July 1, 2016

Colorado Supreme Court: “Plausible on its Face” Standard Applies to Motions to Dismiss

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Warne v. Hall on Monday, June 27, 2016.

Civil Procedure—Pleading.

Warne petitioned for review of the Colorado Court of Appeals’ judgment reversing the dismissal of Hall’s complaint, which asserted a claim of intentional interference with contract. Although invited to apply the standard for dismissal articulated in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the district court dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted without addressing either Twombly or Iqbal in its written order. By contrast, the court of appeals expressly declined to apply the more recent U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence governing F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6), finding itself instead bound by the Colorado Supreme Court’s existing precedent, which had heavily relied on the U.S. Supreme Court’s earlier opinion in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957), and particularly its language to the effect that a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove “no set of facts” in support of his claim. Declining, therefore, to be influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s more recent admonition to the federal courts that “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face,’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570), the court of appeals found the complaint sufficient to state a claim.

The supreme court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals. Because the court’s case law interpreting the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure in general, and C.R.C.P. 8 and 12(b)(5) in particular, reflected first and foremost a preference to maintain uniformity in the interpretation of the federal and state rules of civil procedure and a willingness to be guided by the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of corresponding federal rules whenever possible, rather than an intent to adhere to a particular federal interpretation prevalent at some fixed point in the past, the Colorado Supreme Court found that its precedent was interpreted too narrowly by the court of appeals. Because it also found that plaintiff’s complaint, when evaluated in light of the more recent and nuanced analysis of Twombly and Iqbal, failed to state a plausible claim for relief, the court found the complaint insufficient under the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Economic Loss Rule Does Not Bar Tort Claims Arising Before Execution of Contract

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Van Rees v. Unleaded Software, Inc. on Monday, June 27, 2016.

Economic Loss Doctrine—Conversion and Civil Theft—Public Impact or Interest—Private or Internal Transactions.

After Unleaded Software, Inc. failed to deliver contracted-for websites and services, Van Rees brought suit, alleging various tort theories, civil theft, three breach of contract claims, and a violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). The trial court dismissed all but the contract claims, and the court of appeals affirmed, holding that the economic loss rule barred the tort and civil theft claims and that Van Rees failed to allege a significant public impact under the CCPA.

The supreme court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The economic loss rule applies only if there is no independent tort duty. Here, where Van Rees alleged Unleaded induced him into entering a contractual relationship when it knew it would not be able to perform the promised services, there is an independent tort duty, and the court therefore reversed as to Van Rees’s tort claims. The court did not reach the question of the economic loss rule as it relates to civil theft and instead affirmed the dismissal of that claim because Van Rees failed to adequately allege the knowing deprivation of a thing of value. Finally, the court affirmed the dismissal of the CCPA claim for failure to allege a significant public impact.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Economic Loss Rule Bars Tort Claims Against Mortgage Lender

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Miller v. Bank of New York Mellon on Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Dual Tracking—Failure to State a Claim for Relief—Economic Loss Rule—Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing—Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress—Fraud—Negligence.

The Millers obtained a note and deed of trust in 2004 to purchase a house, and the loan was transferred several times. They began missing payments in 2007 and filed for bankruptcy and received discharges in 2009. Bank of America, N.A. (BANA) then told the Millers to vacate their house, but they stayed and eventually entered into negotiations with BANA regarding a loan modification. In February 2012, Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) moved for an order authorizing the public trustee to proceed with a foreclosure sale, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 120. While this Rule 120 action was pending, the Millers filed a complaint against five financial institutions (collectively, the Banks) to quiet title to the house in their favor. The Millers alleged that the Banks improperly subjected them to dual tracking (a process under which banks pursue foreclosure on a home while negotiating a loan modification) in violation of the consent judgment that resulted from the National Mortgage Settlement, which generally prohibits dual tracking. The district court dismissed for failure to state a claim for relief. The court in the Rule 120 action authorized the sale in July 2012, but the Millers kept negotiating a loan modification with BANA. In 2013, BANA and the Millers agreed to a loan modification, the Millers began making payments, and BNY Mellon dismissed the Rule 120 action. In October 2014, the Millers amended their complaint, asserting claims for breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, and negligence. The Banks moved to dismiss, and the court granted the motion.

On appeal, the Millers argued that the court erred in determining that the economic loss rule barred their tort claims. The economic loss rule provides that “a party suffering only economic loss from the breach of an express or implied contractual duty may not assert a tort claim for such a breach absent an independent duty of care under tort law.” Here, the consent judgment in a federal case challenging dual tracking did not create a private cause of action for third parties and there was no special relationship between the parties that established an independent duty.

The Millers also argued that the court erred in dismissing their contract claim, because they had a reasonable expectation that the Banks would not engage in dual tracking and would modify their loan. Although there is an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing in every contract, there was no reasonable expectation on the part of the Millers that their loan would be modified or that the Banks would refrain from dual tracking. Neither allegation has any basis in their contractual agreement.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Trial Court Within Discretion to Deny Mistrial Based on Defense Counsel’s Inappropriate Remarks

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Acierno v. Garyfallou, MD on Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Medical Malpractice—Mistrial—Prosecutorial Misconduct—Ex Parte—Witness—Physician–Patient Privilege—Costs—CRS § 13-16-105.

Acierno filed a medical malpractice suit against Dr. Garyfallou and other defendants. The other defendants settled, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Dr. Garyfallou. Plaintiff appealed and defendant cross-appealed the trial court’s order denying his motion for costs.

On appeal, Acierno asserted that defense counsel’s (1) misstatement of the trial court’s jury instruction on the applicable standard of care and (2) improper comments related to “runaway juries, runaway verdicts, and adverse media” warranted a mistrial. Here, the jury had a written copy of the correct instructions, the judge carefully considered Acierno’s request for a mistrial, and the court took remedial actions by admonishing defense counsel in front of the jury and advising the jury to disregard defense counsel’s statements. Therefore, the court sufficiently addressed any prejudice to Acierno and a mistrial was not warranted. In addition, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for new trial (1) based on changed testimony by prosecutorial witnesses, because this argument was not preserved by a contemporaneous objection; and (2) based on Acierno’s contention that a defense witness violated the court’s sequestration order, because the trial court found there was no violation and Acierno did not point to anything in the record establishing that the court’s finding was clearly erroneous.

Acierno also contended that the trial court erred when it allowed defense counsel to meet ex parte with the radiologist who interpreted Acierno’s MRI and MRA results. The trial court did not abuse its discretion because it confined defendant’s informal questioning to matters not subject to physician–patient privilege and Acierno did not assert that residually privileged information was divulged.

Acierno also contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict on Dr. Garyfallou’s defense of pro rata liability. Because the jury concluded that the doctor did not breach the applicable standard of care, this error was harmless.

Dr. Garyfallou contended, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that the trial court erred in denying his motion for costs against Acierno. Such an award is mandatory under CRS § 13-16-105.

The judgment was affirmed, the order denying costs was reversed, and the case was remanded.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Property Titled in Name of Revocable Trust Also Can Be Debtor’s Property

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Pandy v. Independent Bank on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Revocable Trust—Settlor—Judgment Lien.

This case principally concerns whether property titled in the name of a judgment debtor’s co-settled revocable trust is subject to a judgment lien against the debtor. The petitioners are co-settlors and co-trustees of a revocable trust that holds title to certain real property in Colorado. Respondent obtained two judgments against one of the petitioners in another state. After domesticating those judgments and recording transcripts of the Colorado judgments, respondent filed an action to quiet title and for a decree of foreclosure. The petitioner moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that respondent’s complaint was barred by what the petitioner argued was the applicable statute of limitations set forth in C.R.S. § 13-80-101(1)(k). The district court denied the motion, a division of the Court of Appeals granted leave to file an interlocutory appeal and affirmed that ruling, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

The Court concluded that as a settlor of a revocable trust, the petitioner held an ownership interest in the trust’s assets. Accordingly, respondent could properly seek to enforce its judgment against the petitioner in this case, and its action was not barred by the statute of limitations set forth in C.R.S. § 13-80-101(1)(k).

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Ethical Prohibition on Paying Witness Contingent Fee Does Not Require Exclusion of Evidence

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Murray v. Just In Case Business Lighthouse, LLC on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Contingent Fees for Witnesses—Summary Witness Testimony—Summary Exhibits.

The Supreme Court held that the violation of an ethical rule does not displace the rules of evidence and that trial courts retain the discretion under CRE 403 to exclude the testimony of improperly compensated witnesses. The Court also held that trial courts may allow summary witness testimony if they determine that the evidence is sufficiently complex and voluminous that a summary witness would assist the trier of fact. It further held that in those circumstances, summary witnesses may satisfy CRE 602’s personal knowledge requirement by examining the underlying documentary evidence on which they based their summary testimony. Finally, the Court held that that under CRE 1006, trial courts abuse their discretion when they admit summary charts that characterize evidence in an argumentative fashion rather than simply organize it in a manner helpful to the trier of fact. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ holding remanding the case to the trial court, but affirmed on all other issues.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: CUFTA Limitations Period May Be Tolled by Express Agreement

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lewis v. Taylor on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act—Limitation of Actions—Agreements Tolling Limitation.

Under the Colorado Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (CUFTA), CRS §§ 38-8-101 to -112, any action to avoid an intentionally fraudulent transfer is extinguished if not brought within four years after the transfer was made or, if later, within one year after the transfer was or could reasonably have been discovered. Here, the Supreme Court held that these time limitations may be tolled by express agreement. Because the parties to this case signed a tolling agreement, and petitioner’s CUFTA claims were properly brought within the tolling period, the Court concluded that his claims were timely filed and were not barred by CUFTA’s limitations period. Therefore, the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Ambiguity Must Exist Within Four Corners of Contract Before Looking at Extrinsic Evidence

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hansen v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Insurance—Ambiguity, Uncertainty, or Conflict—Persons Covered—Unfair Practices—Bad Faith—Penalties.

Respondent Hansen was injured in a motor vehicle accident and presented an underinsured motorist claim to petitioner American Family Mutual Insurance Company (American Family). As proof of insurance, Hansen offered lienholder statements issued to her by American Family’s local agent that identified her as the named insured at the time of the accident. American Family’s own records, however, indicated that the named insureds on the policy at the time of the accident were Hansen’s mother and stepfather. In reliance upon the policy as reflected in its own records, American Family determined that Hansen was not insured under the policy and denied coverage. Hansen filed an action against American Family asserting, among other things, a statutory bad faith claim for unreasonable delay or denial of benefits under C.R.S. §§ 24 10-3-1115 and -1116. The trial court ruled that the deviation in the records issued by American Family’s agent and those produced by its own underwriting department created an ambiguity in the insurance policy as to the identity of the named insured, and instructed the jury that an ambiguous contract must be construed against the insurer. The jury found that American Family had delayed or denied payment without a reasonable basis for its action. The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that the lienholder statements created an ambiguity.

The Supreme Court held that because the insurance contract unambiguously named Hansen’s mother and stepfather as the insureds at the time of the accident, the trial court and Court of Appeals erred in relying on extrinsic evidence to find an ambiguity in the insurance contract. Accordingly, American Family’s denial of Hansen’s claim in reliance on the unambiguous insurance contract was reasonable, and American Family cannot be held liable under C.R.S. §§ 10-3-1115 and -1116 for statutory bad faith. The judgment was reversed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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

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

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

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

Colorado Supreme Court: Attorney’s Lien Void When he was Terminated for Cause

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Martinez v. Mintz Law Firm on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

Contingent Fees—Charging Liens—Proper Civil Action.

In this dispute regarding an attorney’s charging lien, a contingent fee plaintiff’s former attorneys asserted a lien against any settlement or judgment entered in the underlying action and in favor of plaintiff. After the underlying action was settled, successor counsel moved to void the lien, and initial counsel moved to strike successor counsel’s motion and to compel arbitration, based on an arbitration clause contained in initial counsel’s contingent fee agreement with plaintiff. The Supreme Court concluded that successor counsel’s motion to void the lien at issue was properly filed in the underlying action and that the underlying action was a “proper civil action” within the meaning of C.R.S. § 12-5-119. As a result, the Court further concluded that the lien dispute was between initial and successor counsel. Therefore, the matter (1) was not subject to arbitration pursuant to the arbitration clause in initial counsel’s contingent fee agreement with the plaintiff and (2) was properly before the district court. Finally, the Court concluded that the record supported the district court’s finding that initial counsel was not entitled to recover the fees that it was seeking. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Avalanches are Inherent Risks or Dangers of Skiing

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Fleury v. IntraWest Winter Park Operations Corp. on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

Ski Safety Act of 1979—Statutes—Immunity Statutes—Plain Language—Plain, Ordinary, Common, or Literal Meaning—Public Amusement and Entertainment—Skiing and Snowboarding.

The Supreme Court held that an avalanche that occurs within the bounds of a ski resort qualifies as an “inherent danger[] and risk[] of skiing” under the Ski Safety Act of 1979, C.R.S. §§ 33-44-101 to -114. The definition of “inherent dangers and risks of skiing” in C.R.S. § 33-44-103(3.5) specifically includes “snow conditions as they exist or may change.” By its plain meaning, this phrase encompasses an in-bounds avalanche, which is, at its core, the movement or changing  condition of snow. As such, C.R.S. § 33-44-112 precludes skiers from recovering for injuries resulting from in-bounds avalanches.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Release of Liability for Recreational Activity Precludes Claims for Negligence Per Se

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Espinoza v. Arkansas Valley Adventures, LLC on Tuesday, January 5, 2016.

Sue Ann Apolinar hired a guide through Arkansas Valley Adventures, LLC, for a family rafting trip and camping excursion in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Ms. Apolinar and the family received guidance and signed a release before navigating the rapids. However, while maneuvering around a rapid known locally as Seidel’s Suck Hole, the raft capsized. The current swept Ms. Apolinar into a logjam, and despite efforts to save her, she drowned. Ms. Apolinar’s son, Jesus Espinoza, Jr., brought suit against the rafting company, alleging negligence per se and fraud. The company moved for summary judgment, averring that the release signed by Ms. Apolinar shielded them from liability, and the district court granted their motion. Mr. Espinoza appealed.

On appeal, the Tenth Circuit addressed whether Colorado law allows parties to contract away claims of negligence. The Tenth Circuit evaluated the four Jones factors in determining whether to respect agreements of the sort Ms. Apolinar entered into: (1) the existence or lack thereof of a duty to the public, (2) the nature of the service performed, (3) whether the contract was fairly entered into, and (4) whether the parties’ intention is expressed in clear and unambiguous language. The Tenth Circuit noted that the first two factors tend to focus on public policy while the second two focus on party- and contract-specific questions. The Tenth Circuit noted that the Colorado Supreme Court has generally held that businesses engaged in recreational activities generally owe no special duties to the public.

Mr. Espinoza attempted to distinguish his claim from those disallowed by the Colorado courts, noting that his claim was for negligence per se, noting that rafting companies may face criminal liability for careless or imprudent operation of a raft and therefore rafting has become a matter of public concern. The Tenth Circuit disagreed, finding that Mr. Espinoza’s argument conflated state regulation with matters of public importance—whether an activity is of practical necessity or recreational in nature. The Tenth Circuit found that Colorado courts have upheld releases of liability for other recreational activities, and noted that the General Assembly was free to amend the statutes in the future to address contractual releases of liability for negligence. The Tenth Circuit also noted that the Colorado Consumer Protection Act may preclude enforcement of releases where plaintiffs plead viable claims under that statute.

Turning to the third and fourth Jones factors, the Tenth Circuit again found that they favored the rafting company. Mr. Espinoza argued that his mother was not fairly apprised of the dangers of the rafting trip, but the release she signed clearly indicated that rafting can cause “physical injury and/or death.” The Tenth Circuit found the disclosures in the release sufficient to satisfy the third and fourth Jones factors. The Tenth Circuit further agreed with the district court that the release resolved Mr. Espinoza’s fraud claim, concluding that even if the company misrepresented the danger of the rafting excursion in Ms. Apolinar’s initial phone call, the release she signed clearly enumerated the risks.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court. Judge Hartz concurred in part and dissented in part; he would have allowed a jury to determine whether the third Jones factor was satisfied.