May 30, 2016

Colorado Court of Appeals: Statute Permitting Will Reformation Based on Extrinsic Evidence of Intent Is Not Rule of Construction

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Estate of Ramstetter on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

Probate—Extrinsic Evidence—Mutual Mistake.

Louise Ramstetter devised her ranch to her daughters, Jeanne, Marie, and Karol, “in equal shares to be held as joint tenants.” Louise died in 2009 and Marie and Karol, as personal representatives, began administering the estate. Three years later, Jeanne petitioned to remove Marie and Karol as personal representatives and for a declaratory judgment that she had severed the joint tenancy among the sisters, creating a tenancy in common as to her one-third of the ranch by deeding her interest to a trust she had created. Marie and Karol cross-petitioned to enforce a 2012 Agreement and Release in which they had agreed to convey 35 acres of the ranch to Jeanne and she had agreed to convey the remainder of the ranch to them, with all other claims being released. They also sought reformation of the will based on the failure of the attorney who drafted the will to have implemented Louise’s intent to keep ownership of the ranch within the family.

The trial court granted Jeanne’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding the will unambiguous. It accepted the parties’ position that application of CRS § 15-11-806, which allows a court to reform an unambiguous instrument “to conform the terms to the transferor’s intention” based on clear and convincing evidence that the “transferor’s intent and the terms of the governing instrument were affected by a mistake of fact or law,” was determined by CRS § 15-17-101(2), but concluded that CRS § 15-17-101(2) did not make CRS § 15-11-806 applicable because Louise had died before the latter section became effective. Moreover, it found that the reformation claim depended wholly on extrinsic evidence of Louise’s intent, and therefore dismissed it. The court found that the Agreement and Release was “invalid as a result of mutual mistake among the parties to it” and that Jeanne had severed the joint tenancy by the conveyance to her trust.

On appeal, Karol and Marie first argued that the trial court improperly dismissed their claim for reformation of Louise’s will. CRS § 15-11-806 amended the probate code to allow reformation of an unambiguous instrument. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that CRS § 15-11-806 cannot be applied retroactively in this case, but on different grounds: The Court found that CRS § 15-17-101(2)(b), which would allow retroactive application of CRS § 15-11-806, does not apply here because CRS § 15-17-101(2)(a) applies only to governing instruments and therefore controls over the more general subsection (2)(b) and does not provide a basis for retroactively applying CRS § 15-11-806. Also, CRS § 15-17-101(2)(e) does not allow retroactive application of CRS § 15-11-806 because CRS § 15-11-806 is not a rule of construction and therefore 2(e) doesn’t apply. Because CRS § 15-17-101(2)(a) and (b) do not permit retroactive application, the trial court properly precluded Karol and Marie from attempting to reform Louise’s will using extrinsic evidence of her intent under CRS §15-11-806. Karol and Marie also argued that the court improperly invoked stare decisis when dismissing their reformation claim. Because the terms of the will were unambiguous, the court properly did not admit extrinsic evidence to establish a contrary intent to that expressed in her will.

Karol and Marie then argued that the trial court misapplied the mutual mistake doctrine and erred in declining to enforce the Agreement and Release because all the sisters were mutually mistaken that only a contract among them could sever the joint tenancy. The Court reviewed the trial court decision for clear error and found sufficient support in the record to uphold its conclusion that all three sisters held the same mistaken belief. The Court also rejected Karol and Marie’s arguments that other findings of the trial court were irreconcilably inconsistent with the finding of mutual mistake.

The orders dismissing the reformation claim and voiding the Agreement and Release for mutual mistake were affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Bankruptcy Creditor Has Standing to Object to Potentially Fraudulent Conveyance of Real Property

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Lavenhar: Lavenhar v. First American Title Insurance Co. on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

On October 28, 2010, First American Title Insurance Company (“First American”) earned a judgment and damages award in its favor in the amount of $434,913.39, plus interest, in Colorado state court against Jeffrey Lavenhar. During the pendency of this litigation, Jeffrey and his then-wife Laurie initiated dissolution proceedings, resulting in the issuance of a divorce decree in November 2010, which incorporated a separation agreement dated October 26, 2010. The separation agreement required Jeffrey pay Laurie $4,400 per month in spousal maintenance, and also contained a provision stating the property located on Antelope Ridge Trial is and always has been the sole property of the Laurie H. Lavenhar Living Trust.

In seeking to collect its damages, First American filed suit against the Lavenhars and the Laurie H. Lavenhar Living Trust, asserting the transfer of Jeffrey’s interest in the Antelope Ridge Trail property to the Laurie H. Lavenhar Living Trust was a fraudulent conveyance. In addition to that independent lawsuit, First American sought to intervene in the Lavenhars’ divorce, seeking a declaration that the Lavenhars’ divorce proceeding was a fraud upon the court designed to hinder its ability to collect on the judgment against Jeffrey. The state divorce court granted First American’s motion to intervene.

Before the resolution of the various legal proceedings instituted by First American against the Lavenhars, Jeffrey filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. In response, First American filed a motion to lift the automatic stay as to the Antelope Ridge Trail property, asserting it should be able to litigate its state-court fraudulent conveyance action. The bankruptcy court denied the motion, concluding only the Chapter 7 Trustee had standing to bring such an action. Shortly thereafter, Laurie filed in the bankruptcy court a priority unsecured claim for domestic support obligations in the amount of $347,400. First American then filed a new motion to lift the automatic stay, seeking permission to litigate its complain in intervention of the Lavenhars’ divorce proceeding, which was granted in part by the bankruptcy court such that both First American and the Chapter 7 Trustee could litigate the complaint in intervention as to the single issue that would affect the validity of Laurie’s proof of claim, but not as to any other issues resolved in the divorce decree.

The district court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s partial lifting of the automatic stay, and Laurie appealed, asserting the bankruptcy and district courts erred in concluding First American has standing to litigate the validity of the component of the divorce decree addressing domestic support obligations via its state-court complaint in intervention.

On appeal, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals determined First American has standing to object to Laurie’s potentially fraudulent proof of claim for domestic support obligations. Next, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the order of the bankruptcy court partially lifting the automatic stay to allow the state divorce court to declare whether or not the Lavenhars’ divorce decree was obtained through fraud on the court. In so ruling, the Tenth Circuit reasoned there is no indication that the state divorce court cannot or will not comply with the limited scope of the bankruptcy court’s order lifting the stay. In rejecting Laurie’s argument that the validity of the property division is not separable from the validly of the spousal maintenance provision, both of which are contained in the separation agreement, the Tenth Circuit noted the Antelope Ride Trial property is and always has been the sole property of the Laurie H. Lavenhar Living Trust. Thus, the court reasoned it is simply not true that the issue the bankruptcy court allowed to proceed in the motion in intervention is inseparably intertwined with the property-transfer issues to be litigated by the Chapter 7 Trustee in the fraudulent conveyance action. Lastly, the court noted a ruling on First American’s behalf on the limited issue the bankruptcy court allowed to be litigated in the complaint in intervention would benefit all creditors equally, such that there exists no danger of intrusion on the exclusive prerogatives of the Chapter 7 Trustee.

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

SB 16-199: Amending Regulation of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

On April 22, 2016, Sens. Ray Scott & Pat Steadman and Reps. Brian DelGrosso & Joann Ginal introduced SB 16-199Concerning Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. The bill was assigned to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations. The bill was again amended in Appropriations and referred to the Senate floor for Second Reading. After being amended on Second Reading, the bill passed Third Reading with no amendments.

The bill makes a number changes with respect to the State Department’s interaction with and regulation of organizations and facilities providing a program of all-inclusive care for the elderly (“PACE”).

The bill requires that contracts between the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (“Department”) and a PACE organization include the negotiated monthly capitated rate for services. The rate must be based upon a prospective monthly capitation payment to a PACE organization for a Medicaid participant enrolled in a PACE program that is less than what would otherwise have been paid under the state Medicaid plan if the participant were not enrolled in the PACE program.

The Department shall participate with Colorado PACE organizations to develop an actuarially sound upper payment limit methodology that complies with federal law, while addressing and employing information on the PACE population. The Department shall provide state long-term care options data, as well as relevant Medicare and Medicaid data, necessary for the computation of the upper payment limit. An actuary experienced in these methods shall assist with the computation. Until the upper payment limit methodology is developed and adopted in state board rules, the percentage of the upper payment limit used to calculate the monthly capitated rate shall not be less than the percentage negotiated for the 2016-2017 state fiscal year.

The bill creates the state PACE ombudsman (“ombudsman”) in the state long-term care ombudsman program. Each PACE program shall post at all PACE facilities a notice, prepared by the ombudsman, informing PACE participants of the existence of and contact information for the ombudsman. The ombudsman shall have immediate access to a PACE program or facility, and to PACE participants, for the purposes of carrying out the duties of the ombudsman.

The bill establishes the following duties of the ombudsman: (1) establish policies and procedures to identify, investigate, and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of a PACE participant related to any act or omission of any PACE organization; (2) provide training and technical assistance to PACE organizations and their employees; (3) establish procedures to analyze the development and implementation of federal, state, and local law and policies with respect to PACE services, programs, and facilities (and recommend changes to Colorado’s laws and policies); and (4) pursue administrative, legal, or other appropriate remedies on behalf of PACE participant.

The bill establishes a civil penalty for any person who takes any discriminatory, disciplinary, or retaliatory action against any PACE participant or any employee of a PACE organization for any communication with an ombudsman.

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

Long Appropriations Bill, SCFD Bill, and Many More Signed by Governor

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed 24 bills into law. Many of the bills signed Wednesday addressed transfers of moneys and financing. Some of the other bills signed Wednesday include a bill addressing the location where competency evaluations should be completed, a bill enacting statutory changes recommended by the Child Support Commission, and a bill regarding transfers of property rights on death.

Additionally, on May 3, Governor Hickenlooper signed the Long Appropriations Bill for 2016-17, HB 16-1405, and on April 29, Governor Hickenlooper signed SB 16-016, which will allow the submission of a ballot question to voters regarding extending the funding for the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District for twelve more years. To date, the governor has signed 167 bills this legislative session. The bills signed by Governor Hickenlooper this past week are summarized here.

April 29, 2016

  • SB 16-016 – Concerning the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending the Ballot Question Concerning the Extension of the District to be Submitted to the Voters and Modifying Statutory Provisions Concerning the Administration of the District, by Sens. Pat Steadman & Bill Cadman and Reps. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst & Polly Lawrence. The bill allows the SCFD to submit a ballot question to district voters at the 2016 or 2017 November election authorizing the extension of the tax for 12 years through June 30, 2030, and changes the SCFD funding formula.

May 2, 2016

  • HB 16-1405 – The 2016-17 Long Appropriations Bill, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill sets forth the budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

May 3, 2016

  • HB 16-1048 – Concerning Modifications to the Business Enterprise Program to be Administered by the Department of Labor and Employment Under its Authority to Administer Vocational Rehabilitation Programs, by Rep. Dianne Primavera and Sen. Kevin Lundberg. The bill establishes a working group in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to study ways to expand opportunities for Business Enterprise Program vendors.
  • HB 16-1158 – Concerning Continuation Under the Sunset Law of the Identity Theft and Financial Fraud Board, by Rep. Pete Lee and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill extends the sunset of the Identity Theft and Financial Fraud Board until September 1, 2025.
  • HB 16-1159 – Concerning Continuation Under the Sunset Law of the Colorado Fraud Investigators Unit, by Rep. Pete Lee and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill extends the sunset of the Colorado Fraud Investigators Unit until September 1, 2025.
  • HB 16-1165 – Concerning Statutory Changes Based on the Recommendations in the Report of the 2013-2015 Colorado Child Support Commission, by Reps. KC Becker & Lois Landgraf and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill amends child support guidelines and related statutes based on the findings of the Colorado Child Support Commission, including allowing discovery of insurance claims, requiring an annual exchange of financial information between parents, changing the formula to determine gross income, limiting the period in which a party can seek retroactive child support, and more.
  • HB 16-1268 – Concerning District Attorney’s Representation in Certain Hearings Arising from Interstate Supervision Contracts, by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. John Cooke. The bill clarifies that a district attorney must appear on behalf of the state and counties of his or her district in any probable cause hearing for a matter under the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision or the Interstate Compact for Juveniles.
  • HB 16-1298 – Concerning Changes in Permissible Vehicle Dimensions, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. John Cooke. The bill changes the maximum permissible vehicle dimensions.
  • HB 16-1317 – Concerning Clarifying the Types of Transactions that May Be Included in a Motor Vehicle Service Contract, by Rep. Angela Williams and Sen. Chris Holbert. The bill authorizes certain services to be included in a motor vehicle service contract, including tire and windshield repair, key fob repair, and more.
  • HB 16-1379 – Concerning the Criteria Under Which the State Board of Psychologist Examiners May Award Professional Development Credit for Specific Activities Currently Included in the Continuing Professional Development Program for Licensed Psychologists, by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill clarifies and amends portions of the continuing professional development program for licensed psychologists, including allowing credit hours for teaching or giving presentations; allowing credit hours for writing, editing, or reviewing psychology publications; and limiting the award of credit hours to review of peer review journal articles.
  • HB 16-1406 – Concerning Department of Corrections Reimbursement of Expenses of County Coroners, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to reimburse a county for reasonable and necessary costs related to investigations or autopsies for persons who were in the custody of the DOC at the time of their death. Costs may include transportation, refrigeration, and body bags.
  • HB 16-1407 – Concerning the Continuation of the Medicaid Payment Reform and Innovation Pilot Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Changing the Time Frames, Eliminating the Repeal Date of the Pilot Program, Enhancing the Reporting Requirements of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill removes the July 1, 2013, deadline for HCPF to review and select payment projects for inclusion in the Medicaid Payment Reform and Innovation Pilot Program, and removes the June 30, 2016, deadline by which payment projects must be completed.
  • HB 16-1408 – Concerning the Allocation of Cash Fund Revenues to Health-Related Programs, and, in Connection Therewith, Modifying and Streamlining the Allocation of Tobacco Litigation Settlement Moneys by Replacing the Current Two-Tier Allocation System that Includes Both Percentage-Based and Fixed Amount Allocations of Settlement Moneys with a Single Set of Exclusively Percentage-Based Allocations and Replacing Settlement Moneys Funding for Specified Programs with Marijuana Tax Cash Fund Funding; Allocating Additional Settlement Moneys to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center for Cancer Research Only; Transferring a Specified Amount from the Children’s Basic Health Plan Trust to a Newly Created Primary Care Provider Sustainability Fund on July 1, 2016; and Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill establishes a new formula for the allocation of the annual payment received by the state as part of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, allocating revenue by percentage shares, rather than the hybrid scheme of fixed dollar amounts and capped percentage shares in multiple tiers.
  • HB 16-1409 – Concerning the Transfer of Forty-Two Million Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars on June 30, 2016, from the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund for State Programs, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill transfers $42,800,000 out of the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund and places it in the General Fund and the Adult Dental Fund.
  • HB 16-1410 – Concerning Matters Related to the Location Where a Competency Evaluation is Conducted, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill changes procedures around competency evaluations in criminal proceedings, including requiring the court to order the evaluation to take place on an outpatient basis or, if the defendant is in custody, at the place where the defendant is in custody.
  • HB 16-1411 – Concerning the Supportive Residential Community Program Operated at the Fort Lyon Property, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring a Longitudinal Evaluation of the Program; and Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill repeals the supportive residential community for individuals who are homeless at the Fort Lyon property in Bent County, and requires a longitudinal study of the program prior to its repeal.
  • HB 16-1413 – Concerning the Financing of the Water Pollution Control Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Kevin Grantham. The bill repeals the Water Quality Control Fund and creates a separate cash fund for each of the six clean water sectors, which will receive the fees specific to its sector.
  • HB 16-1415 – Concerning the Manner in which the State Funds Driver and Vehicle Services by the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Revenue, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing an Appropriation, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill changes the way the state funds driver and vehicle services in the DMV, by increasing the fees charged for services, allowing for funding through the Highway Users Tax Fund, eliminating the end of the year transfer of the excess reserve from the Licensing Services Cash Fund to the HUTF, and exempting the LCSF from the limit on cash reserves.
  • HB 16-1417 – Concerning Capital-Related Transfers of Moneys, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill makes three FY 2016-17 transfers to the Capital Construction Fund from several sources.
  • HB 16-1418 – Concerning a Transfer from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund to the General Fund, by Rep. Bob Rankin and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill transfers $26,277,661 from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund (MTCF) to the General Fund.
  • HB 16-1419 – Concerning a Reduction in the Amount of the General Fund Reserve Required for the Fiscal Year 2015-16, by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill reduces the FY 2015-16 statutory General Fund reserve from 6.5 percent to 5.6 percent.
  • SB 16-058 – Concerning the Regulation of Certain Foods, and, in Connection Therewith, Exempting Certain Food Producers from Licensure, Inspection, and Other Regulation, and Making an Appropriation, by Sen. Owen Hill and Rep. KC Becker. The bill modifies the “Colorado Cottage Foods Act,” which allows homemade food producers to sell certain food products directly to consumers, by eliminating the tiered system and the State Board of Health’s authority to make rules governing the production of tier two foods, which currently consist of pickled vegetables, and by expanding the type of foods that may be sold by producers under the Cottage Foods Act to include other nonpotentially hazardous foods and encouraging, rather than mandating, a producer to take a food safety course.
  • SB 16-126 – Concerning Parity of State-Chartered Banks with Federally Chartered Banks Regarding Frequency of Meeting, by Sen. Ellen Roberts and Reps. Alec Garnett & Dan Nordberg. Under current law, the board of directors for a state bank is required to meet monthly. This bill requires those meetings to be held at least quarterly unless the board specifies a different schedule.
  • SB 16-133 – Concerning the Transfer of Property Rights Upon the Death of a Person, and, in Connection Therewith, Clarifying Determination-of-Heirship Proceedings in Probate, by Sen. Jack Tate and Reps. Dan Pabon & Yeulin Willett. The bill changes procedures for affirming the death of a decedent with shared ownership of real property, and makes changes to probate law for determining heirs, devisees, and property interests. It changes the definition of “interested person” to include an owner by descent or succession and to exclude any person holding a non-ownership interest in a decedent’s property. The bill also enacts portions of the “Uniform Power of Appointment Act.”
  • SB 16-137 – Concerning a Clarification of the Authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission to Enter Into an Agreement with a Private Landowner, by Sens. Mike Johnston & Jerry Sonnenberg and Rep. Timothy Dore. The bill clarifies that the preference program does not limit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission from entering into an agreement with a private landowner for public hunting and fishing and including the issuance of a hunting license in that agreement.

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

SB 16-133: Changing Procedures for Affirming Shared Ownership of Real Property at Death of Decedent

On February 18, 2016, Sens. Jack Tate & Michael Johnston and Reps. Dan Pabon & Yeulin Willett introduced SB 16-133Concerning the Transfer of Property Rights upon the Death of a Person, and, in Connection Therewith, Clarifying Determination-Of-Heirship Proceedings in Probate. The bill was introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was amended. It passed through the Senate with amendments on Second Reading and passed through the House without further amendments. It is now awaiting the governor’s signature.

Under current law, a certificate of death, a verification of death document, or a certified copy thereof, of a person who is a joint tenant may be placed of record with the county clerk and recorder of the county in which the real property affected by the joint tenancy is located, together with a supplementary affidavit. First, this bill removes the requirement that the person who swears to and affirms the supplementary affidavit has no record interest in the real property, while requiring that the supplementary affidavit include a statement that the person referred to in the certificate is the same person who is named in a specific recorded deed or similar instrument creating the joint tenancy.

Second, this bill amends provisions concerning determination-of-heirship proceedings, as follows:

  1. Amends the definition of “interested person” to mean an owner by descent or succession so that anyone affected by the ownership of property may commence a proceeding;
  2. Requires the petition to contain additional information with respect to the property at issue, each decedent, any previous administration of the decedent’s property, and any unknown interested person;
  3. Imposes additional requirements upon a petition if the decedent died testate, depending on whether the decedent’s will has or has not been previously admitted to probate, and if the will has not been probated, the petition must contain a statement that the original will is unavailable;
  4. Requires a petitioner’s notice to identify the petition, and include the name of the each decedent, the name of each interested party, a legal description of any real property, the time and place of the hearing on the petition, and that any objection to the petition must be filed in writing with the court on or before the hearing date and served upon the petitioner; notice shall also be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the proceeding was filing, and in the county in which the real property at issue is located;
  5. Requires upon the entry of a decree affecting title to real property, a certified copy of the decree must be recorded and indexed in the office of the county clerk and recorder of each county in which real property is located, as if it were a deed of conveyance from the decedent; and
  6. Establishes that the admission of a previously unprobated will applies only to the decedent’s particular property interest described in the petition.

Third, this bill enacts portions of section 5 of the “Uniform Power of Appointment Act,” with amendments.

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

e-Legislative Report: Week of April 11, 2016

legislationWelcome to another edition of the e-leg report. We’re nearing the halfway point at the capitol, and that means the state budget debate is at hand. A number of bills that the CBA is working are subject to appropriations – and only after the budget debate is settled will we know whether they are likely to be funded or not.

Feel free to drop me a line on how we are doing or raise an issue on a piece of legislation. Contact me atjschupbach@cobar.org.

CBA Legislative Policy Committee

For followers who are new to CBA legislative activity, the Legislative Policy Committee (“LPC”) is the CBA’s legislative policy making arm during the legislative session. The LPC meets weekly during the legislative session to determine CBA positions from requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association. Members are welcome to attend the meetings—please RSVP if you are interested.

LPC Meeting Update

Here is a quick rundown of the bills on which we have recently taken a position.

HB 16-1211 – Marijuana Transporter License

The bill creates a retail marijuana transporter license and a medical marijuana transporter license. The license is valid for five years. A licensed marijuana transporter (transporter) provides logistics, distribution, and storage of marijuana and marijuana products. A transporter may contract with multiple businesses and may also hold another marijuana license. A transporter must be licensed by December 31, 2017, in order to continue to operate. The bill describes the circumstances under which a business can terminate a contract with a transporter.

The Bar’s Cannabis Law Committee is currently monitoring and preparing comments on this bill. The bill is working through its first chamber and has been greatly amended from its original form. The Legislative Policy Committee has not taken action on this bill.

HB 16-1235 – Commissions Evaluating State Judicial Performance

The bill makes revisions to various functions of the state commission on judicial performance (state commission) and the district commissions on judicial performance (district commission), referred to collectively as the “commissions.”

This bill was postponed indefinitely (killed) in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. The Colorado Bar Association had many concerns with the cost and operation of the bill.

HB 16-1270 – Security Interest Owner’s Interest In Business Entity

Under current law, the Uniform Commercial Code (Code) invalidates contractual limits on the transferability of some assets that can be subject to a security interest. In 2006, the Colorado Corporations and Associations Act (Act) was amended to clearly and broadly exempt an owner’s interest in a business entity from these Code provisions to effectuate the “pick your partner” principle that allows small businesses to control their ownership. Section 3 of the bill narrows the exemption in the Act to that necessary for “pick your partner,” and sections 1 and 2 codify this narrowed exemption in the Code.

This bill, part of a four bill package of business entities clean up acts, was supported by the Bar and has passed the House and Senate and is on its way to be signed by the Governor.

HB 16-1275 – Taxation Of Corporate Income Sheltered In Tax Haven

The bill pertains to an affiliated group of corporations filing a combined report. In a combined report filing, the tax is based on a percentage of the entire taxable income of all of the includable corporations, but the tax is assessed only against the corporation or corporations doing business in Colorado. Including more affiliated corporations in the combined report may result in an increase in income subject to tax.

There are jurisdictions located outside of the United States with no tax or very low rates of taxation, strict bank secrecy provisions, a lack of transparency in their tax system operations, and a lack of effective exchange of information with other countries. There are several common legal strategies for sheltering corporate income in such jurisdictions, often called “tax havens.”

Notwithstanding a current requirement in state law that those corporations with 80% or more of their property and payroll assigned to locations outside of the United States be excluded from a combined report, the bill makes a corporation that is incorporated in a foreign jurisdiction for the purpose of tax avoidance an includable C corporation for purposes of the combined report.

The bill defines a corporation incorporated in a foreign jurisdiction for the purpose of tax avoidance to mean any C corporation that is incorporated in a jurisdiction that has no or nominal effective tax on the relevant income and that meets one or more of five factors listed in the bill, unless it is proven to the satisfaction of the executive director of the Department of Revenue that such corporation is incorporated in that jurisdiction for a legitimate business purpose.

The bill requires the state controller to credit a specified amount per fiscal year to the state education fund to be used to help fund public school education.

The bill requires the secretary of state to submit a ballot question, to be treated as a proposition, at the statewide election to be held in November 2016 asking voters:

  • To increase taxes annually by the taxation of a corporation’s state income that is sheltered in a foreign jurisdiction for the purpose of tax avoidance;
  • To use the resulting tax revenue to help fund elementary and secondary public school education; and
  • To allow an estimate of the resulting tax revenue to be collected and spent notwithstanding any limitations in section 20 of article X of the state constitution (TABOR).

The Tax Law section of the CBA voted to oppose this bill, which was postponed indefinitely (killed) by the Senate State Affairs Committee. The Bar had concerns over the cost of vague language in the bill as well as the impact on the courts and judicial system.

HB 16-1310 – Operators Liable For Oil And Gas Operations

Under current law governing relations between surface owners and oil and gas operators, to prevail on a claim the surface owner must present evidence that the operator’s use of the surface materially interfered with the surface owner’s use of the surface of the land. The bill amends this requirement to allow proof that the operator’s oil and gas operations harmed the surface owner’s use of the surface of the land, caused bodily injury to the surface owner or any person residing on the property of the surface owner, or damaged the surface owner’s property.

The Legislative Policy Committee voted to oppose this bill because it upends the burden of proof responsibility. The bill has passed the House and is moving on to the Senate, where it will be heard by the Agriculture Committee.

HB 16-1331 – Policies On Juvenile Shackling In Court

The bill requires restraints on a juvenile to be removed prior to any court proceeding, except when the court determines the restraints are necessary:

  • To prevent physical harm to the juvenile or another person;
  • To prevent disruptive courtroom behavior by the juvenile, evidenced by a history of behavior that created potentially harmful situations or presented substantial risk of physical harm; or
  • To prevent the juvenile from fleeing the courtroom, when there is evidence of an escape history or other relevant factors.

The prosecution, sheriff, or any other detention or pretrial personnel may request that an individual juvenile be restrained in the courtroom. The court shall provide the juvenile’s attorney an opportunity to be heard before the court allows the use of restraints on a juvenile. The court may conduct a hearing on the use of restraints without the juvenile being present.

The CBA supports this bill as good policy and an extension of the efforts the courts have made this past year. While the courts need discretion, we believe this bill strikes the right balance for outlining the policies on how and when juveniles should be subject to shackling.

HB 16-1346 – Open Records Subject To Inspection Denial

The bill allows a custodian to deny access to confidential personal information records and employee personal e-mail addresses. The provisions of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) that relate to civil or administrative investigations and trade secrets and other privileged and confidential information apply to the judicial branch.

The Bar Association opposed this bill because of constitutional and separation of powers concerns regarding the relationship between the judicial and legislative branches of government. In addition, we believe that the PAIRR rules issued by the Chief Justice, which closely mirror the text of CORA, are better suited to meet the information needs of requesters while maintaining the integrity of judicial records.

HB 16-1394 -Aligning Issues Around At-risk Persons

The bill implements the following recommendations of the at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities mandatory reporting implementation task force:

  • Standardizing statutory definitions among the Colorado Criminal Code, adult protective services in the department of human services, and the office of community living in the department of health care policy and financing;
  • Specifying that enhanced penalties for crimes against an at-risk person apply to all persons 70 years of age or older and to all persons with a disability; and
  • Clarifying and expanding the definitions of persons who are required to report instances of mistreatment of at-risk elders or at-risk adults with an intellectual and developmental disability (adults with IDD).

The bill also:

  • Reduces the time in which a law enforcement agency or county department is required to prepare a written report from 48 hours to 24 hours;
  • Specifies that a county department of human or social services is to conduct an investigation of allegations of mistreatment of an at-risk adult; and
  • Clarifies that the human rights committee is responsible for ensuring that an investigation of mistreatment of an adult with IDD occurred.

The Colorado Bar Association opposed the bill as written, but is working with stakeholders to review amendments from other stakeholder groups. We are working with and talking with the sponsors frequently.

SB 16-130 – Methods To Collect Consumer Use Tax

Consumer use tax is the complement to sales tax and is due on the purchases of goods where the retailer did not charge sales tax. For example, any time consumers make an Internet purchase and the out-of-state retailer does not charge sales tax, the purchaser should pay the equivalent amount of sales tax as consumer use tax directly to the Colorado Department of Revenue (department). The department has added a use tax line to the 2015 individual income tax return form in an effort to make self-reporting of use tax more convenient for consumers.

The bill specifies that after the 2015 income tax year the department is not allowed to add use tax reporting lines to the individual income tax return form for any reason. The bill also prohibits the department from auditing any taxpayer for any amount he or she reported on the use tax lines included in the 2015 individual income tax return form.

The CBA is monitoring this bill and has sought permission to make changes to the bill to ensure that collecting use taxes is efficient.

SB 16-131 Overseeing Fiduciaries’ Management Of Assets

The bill clarifies statutory language concerning the removal of a fiduciary to ensure that a fiduciary’s authority is suspended as soon as a petition to remove the fiduciary is filed. The bill adds a provision to the conservatorship statutes stating that an adult ward or protected person has a right to be represented by a lawyer of their choosing unless the trial court finds the person lacks sufficient capacity to provide informed consent for representation by a lawyer. The bill states that after a fiduciary receives notice of proceedings for his, her, or its removal, the fiduciary shall not pay compensation or attorney fees and costs from the estate without an order of the court.

This bill rearranges the existing responsibilities for fiduciaries managing assets. It is a cleanup and reorganization of these statutes and adds the right to legal counsel for wards and protected persons. The bill is scheduled for committee later this week.

SB 16-133 – Transfer Of Property Rights At Death

Under current law, a certificate of death, a verification of death document, or a certified copy thereof, of a person who is a joint tenant may be placed of record with the county clerk and recorder of the county in which the real property affected by the joint tenancy is located, together with a supplementary affidavit. The bill removes the requirement that the person who swears to and affirms the supplementary affidavit has no record interest in the real property. The bill includes inherited individual retirement accounts and inherited Roth individual retirement accounts as property exempt from levy and sale under writ of attachment or writ of execution.

The bill amends provisions concerning determination-of-heirship proceedings, as follows:

  • Clarifies the definition of “interested person” so that anyone affected by the ownership of property may commence a proceeding;
  • Describes when an unprobated will may be used as part of a proceeding;
  • Clarifies notice requirements; and
  • Ensures that a judgment and decree will convey legal title as opposed to equitable title.

The bill enacts portions of section 5 of the Uniform Power of Appointment Act, with amendments.
This bill, the second part of the Colorado Bar Association’s probate reorganization bills, has passed the legislature and will be sent to the Governor shortly.

Bills that the LPC is monitoring, watching or working on can be found at this link:
http://www.statebillinfo.com/sbi/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=21762&pk=996

Colorado Court of Appeals: Monies Held in Joint Accounts Not Part of Probate Estate

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Estate of Sandstead on Thursday, April 7, 2016.

Auriel and Willard Sandstead attempted to avoid probate by titling their real estate and bank accounts jointly in their names and two of their three daughters’ names. The couple executed wills in 1991 and again in 2000. After Willard’s death, Auriel presented only the 1991 will for probate and neglected to mention the 2000 will.

Auriel held proceeds from the sale of a family farm in a joint bank account with the two daughters, Vicki Sandstead (Sandstead) and Shauna Sandstead Corona (Corona). After an altercation with a Wells Fargo employee, Sandstead transferred $200,000 out of the joint account and into an account at Citizens Bank in Massachusetts that she held jointly with her mother but not with Corona. Sandstead used those funds for her mother’s benefit during her lifetime and also to conduct repairs on some of the properties held jointly.

After Auriel died, Sandstead and Corona executed small estate affidavits as to their parents’ personal property, since most of the assets had been removed from probate by joint titling with their daughters. Sandstead noticed some items missing from the estate, and opened a probate case where she was named as PR. Corona petitioned to remove Sandstead as PR, and a successor was agreed upon by the sisters. Corona moved for surcharge, attorney fees, and other relief against Sandstead as to her actions as PR, specifically alleging Sandstead breached her fiduciary duties to Corona because of the $200,000 transfer prior to their mother’s death. The district court surcharged Sandstead for the $200,000 transfer and two other transfers occurring before the probate estate was opened.

At some point, the sisters became aware of the 2000 will. Corona challenged the will as having been revoked by their mother. Sandstead and the two grandsons included as heirs in the 2000 will argued that the in terrorem clause in the 2000 will barred Corona from recovering under the will. The district court granted Sandstead’s motion for enforcement of the in terrorem clause in the 2000 will against Corona. The district court noted that if the parents were unaware of the 2000 will as Corona claimed, it was hard to imagine how they could have revoked it. Both sisters appealed.

On appeal, the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s surcharge. The court held that Sandstead had a legal right to transfer the moneys due to being a signatory on the joint bank account. The assets in the Citizens Bank account were never part of the probate estate and therefore could not have been subject to surcharge. The court found that Sandstead had never intended for the monies to be included in the probate estate, and had vehemently denied their inclusion when the issue was raised in court. The court of appeals reversed the district court’s surcharge against Sandstead. The court upheld the district court’s enforcement of the in terrorem clause in the 2000 will against Corona, finding that she could not have reasonably believed that her mother had revoked the 2000 will since there was no evidence Willard and Auriel had executed subsequent wills or destroyed the 2000 will, the only two ways enumerated in the statute to revoke a will.

The district court’s order was reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded with instructions.

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets, Tampering with Deceased Human Bodies, and More Bills Signed

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed five bills into law. To date, he has signed 78 bills into law this legislative session. The bills signed Thursday include a bill creating a new crime of tampering with deceased human bodies, a bill promoting the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, a bill regarding the Department of Corrections’ authority to distribute medication, and more. The bills signed Thursday are summarized here.

  • SB 16-010 – Concerning the Purchase of an Off-Highway Vehicle by a Dealer, by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Jon Becker. The bill allows a powersports dealer to purchase a used off-highway vehicle without a title if it was purchased in a jurisdiction that does not issue titles for such vehicles or if it was purchased in Colorado prior to January 1, 2014.
  • SB 16-034 – Concerning Tampering with a Deceased Human Body, by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. Rhonda Fields & Polly Lawrence. The bill creates a new crime of tampering with a deceased human body in order to impair its appearance or availability for an official proceeding.
  • SB 16-088 – Concerning the “Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act,” by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Yeulin Willett. The bill sets forth conditions under which certain fiduciaries may access a decedent’s electronic communications, a catalog of communications sent or received by a principal or decedent, or any other digital asset in which a decedent had a right.
  • HB 16-1152 – Concerning the Authority of the Department of Corrections to Distribute Medication, by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. John Cooke. The bill authorizes the Department of Corrections to distribute compounded and prepackaged medications to its pharmacies.
  • HB 16-1353 – Concerning Payment of Expenses of the Legislative Department, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Brian DelGrosso and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Lucia Guzman. The bill provides FY 2016-17 appropriations to the legislative department.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Trial Court Not Required to Order Accounting at Request of Interested Person

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Sidman v. Sidman on Thursday, March 24, 2016.

Legal Guardian—Motion for Accounting—Discretion.

In 2002 Michael and Renee Sidman were appointed as legal guardians for their nephew, who was born in 1999. The parents paid child support and filed a motion for an accounting. The trial court denied the motion, and the parents appealed.

The guardians filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, arguing that (1) the order denying the motion for an accounting was not a final, appealable order because a motion to modify child support was pending and the order did not resolve all pending matters, and (2) the court should have followed the law of the case and not reached the merits of the motion, based on its two previous orders denying similar requests for accountings. Even if the order was not final at the time the appeal was filed, the jurisdictional defect was cured when the motion to modify child support was resolved in November 2014. Furthermore, the trial court was not compelled by the law of the case to refrain from considering the parents’ motion; the decision was a matter in the court’s discretion.

The parents contended on appeal that the trial court abused its discretion in denying their motion for accounting. The Court of Appeals determined that CRS § 15-14-207(2)(e) did not require the court to order the guardians to provide an accounting. Instead, the parents’ motion triggered the court’s duty to exercise its discretion as to whether to order an accounting and the extent of any such accounting. The court properly exercised its discretion.

The order was affirmed.

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

SB 16-026: Preventing Restriction of Communication Rights of Protected Persons

On January 13, 2016, Sen. Laura Woods introduced SB 16-026Concerning Personal Rights of Protected Persons, and, In Connection Therewith, Limiting the Ability of a Guardian or Conservator to Isolate a Protected Person. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations.

The proposed bill provides that a guardian or conservator shall not restrict a protected person’s right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons. Unless a restriction is authorized by a court order, this includes the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, or personal mail. A court may issue such order restricting communications, visitations, or interactions if good cause can be shown by a guardian or conservator.

Additionally, an interested person, including the protected person, who has a reasonable belief that the guardian or conservator has violated the court order may move the court to do any one of the following: (1) require the guardian or conservator to grant a person access to the protected person; (2) restrict, or further restrict, a person’s access to the protected person; (3) modify the guardian or conservator’s duties; or (4) remove the guardian or conservator.

The proposed bill also provides that a guardian or conservator who knowingly isolates a protected person in violation of the law or a court order is subject to removal.

The bill also proposes certain instances in which the guardian or conservator must notify the protected person’s closest known family members or person designated by the protected person. These instances are: (1) if the protected person changes his or her residence; (2) if the protected person resides at a location other than his or her residence for more than 7 days; (3) if the protected person is admitted to a medical facility for acute care or emergency care; or (4) if the protected person dies.

Mark Proust is a 2016 JD Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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.

e-Legislative Report: Week of March 14, 2016

Welcome to another edition of the e-leg report. We’re nearing the halfway point at the capitol, and that means the state budget debate is at hand. A number of bills that the CBA is working are subject to appropriations – and only after the budget debate is settled will we know whether they are likely to be funded or not.

Feel free to drop me a line on how we are doing or raise an issue on a piece of legislation. Contact me at jschupbach@cobar.org.

CBA Legislative Policy Committee

For followers who are new to CBA legislative activity, the Legislative Policy Committee (“LPC”) is the CBA’s legislative policy making arm during the legislative session. The LPC meets weekly during the legislative session to determine CBA positions from requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association. Members are welcome to attend the meetings—please RSVP if you are interested.

LPC Meeting held Friday, February 26, 2016

There was no meeting of the LPC on March 4. We will be considering a number of bills this coming week, but here is a quick rundown of the bills on which we have recently taken a position.

HB 16-1165 – Colorado Child Support Commission Statutory Changes
The LPC voted to seek an amendment to this bill, which was subsequently added in the House before the bill was passed on to the Senate. The amendments offered clarify the calculations of parenting time in certain circumstances

HB 16-1275 – Taxation Of Corporate Income Sheltered In Tax Haven
The LPC voted to oppose this bill because of vague language that could result in unnecessary litigation and an additional burden on the judiciary.

HB 16-1270 – Security Interest Owner’s Interest In Business Entity
This is the first of a package of four business law clean-up bills from the Business Law Section. It aims to protect the security interest of owners and secure the “pick a partner” provision in Colorado law for all types of business entities.

SB 16-131 – Overseeing Fiduciaries’ Management Of Assets
This bill, written by members of the Trust & Estate and Elder Law sections, clarifies provisions in the Colorado Probate Code regarding a person’s right to counsel and the removal of a fiduciary.

SB 16-133 – Transfer Of Property Rights At Death
This bill clarifies the process and rights associated with property transfers after death by clarifying existing law and providing that the Colorado Probate Code prevails over the Uniform Power of Appointment Act where the Colorado Probate Code is better suited for the state’s probate process.

Bills that the LPC is monitoring, watching or working on can be found here.

New Bills of Interest

HB 16-1339 – Agricultural Property Foreclosure
Current law establishes the initial date of sale of foreclosed property based on who is selling the property and whether the property is agricultural or nonagricultural. Property is nonagricultural unless all of the property is considered agricultural. The bill extends the provisions relating to agricultural property to property in which any part is agricultural.

SB 16-148 – Require Civics Test Before Graduating from High School
Under existing law, each high school student must satisfactorily complete a civics course as a condition of high school graduation. In connection with this requirement, the bill requires each student who is enrolled in ninth grade during or after the 2016-17 school year to correctly answer, before graduating from high school, at least 60 questions from the civics portion of the naturalization test (test) used by the United States citizenship and immigration services. The school district, charter school, or school operated by a board of cooperative services (local education provider) that enrolls the student may allow the student to take the test on multiple occasions while enrolled in ninth through twelfth grade and, if necessary, to repeat the test until the student correctly answers at least 60 questions. Once the student correctly answers 60 questions, the local education provider will note the accomplishment on the student’s transcript. A student who has a disability is excused from this requirement, except to the extent it may be required in the student’s individualized education program. The superintendent or principal of a local education provider may waive the requirement for a student who meets all of the other graduation requirements and demonstrates the existence of extraordinary circumstances that justify the waiver. Each local education provider has complete flexibility in determining the manner of delivering the test and may incorporate the test into its existing curriculum. A local education provider shall not use the results of the test in measuring educator effectiveness.

SB 16-150 – Marriages By Individuals In Civil Unions
The bill addresses issues that have arisen in Colorado regarding marriages by individuals who are in a civil union or who entered or who will enter into a civil union after the passage of the bill. The bill amends the statute on prohibited marriages to disallow a marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier civil union of one of the parties, except a currently valid civil union between the same two parties. The executive director of the Department of Public Health and Environment is directed to revise the marriage license application to include questions regarding prior civil unions. The bill states that the “Colorado Civil Union Act” (act) does not affect a marriage legally entered into in another jurisdiction between two individuals who are the same sex. The bill states that a civil union license and a civil union certificate do not constitute evidence of the parties’ intent to create a common law marriage. Two parties who have entered into a civil union may subsequently enter into a legally recognized marriage with each other by obtaining a marriage license from a county clerk and recorder in the state and by having the marriage solemnized and registered as a marriage with a county clerk and recorder. The bill states that the effect of marrying in that circumstance is to merge the civil union into a marriage by operation of law. A separate dissolution of a civil union is not required when a civil union is merged into a marriage by operation of law. If one or both of the parties to the marriage subsequently desire to dissolve the marriage, legally separate, or have the marriage declared invalid, one or both of the parties must file proceedings in accordance with the procedures specified in the “Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act.” Any dissolution, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity of the marriage must be in accordance with the “Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act.” If a civil union is merged into a marriage by operation of law, any calculation of the duration of the marriage includes the time period during which the parties were in a civil union. The criminal statute on bigamy is amended, effective July 1, 2016, to include a person who, while married, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in the state with another person not his or her spouse and to include a person who, while still legally in a civil union, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in the state with another person not his or her civil union partner. mmittees of the Bar Association.