April 27, 2017

Bills Correcting Statutory References, Changing Child Welfare Allocations, Implementing State Engineer’s Functions, and More Signed

On Friday, March 17, 2017, the governor signed 21 bills into law. To date, he has signed 63 bills this 2017 legislative session. The bills signed Friday include a bill to update statutory references to people with disabilities, a bill outlining the procedure to correct statutory references in administrative procedural rules, a bill redetermining the child welfare allocation formula, and a bill exempting steroids injected into nonhumans from controlled substances statutes. The bills signed Friday are summarized here.

  • HB 17-1006“Concerning the Authorization of a Process to Correct Statutory Citations Contained in Executive Branch Agency Rules Published in the Code of Colorado Regulations without the Requirement to Follow Rule-Making Procedures,” by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. Daniel Kagan. The bill allows agencies to correct statutory citations in the code of Colorado regulations without notice, comment, or a hearing by submitting to the secretary of state a specific, written determination by the attorney general.
  • HB 17-1011“Concerning a Limitation on When Certain Disciplinary Actions may be Commenced Against a Mental Health Professional, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring that a Mental Health Professional Provide Notice to Former Clients Regarding Record Retention and that All Complaints be Resolved by the Agency within Two Years after the Date the Complaint was Filed,” by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill requires that any complaint filed with the division of professions and occupations in the department of regulatory agencies against a mental health professional alleging a maintenance-of-records violation must be commenced within 7 years after the alleged act or failure to act giving rise to the complaint.
  • HB 17-1014“Concerning the Elimination of the Criminal Penalty Imposed Upon an Elector for Disclosing the Contents of the Elector’s Voted Ballot,” by Reps. Paul Rosenthal & Dave Williams and Sens. Kerry Donovan & Owen Hill. The bill deletes the ballot selfie prohibition in the Uniform Election Code provided certain conditions are met.
  • HB 17-1032“Concerning the Evidentiary Privilege for Communications Made During the Provision of Certain Peer Support Services,” by Rep. Jeni Arndt and Sen. John Cooke. The bill clarifies that privileged peer support communications need not be made during individual meetings in order to be confidential.
  • HB 17-1034“Concerning Licensing Changes to the Medical Marijuana Code to Conform with the Retail Marijuana Code,” by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill creates a requirement for a medical marijuana business operator to be licensed, and allows a medical marijuana licensee to move his or her business anywhere in Colorado upon approval of the state and local jurisdiction. The bill also allows a medical marijuana licensee to remediate its product if it contains a foreign substance.
  • HB 17-1046“Concerning Updating Statutory References to Certain Limited Outdated Terms Relating to People with Disabilities,” by Rep. Steve Lebsock and Sen. Kerry Donovan. The bill updates certain limited terms in statute that refer to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities or physical disabilities using insensitive or outdated terminology.
  • HB 17-1050“Concerning the Annual In-Service Training Required for a County Sheriff,” by Rep. Hugh McKean and Sen. Daniel Kagan. The bill specifies that each sheriff undergo at least the number of hours required for all certified peace officers by the peace officers standards and training board (POST board), but in no case less than 20 hours.
  • HB 17-1052“Concerning Factors to Take Into Consideration in Determining the Child Welfare Allocation Formula in a Given Fiscal Year,” by Rep. Susan Beckman and Sen. Jim Smallwood. The bill removes certain data-gathering factors currently required to be taken into consideration in determining a fiscal year’s child welfare allocation formula for counties and replaces those with a broader scope of factors that directly affect the population of children in need of child welfare services.
  • HB 17-1054“Concerning Partnerships Between Local Governments and Military Installations, and, in Connection Therewith, Identifying Shared-Service Opportunities to Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiencies,” by Reps. Terri Carver & Dan Nordberg and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill directs the department of local affairs to support cooperative intergovernmental agreements between military installations and local governments to the extent possible.
  • HB 17-1055“Concerning a Voluntary Contribution Designation Benefiting the Urban Peak Housing and Support Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness Fund that Appears on the State Individual Tax Return Forms,” by Rep. Leslie Herod and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill creates the Urban Peak Housing and Support Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness fund in the state treasury and adds a check-off to state tax returns for five years.
  • HB 17-1094“Concerning Modifications to the Requirements for Health Benefit Plans to Cover Health Care Services Delivered via Telehealth,” by Reps. Perry Buck & Donald Valdez and Sens. Kerry Donovan & Larry Crowder. The bill makes several changes to broaden the application of telehealth services.
  • HB 17-1105“Concerning Narrowing the Circumstances in Which Physical Inspection of a Vehicle is Required before Issuing Legal Documentation Identifying the Vehicle,” by Rep. Jon Becker and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill specifies that the department of revenue may not require physical inspection of a vehicle, including a VIN inspection, to verify information about the vehicle before registering or titling the vehicle if certain requirements are met.
  • HB 17-1137“Concerning the Scheduled Repeal of Reports by the Department of Revenue to the General Assembly,” by Reps. Dan Thurlow & Edie Hooton and Sens. Dominick Moreno & Jack Tate. The bill amends reporting requirements of the Department of Revenue.
  • HB 17-1140“Concerning Permitted Uses of Fee-for-Service Contract Money by the Colorado School of Mines,” by Rep. Jessie Danielson and Sen. Tim Neville. In addition to tuition supports, the bill allows Colorado School of Mines to use state fee-for-service contract money to fund  other services and programs, including counseling, academic support, student recruiting, and precollegiate programs.
  • SB 17-026“Concerning Requirements Governing Implementation of the State Engineer’s Functions, and, in Connection Therewith, Restructuring the Fee that the State Engineer may Charge for Rating Certain Types of Water Infrastructure, Repealing Certain Requirements, and Updating Language in the Statutes Regarding the Division of Water Resources,” by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. Jeni Arndt. The bill makes several changes to the state engineer’s functions and fee requirements.
  • SB 17-030“Concerning the Exemption from the Schedules of Controlled Substances any Anabolic Steroid that is Administered through Injection into Nonhuman Species,” by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Daneya Esgar. The bill exempts from the definition of ‘anabolic steroid’ human chorionic gonadotropin licensed for animal use only if it is expressly intended for administration through implants or injection into cattle or other nonhuman species.
  • SB 17-034“Concerning Extension of the Period Following the Declaration by the Governor of a Disaster Emergency in a County Within Which the Board of County Commissioners of the County may Transfer County General Fund Money to the County Road and Bridge Fund for the Purposes of Disaster Response and Recovery,” by Sens. Kevin Lundberg & Matt Jones and Reps. Hugh McKean & Mike Foote. The bill extends from 4 years to 8 years the period within which the board of county commissioners of the county may transfer general fund money to the road and bridge fund for disaster response and recovery.
  • SB 17-050“Concerning the Consolidation of Grant Programs Relating to Forest Management,” by Sen. John Cooke and Reps. Jeni Arndt & KC Becker. The bill transfers a forest management grant program from the Department of Natural Resources to the Forest Service, and realigns the funding for the new grant program and the healthy forest and vibrant communities fund.
  • SB 17-056“Concerning the Scheduled Repeal of Reports by the Department of Public Health and Environment to the General Assembly,” by Sen. Andy Kerr and Rep. Jeni Arndt. The bill addresses reporting requirements of the department of public health and environment.
  • SB 17-090“Concerning How to Measure the Level of Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol in Industrial Hemp,” by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush. The bill requires the commissioner of agriculture to determine the level of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol in industrial hemp by measuring the combined concentration of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and its precursor, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
  • SB 17-127“Concerning an Expansion of the Exemption from the Requirements that Apply to a Mortgage Loan Originator to Include Up to Three Loans Per Year Without Compensation Between Family Members,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill expands the mortgage loan originator exemption to include up to 3 loans per year without compensation, other than interest, between family members, and directs the board of mortgage loan originators to define ‘family member’ by rule.

For a list of the governor’s legislative actions, please visit here.

SB 17-004: Allowing Nonenrolled Medicaid Providers to Charge for Services

On January 11, 2017, Sen. Jake Tate and Rep. Cole Wist introduced SB 17-004, “Concerning Access by Medicaid Recipients to Nonenrolled Medical Providers.”

Under current law, recipients of services under the Colorado medical assistance program (medicaid) are not responsible for the cost of services by a medical provider or the cost remaining after payment by medicaid or another private insurer, regardless of whether the medical provider is enrolled in the medicaid program, unless the medical services provided are nonreimbursable by medicaid. The bill amends the statute so that the prohibition on charging medicaid recipients for medical services applies only if the medical provider is enrolled in medicaid.

Prior to providing medical services to a medicaid recipient, a nonenrolled provider must enter into a written agreement with the recipient as specified in the bill. If the requirements are met, the medicaid recipient would be responsible for the cost of the medical services.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Health & Human Services Committee. It is scheduled to be heard in committee on January 26, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

Pregnancy Accommodations Bill, CCB Transparency Bill, and More Signed by Governor

On Wednesday, June 1, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed 13 bills into law. To date, the governor has signed 217 bills this legislative session. Some of the bills signed Wednesday include a bill requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, a bill to increase transparency of community-centered boards, a bill authorizing the sale of land for expansion of Fort Logan National Cemetery, and more. The bills signed Wednesday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1187 – Concerning a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Meals Provided in Certain Retirement Communities, by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill creates sales and use tax exemptions for food and food packaging to be consumed by residents on the premises of a retirement community, which includes assisted living residences, nursing homes that provide continuous nursing care, and independent living facilities providing services to residents age 55 and older.
  • HB 16-1277 – Concerning the Appeal Process for Medical Assistance Benefits, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Susan Lontine & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Andy Kefalas & Ellen Roberts. The bill requires the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to give Medicaid clients at least 10 days advanced notice prior to suspending, terminating, or modifying a client’s medical assistance benefits. The bill also extends the deadline to appeal for a client to appeal the intended action to 60 days after the date of notice, up from 30 days under current law.
  • HB 16-1280 – Concerning the Regulation of Air Ambulance Service, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Faith Winter and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill gives the CDPHE authority to establish state-level licensing of air ambulances that allows for air ambulance operators to receive a license either by gaining accreditation through an approved organization or by meeting licensing standards established by the CDPHE and the State Board of Health.
  • HB 16-1387 – Concerning Health Insurance Coverage for Severe Protein Allergic Conditions, by Rep. Dianne Primavera and Sen. Laura Woods. Current law requires that health insurance plans provide coverage for medical foods for newborn children with inherited enzymatic disorders caused by single gene defects involved in the metabolism of amino, organic, and fatty acids. This bill adds coverage for severe protein allergic conditions and amino acid-based elemental formulas.
  • HB 16-1397 – Concerning the Completion of the Fitzsimmons State Veterans Community Living Center to Provide a Continuum of Residential Care Options, by Reps. Su Ryden & JoAnn Windholz and Sens. Mary Hodge & Larry Crowder. The bill repeals and reenacts the authority of the Department of Human Services to build a veterans community living center and assorted facilities on the site of the former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and outlines the requirements for the construction and use of the facilities.
  • HB 16-1438 – Concerning the Provision of Reasonable Accommodations by an Employer for Persons Who Have a Condition Related to Pregnancy, by Rep. Faith Winter and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill requires employers to engage in a timely, good-faith, interactive process when an employee or applicant requests reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy or physical recovery from childbirth. Reasonable accommodations may include the provision of more frequent or longer break periods; more frequent bathroom, food, or water breaks; acquisition or modification of equipment or seating; limitations on lifting; temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position or light duty, if available; assistance with manual labor; or modified work schedules, as long as certain conditions are met.
  • HB 16-1456 – Concerning the Sale of a Portion of Land at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for the Expansion of Fort Logan National Cemetery, by Rep. Susan Lontine and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill authorizes the Department of Human Services to sell up to 15 acres of vacant land around the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs at fair market value for purpose of expanding the Fort Logan National Cemetery.
  • SB 16-027 – Concerning Allowing the Option for Medicaid Clients to Obtain Prescribed Drugs Through the Mail, and, in Connection Therewith, Reducing an Appropriation, by Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Nancy Todd and Reps. Dianne Primavera & Lois Landgraf. Under current law, only a limited number of Medicaid recipients may receive maintenance medication by mail order. This bill expands the option to receive a three-month supply of maintenance medication through the mail to all Medicaid recipients.
  • SB 16-038 – Concerning Measures to Promote the Transparency of Community-Centered Boards, and, in Connection Therewith, Making Certain Community-Centered Boards Subject to Performance Audits Undertaken by the State Auditor, Making All Community-Centered Boards Subject to the “Colorado Local Government Audit Law”, Expanding Public Disclosure of the Administration and Operations of the Community-Centered Boards, and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Irene Aguilar and Reps. Dave Young & Lang Sias. The bill requires a community centered board (CCB) that receives more than 75 percent of its annual funding from federal, state, or local governments, or any combination thereof, to be subject to the Colorado Local Government Audit Act.
  • SB 16-158 – Concerning the Ability of a Physician Assistant to Perform Functions Delegated by a Physician that are Within the Physician Assistant’s Scope of Practice, by Sen. Kevin Lundberg and Rep. Dianne Primavera. The bill clarifies and expands the duties that a physician may delegate to a physician assistant within his or her scope of practice, including allowing a PA to issue certain statements verifying a medical condition, obtain Level I accreditation in workers’ compensation matters, and more.
  • SB 16-190 – Concerning Improving the Process for County Administration of Public Assistance Programs, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Bob Rankin. The bill establishes performance standards to improve the administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, including requiring DHS to contract with an external vendor to collect data regarding costs and performance of several public assistance programs.
  • SB 16-202 – Concerning Increasing Access to Effective Substance Use Disorder Services Through Designated Regional Managed Service Organizations, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Dave Young. The bill requires each managed service organization to assess the sufficiency of substance use disorder services for various populations in its geographic region, and to prepare a community action plan to address the most critical service gaps by March 1, 2017. The bill allows appropriations from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund to support the implementation of MSO community action plans and to provide substance abuse treatment.
  • SB 16-212 – Concerning Aligning Changes Made to the Federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization of 2014 to the Twelve-Month Eligibility Requirement of the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program, by Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Janet Buckner. The bill makes changes to align state law on eligibility for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program with federal law. Specifically, if an eligible participant’s income rises above the level set by the county to deny child care assistance during the twelve-month eligibility period, the county must continue providing the child care subsidy until the next twelve-month redetermination period.

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

Bills Updating Election Laws, Clarifying Tax Exemptions for Housing Authorities, and More Signed

On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed nine bills into law. To date, he has signed 186 bills into law this legislative session. The bills signed Wednesday include a bill to clarify the scope of tax exemption for housing authorities, a bill providing an exception to the prohibition against disclosing confidential mental health information when school safety is at risk, and more. The bills signed Wednesday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1006 – Concerning Clarification of the Scope of the Exemption from Government Charges for Property Owned by or Leased to a Housing Authority or Owned by, Leased to, or Under Construction by an Entity that is Wholly Owned by an Authority, an Entity in Which an Authority has an Ownership Interest, or an Entity in Which an Entity Wholly Owned by an Authority or of Which an Authority is the Sole Member has an Ownership Interest, by Reps. KC Becker & Alec Garnett and Sen. Owen Hill. The bill clarifies that sales, use, and property tax exemptions apply to low-income housing property owned by or leased to any subsidiary of a housing authority.
  • HB 16-1063 – Concerning an Exception to the Prohibition Against Disclosing Confidential Communications with a Mental Health Professional when School Safety is at Risk, by Reps. Mike Foote & Crisanta Duran and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Bill Cadman. The bill allows a specified mental health professional tomake a disclosure if his or her client makes an articulable and significant threat to a school or its occupants or exhibits behavior that the professional deems to jeopardize the safety of students, teachers, administrators, or other school personnel.
  • HB 16-1101 – Concerning Medical Decisions for Unrepresented Patients, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Lundberg. The bill allows an attending physician to designate another willing physician to act as a patient’s proxy decision-maker for health care treatment under certain conditions. The attending physician cannot act as the proxy decision-maker.
  • HB 16-1228 – Concerning an Alternative Transfer Mechanism for Water Rights that Protects the Agricultural Use for which a Water Right was Originally Decreed while Permitting Renewable One-Year Transfers of a Portion of the Water Subject to the Water Right, by Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Jon Becker and Sens. Kerry Donovan & Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill allows the owner of an absolute decreed irrigation water right used for agricultural purposes to apply in water court to change the use of the water right to an agricultural water protection water right which is created by this bill.
  • HB 16-1394 – Concerning Clarifying Definitions Related to At-Risk Persons, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill implements the recommendations of the at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) mandatory reporting implementation task force, including changing definitions related to at-risk persons, expanding penalties for mistreatment of at-risk persons, and more.
  • SB 16-142 – Concerning Modernization of Election Law Provisions, and, in Connection Therewith, Correcting Statutory Citations, Updating Terms and Procedures to Reflect Modern Elections Administration, Conforming State Law to Federal Law, Eliminating Redundancies and Obsolete References and Practices, Harmonizing Durational Residency Requirements for Certain Local Government Elections, and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Ray Scott and Rep. Su Ryden. The bill makes various changes and updates to election statutes.
  • SB 16-177 – Concerning Technical Modifications to Legislation Enacted in 2015 to Promote an Equitable Financial Contribution Among Affected Public Bodies in Connection with Urban Redevelopment Projects Allocating Tax Revenues, by Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Rollie Heath and Reps. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst & Polly Lawrence. The bill makes technical adjustments and clarifies recent legislation concerning urban renewal, urban renewal plans, and provisions for sharing tax increment financing among affected taxing entities.
  • SB 16-201 – Concerning Revising the Child Welfare Funding Mechanism, by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Dave Young. The bill requires the Department of Human Services to work with county departments of human services, residential treatment providers, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and the Joint Budget Committee to review the rate-setting process for residential treatment programs serving youth in the child welfare system.
  • SB 16-211 – Concerning Contests to Specified Special District Elections that are Made on Grounds Relating to Elector Qualifications, and, in Connection Therewith, Imposing a Jurisdictional Bar on Contests of Certain Elections and Validating the Qualifications of Certain Actors when Timely Contests Challenging Those Qualifications Have Not Been Filed, by Sens. Bill Cadman & Mark Scheffel and Reps. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst & Crisanta Duran. For special district elections conducted prior to April 21, 2016, and on May 3, 2016, this bill prohibits contesting the results of the election on the grounds that any person voting at the election was not eligible to vote, except in limited circumstances, and the qualification of any person elected or appointed to a special district is validated and may not be contested.

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

Bills for Exemptions from Liquor Licensing, Rule of 7 for Children’s Code, and More Signed by Governor

On Friday, March 18, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed 14 bills into law. To date, he has signed 37 bills this legislative session. The bills signed Friday include a bill conforming Children’s Code statutes to the “Rule of 7,” exemptions from liquor license requirements for institutes of higher education and home brewers, dates of performance audits for certain governmental entities, and more. The bills signed Friday are summarized here.

  • HB 16-1013 – Concerning Authorizing School Districts to Purchase Crime Insurance Coverage in Lieu of Surety Bonds, by Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Vicki Marble. The bill allows school districts to purchase crime insurance instead of surety bonds. Currently surety bonds are required for certain district employees who handle funds in excess of $50.
  • HB 16-1028 – Concerning Modifications to the Statewide Death and Disability Plan Administered by the Fire and Police Pension Association, by Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and Sen. John Cooke. The bill changes computations of fund transfers between the statewide death and disability plan and the Fire and Police Pension Association.
  • HB 16-1042 – Concerning an Exemption from Liquor Licensing Laws for a Brewing Program Offered by a State Institution of Higher Education, by Rep. Jeni James Arndt and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill creates an exemption from state liquor licensing laws for state institutions of higher education engaging in manufacturing and tasting of beer for teaching or research purposes. The beer cannot be sold or offered for sale and may only be tasted by students, researchers, expert tasters, and qualified employees who are at least 21 years old.
  • HB 16-1043 – Concerning the Joint Technology Committee’s Authority to Approve the Request for a Waiver of Certain Deadlines after Moneys for a Project have been Appropriated, by Rep. J. Paul Brown and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. Currently, state agencies and institutes of higher education that receive funding for projects are required to encumber some of the funds within a certain time period or, if they cannot, they are required to request a waiver. The bill exempts information technology capital projects overseen by the Joint Technology Committee from the waiver requirements.
  • HB 16-1057 – Concerning Statutorily Established Time Periods that are Multiples of Seven Days, by Rep. Kim Ransom and Sen. Michael Merrifield. The bill modifies time periods in the Children’s Code to conform to the “Rule of 7.”
  • HB 16-1081 – Concerning Removing Obsolete Reporting Provisions in Title 25.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, by Reps. Kim Ransom & Daneya Esgar and Sens. Kevin Lundberg and Linda Newell. The bill repeals reporting requirements for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing for certain topics.
  • HB 16-1084 – Concerning a Modification from the Exemption from the “Colorado Liquor Code” for Home Brewers to Permit an Adult Other Than the Head of the Family to Engage in Home Brewing Activities for Personal Use Without Obtaining a Liquor License, by Rep. Steve Lebsock and Sen. Chris Holbert. Currently, the head of a family can brew beer or wine for family use without obtaining a liquor license. The bill expands the allowance to any adult in the household for personal use.
  • HB 16-1086 – Concerning a Modification of the Dates on Which the Required Performance Audits of Certain Governmental Entities are Due, by Reps. Su Ryden & Dan Nordberg and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill extends the deadline by which the Department of Personnel and Administration and State Personnel Board must complete an audit from December 1, 2016, to December 1, 2019. The bill also eliminates the requirement that the department and board must be audited every four years.
  • HB 16-1284 – Concerning Divestment by the Public Employees’ Retirement Association from Companies that have Economic Prohibitions Against the State of Israel, by Reps. Dan Nordberg & Dominick Moreno and Sens. Owen Hill & Leroy Garcia. The bill requires PERA to take steps to identify all companies that have economic prohibitions against Israel by January 1, 2017, and to update the list biannually thereafter. PERA is required to notify each company of its restricted status and remove companies that cease to have prohibitions within 180 days.
  • SB 16-022 – Concerning Removing Certain Limitations on the Pilot Program to Mitigate Cliff-Effect for Low Income Families who are Working and Receiving Child Care Assistance, by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Brittany Petterson. The bill removes the existing 10-county cap on counties that can participate in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Cliff Effect Pilot Program, and also removes the two-year participation requirement if the Department of Human Services determines that participation for a shorter period will provide relevant information.
  • SB 16-029 – Concerning Changes to Colorado Insurance Laws Necessary to Maintain Accreditation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) And, In Connection Therewith, Adopting a New Own Risk and Solvency Assessment Law (ORSA) in a Form Substantially Similar to the NAIC Model and Enhancing Colorado’s Insurance Holding Company System Law by Adding a Required NAIC Model Provision Specifying the Insurance Commissioner’s Power to Issue Subpoenas and Examine Witnesses, by Sens. Mark Scheffel & Rollie Heath and Reps. Crisanta Duran & Polly Lawrence.
  • SB 16-031 – Concerning Authority of the Director of the Office of Legislative Legal Services to Sign Vouchers for Expenditures of the Office, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Timothy Dore. Currently, the chair of the Committee on Legal Services is required to sign any voucher for OLLS expenditure. The bill allows the director of OLLS to sign vouchers that do not exceed $5,000.
  • SB 16-050 – Concerning a Hold Harmless Provision for Retailers Liable for Any Money Payable as a Result of an Incorrect Location Code Assigned by the Department of Revenue, by Sens. Tim Neville & Cheri Jahn and Reps. Lori Saine & Su Ryden. The bill releases retailers from liability for failure to collect sales tax because of a misassigned Department of Revenue location code.
  • SB 16-066 – Concerning Creation of the Contingency Reserve Fund for School Districts, by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Millie Hamner. The bill recreates the State Contingency Reserve Fund in statute without substantive changes. The fund was mistakenly repealed on July 1, 2015.

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

Tenth Circuit: ALJ Properly Considered Evidence as a Whole and Gave Good Reasons for Findings

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its previously issued opinion in Vigil v. Colvin on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Kenneth Vigil filed for Social Security disability benefits due to a “bad left knee and ankle, anxiety, depression, and pain in his left heel and back.” He requested and received a hearing before an ALJ, at which he was represented by counsel. Vigil and a vocational expert testified at the hearing. The ALJ denied Vigil’s claim for benefits, finding that although he demonstrated moderate impairment and was unable to return to his previous employment, he could perform unskilled work that existed in substantial numbers in the national economy. The ALJ denied Vigil’s claim for benefits based on the fifth part of the five-part analysis for determining disability. The Appeals Council denied review, and the district court affirmed.

The Tenth Circuit reviewed the ALJ’s decision to determine whether the factual findings were supported by substantial evidence and whether the correct legal standards were applied. Vigil first argued that the ALJ did not have a valid reason for rejecting the restrictions imposed by his consultative physician, Dr. Summerlin. The Tenth Circuit reviewed the record and found that the ALJ gave Dr. Summerlin’s opinion moderate weight. In his order, the ALJ found that Dr. Summerlin’s restrictions were inconsistent with his exam results and he did not explain the discrepancy. The Tenth Circuit determined that the ALJ’s findings were supported by substantial evidence and affirmed, noting that the ALJ considered all of the evidence as well as the record as a whole and gave good reasons for the weight he afforded Dr. Summerlin’s report. The Tenth Circuit found no error.

Vigil next argued that the ALJ failed to adequately account for his memory and concentration deficits in calculating his residual functional capacity (RFC). The Tenth Circuit again found no error. The ALJ found at step three of the analysis that Vigil demonstrated moderate difficulties in concentration, persistence, and pace in social functioning. The ALJ accounted for those limitations by reducing Vigil’s RFC to one or two, meaning unskilled work. The Tenth Circuit noted that the evidence in the record supported the ALJ’s determination.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court.

Colorado Court of Appeals: No Error in Trial Court’s Calculation of Medicaid Lien

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in State of Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing v. S.P. on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Accident—Medicaid—Settlement—Statutory Lien—Calculation.

S.P. was injured in a snowboarding accident at a ski area. As a result of her injuries, she is a paraplegic and will require ongoing medical care and assistance for the rest of her life. She applied for Medicaid assistance and was accepted. Over the course of several years, Medicaid paid $142,779 for her accident-related medical care. S.P. sued the ski area, alleging negligence, and eventually settled the case for $1 million. Medicaid was entitled to a statutory lien against the settlement for repayment of the medical assistance it had provided. The settlement agreement, however, did not specify the portion of the settlement amount attributable to medical expenses, as opposed to other categories of damages. The Medicaid administration agency sued S.P. to enforce its lien.

On appeal, both parties argued that the trial court incorrectly calculated the amount S.P. was required to repay to Medicaid. Colorado has not enacted statutory, administrative or other procedures for apportioning third-party settlements for Medicaid lien purposes. The trial court applied a proportional allocation formula to determine what amount out of S.P.’s settlement funds should be considered compensation for past medical expenses. The trial court also relied on an objective indication of S.P.’s total past medical expenses that was supported by the record.

The Court of Appeals held that the decision to rely on the amount paid rather than the amount billed by Medicaid was not clearly erroneous, and that the trial court’s method in this case was neither unreasonable nor arbitrary. The trial court also did not err in applying its formula to the gross settlement amount and properly took attorney fees into consideration in reducing the amount owed to Medicaid. The judgment was affirmed and the case was remanded to the trial court to release the funds held in its registry pursuant to the judgment.

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

HB 14-1373: Extending State’s Homestead Exemption to Certain People Who Are Not Currently Eligible

On April 11, 2014, Reps. Steve Lebsock & Ray Scott and Sens. Larry Crowder & Rachel Zenzinger introduced HB 14-1373 – Concerning Individuals who May Claim the Property Tax Exemption for Qualifying Seniors and Disabled Veterans. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

A senior who is 65 years old or older and has owned and occupied the same primary residence for at least 10 years or the surviving spouse of such a senior may claim a property tax exemption (exemption) for the primary residence in an amount equal to 50% of the first $200,000 of actual value. In addition, a disabled veteran who has a service-connected disability that the United States department of veterans affairs has rated as 100% permanent and total disability, but not the surviving spouse of such a veteran, may claim the exemption.

For property tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2015, the bill specifies that:

  • A senior who has received an exemption for his or her former primary residence but moved to a new primary residence after January 1, 2014, may continue to claim an exemption for his or her new primary residence if a natural disaster forced the move by destroying the former primary residence or otherwise rendering it uninhabitable. The surviving spouse of a deceased senior may also claim the exemption for his or her new primary residence if the deceased senior:
    1. Previously qualified for a property tax exemption for the new primary residence; or
    2. Would have qualified for a property tax exemption for the new primary residence if he or she had not died before the surviving spouse moved to the new primary residence.
  • The surviving spouse of a deceased disabled veteran who had received an exemption before his or her death may claim the exemption.

The bill was approved by the House on April 21. The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees approved the bill on May 29 and 30 and was adopted on 2nd Reading by the full Senate on May 2.

Since this summary, the bill passed 3rd Reading in the Senate with no amendments and is on its way to the governor for action.

HB 14-1211: Requiring Complex Rehabilitation Technology to be Available to Medicaid Recipients

On January 30, 2014, Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Lois Tochtrop introduced HB 14-1211 – Concerning Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology in the Medicaid Program. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill requires the department of health care policy and financing (department) to recognize complex rehabilitation technology as a specific need of persons with complex diagnoses or medical conditions that result in significant physical or functional needs.

The department must designate appropriate billing codes as complex rehabilitation technology and establish supplier quality standards for complex rehabilitation technology suppliers. Additionally, the department must require evaluation of complex needs patients by qualified professionals for purposes of identifying appropriate complex rehabilitation technology. Further, the department must develop pricing policies for complex rehabilitation technology.

The bill defines terms relating to complex rehabilitation technology.

The bill is assigned to the Public Health Care & Human Services Appropriations Committees.

HB 14-1192: Repealing Colorado’s Health Benefit Exchange

On January 29, 2014, Rep. Janak Joshi and Sen. Kevin Lundberg introduced HB 14-1192 – Concerning the Repeal of the “Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act.” This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

In 2010, pursuant to the enactment of federal law that allowed each state to establish a health benefit exchange option through state law or opt to participate in a national exchange, the general assembly enacted the “Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act” (act). The act created the state exchange, a board of directors (board) to implement the exchange, and a legislative health benefits exchange implementation review committee to make recommendations to the board. The bill repeals the act, effective Jan. 1, 2015. The bill requires the state treasurer to transfer any unencumbered moneys that remain in the exchange to the general fund.

On Feb. 25, the Public Health Care & Human Services Committee heard testimony and considered the bill for committee discussion only; the bill will be put back on the calendar for action in the near future.

HB 14-1022: Aligning Duration of Child Care Assistance with Child Care Authorization Eligibility Notice

On January 8, 2014, Rep. Lois Landgraf and Sen. Linda Newell introduced HB 14-1022 – Concerning Alignment of the Duration of the Child Care Authorization Notice with the Child Care Assistance Eligibility Period for Children Participating in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission

The bill clarifies that, if a child is enrolled in the Colorado child care assistance program, the duration of the child care authorization notice, which authorizes payment of child care costs, is the same as the period for which the child’s family is eligible for child care assistance. However, the state board of human services, by rule, may identify specific circumstances in which the authorization notice term may be less than the full period of eligibility. A county may reduce the number of families served by the child care assistance program if necessary to avoid overspending its child care block grant allocation for a fiscal year. Assigned to the Public Health Care & Human Services Committee.

HB 14-1017: Modifying Statutory Provisions Related to Housing Investment Trust Fund to Increase Availability of Affordable Housing

On January 8, 2014, Rep. Crisanta Duran and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri introduced HB 14-1017 – Concerning Measures to Expand the Availability of Affordable Housing in the State, and, in Connection Therewith, Making Modifications to Statutory Provisions Establishing the Housing Investment Trust Fund, the Housing Development Grant Fund, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

In connection with the existing housing investment trust fund, the bill:

  • Changes the name of the fund from the home investment trust fund to the housing investment trust fund (trust fund);
  • Expands the sources of moneys that may be used to support the trust fund to include any moneys made available by the general assembly, all moneys collected by the division of housing (division) for the purpose of the trust fund from federal grants and from contributions, other grants, gifts, bequests, and donations received from any other organization, entity, or individual, public or private, and any fees or interest earned on such moneys;
  • Clarifies that the division is authorized and directed to solicit, accept, expend, and disburse all moneys collected for the trust fund from the various public and private sources identified in the bill for the purpose of making, not just loans as under existing law, but also loan guarantees, and for program administration. The bill specifies that any moneys in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year do not revert to the general fund and that moneys in the trust fund are continuously appropriated to the division for the purposes specified in statute.
  • Under current law, upon the approval of the state housing board, the division is authorized to make a loan from moneys in the trust fund to any local housing authority, public nonprofit corporation, or private nonprofit corporation for development or redevelopment costs incurred prior to the completion or occupancy of low- or moderate-income housing or for the rehabilitation of such housing. The bill deletes the enumeration of the entities entitled to borrow such moneys and also eliminates the requirement that such loan moneys may be used for development or redevelopment costs incurred prior to the occupancy of low- or moderate-income housing; and
  • Permits the division to charge the borrower an origination fee for loans made from the trust fund. The fee must be used for direct and indirect costs associated with the administration of the trust fund.

In connection with the existing housing development grant fund (fund), the bill:

  • Expands the permissible uses of moneys in the fund to include program administration;
  • Strikes existing language authorizing the division to make a grant or loan from the fund to finance foreclosure prevention activities, which has been repealed effective June 30, 2011;
  • Eliminates the requirement that the borrower is required to seek replacement loans or funding no later than 180 days from the date of the loan; and
  • Under current law, not more than $250,000 may be appropriated from the general fund in any one state fiscal year for any uses not related to construction grants or loans. The bill changes this requirement so that not more than 20 percent of the balance of moneys in the fund calculated as of July 1 of any state fiscal year may be appropriated from the general fund in any one state fiscal year for any housing-connected uses not related to construction grants or loans.

The bill also deletes obsolete language in existing statutory provisions governing the two funds.

In connection with the existing state low-income housing tax credit, the bill adds as a requirement for establishment of the credit that, where the qualified development contains 100 or more total residential units, at least 10 percent of the residential units in the development must be occupied by qualified residents. Where the qualified development contains less than 100 total residential units, not less than 15 percent of the total number of residential units in the development must be occupied by qualified residents. “Qualified resident” means an occupant of a residential unit in a qualified development whose household income is not more than 30 percent of the adjusted median income of the area in which the qualified development is located.