August 18, 2019

Archives for March 13, 2015

e-Legislative Report: March 11, 2015

legislationWelcome to the “halftime” report for the 2015 Session of the Colorado Legislature. There are 120 days in each legislative session and this past Saturday marked day 60 of the current year. I wanted to use this eLeg report as an opportunity to let you know where things stood with the bills that have been considered by the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC).

We welcome your feedback. We welcome your questions. Or just drop me a line on how we are doing or raise an issue on a piece of legislation. Contact me at jschupbach@cobar.org.

HB 15-1011 – Restrict Revealing How Person Votes
Sponsor: Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D)
CBA Positon: Support
For elections conducted under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”, current law, which applies to any person, makes disclosing how or for whom an elector has voted a misdemeanor. The bill narrows this provision to those persons who, in the course of performing any elections-related duty or function, obtain any knowledge as to how a person has voted. Additionally, both the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” and the “Municipal Election Code” prohibit a voter from showing to anyone else his or her ballot in such way as to reveal its contents. The bill repeals this provision.
Status: (01/28/2015) House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1022 – Juvenile Petty Offense Contracts
Sponsors: Sen. John Cooke (R), Sen. Patrick Steadman (D) & Rep. Elizabeth H. McCann (D)
CBA Position: Support
For a juvenile 10 years of age or older alleged to have committed a petty offense, the bill allows a peace officer to issue a petty ticket requiring the juvenile to appear before a law enforcement officer, an assessment officer, or a screening team (screening entity). If the screening entity finds certain conditions have been met, the screening entity shall offer a petty offense contract to the juvenile and his or her parent or legal guardian. If the juvenile satisfies the conditions of the contract, the prosecuting attorney shall not file charges with the court.
Status: (03/09/2015) Sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper

HB 15-1025 – Competency To Proceed Juvenile Justice System
Sponsors: Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D) & Sen. Linda Newell (D)
CBA Position: Support
Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems. The bill establishes a juvenile-specific definition of “incompetent to proceed” for juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system, as well as specific definitions for “developmental disability”, “intellectual disability”, “mental capacity”, and “mental disability” when used in this context. The bill clarifies the procedures for establishing incompetency, as well as for establishing the restoration of competency.
Status: (02/26/2015) House Committee on Judiciary: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1034 – Add Judge In Twelfth Judicial District
Sponsors: Rep. Edward Vigil (D) & Sen. Larry Crowder (R)
CBA Position: Support
Effective July 1, 2015, the bill increases the number of district court judges in the twelfth judicial district from 3 to 4.
Status: (03/06/2015) Senate Third Reading Passed—No Amendments

HB 15-1041 – Protect Human Life at Conception
Sponsors: Rep. Stephen A. Humphrey (R)*, Rep. Kim Ransom (R) & Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R)
CBA Position: Oppose (if Necessary)
The bill prohibits abortion and makes a violation a class 3 felony. The following are exceptions to the prohibition: A licensed physician performs a medical procedure designed or intended to prevent the death of a pregnant mother, if the physician makes reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with conventional medical practice; and A licensed physician provides medical treatment to the mother that results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the unborn child. The pregnant mother upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted is not subject to a criminal penalty. The sale and use of contraception is not prohibited by the bill. A conviction related to the abortion prohibition constitutes unprofessional conduct for purposes of physician licensing.
Status: (02/26/2015) House Committee on Judiciary: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1053 – Ages For Compulsory Education
Sponsor: Rep. Kim Ransom (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
Under current law, a child who is at least 6 years of age and under 17 years of age must attend school. The bill changes the ages of compulsory education to at least 7 years of age and under 16 years of age.
Status: (01/26/2015) House Committee on Education: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1069 – Homestead Exemption Recorded Instrument Requirements
Sponsors: Rep. Su Ryden (D) & Sen. Chris Holbert (R)
CBA Position: Support
Colorado law requires that a document claiming a homestead exemption only include a legal description of the real property and not the name of the owner of the property. The indexing system for real property ownership in the land records of Colorado is based on the names of the grantor and grantee of real property. The bill adds a requirement that the name of the owner of real property be included in a recorded document claiming a homestead exemption.
Status: (03/09/2015) Sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper

HB 15-1071 – Surviving Entity Owns Attorney-client Privilege
Sponsors: Rep. Jon Keyser (R) & Sen. Owen Hill (R)
CBA Position: Support
Existing law specifies that when entities merge, all of the privileges of each of the merging entities vest as a matter of law in the surviving entity. The bill clarifies that the attorney-client privilege is among the privileges that vest in the surviving entity.
Status: (03/09/2015) Sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper

HB 15-1091 – Policies On Juvenile Shackling In Court
Sponsors: Rep. Susan Lontine (D) & Sen. Michael Merrifield (D)
CBA Position: Oppose
The bill requires each judicial district to develop and implement a policy regarding juvenile shackling by Dec. 31, 2015. The policy must be developed with input from the judicial department, law enforcement agencies, public defenders’ offices, and district attorneys’ offices and must consider research, legal precedent, and recognized best practices regarding shackling juveniles. The state court administrator shall report to the house and senate judiciary committees, or to any successor committees, by Jan. 31, 2016, regarding the policies developed by each judicial district.
Status: (02/25/2015) House Third Reading Passed—No Amendments

HB 15-1101 – Public Defender ADC Records Open Records
Sponsors: Rep. Rhonda Fields (D), Rep. Polly Lawrence (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
Current law exempts the judicial department from the Colorado open records act (act). The bill makes the records of the state public defender and office of alternate defense counsel in the judicial department subject to the act, except for records that are privileged attorney–client records.
Status: (02/12/2015) House Committee on Judiciary: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1121 – Wind Energy Generation
Sponsors: Rep. Jon Becker (R) & Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R)
CBA Position: Support
Current law declares that the right to wind energy is a property right appurtenant to the surface estate and governs the creation of agreements between an owner of surface rights and a wind energy developer. The bill amends and adds relevant definitions, including the definition of a wind energy developer of record, which is the wind energy developer named in an agreement that is recorded in county land records. The bill also specifies that:

  • Like other agreements affecting the title to real property, until a wind energy agreement is recorded, it is not binding on anyone other than the parties and those with notice of the agreement.
  • Rights under a recorded wind energy agreement executed on or after July 1, 2012, expire after 15 years unless the agreement provides otherwise or unless wind-powered energy generation has occurred on the subject property.
  • Once a wind energy developer has determined to begin construction of generating facilities under a wind energy agreement, the developer may record an affidavit stating when construction will begin. If no affidavit is recorded, the developer’s rights will expire after 15 years unless the agreement provides otherwise.
  • A wind energy agreement, as well as any release due to the termination or expiration of rights under the agreement, must be recorded in both the grantor and grantee indices and under the names of all parties. If a recorded wind energy agreement expires or is terminated, the wind energy developer of record is required to record a release. If the developer fails to do so within a specified period, the developer and any transferee of the developer’s rights under the agreement are jointly and severally liable for any damages to the surface owner that result from the failure to record the release.

Status: (03/05/2015) Sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper

HB 15-1135 – Terminally Ill Individuals End-of-life Decisions
Sponsors: Rep. Lois Court (D), Rep. Joann Ginal (D) & Sen. Lucia Guzman (D)
CBA Position: No Position
The bill enacts the “Colorado Death with Dignity Act” (act), which authorizes an individual with a terminal illness to request, and the individual’s attending physician to prescribe to the individual for self-administration by ingestion, life-ending medication intended to hasten the individual’s death. The individual must: Be a Colorado resident; Be an adult who is able to make and communicate health care decisions; Have a terminal illness; and Voluntarily request life-ending medication to self-administer by ingestion. The act outlines the manner by which a terminally ill individual must request life-ending medication to self-administer by ingestion, which includes: A requirement to make the request orally on 2 separate occasions and by a written, signed, and witness-verified request; A waiting period between the oral requests, the written request, and the time the attending physician may write the prescription; and The individual’s right to rescind the request at any time and in any manner. Any person who participates in the life-ending process, including a physician who prescribes life-ending medication to an individual with a terminal illness, is protected from civil and criminal liability and professional disciplinary action if the physician or other person acts in good-faith compliance with the requirements of the act. The attending physician is required to: Determine that an individual is suffering from a terminal illness, is capable, is making the request voluntarily, and is a Colorado resident; Inform the individual of his or her medical diagnosis and prognosis, the potential risks and probable result of taking the medication, and feasible alternatives; Refer the individual to a consulting physician for medical confirmation of the diagnosis, prognosis, and a determination that the patient is capable and is acting voluntarily; Refer the individual for counseling, if appropriate; Inform the individual of his or her right to rescind the request for life-ending medication at any time; and Document in the individual’s medical record the procedures followed and related facts. The bill requires the physician to either dispense the medication directly to the patient or, with the patient’s consent, contact a pharmacist about the prescription and personally deliver, mail, or electronically transmit the prescription to the pharmacist, who can dispense the medication to the patient, the patient’s expressly identified agent, or the physician. A health care provider cannot discipline a physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider for actions taken in good-faith compliance with the act or for refusing to act; however, a provider that has a policy prohibiting other health care providers from participating under the act while on the provider’s premises and that notifies providers of that policy may sanction a provider who violates the policy. A person who is present when a terminally ill individual self-administers by ingestion life-ending medication is not subject to criminal or civil liability for failing to prevent the patient from self-administering the medication. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, or other health care providers have no duty to participate in providing life-ending medication to a terminally ill individual. The bill specifies that life, health, or accident insurance or annuity policies cannot be affected by a terminally ill individual’s request for or ingestion of medication to end his or her life. The act does not authorize a health care provider to end an individual’s life by lethal injection, mercy killing, or active euthanasia and clarifies that a health care provider does not engage in those prohibited activities when he or she participates under the act to assist a terminally ill individual in obtaining life-ending medication. A person commits a class 2 felony if he or she: Without the permission of the terminally ill individual, willfully alters or forges a request for life-ending medication or conceals or destroys a rescission of the request; or Coerces or exerts undue influence on a terminally ill individual to request life-ending medication or to destroy a rescission of the request.
Status: (02/06/2015) House Committee on Public Health Care & Human Services: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1142 – Public Trustee Conduct Electronic Foreclosure Sale
Sponsors: Rep. Beth McCann (D) & Sen. Lucia Guzman (D)
CBA Position: Support (if Amended)
The bill authorizes the public trustee of a county to conduct foreclosure sales through the internet or another electronic means, and allows for the collection of a specific fee for sales that are conducted electronically. The trustee shall publish information related to such sales electronically as well as through traditional means such as posting a physical document.
Status: (02/24/2015) House Committee on Business Affairs and Labor Refer Amended to Finance

HB 15-1161 – Public Accommodation First Amendment Rights
Sponsors: Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
The bill specifies that neither the civil rights division, the civil rights commission, nor a court with jurisdiction to hear civil actions brought under the public accommodations laws may compel involuntary speech or acts of involuntary artistic expression or involuntary religious expression by a person when such speech or acts of artistic or religious expression would lead to that person directly or indirectly participating in, directly or indirectly supporting, or endorsing or impliedly endorsing an ideology, ceremony, creed, behavior, or practice with which the person does not agree.
Status: (03/09/2015) House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1171 – State Freedom Of Conscience Protection Act
Sponsors: Rep. Stephen Humphrey (R), Rep. Patrick Neville (R) & Sen. Tim Neville (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
The bill: Specifies that no state action may burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to a person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest; Provides a claim or defense to a person whose exercise of religion is burdened by state action; and Specifies that nothing in the bill creates any rights by an employee against an employer unless the employer is a government employer.
Status: (03/09/2015) House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs: Postpone Indefinitely

HB 15-1174 – Information Protections Domestic Violence Victims
Sponsors: Rep. Terri Carver (R) & Sen. Laura Woods (R)
CBA Position: Amend
The bill extends the protections related to confidentiality of personal information on the internet that are currently in place for law enforcement officials and their immediate family to participants in the address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (participants). The bill clarifies the term “actual address” to include any unique identifying information related to a participant’s residential, work, or school address. Private business entities are encouraged to accept a participant’s substitute address. Disclosure of unique identifying information of a participant in criminal and civil proceedings is limited to those circumstances where the potential harm to the participant is substantially outweighed by the public interest in the disclosure and when no other alternative would satisfy the necessity for disclosure.
Status: (03/06/2015) Senate Third Reading Passed—No Amendments

HB 15-1189 – Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets
Sponsors: Rep. Jonathan Keyser (R) & Sen. Patrick Steadman (D)
CBA Position: No Position
Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws. The bill enacts the “Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act”, as amended, as Colorado law. The bill sets forth the conditions under which certain fiduciaries may access:

  • The content of an electronic communication of a principal or decedent;
  • A catalog of electronic communications sent or received by a decedent or principal; and
  • Any other digital asset in which a principal has a right or interest or in which a decedent had a right or interest at death. As to tangible personal property capable of receiving, storing, processing, or sending a digital asset, a fiduciary with authority over the property of a decedent, protected person, principal, or settlor may access the property and any digital asset stored in it and is an authorized user for purposes of computer fraud and unauthorized computer access laws. “Fiduciary” means a personal representative, a conservator, an agent, or a trustee. A custodian and its officers, employees, and agents are immune from liability for an act or omission done in good-faith compliance with the provisions of the bill.

Status: (02/19/2015) House Committee on Judiciary Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

HB15-1216 Basis For Expert Opinion Testimony
Sponsors: Rep. Kevin Priola (R) & Sen. John Cooke (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
The bill prohibits a person from testifying concerning the person’s expert opinion unless certain conditions are met.
Status: (02/10/2015) Introduced In House—Assigned to Judiciary

HB 15-1246 – Crowdfund Intrastate Securities On-line
Sponsors: Rep. Pete Lee (D), Rep. Dan Pabon (D)*
CBA Position: Support
Current securities law restricts businesses’ ability to raise capital through crowdfunding, which is the raising of money on-line through small contributions from a large number of investors. The bill enacts the “Colorado Crowdfunding Act” to facilitate crowdfunding by authorizing on-line intermediaries to match a Colorado investor with a Colorado business that wishes to sell securities (an “issuer”) pursuant to a simplified regulatory regime, including the following:
During any 12-month period:

  • The aggregate amount sold to any single investor cannot exceed $5,000 unless the investor is an “accredited investor” as defined by the federal securities and exchange commission; and
  • The sum of all consideration paid for an issuer’s securities cannot exceed $1 million unless the issuer submits audited financial statements to the securities commissioner, in which case the cap is $2 million;

Issuers must:

  • Inform investors, in plain, nontechnical language, that the securities have not been registered pursuant to federal or state securities law and that the securities are subject to limitations on resale, and the investor must acknowledge the risks associated with the purchase; and
  • Provide a free quarterly report to investors that includes an analysis of the business operations and financial condition of the issuer and compensation to officers and directors, which report can simply be posted on the on-line intermediary’s web site;

On-line intermediaries cannot offer investment advice or handle investor funds or securities, and must:

  • Maintain records of securities transactions, which are subject to inspection by the division of securities; and Be compensated only by a fixed amount for each offering, a variable amount based on the length of time that the securities are offered by the on-line intermediary, or a combination of the fixed and variable amounts. Crowdfunding cannot begin until the securities commissioner adopts rules to implement the Act.

Status: (02/24/2015) Introduced In House—Assigned to Business Affairs and Labor

HB 15-1253 – Uniform Voidable Transactions Act
Sponsors: Rep. Pete Lee (D)
CBA Position: Oppose
Uniform Law Commission approved a set of amendments to the “Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act” (act). The amendments changed the title of the act to the “Uniform Voidable Transactions Act”. The amendment project was instituted to address a small number of narrowly defined issues and was not a comprehensive revision. The principal features of the amendments are:
Choice of law. The amendments add a new provision that sets forth a choice of law rule applicable to claims for relief of the nature governed by the act.
Evidentiary matters. New provisions add uniform rules allocating the burden of proof and defining the standard of proof with respect to claims for relief and defenses under the act.
Deletion of the special definition of “insolvency” for partnerships. The act as originally written set forth a special definition of “insolvency” applicable to partnerships. The amendments delete the original language, with the result that the general definition of insolvency now applies to partnerships. One reason for this change is that the original provision gave a partnership full credit for the net worth of each of its general partners. That makes sense only if each general partner is liable for all debts of the partnership, but such is not necessarily the case under modern partnership statutes. A more fundamental reason is that the general definition of insolvency does not credit a nonpartnership debtor with any part of the net worth of its guarantors. To the extent that a general partner is liable for the debts of the partnership, that liability is analogous to that of a guarantor. There is no good reason to define insolvency differently for a partnership debtor than for a nonpartnership debtor whose debts are guaranteed by contract. Defenses. The amendments refine in relatively minor respects several provisions relating to defenses available to a transferee or obligee, as follows:
As originally written, the act created a complete defense to an action for a fraudulent transfer (which renders voidable a transfer made or obligation incurred with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any creditor of the debtor) if the transferee or obligee takes in good faith and for a reasonably equivalent value. The amendments add to the act the further requirement that the reasonably equivalent value must be given to the debtor.
The act created, in a provision derived from the federal “Bankruptcy Code”, a defense for a subsequent transferee (that is, a transferee other than the first transferee) that takes in good faith and for value, and for any subsequent good-faith transferee from a person. The amendments clarify the meaning of the defense by rewording it to follow more closely the wording of the federal “Bankruptcy Code”, which is substantially unchanged as of 2014. Among other things, the amendments make clear that the defense applies to recovery of or from the transferred property or its proceeds, by levy or otherwise, as well as to an action for a money judgment. The act as originally written created a defense to an action for a fraudulent transfer or to avoid a transfer if the transfer results from enforcement of a security interest in compliance with the secured transactions provisions of the “Uniform Commercial Code”. The amendments exclude from that defense acceptance of collateral in full or partial satisfaction of the obligation it secures (a remedy sometimes referred to as “strict foreclosure”). Series organizations. A new provision of the act provides that each “protected series” of a “series organization” is to be treated as a person for purposes of the act, even if it is not treated as a person for other purposes. This change responds to the emergence of the series organization as a significant form of business organization. Medium neutrality. In order to accommodate modern technology, the references in the act to a “writing” have been replaced with “record” and related changes made. Style. The amendments make a number of stylistic changes that are not intended to change the meaning of the act. For example, the amended act consistently uses the word “voidable” to denote a transfer or obligation for which the act provides a remedy. As originally written, the act sometimes inconsistently used the word “fraudulent”. No change in meaning is intended. Likewise, the retitling of the act is not intended to change its meaning.
Status: (03/02/2015) Introduced In House—Assigned to Business Affairs and Labor

SB 15-016 – Marriages By Individuals In Civil Union
Sponsors: Sen. Patrick Steadman (D)
CBA Position: Support
The bill addresses issues that have arisen in Colorado regarding marriages by individuals who are in a civil union or who will enter into a civil union after recent court decisions have declared same-sex marriage bans, such as section 31 of article II of the state constitution, unconstitutional. 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 2 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 2 individuals who are the same sex. The construction statute for the act is amended to clarify that it must not be construed to create a marriage, including a common law marriage, between the parties to a civil union. 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 this 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 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, 2015, to include a person who, while married, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in this state with another person and to include a person who, while still legally in a civil union, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in this state with another person.
Status: (01/21/2015) Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs: Postpone Indefinitely

SB 15-031 – Reciprocity To Practice Occupation Or Profession
Sponsors: Sen. Owen Hill (R)*
CBA Position: Oppose
Current law allows a military spouse to practice an occupation or profession during the person’s first year of residence in Colorado if the person is authorized to practice in another state, there is no basis to disqualify the person from practice, and the person consents to the jurisdiction of the disciplinary authority of the appropriate agency. The bill expands this practice to all persons during their first year of residence in Colorado.
Status: (01/28/2015) Senate Committee on Business, Labor, & Technology: Postpone Indefinitely

SB 15-042 – Mandatory Reports Of Animal Abuse
Sponsors: Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R) & Rep. Jon Becker (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
The bill specifies persons who are required to report abandonment, mistreatment, or neglect of an animal to the owner or law enforcement. It creates a class 3 misdemeanor for such a person who: Fails to report abandonment, mistreatment, or neglect of an animal within 48 hours after seeing the incident; or Knowingly files a false report of abandonment, mistreatment, or neglect of an animal.
Status: (02/09/2015) Senate Committee on Judiciary: Postpone Indefinitely

SB 15-049 – Real Estate Title Vests Once the Entity is Formed
Sponsors: Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik (R) & Rep. Jonathan Keyser (R)
CBA Position: Support
Current law specifies that when a grantee of a deed is a corporation whose incorporation papers have not yet been filed, title to the real estate vests in the corporation once the papers are filed. The bill expands this law to apply to all entities, specifying that title vests once the entity is formed.
Status: (03/09/2015) House Third Reading Passed—No Amendments

SB 15-059 – Concerning the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Limited Circumstances
Sponsors: Sen. Newell, Sen. Lundberg, Sen. Guzman, Sen. Lambert
CBA Position: Amend
The bill permits law enforcement to use an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) under the following circumstances:

  • When it receives a search warrant authorizing the use prior to the use;
  • When it is needed to prevent imminent harm to life or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence; and
  • When there is a high risk of a terrorist attack determined by the department of homeland security. A law enforcement agency must receive federal aviation administration authority prior to using a UAV, and the UAV may not exceed 25 pounds. The bill creates parameters for individual, recreational, civil, and industrial use of UAVs.

Status: (02/25/2015) Senate Committee on Judiciary Postpone Indefinitely

SB 15-060 – Preventing Multiple Voter Registrations
Sponsors: Sen. Chris Holbert (R) & Rep. Justin Everett (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
In an effort to eliminate multiple voter registrations by the same elector, the bill permits the secretary of state to forward any information obtained from the division of motor vehicles in the department of revenue to the appropriate county clerk and recorder who shall then update an elector’s voter registration record in the master list of registered electors.
Status: (02/10/2015) Introduced In House—Assigned to State, Veterans, & Military Affairs

SB 15-077 – Parents’ Bill of Rights
Sponsors: Sen. Tim Neville (R) & Rep. Patrick Neville (R)
CBA Position: Oppose
The bill establishes a parent’s bill of rights that sets forth specific parental rights related to education, health care, and mental health care of minor children.
Status: (02/17/2015) Introduced In House—Assigned to Public Health Care & Human Services

SB 15-087 – Foster Care & Kin Care Placement Background Checks
Sponsors: Sen Linda M. Newell (D) & Jonathan Singer (D)
CBA Position: Support (if Amended)
The bill reorganizes statutes regarding the regulation of foster care homes, kinship foster care homes, and noncertified kinship care to clarify the responsibilities for background checks between the state department of human services (state department) and county departments of human or social services (county departments) and licensed child placement agencies. The bill defines “kin”, “kinship foster care home”, “noncertified kinship care”, and “informal kinship care”. “Kin” is a relative or a person who has a family-like relationship or significant relationship with a child. A “kinship foster care home” is a foster care home certified by a county department or licensed child placement agency where the foster care is provided by kin and the kin is eligible for foster care reimbursement. “Noncertified kinship care” is where care of the child is provided by a relative or kin who has not met the foster care certification requirements for a kinship foster care home or has chosen not to pursue certification and the relative or kin is not eligible for foster care reimbursement but may apply for temporary aid to needy families. “Informal kinship care” is an arrangement made within the family or with friends to care for a child in cases that do not involve child welfare services or foster care. The bill revises the definition of “foster care” to clarify that it includes a kinship foster care home and does not include informal kinship care or noncertified kinship care. The bill revises the definition of “county department” to reflect that county departments are referred to as county departments of human or social services. The bill repeals the definition of salaried foster parent related to a pilot program repealed in 2009. A county department or child placement agency shall not certify or recertify a foster care home until a thorough background check is performed on the applicant or any person residing with the applicant to determine whether he or she has been convicted of certain specified crimes, is a registered sex offender in the state’s sex offender registry, has been identified as having been directly involved in a confirmed report of child abuse or neglect through a check of the automated TRAILS system, or has been determined by a court to be insane or mentally incompetent. While some of these requirements are in existing law, the bill consolidates the requirements into one place. The requirement to check the applicant and any person residing with the applicant against the state’s sex offender registry is a new requirement. The bill requires that the background checks be performed for any adult residing in the foster care home, not just those who reside in the home and are acting as a caregiver for the child. The bill requires that the county department or child placement agency perform and document that the following 5 types of background checks have been performed of the applicant or any adult residing in the foster care home prior to placing a child in a foster care home: A fingerprint-based criminal history record check with the CBI; A fingerprint-based criminal history record check with the FBI; A comparison check of the criminal history record on the ICON system at the state judicial department or any other source; A check that the individual is not a registered sex offender on the state’s sex offender registry; and A check through the TRAILS system that the individual has not been found to have been directly involved in a confirmed report of child abuse or neglect. The bill requires the county department to perform the same 5 types of background checks that are required for a certification for a foster care home prior to placing a child in a home with a relative or kin in noncertified kinship care. This requirement does not apply to informal kinship care, which does not involve child welfare services or foster care. The state board of human services (state board) shall adopt rules governing the background checks and documentation for foster care homes and for persons providing noncertified kinship care and concerning what the county department or child placement agency must do if the background checks expose a negative history. The rules must also specify sanctions that the state department may place upon a county department or child placement agency that fails to perform or document background checks for foster care homes or for persons providing noncertified kinship care. The bill locates the rule-making provisions relating to foster care homes in one place. The rules do not apply to informal kinship care. Under current law, when a child is taken into temporary custody by a local law enforcement agency and placed in an emergency placement with a relative, a county department may elect to collaborate with the local law enforcement agency to conduct an initial criminal history record check prior to placing the child in temporary custody followed by a requirement that the relative self-report to a local law enforcement agency within a certain number of days for a fingerprint-based criminal history record check. The bill amends this provision to mandate that the county department must request that the local law enforcement agency perform the initial criminal history record check prior to placing the child in temporary custody with the relative and perform a fingerprint-based criminal history record check to determine if the child may remain in that placement. The bill imposes a requirement upon the county department to confirm within 15 days that the relative has self-reported to a law enforcement agency to obtain a fingerprint-based criminal history record check and, if the relative is found to have committed certain crimes, the county department or law enforcement agency must remove the child from the relative’s care. The bill requires the county department to conduct other background checks of the relative and any person residing with the relative and to remove the child from the relative’s care if any negative history is found from those checks. The bill directs the court to inquire whether there is documentation that a foster care provider or family member who is seeking to care for a child and any person residing with the foster care provider or family member have had the required 5 types of background checks when a child is in out-of-home placement and the court is placing a child in the legal custody of a family member or, after termination of the parent-child legal relationship, when the court is placing the child in the legal custody of a county department for placement in a foster care home, or when a family member requests that a child be placed with the family member.
Status: (03/03/2015) Introduced In House—Assigned to Public Health Care & Human Services

SB 15-129 – Preserving Parent-child Relationships
Sponsor: Sen. Kevin Lundberg
CBA Position: Oppose
The bill amends provisions relating to best interests of a child in domestic relations actions and certain other actions in the juvenile code. With respect to such actions, the bill: Amends the legislative declaration to emphasize the fundamental liberty interest of both parents and children in maintaining the parent-child relationship; With respect to temporaryorders hearings, if there has been a temporary or permanent protection order entered against one or both parties either prior to or in conjunction with the domestic relations action, requires the court to grant an expedited hearing at the request of either party for purposes of modifying provisions in the protection order relating to parenting time, communication, and access to a child. The court shall order substantially equal parenting time and access to the child unless it finds that such orders are clearly not in the child’s best interest. The court shall also enter any orders necessary for the safety of the protected party relating to the restrained party’s parenting time with the child. Changes the nature of an investigation by a court-appointed child and family investigator (CFI) from evaluation and recommendations to investigation and fact-finding. CFIs will conduct an objective investigation of issues as specifically directed by the court and will provide written factual findings to the court that are supported by credible evidence. A CFI’s report will not make recommendations regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities but will provide the court with the factual findings the court deems necessary to make such determinations. Amends language in the legislative declaration regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities relating to the best interests of the child. Also, the bill requires the court to allocate substantially equal parenting time unless the court finds that doing so would endanger a child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development. In addition, the court shall award mutual decision-making responsibilities with respect to the child unless the court finds that such an order is clearly not in the child’s best interest. For purposes of temporary orders in a domestic relations action, requires the court to award substantially equal parenting time to the parties unless the court finds that doing so would endanger a child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development. In addition, the court shall order mutual decision-making responsibilities unless mutual decision-making is clearly not in the child’s best interest. Changes the nature of an evaluation by a court-appointed parental responsibilities evaluator to an investigation by a mental health professional. The mental health investigation is limited to mental health diagnoses, assessments of relevant addictions, or other mental health-related issues that are relevant to the court’s allocation of parental responsibilities for the child. The investigator’s report shall contain findings of fact but shall not contain conclusions or recommendations relating to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. Clarifies that the 2-year restriction on filing motions that request a substantial change in parenting time and that also change the party with whom the child resides the majority of the time do not apply to moderate changes to parenting time when the existing parenting time order awarded substantially equal parenting time to the parties; and Amends the provisions relating to modification of decision-making responsibility for a child from requiring the court to retain the prior decision-maker unless certain criteria are met to permitting the court to change the decision-maker after considering certain criteria, including whether an award of mutual decision-making responsibilities is now in the child’s best interest.
Status: (02/11/2015) Senate Committee on Judiciary Refer Amended to Appropriations

SB 15-174 – Uniform Substitute Decision Making Documents Act
Sponsors: Sen. Patrick Steadman (D)
CBA Position: Oppose
Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws. The bill adopts, with amendments, the “Uniform Substitute Decision-making Documents Act” as Colorado law. The bill establishes the circumstances under which a substitute decision-making document (document) executed outside this state is valid in this state. A person may assume in good faith that a document is genuine, valid, and still in effect and that the decision-maker’s authority is genuine, valid, and still in effect. A person who is asked to accept a document shall do so within a reasonable amount of time. The person may not require an additional or different form of document for authority granted in the document presented. A person who refuses to accept a substitute document is subject to: A court order mandating acceptance of the document; and Liability for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in an action or proceeding that mandates acceptance of the document. A person is not required to accept a substitute document under certain described conditions.
Status: (02/24/2015) Senate Committee on Judiciary: Postpone Indefinitely

Bills Regarding Volunteer Fire Department, Military Relief Fund, and Supplemental Appropriations Signed

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper signed 21 bills. To date, the governor has signed 24 bills this legislative session. Most of the bills signed Wednesday were supplemental appropriations bills. These included supplemental appropriations for the departments of agriculture, corrections, education, law, health care policy and financing, human services, local affairs, natural resources, public health, regulatory agencies, state, and transportation, as well as the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor.

The two non-appropriations bills signed are as follows:

  • HB 15-1017Concerning Nongovernmental Volunteer Fire Departments in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Enacting the “Volunteer Fire Department Organization Act,” by Reps. Millie Hamner & Perry Buck and Sen. Ellen Roberts. The bill establishes the “Volunteer Fire Department Organization Act” to regulate volunteer fire departments. 
  • HB 15-1052Concerning Eligibility to Receive a Grant from the Military Family Relief Fund, by Reps. Terri Carver & Jovan Melton and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill makes slight amendments to the statutes regarding military family relief grants.

For the complete list of bills signed on March 11, 2015, click here. For all of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2015 legislative decisions, click here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 3/12/2015

On March 12, 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued nine published opinions and 35 unpublished opinions.

People v. Trujillo

People v. Moon

People v. Carter

People v. Dobler

People v. Rediger

People v. Nerud

Patterson v. BP America Production Co.

McDonald v. Zions First National Bank, N.A.

Kilpatrick v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 3/12/2015

On Thursday, March 12, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

Rouse v. State of New Mexico Corrections Department

Peak v. Central Tank Coatings, Inc.

Haik v. Salt Lake County Board of Health

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.