the State Museum Cash Fund for the Benefit of Facilities Owned and Operated by the State Historical Society, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill allows moneys in the fund to also be appropriated for exhibit planning, development, and build-out at other State Historical Society facilities, and, for FY 2016-17, appropriates $2 million from the fund for those purposes. The State Historical Society has four years to spend the appropriation.

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

DUI Victim Impact Panel Bill, Definition of Veteran Bill, and More Signed by Governor Hickenlooper

On Tuesday, March 22, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed nine bills into law. To date, he has signed 46 bills into law this legislative session. The bills signed Tuesday include a bill increasing the defendant’s cost for appearances before victim impact panels in DUI cases, allowing the state forest service to award grants for broadcast burns, conforming the Colorado statutory definition of “veteran” to federal law, creating an oversight committee for Colorado’s health benefit exchange, and more. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1017 – Concerning Appearances Before a Victim Impact Panel, by Reps. Dan Pabon & Polly Lawrence and Sens. John Cooke & Michael Johnston. The bill increases the cost for appearances before a victim impact panel from $25 to $50.
  • HB 16-1019 – Concerning Increased Authority to Use Broadcast Burning as a Tool to Promote Watershed Restoration, by Rep. KC Becker and Sens. Matt Jones & Ellen Roberts. The bill allows the Colorado State Forest Service to award grants for broadcast burning.
  • HB 16-1026 – Concerning the Repeal of the Department of Revenue’s Revenue Impact Accounting Requirements Related to a Group of Bills Enacted in 2010, by Reps. Dan Thurlow & Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill repeals the requirement that the Department of Revenue provide quarterly reports about the fiscal impact of certain bills passed in the 2010 legislative session.
  • HB 16-1032 – Concerning Changes to the Content of a Criminal Summons, by Rep. Susan Lontine and Sens. Nancy Todd & John Cooke. The bill removes the requirement that summons and complaints for misdemeanors, petty offenses, and misdemeanor traffic offenses contain the defendant’s license plate number, driver’s license number, and a place to sign.
  • HB 16-1125 – Concerning Creating a Colorado Statutory Reference to Conform with the Federal Definition of “Veteran,” by Rep. Catherine Roupe and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill recreates the definition of “veteran” in state law to conform with federal law and makes conforming amendments.
  • HB 16-1130 – Concerning Changes to Annual Reports Prepared by the Department of Education, by Rep. Kevin Priola and Sen. Mike Johnston. The bill changes the date on which the Office of Dropout Prevention in the Department of Education must submit a report from February 15 to March 15, starting in 2017 and continuing each year thereafter. The bill also removes requirements that the Department of Education submit to the General Assembly executive summaries of reports.
  • HB 16-1148 – Concerning the Oversight Authority of the Health Insurance Exchange Oversight Committee with Regard to Policies that Affect Consumers Proposed by the Health Benefit Exchange, by Rep. Lang Sias and Sens. Ellen Roberts & John Kefalas. The bill requires Colorado’s health benefit exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, to create and operate technical and advisory groups to report to Connect for Health Colorado’s Board on issues that affect consumers.
  • HB 16-1161 – Concerning the Allocation of Certain Money that Exceeds the Total Amount of All Warrants Issued by the State Treasurer to Reimburse Local Governmental Entities for Property Tax Revenues Lost as a Result of the Application of a Certain Property Tax Exemption, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill changes allocation of revenue from senior property tax exemptions so that five percent of the revenue will go to the Veterans Assistance Grant Program Cash Fund.
  • HB 16-1241 – Concerning a Supplemental Appropriation to the Department of Higher Education, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill provides a supplemental appropriation to the Department of Higher Education.

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

Governor Hickenlooper Signs First Two Bills Into Law

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, the governor’s office announced that Governor Hickenlooper signed the first two bills of the 2016 legislative session into law. The bills were HB 16-1018, “Concerning a Requirement that the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee Provide Advice and Comments Regarding Transportation-Related Matters to Both the Department of Transportation and the Transportation Commission Rather than to the Department Only,” and HB 16-1044, “Concerning the Extension of Dates Related to the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund.”

HB 16-1018 requires the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee to report to both the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Transportation about the needs of transportation systems and reviews and comments on all regional transportation plans. Previously, the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee was only required to report to CDOT.

HB 16-1044 extends two repeal dates for the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund. The Fund reimburses eligible applicants for the costs of cleaning up both underground and above ground petroleum tank contamination.

For all of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2016 legislative decisions, click here.

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.

Tenth Circuit: Special Conditions of Release that Affect Employment Require Specific Findings

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Rodebaugh on Tuesday, August 25, 2015.

Dennis Rodebaugh operated a hunting business in Colorado, where he would take mostly out-of-state clients on elk and deer hunting trips through the White River National Forest. Rodebaugh’s business had a high success rate for shooting animals, but at some point officials were tipped off that Rodebaugh was illegally baiting the animals by spreading salt below his deer stands. After a lengthy investigation, he was interviewed by authorities, to whom he eventually confessed that he was baiting the animals and knew it was illegal.

He was indicted on several counts of Lacey Act violations, which Act prohibits selling wildlife taken in violation of state law. Rodebaugh moved to suppress his confession, arguing it was involuntary, but the district court ultimately denied his motion. Rodebaugh also moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing the Colorado regulations against baiting were unconstitutionally vague. The district court denied his motion to dismiss without prejudice but granted leave for Rodebaugh to raise the vagueness issue at trial. During the multi-day trial, Rodebaugh again raised his vagueness argument, but he was ultimately convicted of six Lacey Act violations. The district court applied three sentencing enhancements to arrive at a Guidelines range of 41-51 months. It sentenced him to 41 months imprisonment followed by three years’ supervised release, during which time he could not engage in or accompany others in any hunting or fishing activities. Rodebaugh appealed.

The Tenth Circuit first addressed Rodebaugh’s contention that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress, arguing that his confession was involuntary and that the district court erred by making him present first at the suppression hearing. The Tenth Circuit examined the circumstances under which Rodebaugh’s confession was obtained and found it fully voluntary. Rodebaugh contended that because he had only slept three hours in the past two days, he should have been allowed to take a nap before talking to the agents, but the Tenth Circuit disagreed, finding record support that it was customary for Rodebaugh to receive little sleep and that he was coherent throughout the interview. The Tenth Circuit also evaluated the circumstances of the interview, including that it lasted only three hours, it was outdoors, and Rodebaugh was free to leave, and found that the circumstances did not support an inference of involuntariness. Next, Rodebaugh urged that his confession was involuntary because an agent told him that if he did not confess they would take his house and all his property away from him. The Tenth Circuit found this statement troubling, but not enough so to render the confession involuntary. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Rodebaugh’s motion to suppress. The Tenth Circuit also rejected Rodebaugh’s argument that the district court erred by making him present first at the suppression hearing, finding it well within the district court’s discretion to determine how best to run the courtroom.

The Tenth Circuit next evaluated and rejected Rodebaugh’s argument that the Colorado law prohibiting baiting was unconstitutionally vague, finding no support for either Rodebaugh’s facial or as-applied challenges. The Tenth Circuit also rejected Rodebaugh’s sufficiency of the evidence challenges, finding that Rodebaugh’s confession, specific testimony from an undercover agent and others, and evidence that he had salt in his home supported his convictions. Rodebaugh also challenged the procedural reasonableness of his sentence, but the Tenth Circuit found support for each of the enhancers applied by the district court.

The Tenth Circuit then turned from the majority opinion to Judge Matheson’s dissent regarding Rodebaugh’s appeal of the special condition of supervised release that prohibited him from any hunting or fishing activities. Judge Matheson noted that the district court failed to make any specific findings about imposing a restriction on Rodebaugh’s employment, which it was required to do. Judge Matheson’s dissent was well-reasoned, noting that although Rodebaugh failed to raise the argument in district court, the government failed to object when Rodebaugh raised it again, and therefore there was no prejudice in addressing the argument. Judge Matheson would have remanded to the district court for further findings on the issue of whether the employment restrictions were warranted. However, the majority opinion resumed, and the majority declined to apply the waiver-of-the-waiver argument championed by Judge Matheson. The majority decided that because Rodebaugh’s main argument against the hunting and fishing prohibition is that it deprived him pleasure, there was no need to discuss employment restrictions, and therefore the district court’s order was affirmed.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court on all counts. Judge Matheson wrote a thoughtful dissent regarding the employment restrictions imposed by the district court.

Colorado Court of Appeals: TABOR Does Not Apply to Aspen’s Grocery Bag Waste Reduction Fee

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Colorado Union of Taxpayers Foundation v. City of Aspen on Thursday, November 5, 2015.

Summary Judgment—TABOR—Waste Reduction Fee—Tax Versus Fee.

In 2011, the City of Aspen adopted an ordinance prohibiting grocers from providing customers with disposable plastic bags and requiring grocers to charge customers a waste reduction fee of $.20 for each disposable paper bag provided. For the first year, grocers were permitted to retain 25% of each fee collected up to $1,000 per month. Thereafter, grocers were permitted to retain no more than $100 per month. The remaining fees were deposited into the City’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Account. In August 2012, the Colorado Union of Taxpayers Foundation (Foundation) sued the City, alleging that the enactment of the ordinance without first obtaining voter approval violated TABOR. After a hearing on cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court concluded that the ordinance was neither subject to nor unconstitutional under TABOR.

On appeal, the Foundation argued that the trial court erred in finding that the ordinance created a fee rather than a tax and therefore was not subject to TABOR. The Court of Appeals disagreed. The primary purpose of the ordinance was to reduce waste, and the majority of the funds raised from the fee went to providing reusable bags to residents and visitors. The rest of the funds were used to finance particular services related to the reduction of trash and waste, and to fund education about those matters. The fees do not revert to the general fund but stay in an account to fund the foregoing. To date, there had been no surplus revenues from the funds.

There is a presumption that the court should choose an interpretation of TABOR that would create the greatest restraint on the growth of government. That presumption applies where multiple interpretations of TABOR are equally supported by the text. Here, the Court found that the text of the ordinance did not equally support the Foundation’s interpretation of the fee as a tax. Therefore, the presumption did not apply. The judgment was affirmed.

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