April 28, 2017

Bills Limiting Evidence in Groundwater Appeals, Expanding Juvenile Court Jurisdiction, and More Signed

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, Governor Hickenlooper signed 11 bills into law. To date, he has signed 158 bills this legislative session. The bills signed Tuesday include a bill limiting the evidence that may be submitted in appeals from groundwater decisions, a bill expanding the exception for possession of sexually exploitative material to prosecutors and others involved in investigations, a bill giving the juvenile court jurisdiction to decide parental responsibilities issues in juvenile issues, and more. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 17-1012“Concerning the Creation of a Pueblo Chile License Plate,” by Rep. Daneya Esgar and Sen. Leroy Garcia. The bill creates the Pueblo chile special license plate. In addition to the standard motor vehicle fees, the plate requires 2 one-time fees of $25.
  • HB 17-1110“Concerning Juvenile Court Jurisdiction Regarding Matters Related to Parental Responsibilities in a Juvenile Delinquency Case,” by Rep. Susan Beckman and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill allows the juvenile court to take jurisdiction involving a juvenile in a juvenile delinquency case and subsequently enter orders addressing parental responsibilities and parenting time and child support in certain circumstances.
  • HB 17-1138“Concerning the Reporting of Hate Crimes by Law Enforcement Agencies,” by Rep. Joseph Salazar and Sen. Angela Williams. The bill requires the Department of Public Safety to include in its annual hearing information concerning reports submitted by law enforcement agencies about crimes committed in the state during the previous year, including but not limited to information concerning reports of bias-motivated crimes.
  • HB 17-1174“Concerning the Establishment of an Exception for Rural Counties from the Limitations on the Establishment of a Local Improvement District to Fund the Construction of a Telecommunications Service Improvement for Advanced Service,” by Rep. James Wilson and Sens. Lucia Guzman & Larry Crowder. The bill allows a rural county with a population of fewer than 50,000 inhabitants to establish a local improvement district to fund an advanced service improvement in an unserved area of the county.
  • HB 17-1193“Concerning the Installation of Small Wireless Service Infrastructure within a Local Government’s Jurisdiction, and, in Connection Therewith, Clarifying that an Expedited Permitting Process Applies to Small Cell Facilities and Small Cell Networks and that the Rights-of-Way Access Afforded Telecommunications Providers Extends to Broadband Providers and to Small Cell Facilities and Small Cell Networks,” by Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Jon Becker and Sens. Andy Kerr & Jack Tate. The bill clarifies that the expedited permitting process established for broadband facilities applies to small cell facilities and small cell networks, and that the rights-of-way access afforded to telecommunications providers for the construction, maintenance, and operation of telecommunications and broadband facilities extend to broadband providers as well as small cell facilities and small cell networks.
  • SB 17-036“Concerning Groundwater,” by Sens. Don Coram & Ray Scott and Reps. Jon Becker & Jeni Arndt. The bill limits the evidence that a district court may consider, when reviewing a decision or action of the commission or state engineer on appeal, to the evidence presented to the commission or state engineer.
  • SB 17-068“Concerning Early Support for Student Success Through Access to School Counselors, and, in Connection Therewith, Serving All Grades Through the Behavioral Health Care Professional Matching Grant Program and the School Counselor Corps Grant Program,” by Sen. Nancy Todd and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill adds elementary schools to the list of public schools eligible to receive a grant through the behavioral health care professional matching grant program.
  • SB 17-088“Concerning the Criteria Used by a Health Insurer to Select Health Care Providers to Participate in the Insurer’s Network of Providers, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Angela Williams & Chris Holbert and Reps. Kevin Van Winkle & Edie Hooten. The bill requires health insurers to develop and use standards for selecting participating providers for its network and tiering providers if the insurer carries a tiered network.
  • SB 17-112: “Concerning a Clarification of the Effect of Statutes of Limitations on the Dispute Resolution Process when a Taxpayer Owes Sales or Use Tax to One Local Government but has Erroneously Paid the Disputed Tax to Another Local Government,” by Sen. Tim Neville and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill seeks to clarify the General Assembly’s intent when it enacted a dispute resolution process in 1985 to address a situation when a taxpayer paid a sales and use tax to one local government when it should have instead paid that disputed amount to a different local government.
  • SB 17-115“Concerning Possession of Sexually Exploitative Material by Persons Involved in Sexually Exploitative Material Cases,” by Sen. John Cooke and Reps. Mike Foote & Yeulin Willett. Under current law there is an exception to the crime of possession of sexually exploitative material for peace officers while in the performance of their duties. The bill expands the exception to a prosecutor, criminal investigator, crime analyst, or other individual who is employed by a law enforcement agency or district attorney’s office and performs or assists in investigative duties.
  • SB 17-137“Concerning the Continuation of the Colorado Health Service Corps Advisory Council,” by Sens. Nancy Todd & Michael Merrifield and Rep. Dominique Jackson. The bill continues the Colorado Health Service Corps Advisory Council indefinitely.

For a list of all of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2017 legislative decisions, click here.

HB 17-1124: Local Governments that Ban Fracking Liable to Mineral Interest Owners for Damages

On January 26, 2017, Rep. Perry Buck and Sen. Tim Neville introduced HB 17-1124, “Concerning a Requirement that a Local Government that Interferes with Oil and Gas Operations Compensate Persons Damaged by the Interference.”

The bill specifies that a local government that bans hydraulic fracturing of an oil and gas well is liable to the mineral interest owner for the value of the mineral interest and that a local government that enacts a moratorium on oil and gas activities shall compensate oil and gas operators, mineral lessees, and royalty owners for all costs, damages, and losses of fair market value associated with the moratorium.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. It is scheduled for hearing in committee on February 22, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

HB 16-1442: Updating the “Colorado Local Government Election Code”

On April 15, 2016, Rep. Su Ryden and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri introduced HB 16-1442Concerning 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. The bill was assigned to the House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, where it was referred, unamended, to the House Committee of the Whole. The bill passed Second and Third Readings in the House with no amendments. It was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Health & Human Services Committee.

This bill makes the following updates to the Colorado Local Government Election Code, which governs nonpartisan elections not coordinated by a county clerk and recorder:

(1) Section 1 of the bill defines the term “affidavit” as a sworn statement in writing, including a self-affirmation.

(2) Section 2 clarifies the date upon which nonpartisan officer’s term of office commences is calculated based on the date the election results are certified, rather than a date following the survey of returns.

(3) With respect to candidate self-nomination and acceptance forms for special district or business improvement director, section 3 of the bill allows an amended self-nomination and acceptance form to be accepted by the designated election official until the close of business on the 67th day before an election.

(4) With respect to the appointment of election judges, section 4 prohibits a current candidate for director or any immediate family member, to the second degree, of such candidate from being eligible to serve as an election judge. Section 7 establishes the same prohibition for eligibility to serve as a watcher for a candidate for director.

(5) Current law requires a designated election official to give notice of a court-ordered special district election. Section 5 directs a designated election official to also take “such other actions” as provided in the court’s order.

(6) Section 6 states the designated election official may recertify the order or content of a ballot if: a candidate withdraws from the race; or there are technical revisions to a ballot issue or question prior to the printing of the ballot.

(7) Current law requires ballots for elections conducted under the Code to feature both a stub and a duplicate stub. Section 8 states a dublicate stub is not required for a ballot that is prepared for an independent mail ballot election.

(8) With regard to applications for absentee voter ballots, Section 9: changes the day of the week, from the Friday before a local government election to the Tuesday before such an election, by which applications for such ballots must be filed; and requires identification return envelopes to contain a non-forwarding instruction, such as “Do Not Forward. Address Correction Requested.”

(9) Section 10 states if there is no designated election official presently appointed in the local government, the secretary of the local government shall process the application for permanent absentee status.

(10) Section 11 aligns terminology with respect to entities that may conduct an independent mail ballot election under the Code by replacing “political subdivision, other than a school district,” with “local government.”

(11) Section 12 states a designated election official must send a mail ballot to each covered elector, as that term is defined by the “Uniform Military and Overseas Voter Act,” residing within the boundaries of a local government.

(12) Section 13 removes the requirement that a mail ballot return envelope have a flap covering the elector’s signature.

(13) Regarding contests of elections conducted under the Code:

(a) Currently, a statement of intent to contest an election may be verified by affidavit executed by either the contestor or “any eligible elector of the local government.” Section 16 removes the latter so that the contestor himself or herself must verify by affidavit a statement of intent to contest the election.

(b) Section 17 requires a contestor’s statement, or a contestee’s answer, to list the persons, rather than the number of persons, whose votes caused the contest.

(14) Lastly, section 18 of the bill establishes the recall of a special district director is governed by part 5 of article 4 of title 31, with a few expectations, including the replacement of terminology and exclusion of certain paragraphs and terms.

Max Montag is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Bills Limiting Foreclosure Finder’s Fee, Clarifying Documentary Recording Fees, and More Signed by Governor

On Friday, April 15, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed 15 bills into law. To date, he has signed 117 bills this legislative session. Some of the bills signed Friday include a bill reducing finder’s fees for public trustee foreclosures, a bill treating sexual trafficking of a child as child abuse for dependency and neglect cases, a bill clarifying how to calculate filing fees for recording grants or conveyances of real property, and more. The bills signed Friday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1011 – Concerning the Removal of Restrictions on the Authority of a Board of a Metropolitan District to Provide Activities in Support of Business Development Within the District, by Rep. Ed Vigil and Sens. Leroy Garcia & Kevin Grantham. The bill removes the specified minimum valuation of commercial property for which a board of a metropolitan district can provide activities in support of business recruitment, management, and development.
  • HB 16-1066 – Concerning an Habitual Domestic Violence Offender, by Rep. Kit Roupe and Sen. Linda Newell. Currently, a judge must make a finding of fact regarding whether a defendant is a habitual domestic violence offender. The bill specifies that the trier of fact (judge or jury) may determine habitual status.
  • HB 16-1073 – Concerning the Qualifications of Licensed Electricians, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Brian DelGrosso and Sens. Lucia Guzman & Mark Scheffel. The bill creates new renewal requirements for people seeking to renew licenses as master electricians, journeyman electricians, or residential wiremen. Renewal applicants will be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education rather than passing a competency evaluation.
  • HB 16-1090 – Concerning the Conditions Under Which a Person May Assist Another for Compensation in Obtaining the Proceeds of a Foreclosure Sale After All Liens Have Been Satisfied, by Rep. Beth McCann and Sen. Cheri Jahn. The bill limits the premium, or finder’s fee, that a person may charge for offering assistance in recovering the balance of the purchase price of a foreclosed property after all liens and claims against the property have been satisfied.
  • HB 16-1098 – Concerning Updates to Provisions Relating to School Discipline Reporting, by Rep. Polly Lawrence and Sen. Linda Newell. The bill modifies school discipline reporting requirements, requiring that agencies of the Judicial Department make information regarding expunged juvenile delinquency proceedings available to the Division of Criminal Justice, specifies that the attorney general’s requirement to report names of students given criminal citations or diversion is exempt from statutes prohibiting dissemination of confidential information, and allows aggregation of data about incidents involving law enforcement on school property.
  • HB 16-1103 – Concerning Clarifying License Pathways for the Mental Health Professional Workforce, by Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Nancy Todd. The bill specifies that candidates seeking licensure as mental health professionals may, but are not required to, register with the database of registered psychotherapists after completing their degree.
  • HB 16-1106 – Concerning the Authority of a County to Designate Public Roads as a Section of a Pioneer Trail, by Rep. Jim Wilson and Sens. Kevin Grantham & Leroy Garcia. The bill allows a board of county commissioners to designate by resolution any public roads in the county as a pioneer trail, with certain conditions.
  • HB 16-1145 – Concerning the Determination of the Documentary Fee Imposed for Recording a Grant or Conveyance of Residential Real Property, by Rep. Steve Lebsock and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill clarifies that the filing fee for a residential real property conveyance is calculated based on the total sales price, as listed on the conveyance document, and if there is no sales price listed or the amount is less than $500, the documentary fee is calculated based on the total sales price listed on the declaration form.
  • HB 16-1149 – Concerning a Requirement that the Executive Board of a Common Interest Community Created in Colorado Before July 1, 1992, Comply with the Budget Reporting Provision of the “Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act”, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. Linda Newell. Currently, common interest communities established before July 1, 1992 are exempt from certain reporting requirements. The bill removes the exemption.
  • HB 16-1170 – Concerning the Continuation of the Division of Racing Events in the Department of Revenue, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing Recommendation 1 of the 2015 Sunset Report of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, by Reps. Ed Vigil & Don Coram and Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg & Leroy Garcia. The bill extends the sunset of the Division of Racing Events and the Colorado Racing Commission until September 1, 2023.
  • HB 16-1189 – Concerning the Regulation of Bingo-Raffle Licenses, by Rep. Cole Wist and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill makes changes to the Secretary of State’s regulation of bingo-raffle licenses. Specifically, the bill allows people whose license was denied to appeal to an ALJ within 60 days, clarifies when consolation prizes must be reported, and removes a restriction on the number of games a person can be a game manager for.
  • HB 16-1224 – Concerning Child Abuse Involving Human Trafficking of Minors, by Rep. Paul Lundeen and Sen. Laura Woods. The bill adds human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude or commercial sexual exploitation to the definition of child abuse for purposes of dependency and neglect. The bill also requires county departments of human services to immediately offer services to children who are victims of human trafficking when appropriate and to file petitions in juvenile court on the child’s behalf.
  • HB 16-1236 – Concerning Continuation of the Infection Control Advisory Committee, by Rep. Dianne Primavera and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill extends the sunset of the Infection Control Advisory Committee until July 1, 2021.
  • SB 16-013 – Concerning Statutory Changes Related to the Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman, by Sen. Linda Newell & Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill makes several statutory changes regarding the Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman, including clarifying its board’s advisory nature, clarifying certain duties and the relationship between the office and the Judicial Department, and removing an audit requirement.
  • SB 16-125 – Concerning the Governance of Credit Unions, and, in Connection Therewith, Authorizing the Appointment of an Audit Committee in Lieu of a Supervisory Committee and Allowing the Reasonable Compensation of a Director for His or Her Service to the Credit Union, by Sen. Chris Holbert and Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp. The bill allows the board of directors of a credit union to appoint an audit committee in lieu of a supervisory committee.

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

Bills to Make References to Attorney General Gender Neutral, Authorize Pink Vests for Hunters, and More Signed

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, the governor signed six bills into law, and on Thursday, April 14, 2016, the governor signed 18 bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 102 bills into law this legislative session. Some of the bills signed Tuesday and Thursday include a bill to make statutory references to the attorney general gender neutral, a bill to allow hunters to wear fluorescent pink vests, a bill allowing employees of an alcohol wholesaler to purchase alcohol at wholesale prices, a bill increasing judicial discretion in sentencing for violent crimes, and more. The bills signed Tuesday and Thursday are summarized here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

  • SB 16-068 – Concerning Wearing Fluorescent Pink Garments to Hunt Big Game, by Sen. Kerry Donovan and Reps. Daneya Esgar & Yeulin Willett. Currently, hunters of big game are required to wear fluorescent orange clothing. The bill allows hunters to wear fluorescent pink as well.
  • HB 16-1030 – Concerning the Use of Off-Highway Vehicles, by Reps. J. Paul Brown & Lois Court and Sen. Kerry Donovan. Currently, anyone age 10 or over can operate an off-highway vehicle with supervision of a licensed driver. The bill allows local governments to require off-highway vehicle operators to have a driver’s license or carry liability insurance.
  • HB 16-1163 – Concerning Appropriations from the Noxious Weed Management Fund, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill specifies that unexpended monies in the noxious weed management fund are subject to reappropriation.
  • HB 16-1182 – Concerning the Continuation of the Commodity Metals Theft Task Force, by Reps. Lois Court & Crisanta Duran and Sens. John Cooke & Rollie Heath. The bill extends the sunset of the Commodity Metals Theft Task Force until September 1, 2025.
  • HB 16-1184 – Concerning the Administration of Money that Is Required Under Existing Law to be Transferred from the High Cost Support Mechanism to the Broadband Fund, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill requires that the High Cost Support Mechanism funds be transferred to the Broadband Fund on July 1 of each year, rather than on allocation.
  • HB 16-1269 – Concerning the Ability of the Department of Revenue to Allow Additional Application Methods for Identification Cards, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. John Cooke. The bill allows holders of Colorado driver’s licenses that are current or less than one year out-of-date to apply by mail for an identification card.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

  • HB 16-1094 – Concerning Making References to the Attorney General in the Colorado Revised Statutes Gender Neutral, by Rep. Timothy Dore and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill revises the Colorado Revised Statutes to make references to the attorney general gender-neutral.
  • HB 16-1157 – Concerning the Establishment of a Future Sunset Review of the Functions Delegated to the Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations Under the “Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act of 2010” to Implement the Recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies as Contained in its 2015 Sunset Report Pertaining to the Division of Professions and Occupations, by Reps. Alec Garnett & Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill adds a September 1, 2021, sunset date for the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act of 2010.
  • HB 16-1168 – Concerning the Continuation of the Rural Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program, by Reps. Joann Ginal & Jessie Danielson and Sen. Ray Scott. The bill extends the sunset of the Rural Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program until September 1, 2025.
  • HB 16-1169 – Concerning the Appointment of Representatives of the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes as Voting Members of the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee, by Rep. Don Coram and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill alters the membership of the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee to include as full voting members one representative from the Southern Ute Tribe and one representative from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
  • HB 16-1176 – Concerning the Authority of a Licensed Wholesaler to Establish an Employee Purchase Program Under Which its Employees May Purchase Directly from the Wholesaler Alcohol Beverage Products Sold by that Wholesaler, by Rep. Steve Lebsock and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill allows licensed vinous and spiritous wholesalers to establish an employee purchase program.
  • HB 16-1188 – Concerning Requirements for the Provision of Additional Public Information by a Separate Legal Entity Established by Contract by a Combination of Political Subdivisions of the State, by Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill requires a separate legal entity formed by a combination of local governments and political subdivisions to file a copy of the intergovernmental agreement with the Division of Local Government in the Department of Local Affairs.
  • HB 16-1190 – Concerning the Use of Deadly Force in a Detention Facility, by Rep. Timothy Dore and Sen. John Cooke. The bill clarifies that deadly force is not allowed against intruders in a dwelling that is a detention facility.
  • HB 16-1192 – Concerning a Nonsubstantive Recodification of the Sunset Review Procedures, by Rep. Daniel Kagan and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill reorganizes sunset review provisions in statutes by removing repealed provisions and renumbering the remaining provisions for clarity.
  • HB 16-1193 – Concerning Granting Electronic Access to Court Information to Attorneys Under Contract with the Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill grants attorneys working with the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel electronic access to the name index and register of actions databases in the Judicial Department.
  • HB 16-1229 – Concerning Modification of the Means of Repayment for Certain Ongoing Financial Obligations Incurred by the State in Order to Fund Capital Construction Projects for State-Supported Institutions of Higher Education, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Pat Steadman. Currently, a portion of the Federal Mineral Lease revenue is transferred into a reserve fund and a revenues fund to support capital construction projects at institutes of higher education. The bill specifies that for this fiscal year, all money in the reserve fund should be transferred into the revenues fund and the reserve fund should be eliminated.
  • HB 16-1247 – Concerning a Supplemental Appropriation to the Department of Public Health and Environment, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill allows a supplemental appropriation to the Department of Public Health and Environment.
  • HB 16-1272 – Concerning Procedures to be Followed in Connection with the Disconnection by Ordinance of Land from a Municipality, by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill modifies the procedures for the owner of a tract of land adjacent to a municipality to have the tract of land disconnected from the municipality.
  • HB 16-1297 – Concerning the Immediate Reestablishment of the Voluntary Contributions Excluded from the 2015 Colorado Income Tax Return Form for Not Receiving the Requisite Minimum Dollar Amount of Contributions by the Statutory Deadline, and, in Connection Therewith, Expanding the Number of Voluntary Contributions that May Appear on the Income Tax Return Form and Lowering the Minimum Amount of Donations that Must be Received by Every Fund Appearing on the Form, by Rep. Lois Court and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill expands the number of voluntary contribution income tax check-offs on a state income tax form from 15 to 20 and lowers the minimum contribution amount that a program must receive to stay on the form from $75,000 to $50,000, and reestablishes check-offs that were removed last year because they did not meet the minimum contribution amount.
  • HB 16-1416 – Concerning the Transfer of Money from the General Fund to Cash Funds that are Used for the State’s Infrastructure, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill replaces transfers specified as percentages with actual dollar amounts.
  • SB 16-051 – Concerning Increasing Judicial Discretion Regarding the Imposition of Consecutive Sentences for Violent Crimes, by Sens. Mike Johnston & Kevin Lundberg and Rep. Jovan Melton. The bill removes the requirement that people who commit two or more separate, specified crimes of violence arising out of the same incident be sentenced consecutively.
  • SB 16-099 – Concerning Implementing Recommendations of the State Auditor’s Office by Establishing the Authority of the Correctional Education Program to Sell Inmate-Produced Products to Specified Persons, by Sen. Cheri Jahn and Rep. Dianne Primavera. The bill authorizes the correctional education program to sell goods produced by inmates to other inmates, invited guests, employees of the department, governmental agencies, or nonprofit organizations, provided certain conditions are met.
  • SB 16-110 – Concerning Protecting the Privacy of Child Victims when Releasing Criminal Justice Records, by Sen. Laura Woods and Rep. Paul Lundeen. The bill requires the custodian of criminal justice records to make a notation of “child victim” whenever the name is disclosed during official proceedings, except when information is shared between certain state and local government agencies.
  • SB 16-122 – Concerning Additional Oversight of the Activities of the Department of Transportation, by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Reps. Dan Nordberg & J. Paul Brown. The bill requires the Colorado Department of Transportation to undergo an audit, release funds budgeted for certain projects within one year or sooner, post on its website information related to public bid contracts, and more.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: County’s Master Plan Retained Advisory Status when Not Incorporated Into Land Development Code

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan, Inc. v. Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, April 7, 2016.

C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4)—Special Use Permit Appeal—Binding Nature of Master Plans.

Under C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4), plaintiffs, Friends of Black Forest Preservation Plan, Inc. and several residents of the Black Forest area, appealed the district court’s judgment affirming the decision of defendant Board of County Commissioners of El Paso County (Board) approving the special use permit application of defendant Black Forest Mission, LLC (BFM) to construct a greenhouse operation in the Black Forest Preservation area.

BFM proposed to construct a 1.19-acre greenhouse on a 4.87-acre lot it owned in an area governed by the Black Forest Preservation Plan (BFPP), which is contained within El Paso County’s overall master plan. Greenhouses are allowed if less than one acre in size, but a special use permit is required for larger greenhouses.

The Planning Commission recommended by a 6–2 vote that the Board deny BFM’s application for a special use permit because of its inconsistency with both El Paso County’s Policy Plan and the BFPP. At the first hearing before the Board, BFM was granted a continuance to amend its application to attempt to ameliorate various concerns of the Planning Commission and residents. At the next hearing, BFM presented a revised plan proposing three smaller greenhouses that collectively would be larger and would be built on two parcels instead of one. BFM also modified the location to address concerns about light pollution, view obstruction, and traffic congestion. The Board approved BFM’s amended special use application by a vote of 3–2.

Plaintiffs filed this action, arguing the Board misapplied governing law and abused its discretion because of its belief, as relayed by a county attorney, that the county’s master plan was merely advisory. The district court affirmed the Board’s decision, agreeing that the county’s master plan was advisory and there was competent evidence in the record supporting the Board’s decision to approve BFM’s special use permit application. Plaintiffs appealed.

The court of appeals noted that C.R.S. § 30-28-106 provides that master plans may be made binding by formal inclusion in county land use regulations. The court undertook an extensive analysis of El Paso County’s land use regulation scheme and rejected plaintiffs’ argument that the Board’s approval was based on an erroneous legal standard, concluding there was a reasonable basis for the Board’s interpretation of its own regulatory framework. It held that the master plan was advisory and the Board has discretion in deciding how to apply the master plan in its decisions on special use applications.

Plaintiffs also argued it was error for the district court to find competent evidence in the record to support the Board’s decision. The court disagreed.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

HB 16-1118: Allowing Deductions from Tax Collections for Local Government Repayments

On January 20, 2016, Rep. Lois Court introduced HB 16-1118 – Concerning a Local Taxing Jurisdiction’s Repayment to the State for a Prior Sales and Use Tax Distribution. The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Local Government Committee, where it passed unamended and is waiting for Second Reading in the House Committee of the Whole.

If for any reason a local taxing jurisdiction is required to repay the state of Colorado for a prior distribution of sales and use tax collections, this bill permits the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue to deduct the amount owed from future distributions of the tax collections. The Executive Director and the local taxing jurisdiction may enter into an intergovernmental agreement, which shall not exceed 3 years, to establish the terms of the repayment. The Executive Director is required to notify the state controller of the agreement.

The bill also establishes that a local taxing jurisdiction’s repayment for a prior distribution of sales and use tax collections is exempted from the state controller’s usual debt collection procedures.

Max Montag is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Residential Reconstruction Bill, Costs of District Health Agency Bill, and Bill Repealing Medicaid Claims Task Force Signed

On Tuesday, April 5, 2016, the governor signed three bills into law. To date, he has signed 73 bills into law this legislative session. The bills signed Tuesday include a bill to extend the time to complete residential reconstruction, a bill regarding the costs of district public health agencies, and a bill repealing the “Medicaid Clean Claims Task Force.” These three bills are summarized below.

  • SB 16-012 – Concerning the Authority of a Local Assessor to Grant Additional Time for a Landowner to Reconstruct Residential Improvements that were Destroyed by a Natural Cause, by Sen. Rollie Heath and Rep. Jonathan Singer. The bill allows residential property to maintain its property tax classification for an indefinite period of time if the county assessor finds the property owner is making a good faith effort to rebuild after a natural disaster.
  • SB 16-094 – Concerning the Shared Costs of a District Public Health Agency by the Counties in the District, by Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Ed Vigil. Currently, the largest county in a multi-county public health district must serve as treasurer and district costs must be apportioned based on population. The bill allows multi-county health districts with small populations more flexibility in choosing which county will act as treasurer and apportioning costs.
  • SB 16-127 – Concerning the Repeal of the “Medicaid Clean Claims Transparency and Uniformity Act,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Jeni James Arndt. The bill repeals the Medicaid Clean Claims Transparency and Uniformity Act, repeals all ongoing work of the Medicaid Clean Claims Task Force, and repeals the requirement that insurance companies bill using codes developed by the task force. Related statutory definitions are also repealed.

For a complete list of the governor’s 2016 legislative decisions, click here.

DOR Beneficiary Designation Bill, Medical Marijuana Testing Facility Licensing Bill, and More Signed

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed 13 bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 59 bills this legislative session. The bills signed Wednesday include a bill requiring the Department of Revenue to create its own beneficiary designation form for vehicle ownership transfer on death, a bill allowing local licensing authorities to issue medical marijuana testing facility licenses, and more.

  • HB 16-1051 – Concerning the Issuance of Beneficiary Designation Forms to Facilitate the Transfer of Ownership of a Vehicle Upon the Death of an Owner, by Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill requires the Department of Revenue to create its own beneficiary designation form for the transfer of vehicle ownership.
  • HB 16-1064 – Concerning Local Licensing of Marijuana Testing Facilities, by Rep. J. Paul Brown and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill allows a local medical marijuana licensing authority to issue medical marijuana testing facility licenses.
  • HB 16-1091 – Concerning a Change to the Biennial Filing Date for Rate-Regulated Electric Utilities to Submit Their Plans for Transmission Facilities to the Public Utilities Commission and, in Connection Therewith, Deleting the Requirement that the Commission Issue a Final Order within One Hundred Eighty Days After an Application for the Construction or Expansion of Transmission Facilities is Filed, by Reps. Dan Thurlow & Diane Mitsch Bush and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. Current law requires rate regulated electric utilities to submit plans and other documents to the PUC by October 31 of each odd-numbered year. The bill changes the requirement so that the PUC can set the date for plan submission.
  • HB 16-1119 – Concerning a Modification to the Number of Days that an Aircraft May Remain in the State After it is Purchased for Purposes of the Sales and Use Tax Exemption on the Purchase of Certain Aircraft, by Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill expands the sales and use tax exemptions for aircraft.
  • SB 16-055 – Concerning the Conduct of Elections to Choose the Board of Directors of a Cooperative Electric Association, by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Dominick Moreno. Currently, cooperative electric associations may exempt themselves from regulation by the PUC, and may contract with third parties to collect and count the ballots for board elections. The bill allows the ballots to be mailed directly to the third party.
  • SB 16-063 – Concerning the Authority of a Local Government to Enter Into an Intergovernmental Agreement with an Out-of-State Local Government to Provide Critical Public Services, by Sen. Ellen Roberts and Rep. Edward Vigil. The bill authorizes local governments to contract with local governments in bordering states to provide emergency services.
  • SB 16-089 – Concerning the Establishment of an Alternative Maximum Reserve for the Department of State Cash Fund, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Millie Hamner. The bill allows an alternative maximum reserve for the Department of State Cash Fund equal to 16.5 percent of total expenditures plus an amount equal to any unexpended moneys from the previous year.
  • SB 16-090 – Concerning the Ability of the Department of Public Health and Environment to Collect Data on Marijuana Health Effects at a Regional Level, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Dave Young. The bill allows data regarding marijuana health effects to be reported at the regional level instead of only the county level.
  • SB 16-091 – Concerning Timing of the Statewide Discovery Sharing System, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Millie Hamner. The bill delays the start of the statewide eDiscovery sharing system from November 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017.
  • SB 16-092 – Concerning the Authorization of the State to Act Pursuant to the Federal “Oil Pollution Act of 1990,” by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Bob Rankin. The bill allows money recovered for damages pursuant to the federal Oil Pollution Act to be deposited in the Natural Resource Damage Recovery Fund.
  • SB 16-093 – Concerning Transfer of the Oversight of Independent Living Services from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Labor and Employment, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Dave Young. The bill transfers oversight of independent living services for persons with disabilities to the Department of Labor and Employment.
  • SB 16-095 – Concerning the Five-Year Appropriations Requirement for Bills that Change the Periods of Incarceration in State Correctional Facilities, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Dave Young. The bill modifies the manner in which fiscal notes and appropriations affecting the Department of Corrections are made.
  • SB 16-107 – Concerning the Regulation of Voter Registration Drive Circulators and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring Circulators to Complete Mandatory Training, by Sen. John Cooke and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill requires voter registration drive circulators to meet training requirements established by the Secretary of State prior to circulating any voter registration applications.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Hotels Lacked Standing to Challenge Economic Development Commission Decision

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in 1405 Hotel, LLC v. Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday, September 10, 2015.

Standing—Timeliness—CRCP 106(b)—CRS § 24-4-106(4).

In 2009, the General Assembly enacted the Colorado Regional Tourism Act (RTA) to provide a mechanism through which as many as two local governments per year can obtain sales tax increment financing for the development of large-scale regional tourism projects. Before approving a project, the Colorado Economic Development Commission (CEDC) is required to make several specific findings and to adopt a resolution with specific funding and authorization provisions.

During the RTA’s inaugural application cycle in 2011, the City of Aurora (Aurora) submitted a proposal to build a $824 million hotel and conference center (Gaylord Project). In May 2012, the CEDC announced its intention to approve the Gaylord Project’s requested $81 million tax increment subsidy if certain conditions were met within 120 days. Later that month, the developer announced it was going to withdraw from the Gaylord Project. During the May 2013 CEDC meeting, Aurora announced that RIDA Development Corp. (RIDA) had agreed to develop a project similar to the Gaylord Project and that Marriot International would operate it (IDA/Marriot Project). Aurora did not submit a new RTA application.

In July 2013, plaintiffs, eleven hotels along Colorado’s Front Range (collectively, Hotels), joined by others, submitted a petition to the CEDC requesting it require Aurora to submit a new RTA application for the RIDA/Marriot Project. In August 2013, the Attorney General denied the petition as untimely. In October 2013, the CEDC adopted a final resolution approving Aurora’s RTA application for the RIDA/Marriot Project.

In September 2013, the Hotels filed this action against the CEDC and Aurora. In December 2013, Aurora moved for a CRCP 12(c) judgment on the pleadings as to three of its claims and for judgment on the third claim. The district court granted the motion.

The Court of Appeals first addressed the issue of whether the Hotels’ claims were untimely, thereby depriving the court of subject matter jurisdiction. CRCP 106(b) requires a party seeking judicial review pursuant to CRCP 106(a)(4) to file a complaint within 28 days after the final decision of the tribunal being challenged. CSR § 24-4-106(4) provides for a 35-day window to challenge a final agency action. The issue here was when the “point of administrative finality” was for purposes of judicial review. The Court held it was in October 2013, when the CEDC adopted a resolution memorializing the terms of the award. Consequently, the Court had to consider whether the premature filing of a complaint by the Hotels in September 2013 rendered it untimely. The Court determined it did not and held that the district court obtained jurisdiction of the earlier filed complaint in October 2013.

The Court then turned to the Hotels’ argument that it was error to find they lacked standing to bring three of their four asserted claims for relief. Standing requires establishment of an “injury in fact” to a legally protected interest. The Court concluded that the Hotels’ alleged injury was “indirect and incidental” to Aurora’s alleged wrongdoing: even if the RIDA/Marriot Project would cause the Hotels economic harm by taking customers from them, the harm is not directly caused by the CEDC or Aurora’s conduct in allegedly failing to comply with the RTA. The Hotels therefore lacked standing to bring three of their four claims for relief.

Finally, because the remaining claim turned on finding that the May 2012 approval of the Gaylord Project constituted a final agency action, and the Court found that was not the case, it did not need to address the appeal of this claim. The order was affirmed.

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

Several Bills Signed Last Week by Governor Hickenlooper

On Monday through Thursday last week, Governor Hickenlooper signed several bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 219 bills into law. The bills signed last week are summarized here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

  • HB 15-1198 – Concerning Enactment of the 2008 Amendments to the “Uniform Interstate Family Support Act”, by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill updates the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act to comply with mandates of the Hague Convention.
  • HB 15-1212 – Concerning Making Permanent the State Board of Land Commissioners’ Authority to Sell State Trust Land to Local Governments, by Rep. KC Becker and Sens. Andy Kerr & Michael Merrifield. The bill makes permanent the State Land Board’s authority to convey land to a local government twice in a year.
  • HB 15-1214 – Concerning Opioid Analgesics with Abuse-Deterrent Properties, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sen. John Cooke. The bill requires the governor to direct the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention to study the use of abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drugs.
  • HB 15-1280 – Concerning the Creation of a Capital Reserve in Certain Cash Funds, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill requires state agencies to identify capital reserves to pay costs associated with capital assets.
  • HB 15-1308 – Concerning Certain Responsibilities of the Legislative Branch with Respect to the “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act”, by Reps. Dominick Moreno & Polly Lawrence and Sens. Kevin Lundberg & Rollie Heath. The bill amends provisions of the SMART Act concerning meetings between members of the General Assembly and executive directors of state agencies.
  • SB 15-100 – Concerning Implementation of Recommendations of the Committee on Legal Services in Connection with Legislative Review of Rules and Regulations of State Agencies, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Reps. Mike Foote & Beth McCann. The bill continues some agency rules and regulations and allows others to expire based on recommendations of the Committee on Legal Services.
  • SB 15-104 – Concerning the Continuation of the Colorado Division of Securities, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2014 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies, by Sen. Chris Holbert and Rep. Pete Lee. The bill continues the Division of Securities and implements the recommendations of the sunset review.
  • SB 15-110 – Concerning the Continuation of the Regulation by the Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations of Funeral Establishments, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies as Contained in the 2014 Sunset Report and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Joann Ginal. The bill continues the registration of funeral homes and crematories and implements suggestions of the sunset review.
  • SB 15-211 – Concerning an Automatic Funding Mechanism for Payment of Future Costs Attributable to Certain of the State’s Capital Assets, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Bob Rankin. The bill creates a process to automatically set aside capital to finance depreciation of assets.
  • SB 15-250 – Concerning Capital-Related Transfers of Moneys, by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Millie Hamner. The bill changes the source of some capital construction fund moneys and makes three transfers to the CCF.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

  • SB 15-022 – Concerning the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Fund, by Sen. Ellen Roberts and Rep. J. Paul Brown. The bill transfers funds into the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Fund and changes terminology.
  • SB 15-205 – Concerning the Utilization of Veterans’ Fire Corps Programs by the Division of Fire Prevention and Control in the Department of Public Safety, by Sens. Ellen Roberts & Leroy Garcia and Reps. Jon Keyser & Millie Hamner. The bill recognizes the existence of veterans’ fire corps programs and authorizes the Department of Public Safety to use the Wildfire Preparedness Fund to train, equip, and supervise a veterans’ fire corps crew.
  • HB 15-1006 – Concerning the Establishment of a Grant Program for the Management of Invasive Phreatophytes, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Don Coram & Ed Vigil and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill creates a two-year grant program for the management of invasive phreatophyte plants in riparian zones of the state.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

  • HB 15-1173 – Concerning a Requirement that Motor Vehicles Have Certain Traction Equipment when Driving on the Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor, by Reps. Diane Mitsch Bush & Bob Rankin and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill requires all drivers using I-70 between Morrison and Dotsero between November 1 and May 15 to use mountain snow tires or chains or have a four-wheel drive/all-wheel drive vehicle and imposes penalty for drivers who do not comply with this regulation.
  • HB 15-1225 – Concerning the Provision of State Assistance to Local Governments for the Purpose of Improved Coordination in Federal Land Management Decision-Making, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Bob Rankin & KC Becker and Sens. Ellen Roberts & Kerry Donovan. The bill requires certain executive branch officers and directors to provide support to local governments affected by federal land management.
  • HB 15-1271 – Concerning the Funding of Mobile Learning Labs Through the Colorado Existing Industry Training Program, by Reps. Susan Lontine & Millie Hamner and Sens. Vicki Marble & Kerry Donovan. The bill authorizes the Colorado Existing Industry Training Program to fund mobile learning labs, or stand-alone vehicles equipped with program-specific hands-on learning modules.
  • SB 15-138 – Concerning Funding for the Accelerating Students Through Concurrent Enrollment Program, by Sen. Kerry Donovan and Rep. Jim Wilson. The bill clarifies distribution of funding for ASCENT students.
  • SB 15-282 – Concerning the Establishment of a Rural Jump-Start Program in Highly Distressed Counties of the State for New Businesses that Bring New Jobs to the State, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sens. Ray Scott & Michael Johnston and Reps. Crisanta Duran & Yeulin Willett. The bill provides tax benefits to new businesses that locate in a rural jump-start zone.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

  • HB 15-1217 – Concerning the Ability of a Local Licensing Authority to Provide Input to the State Licensing Authority on Applications for Approval to Operate a Sales Room Submitted by Certain Persons Licensed Under the “Colorado Liquor Code”, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill allows local governments to provide input on sales room license requests.
  • HB 15-1232 – Concerning the Emergency Use of Epinephrine Auto-Injectors by Authorized Entities, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Joann Ginal & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Nancy Todd & Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill authorizes various facilities such as daycare centers, amusement parks, restaurants, and other locations where anaphylaxis could occur, to stock a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors via a valid prescription.
  • HB 15-1358 – Concerning Creating a Permanent Differential Response Program for Child Abuse or Neglect Cases of Low or Moderate Risk, by Rep.  Jonathan Singer and Sens. Kevin Lundberg & John Kefalas. The bill continues the Differential Response Pilot Program to divert low- and moderate-risk cases of abuse or neglect to voluntary services rather than adversarial court intervention.
  • SB 15-253 – Concerning the Funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. Ed Vigil. The bill appropriates money from the CWCB Construction Fund for specific projects in FY 2015-16 and authorizes additional transfers.

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

Frederick Skillern: Real Estate Case Law — Zoning and Land Use Control (1)

Editor’s note: This is Part 21 of a series of posts in which Denver-area real estate attorney Frederick Skillern provides summaries of case law pertinent to real estate practitioners (click here for previous posts). These updates originally appeared as materials for the 32nd Annual Real Estate Symposium in July 2014.

By Frederick B. Skillernfrederick-b-skillern

Mountain-Plains Investment Corp. v. Parker Jordan Metropolitan District
Colorado Court of Appeals, August 15, 2013
2013 COA 123

Special districts; Colorado Open Records Act; fee; deposit; attorney-client privilege log.

Mountain-Plains Investment Corporation and others appeal a summary judgment entered in favor of defendant Parker Jordan Metropolitan District (District) in a dispute over an open records act claim. The court holds:

  • The special district did not have to reveal a consultant’s emails (that it no longer retained) to Mountain-Plains’ shareholders, under C.R.S. § 24-72-202(7), because the District did not make or keep the emails and the consultant did not keep them for it.
  • Charging a retrieval fee without having in place a records retention policy, and requiring a deposit to cover the retrieval fee, did not violate the Colorado Open Records Act, C.R.S. §§ 24-72-201, et seq. No policy was required at the time the records were sought, and C.R.S. § 24-72-203 allows a fee.
  • A fee can be charged to segregate privileged material because C.R.S. § 24-72-204(3)(a)(IV) bars inspection of privileged matter.
  • A fee for a privilege log was proper because C.R.S. § 24-72-205(3) allows a fee for creating a record, and the fee did not exceed the log’s cost.


Friends of Denver Parks, Inc. v. City and County of Denver
Colorado Court of Appeals, December 26, 2013
2013 COA 177

City park; conveyance of park land; Denver Charter § 2.4.5.

Defendant, the City and County of Denver (City), agreed to transfer a parcel of land (southern parcel) to a school district so that the district could build a school on it. Plaintiffs, an organization called Friends of Denver Parks, Inc. and several other interested parties, tried to file a referendum petition to repeal the ordinance transferring the southern parcel; however, the City’s Clerk and Recorder refused to accept the petition. Plaintiffs then filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the City’s transfer of the southern parcel to the school district. The court denied both requests.

On appeal, plaintiffs argued that the trial court erred in denying their requested relief because (1) the City’s conduct over the years had dedicated the southern parcel as a park under the common law; and (2) the City’s charter requires that voters approve the transfer of a “park belonging to the city as of December 31, 1955.” The Court of Appeals disagreed on both counts.

Denver Charter § 2.4.5 sets forth the sole mechanism as of December 31, 1955 for creating parks and transferring parks. The City did not pass an ordinance dedicating the southern parcel as a park pursuant to § 2.4.5 after December 31, 1955. Additionally, the record did not clearly establish that the City, through its unambiguous actions, had demonstrated an unequivocal intent to dedicate the southern parcel as a park on or before December 31, 1955. Therefore, Denver Charter § 3.2.6 authorized the City to sell or transfer it without following the requirements of § 2.4.5, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it determined that plaintiffs did not establish a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of this issue. The order was affirmed.

Frederick B. Skillern, Esq., is a director and shareholder with Montgomery Little & Soran, P.C., practicing in real estate and related litigation and appeals. He serves as an expert witness in cases dealing with real estate, professional responsibility and attorney fees, and acts as a mediator and arbitrator in real estate cases. Before joining Montgomery Little in 2003, Fred was in private practice in Denver for 6 years with Carpenter & Klatskin and for 10 years with Isaacson Rosenbaum. He served as a district judge for Colorado’s Eighteenth Judicial District from 2000 through 2002. Fred is a graduate of Dartmouth College, and received his law degree at the University of Colorado in 1976, in another day and time in which the legal job market was simply awful.