September 30, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Permanency for Child in D&N Proceeding More Important than Reestablishing Familial Ties

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of M.D. on Thursday, September 11, 2014.

Dependency and Neglect—Foster Parents—Permanency Hearing—Compelling Reason.

The La Plata County Department of Human Services (Department) filed a petition in dependency and neglect regarding M.D. due to its concerns about the parents’ history of domestic violence and substance abuse. M.D. was placed with foster parents and, based on father’s admission to certain allegations in the petition, including that he tested positive for methamphetamine, the court adjudicated the child dependent and neglected and adopted a treatment plan for father (mother’s rights were not at issue in this case). The district court later entered judgment allocating a majority of parenting time and sole decision making authority for M.D. to the foster parents.

On appeal, father contended that the court erred in concluding that it need only find a compelling reason to allocate parental responsibility to a nonparent under the permanency hearing statute. Because CRS §19-1-115 concerns only temporary custody awards and the court’s order here was a permanent custody order, the findings under §19-1-115(6.5) were not required. Further, there was evidence in the record that the child needed permanency and that a complete transition back to father would be difficult and probably result in harm to the child.

The record also reflects that the Department made reasonable efforts to finalize permanent placement of the child and that procedural safeguards were in place to protect father’s rights. In addition, because father was not deprived of all of his parental rights, and because the trial court retained jurisdiction to modify its existing order, the trial court order relating to father’s custody and visitation rights did not require a finding of unfitness to protect his fundamental liberty interest. The record supports the court’s findings regarding several compelling reasons as to why the child could not be returned home under §19-3-702(4). Therefore, the court did not abuse it’s authority to award permanent custody to the foster parents. The judgment was affirmed.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Question of Prospective Harm Inappropriate for Summary Judgment in Dependency and Neglect

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of S.N. on Thursday, September 11, 2014.

Parental Rights—Termination—Dependency and Neglect—Summary Judgment—Prospective Harm.

The Boulder County Department of Human Services (Department) removed S.N. from her parents’ custody at birth because a hearing on termination of parental rights involving the parents’ three older children was pending. The trial court adjudicated S.N. dependent and neglected by summary judgment based entirely on a theory of prospective harm.

On appeal, the parents argued that the trial court erred by granting summary judgment on the Department’s petition for dependency and neglect regarding S.N. There were material facts that could affect the determination of whether S.N. should be adjudicated dependent and neglected. Therefore, the question of prospective harm was inappropriate for summary judgment because the parent’s prior conduct alone can never be sufficiently predictive of future conduct to take the question from a trier of fact by summary judgment. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with directions.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Life Sentence Without Parole Unconstitutional for Juvenile Offender

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Gutierrez-Ruiz on Thursday, August 28, 2014.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel—Sentence—Juvenile—Life Without Parole—Eighth Amendment.

While defendant was driving a car, his passenger (co-defendant) shot at a truck, wounding the driver. Co-defendant later shot at another car, killing the driver. Defendant was a juvenile at the time of his arrest. A jury convicted defendant of first-degree murder after deliberation and first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. The trial court sentenced him to life without parole on the murder count and to ten years and one day on the assault count.

Defendant raised a number of claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. However, these claims were procedurally barred. Defendant further contended that his appellate counsel failed to advise him of the one-year limitation period for filing a section 2254 petition. This did not warrant relief because appellate counsel did not have an obligation to advise appellant of this post-conviction option.

Defendant asserted, the People agreed, and the Court of Appeals concurred that defendant’s mandatory sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole was unconstitutional. Defendant’s sentence of life without parole violates the Eighth Amendment because it was imposed without any opportunity for the sentencing court to consider whether this punishment is just and appropriate in light of defendant’s age, maturity, and the other factors. Accordingly, the case was remanded for resentencing.

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

Tenth Circuit: Doctors who Instituted Medical Hold to Prevent Child’s Discharge Not Entitled to Absolute Immunity

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Thomas v. Kaven on Tuesday, August 26, 2014.

M.T., the minor daughter of plaintiffs Legina and Todd Thomas, was placed in a mental health center after revealing suicidal ideation to a police officer who was interviewing her after her parents learned she may have been sexually assaulted. While in the hospital, M.T.’s doctors diagnosed her with a panoply of psychiatric disorders and wanted to start psychotropic medicine. Plaintiffs refused, concerned that the diagnoses were inaccurate and worried about serious side effects. The doctors reported Plaintiffs to the New Mexico Child, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) for their resistance to M.T.’s treatment. After several weeks, Plaintiffs attempted to remove M.T. from the hospital, and the doctors instituted a medical hold to prevent Plaintiffs from removing M.T. The doctors and hospital initiated court proceedings five days later, but discharged M.T. after holding her for seven days because her insurance would no longer authorize treatment. The doctors again reported Plaintiffs to CYFD for medical neglect based on their decision not to medicate their child. M.T. returned to school and nothing came of the report.

Plaintiffs sued, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on violations of their Fourteenth Amendment right to direct their child’s medical care and right to familial association. The defendant doctors asserted absolute and qualified immunity and moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, holding Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing the district court erred in granting the motion to dismiss because their complaint alleged sufficient facts to sustain their claims of violations of their right to direct their child’s medical care and right to familial association.

The Tenth Circuit clarified that Defendants are not entitled to absolute immunity for seeking a judicial order regarding M.T.’s care. Defendants’ decision to prevent M.T.’s discharge was based on a medical hold that did not invoke the judicial process. The Tenth Circuit next evaluated whether dismissal was appropriate based on qualified immunity, which is usually applied at the summary judgment stage rather than in a motion to dismiss.

As to Plaintiffs’ claims that their right to direct their child’s medical care was violated, the Tenth Circuit disagreed, noting that Plaintiffs’ claim rested on Defendants’ report to CYFD, and since nothing ever came of the report, mere allegations were not enough to violate their parental rights. However, as to Plaintiffs’ claim of violation of the right to familial association, the Tenth Circuit determined Plaintiffs alleged sufficient facts to illustrate a violation. The Tenth Circuit could not tell from the record whether Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity and remanded for this determination.

The district court’s dismissal was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.

JDF Forms Revised in Domestic, Probate, Seal My Case, and Other Categories

The Colorado State Judicial Branch revised many forms in July and August 2014. Several summons forms in the Domestic Relations category were revised, and additions of Returns of Service and Waivers and Acceptance of Service were made available for download as Word documents to accompany the revised forms. A new category was added for sealing underage alcohol and marijuana cases for offenses occurring after July 1, 2014. Forms were also amended in the Adoption, DMV Appeal, Probate, Miscellaneous, and Water categories.

Forms are available for download here as PDF documents, and are available as Word documents or Word templates from State Judicial’s Forms page.

Adoption

  • JDF 506 – “Notice of Adoption Proceedings and Summons to Respond” (revised 8/14)

Appeals

  • JDF 599 – DMV Appeal – “Complaint for Judicial Review Pursuant to Title 42, C.R.S., Request for Stay and Designation of Record” (revised 8/14)

Domestic

  • JDF 1102 – “Summons for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1102(a) – “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1102(b) – “Return of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1222 – “Summons for Registration of Foreign Decree” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1222(a) – “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1222(b) – “Return of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1251 -“Summons for Dissolution of Civil Union or Legal Separation of Civil Union” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1262 – “Summons for Declaration of Invalidity of Civil Union” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1262(a) – “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1262(b) – “Return of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1406 – “Motion to Modify/Restrict Parenting Time” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1414 – “Summons to Respond to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1414(a) – “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1414(b)- “Return of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1502 – “Summons in Paternity” (8/14)
  • JDF 1502(a)- “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1502(b)- “Return of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1515 – “Summons to Disclaim Paternity” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1515(a)- “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1515(b)- “Return of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1602 – “Summons for Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 1602(a)- “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” (8/14)
  • JDF 1602(b)- “Return of Service”

Guardianship/Conservatorship/Probate/Trust & Estate

  • JDF 998 – “Instructions for Completing Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 800 – “Acknowledgment of Responsibilities Conservator and/or Guardian” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 848 – “Order Appointing Guardian for Adult” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 861 – “Petition for Appointment of Conservator – Minor” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 878 – “Order Appointing Conservator for Adult” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 999 – “Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit” (revised 8/14)

Miscellaneous

  • JDF 36 – “Petition for Relief Pursuant to §13-5-142.5 OR §13-9-124 From Federal Firearms Prohibitions Imposed Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §922(d)(4) and (g)(4)” (8/14)

Seal My Case

  • JDF 323 – “Instructions to File a Petition to Seal Records Related to Underage Possession or Consumption of Alcohol or Marijuana (MIP)” (8/14)
  • JDF 313 – “Petition to Seal Records Related to Underage Possession and Consumption of Underage Alcohol or Marijuana (MIP)” (8/14)
  • JDF 314 – “Order Regarding the Sealing of Records Related to Underage Possession or Consumption of Alcohol or Marijuana (MIP)” (8/14)
  • JDF 416 – “Instructions to File a Petition to Seal Arrest & Criminal Records” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 417 – “Petition to Seal Arrest & Criminal Records” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 418 – “Order to Seal Arrest & Criminal Records” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 419 – “Order and Notice of Hearing (Sealing of Records)” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 435 – “Order Denying Petition to Seal Arrest & Criminal Records” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 611 – “Instructions to Seal Criminal Conviction Records” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 612 – “Petition to Seal Criminal Conviction Records” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 613 – “Order Denying Petition to Seal” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 614 – “Order and Notice of Hearing” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 615 – “Order to Seal Criminal Conviction Records” (revised 8/14)
  • JDF 617 – “Certificate of Mailing (Sealing and Conviction Actions)” (revised 8/14)

Water

  • JDF 295W – “Standardized Instructions for all Colorado Water Court Divisions” (revised 8/14)

For all of State Judicial’s forms, click here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Juvenile Court’s Combination of Sentencing Options Produced Illegal Sentence

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of J.S.R. on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

Illegal Sentence—Juvenile.

J.S.R. was adjudicated a juvenile delinquent in two previous cases and had two new delinquency cases pending against him. He entered into a plea agreement wherein he pleaded guilty to one count of felony menacing and one count of possession of a handgun by a juvenile in exchange for dismissal of the remaining two counts and the other pending case. Sentencing was left to the court’s discretion.

The court accepted the plea, adjudicated J.S.R. (then 17 years old) a juvenile delinquent as a mandatory sentence offender, and sentenced him to the Department of Youth Corrections (DYC) for a determinate one-year mandatory minimum term of commitment and a mandatory parole period. The court ordered one year of probation immediately following his release from the DYC and advised him that, because he would be 18 upon his release, he would be subject to a county jail sentence if he did not comply with probation.

J.S.R. completed his term of commitment and began serving his probationary term in February 2013. In June and July 2013, the probation department filed petitions to modify or revoke J.S.R.’s probation, which resulted in his arrest. J.S.R then filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, alleging the probationary term was illegal. The district court denied the motion.

The Court of Appeals firstinterpreted a court’s authority to impose a combination of sentencing options under CRS § 19-2-907. The Court concluded that CRS §§ 19-2-907 and -908(1)(a) can be harmonized and applied together; however, here, the district court erred in the combination that it chose, thereby imposing an illegal sentence.

The Court noted that, in general, probation is an alternative sentence to commitment. A prison sentence is generally punitive, and probation is intended to be rehabilitative. CRS §§ 19-2-907 and -925(1)(b) allow a combined sentence of commitment and probation, but only if the term of commitment is limited to no more than forty-five days. Because J.S.R.’s sentence was a combined sentence of commitment and probation, and the period of commitment exceeded the forty-five day maximum, the sentencing court exceeded its statutory sentencing authority and that the sentence was illegal. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with directions to resentence J.S.R. to a determinate one-year mandatory minimum commitment to the DYC, nunc pro tunc to the original date of sentencing, and to correct the mittimus accordingly.

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

Tenth Circuit: ALJ’s Opinions Unsupported by Sufficient Evidentiary Findings

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Knight v. Colvin on June 24, 2014 as an unpublished opinion. On July 30, 2014, the Tenth Circuit granted the parties’ Unopposed Motion to Publish and reformatted the opinion as a published opinion.

Dawn Knight applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for her daughter, P.K., in April 2007, claiming that her daughter suffered hearing loss, a learning disability, ADHD, and “temper.” In July 2007, Dr. David LaCourt evaluated P.K. for the New Mexico Disability Determination Services Unit. He reported that she was taking Dextroamphetamine for her ADHD, had written a self-harming note recently, and was reading at a second-grade level even though she was in fourth grade at the time of the examination. P.K.’s third and fourth grade teachers filled out functional assessment questionnaires and indicated that P.K. had serious problems acquiring and using information. In September 2009, P.K.’s fifth grade teacher filled out a similar questionnaire, noting the same problems with acquiring and using information and also detailing P.K.’s aggressive behavior on the playground.

Dr. E.B. Hall managed P.K.’s medication regimen from 2007 through 2010. His notes reflected behavioral problems including threatening a sibling with a knife, hearing voices, hitting another child in the face, mood swings, and failure to take her medication. He also noted, however, that P.K. was getting good grades at school.

In March 2010, P.K. was evaluated at Hogares, a mental health evaluation and treatment center for children. There, she told the therapist that she often thinks about killing herself, that she hears voices and thinks people are talking about her when they are not, and that she feels like nothing is ever going to get better for her. The therapist diagnosed P.K. with ADHD, oppositional-defiant disorder, bipolar disorder, and adjustment disorder with anxiety. The therapist noted that P.K. was doing poorly in school, apparently due to her mental health problems.

In June 2010, Knight and P.K. appeared before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Both P.K. and Knight testified as to P.K.’s behavior, performance in school, and medications. The ALJ found that P.K. suffered from hearing loss, a reading disorder, and ADHD, but concluded that none of these impairments medically or functionally equalled an impairment listed in the regulations. He rejected Dr. Hall’s opinions and those of the Hogares therapist, concluding they were only credible insofar as they supported a finding that P.K. was not disabled.

Knight sought review from the Appeals Council and submitted additional therapy notes from Hogares to evidence that P.K. inconsistently takes her medication and that one of the goals of therapy was to stop P.K. from talking about harming herself and others. Knight also reported that they were being kicked out of their housing arrangement because P.K. had broken a window and punched a hole in the wall. The Appeals Council denied review. Knight then appealed to the district court. The district court adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that the petition be denied. Knight then appealed to the Tenth Circuit.

The Tenth Circuit’s review was limited to whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards and whether the agency’s factual findings were supported by substantial evidence. First, the Tenth Circuit addressed Knight’s contention that the ALJ improperly discounted her credibility, Dr. Hall’s opinions, and the functional equivalency of P.K.’s impairments. The Tenth Circuit found that the ALJ dismissed Knight’s testimony without making necessary credibility determinations. The ALJ referred to credibility only generically, saying that statements were only credible to the extent they supported a finding that P.K. was not disabled. There was no record whether his statements applied to Knight, P.K., or both. There was also no record of what evidence, if any, belied Knight’s or P.K.’s testimony. The Tenth Circuit reversed and remanded for a proper credibility determination.

Next, the Tenth Circuit turned to Knight’s challenge to the ALJ’s determination that P.K. has only a marked limitation in interacting and relating with others. Knight argued that the ALJ improperly diminished the importance of Dr. Hall’s opinion, which characterized P.K.’s limitation as extreme. The Tenth Circuit was unable to tell if the evidence was sufficient to discredit Dr. Hall’s opinion, since the ALJ did not adequately link evidence to its vague reasoning discounting Dr. Hall’s opinion. The Tenth Circuit reversed and remanded for sufficient findings on this issue as well.

Knight next contended that the ALJ improperly determined that P.K. has less than a marked limitation in the domain of caring for herself. Focusing on the child’s “personal needs, health, and safety,” the Tenth Circuit found adequate references in the record to P.K.’s suicidal ideation and refusal to take medication. The Tenth Circuit found the ALJ’s determination “devoid of support” in the record and remanded for determination of the severity of P.K.’s impairment. The Tenth Circuit also addressed additional findings that would be needed on remand and directed the ALJ to reevaluate P.K.’s functioning in all domains.

The Tenth Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded so that the district court could remand to the proper agency for further findings consistent with the Tenth Circuit’s opinion.

Fostering Success Legal Clinic — Why MVL is Addressing the Needs of Foster Kids!

By Peggy Hoyt-Hock, MVL Board Member

Foster Children. . . What comes to mind when you read this term? When I think of foster children, I tend to visualize something out of Oliver Twist . . . a group of young kids, hanging together, with little supervision. Then of course, I think of Jane Eyre, Annie or Harry Potter. Upon further reflection, I recall a few friends and acquaintances,who have on occasion mentioned that when young, they were fostered until perhaps being adopted or otherwise growing into successful, professional adults.

Then, consider this statistic: In the US, just over 30 percent of typical kids obtain a bachelor’s degree by age 25. When compared to children from the foster care system this number drops to two percent! Until writing this blog, I was unaware of the gap; honestly never giving the topic much thought. This difference presents just one example of the significant challenges children who age-out of the foster system must face.

The phone call came out of the blue. A professional young attorney, in fact an MVL Rovira Scholar introduced herself. “I am calling to ask you to serve as a volunteer for the first MVL Fostering Success Legal Clinic in July.” I asked her to tell me more about it. In the course of our conversation, I confirmed my commitment and discovered that Leeah Lechuga had direct personal experience with the foster care system.

If time would allow, we would both place individual calls to each good hearted attorney we know asking them to volunteer for this new Fostering Success Legal Clinic. Since neither of us have time, we are publishing this blog.

MVL has been fortunate to have had our recent Rovira Scholar, Leeah Lechuga. She reached out to share some of the challenges faced by an individual who ages-out of the foster care system. Leeah is a young and dynamic Colorado attorney, who recently left MVL for a Clerkship in the 18th Judicial District. If you happen to see her there, please join us in thanking her for arranging to have MVL partner with others to establish the new MVL“Fostering Success Legal Clinic.”

Snippets of the interview follow:

Peg, Q: You have personal experience with having to navigate the system. Can you share what it was like?

Leeah, A: My experience with my only out-of-home placement was wonderful. My foster parents made my experience with the system transformative.

It was the other systems that were difficult, after I aged out — student financial aid, finding an apartment, buying a car — I felt lost and incompetent constantly. I also felt lost in other ways, particularly recognizing the value in healthy relationships and building a healthy community. That is so important, but it took me a long time to get here.

Peg, Q: What can you tell the attorneys who read this blog, and may consider volunteering for this clinic — particularly those who may not have volunteered with MVL before — with regard to specific knowledge, skills, or experience they need?

Leeah, A: Attorneys, your willingness to be there is the biggest thing.

It is followed closely by a willingness to be an open book. Most of the legal issues won’t be complex. But you never know what seemingly trivial answer will unlock a whole new level of understanding and way of thinking for these young people. Something you say may connect with something that was said or overheard in a previous encounter. You can be transformative.

If you have not signed up to help with this clinic yet, please do so now. Let’s see how many lives the “Fostering Success Legal Clinic” can help transform over time! If you are interested, please contact diannev@denbar.org.

This article originally appeared on the MVL blog on July 3, 2014.

Colorado Supreme Court: Juvenile’s Statements Made Voluntarily and Not While in Custody

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. N.A.S. on Monday, June 30, 2014.

Juvenile Custody Under Miranda—Voluntariness and Coercion.

In this interlocutory appeal, the People sought review of the trial court’s order suppressing statements of the juvenile defendant. The trial court found that defendant was in custody when he made the statements; that he did not waive his Miranda rights knowingly, voluntarily, or intelligently; and that the statements were involuntary.

The Supreme Court held that, in light of the totality of the circumstances, defendant was not in custody when he made the statements, and he spoke voluntarily. Accordingly, the Court reversed the trial court’s suppression order and remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Case-by-Case Evaluation of Summary Judgment Appropriateness Needed in Prospective Harm Cases

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People in Interest of S.N. on Monday, June 30, 2014.

Dependency and Neglect Adjudication—Prospective Harm—Summary Judgment.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether summary judgment is ever appropriate in a dependency and neglect adjudication involving prospective harm. The Court held that courts must evaluate whether summary judgment is appropriate in such instances on a case-by-case basis. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case to that court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Summary and full case available here.

Bills Regarding Great-Grandparent Visitation, Workers’ Comp Treating Physicians, Marijuana Revenue, Segregation of Mentally Ill Inmates, and More Signed

The 2014 Legislative Session has now ended, and Governor Hickenlooper signed many bills into law this session. Over the past week, he signed 79 bills, allowed one to become law without a signature, and vetoed two bills. In total, the governor signed 396 bills, allowed one to become law without a signature, and vetoed four bills.

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the governor signed two bills. They are summarized here. The governor also vetoed one bill, SB 14-023 – Concerning an Authorization of the Voluntary Transfer of Water Efficiency Savings to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for Instream Use Purposes in Water Divisions that Include Lands West of the Continental Divide. The governor’s statement regarding SB 14-023 is available here.

  • SB 14-041 – Concerning the Creation of a USS Colorado License Plate for Motor Vehicles and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Bernie Herpin and Reps. Bob Gardner & Spencer Swalm. The bill creates a special license plate to commemorate the USS Colorado.
  • SB 14-214 – Concerning the Studies Requested in the Department of Personnel’s Response to the Request for Information in the Fiscal Year 2013-14 Annual General Appropriation Act, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Kent Lambert & Pat Steadman and Reps. Cheri Gerou & Jenise May. The bill requires the state personnel director and the state auditor to conduct a compensation study to compare with similar workforce structures. The bill also requires PERA to provide member information and data to any third-party compensation consulting firm.

On Thursday, June 5, 2014, the governor signed 24 bills into law. Some of these are summarized here.

  • SB 14-125Concerning the Regulation of Transportation Network Companies, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring Transportation Network Companies to Carry Liability Insurance, Conduct Background Checks on Transportation Network Company Drivers, Inspect Transportation Network Company Vehicles, and Obtain a Permit from the Public Utilities Commission; and Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Cheri Jahn & Ted Harvey and Reps. Dan Pabon & Libby Szabo. The bill creates a limited structure for transportation network companies, which use digital networks to connect riders to drivers who provide transportation in their area.
  • SB 14-172 – Concerning Employer-Paid Benefits to a Firefighter for Cardiac Illnesses Resulting from a Strenuous Work Event, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Linda Newell and Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp. The bill requires any municipality, special district, fire authority, or county improvement district employing firefighters to provide benefits for heart and circulatory malfunctions.
  • SB 14-213 – Concerning Increasing the Statutes of Limitations for Commencing Procedures Against a Person who, After Committing a Vehicular Homicide, Leaves the Scene of the Accident, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring a Post-Enactment Review of the Implementation of this Act. The bill increases the statute of limitations for persons who leave the scene of a vehicular homicide from five years to ten years.
  • HB 14-1214 – Concerning an Increase in the Penalties for Certain Offenses Committed Against an Emergency Medical Services Provider, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Cheri Gerou and Sen. David Balmer. The bill adds working emergency medical service providers to the list of victims that trigger enhanced sentencing for first degree murder, first degree assault, and second degree assault.
  • HB 14-1228 – Concerning the Repeal of Certain Requirements for Defensive Driving Schools Attended in Accordance with a Court Order Resulting from a Violation of a Law Regulating the Operation of a Motor Vehicle and, in Connection Therewith, Reducing an Appropriation, by Reps. Cherylin Peniston & Libby Szabo and Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Steve King. The bill removes the requirement that the Department of Revenue monitor, evaluate, and report on the effectiveness of court-ordered driving programs, and eliminates the penalty surcharge on people who attend the courses.
  • HB 14-1260 – Concerning the Creation of Three Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Ranges for Defendants Convicted of a Felony Sex Offense Involving Intrusion Against a Child who is Under Twelve Years of Age when the Adult Defendant is At Least Ten Years Older that has One of the Ranges Starting at Ten Years as the Minimum in the Range, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating an Indeterminate Lifetime Sentence with a Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Range of Ten to Sixteen Years for a Class 4 Felony; a Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Range of Eighteen to Thirty-Two Years for a Class 3 Felony; and a Mandatory Minimum Presumptive Range of Twenty-Four to Forty-Eight Years for a Class 2 Felony, by Rep. Mike Foote  and Sen. Mike Johnston. The bill changes the sentencing parameters for adults who commit felony sex offenses on children under age 12.
  • HB 14-1279 – Concerning the Creation of a State Income Tax Credit to Reimburse a Business for Personal Property Taxes Paid in the State, by Reps. Dianne Primavera & Dave Young and Sens. Rollie Heath & Mark Scheffel. The bill creates a state income property tax credit to reimburse businesses for the amount of business personal property tax paid in Colorado.
  • HB 14-1383 – Concerning the Required Number of Physicians that Must Be Provided to an Injured Employee for Selection of a Treating Physician in Workers’ Compensation Cases, by Rep. Angela Williams and Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Jessie Ulibarri. The bill requires employers to provide injured workers a choice of at least four physicians at two or more distinct locations, with exceptions for rural areas.

On Friday, June 6, 2014, the governor signed 53 bills, allowed one to become law without a signature, and vetoed one bill. The bill he allowed to become law without a signature was HB 14-1371 Concerning Property Taxation of Oil and Gas Leaseholds and Lands and, in Connection Therewith, Specifying that the Wellhead is the Point of Valuation and Taxation for Such Leaseholds and Lands, which changed the point of taxation for oil and gas wells from the production point to the wellhead. The governor issued a statement about the bill (available here).

The bill the governor vetoed Friday was HB 14-1375 – Concerning Modifications to Statutory Provisions Governing Urban Redevelopment to Promote the Equitable Financial Contribution Among Affected Public Bodies in Connection with the Tax Increment Financing of Urban Redevelopment Projects. The governor’s statement regarding this bill is available here.

Summaries of some of the bills the governor signed on Friday are available here.

  • HB 14-1269 – Concerning the Circumstances Under Which a Person who Sells Items Subject to Sales Tax Must Collect Such Sales Tax on Behalf of the State, by Reps. Lois Court & Angela Williams and Sen. Mike Johnston. The bill expands the definition of “nexus” for sales tax purposes, broadening the types of business activity that create taxable sales.
  • HB 14-1280 – Concerning Limits on Liability for Agritourism, by Rep. Timothy Dore and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill renames “agricultural recreation activities” as “agritourism” and excludes marijuana-related activities from its definition.
  • HB 14-1321 – Concerning the Membership of the Colorado Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Steve King. The bill changes the name of the Interagency Task Force on Drunk Driving to the Colorado Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving and makes several changes to membership requirements.
  • HB 14-1333 – Concerning the Funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Randy Fischer & Don Coram and Sens. Gail Schwartz & Ted Harvey. The bill appropriates funds from the Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund for specific projects and authorizes certain other transactions.
  • HB 14-1343 – Concerning Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Peace Officers, by Reps. Jonathan Singer & Jared Wright and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill allows firefighters and peace officers to file workers’ compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder and specifies parameters for filing such claims.
  • HB 14-1356 – Concerning an Increase in the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission’s Penalty Authority and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. Matt Jones. The bill increases the penalties for violations of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
  • HB 14-1362 – Concerning Great-Grandparent Visitation with Great-Grandchildren, by Rep. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri. The bill allows great-grandparents to seek visitation rights with their great-grandchildren under the same circumstances as grandparent visitation rights are allowed.
  • HB 14-1387 – Concerning Revisions of Capital Related Statutes in the Colorado Revised Statutes and, in Connection Therewith, Amending or Repealing Obsolete, Inconsistent, and Conflicting Provisions of Law and Clarifying the Language to Reflect Legislative Intent and Current Application of the Law, by Reps. Libby Szabo & Randy Fischer and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill updates statutes related to capital construction projects and makes additional changes.
  • HB 14-1390 – Concerning the Legal Standing of a Member of the Public in Challenging a Violation of the Open Meeting Requirements, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Bob Gardner and Sens. Greg Brophy & Rachel Zenzinger. The bill clarifies that anyone denied rights provided by the Open Meetings Law has standing to challenge the denial.
  • HB 14-1398 – Concerning the Provision of Financial Services to Licensed Marijuana Businesses, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sens. Pat Steadman & David Balmer. The bill allows for the creation and regulation of marijuana financial services cooperatives referred to as “cannabis credit co-ops” or CCCs, a new type of financial services entity with membership restricted to licensed marijuana businesses.
  • SB 14-021 – Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness who are Involved in the Criminal Justice Systems, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Lois Tochtrop & Steve King and Rep. Jared Wright. The bill extends the repeal date of the Legislative Oversight Committee for the Continuing Examination of the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness who are Involved with the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems. The bill also specifies areas of examination for the committee.
  • SB 14-064 – Concerning Restricting the Use of Long-Term Isolated Confinement for Inmates with Serious Mental Illness, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Jessie Ulibarri and Rep. Joseph Salazar. The bill requires the DOC to review the mental health status of offenders in segregation every 90 days, and requires that prior to placing an inmate in segregation, a review of the inmate’s mental health status should occur to determine if such placement is allowed.
  • SB 14-117 – Concerning the Reauthorization of the Regulation of Real Estate Appraisers by the Board of Real Estate Appraisers through a Recreation and Reenactment of the Relevant Statutes Incorporating no Substantive Amendments other than those Approved During the First Regular Session of the 69th General Assembly, by Sen. Cheri Jahn and Rep. Randy Fischer. The bill corrects an oversight from Senate Bill 13-155 and extends the repeal date of the Board of Real Estate Appraisers (board) in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) through September 1, 2022.
  • SB 14-129 – Concerning Changes to Criminal Provisions Related to Marijuana and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Jenise May. The bill affects a number of criminal provisions related to marijuana, including adding penalties for underage consumption and possession.
  • SB 14-193 – Concerning Conforming Colorado Law on Location Information with the Fourth Amendment as Interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Jones, by Sens. Morgan Carroll & Kevin Lundberg and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill prohibits a state agency from obtaining location information from an electronic device without first obtaining a search warrant, with some exceptions.
  • SB 14-215 – Concerning the Disposition of Moneys Collected by the State in Connection with the Legal Marijuana Industry, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Reps. Crisanta Duran & Cheri Gerou. The bill creates the Marijuana Cash Tax Fund for tax revenue collected by the legal marijuana industry, and identifies the purposes for which funds may be appropriated from the Marijuana Cash Tax Fund.

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

Probate, Domestic Relations, Juvenile Law, Workers’ Comp Bills, and More Signed by Governor

Governor Hickenlooper continues to sign legislation, and has signed 54 bills in the last week. To date, he has signed 317 bills and vetoed two bills. Some of these are summarized here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • SB 14-005 – Concerning Alternative Administrative Remedies for the Processing of Certain Wage Claims, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending the Provisions for Written Notices of a Wage Claim, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Sen. Jessie Ulibarri and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill authorizes the Division of Labor to develop an administrative process to handle wage claim cases.
  • SB 14-190 – Concerning Criminal Discovery, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating a Statewide Discovery Sharing System, a Criminal Discovery Surcharge, Civil Immunity for District Attorneys that Make a Good-Faith Effort to Redact Information from Discovery Documents, and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Cheri Gerou. The bill implements the recommendations of the Discovery Task Force regarding creating and maintaining a statewide eDiscovery system.
  • SB 14-201 – Concerning Reestablishing a Child Protection Ombudsman Advisory Work Group to Develop a Plan for Accountable Autonomy for the Child Protection Ombudsman Program, by Sen. Linda Newell and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill creates a new advisory work group to evaluate the Office of Child Protection Ombudsman Program and recommend ways to improve efficiency.
  • SB 14-203 – Concerning the Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel in Cases of Alleged Child Abuse or Neglect, by Sens. Kent Lambert & Linda Newell and Reps. Jenise May & Bob Gardner. The bill creates the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel in the Judicial Department in order to provide legal representation to low income respondent parents in dependency and neglect cases.
  • HB 14-1273 – Concerning Human Trafficking, and, In Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Reps. Beth McCann & Jared Wright and Sens. Linda Newell & Gail Schwartz. The bill amends several statutory provisions concerning human trafficking.

Friday, May 30, 2014

  • HB 14-1080 – Concerning a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for the Colorado Ute Indians, by Reps. Mike McLachlan & Don Coram and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill clarifies that sales tax doesn’t apply to purchases made on reservations.
  • HB 14-1119 – Concerning an Income Tax Credit for the Donation of Food to a Hunger-Relief Charitable Organization, by Rep. Mike McLachlan and Sens. Mary Hodge & Ellen Roberts. The bill creates an income tax credit for individual and corporate taxpayers who donate food to hunger-relief charitable organizations.
  • HB 14-1222 – Concerning Modification of the Terms Under Which a County May Issue Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bonds on Behalf of an Eligible Applicant for the Purpose of Financing a Geothermal Energy Project on the Applicant’s Property, by Rep. Mike McLachlan and Sens. Gail Schwartz & Ellen Roberts. The bill changes several provisions regarding private activity bonds issued by counties.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

  • HB 14-1030 – Concerning the Establishment of Incentives for the Development of Hydroelectric Energy Systems, by Reps. Don Coram & Diane Mitsch-Bush and Sens. Gail Schwartz & Ellen Roberts. The bill facilitates the development of hydroelectric energy systems by the State Electrical Board and the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
  • HB 14-1275 – Concerning Authorization for the Parks and Wildlife Commission to Purchase Real Property to Build a Multi-Use Shooting Facility, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Don Coram and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Ellen Roberts. The bill allows the Parks and Wildlife Commission to purchase certain real estate in Mesa County to build a multi-use shooting facility.
  • HB 14-1303 – Concerning the Receipt of Public Testimony from Remote Locations Around the State by Legislative Committees, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Reps. Ray Scott & Mark Ferrandino and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill allows the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council to establish policies to allow remote testimony from more than one location in Colorado.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

  • HB 14-1278 – Concerning Continuation of the Workers’ Compensation Accreditation Program Administered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2013 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies, by Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill continues the Workers’ Comp Accreditation Program and requires the DWC to conduct a study on the potential impact on the state of adopting the current version of the AMA Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.
  • HB 14-1323 – Concerning Restrictions on the Ability of a Government Entity to Access an Individual’s Personal Medical Information, by Rep. Dianne Primavera and Sens. Kevin Lundberg & John Kefalas. The bill places restrictions on the Department of Revenue’s use of personal medical information, and requires the DOR to receive an individual’s permission before accessing personal medical information.
  • HB 14-1322 – Concerning the Colorado Probate Code, by Rep. Mike McLachlan and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill makes several changes to the Colorado Probate Code provisions concerning control and distribution of estate assets.
  • HB 14-1363 – 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 Rep. Bob Gardner and Sen. Ellen Roberts. This bill, the Revisor’s Bill, makes several nonsubstantive changes to the Colorado Revised Statutes in order to repeal or amend obsolete or unclear provisions of the law.
  • HB 14-1379 – Concerning Clarifying the Application of the Spousal Maintenance Statutes, by Rep. Beth McCann and Sen. Andy Kerr. The bill clarifies the applicability of prior spousal maintenance statutes in cases filed prior to January 1, 2014.
  • SB 14-184 – Concerning Oversight of the Industrial Hemp Program, by Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Don Coram. The bill modifies existing statutes related to the industrial hemp program and creates an industrial hemp research grant program.
  • SB 14-191 – Concerning the Procedures for Resolution of Workers’ Compensation Claims, by Sen. Lois Tochtrop and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill makes several changes to provisions regarding the resolution of workers’ compensation claims.
  • SB 14-206 – Concerning Criminal Record Sealing Provisions, and, in Connection Therewith, Relocating the Record Sealing Provisions in a New Part, Clarifying when an Arrest Record can be Sealed, and Making Other Clarifying Changes, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill reorganizes statutes regarding sealing of criminal records and relocates them to another section of statute.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

  • HB 14-1156 – Concerning Extending the Age of Eligibility for the Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Rep. Kevin Priola and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill expands eligibility for the Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Program from kindergarten through 2nd Grade to kindergarten through 12th Grade.
  • HB 14-1301 – Concerning the Safe Routes to School Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Rep. Dianne Mitsch Bush and Sen. Andy Kerr. The bill appropriates funds to the CDOT in order to continue the Safe Routes to School program, which distributes funds to projects to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists in school areas.

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