July 21, 2018

Archives for May 2018

Protopia

Last week we heard professional skeptic Michael Shermer weigh in as an optimistic believer in progress (albeit guardedly — I mean, he is a skeptic after all) in his review of the new book It’s Better Than It Looks. That doesn’t mean he’s ready to stake a homestead claim on the Utopian frontier: the title of a recent article tells you what you need to know about where he stands on that subject: “Utopia Is A Dangerous Ideal: We Should Aim For Protopia.”[1]

He begins with a now-familiar litany of utopias that soured into dystopias in the 19th and 20th Centuries. He then endorses the “protopian” alternative, quoting an oft-cited passage in which Kevin Kelly[2] coined the term.

Protopia is a state that is better today than yesterday, although it might be only a little better. Protopia is much much harder to visualize. Because a protopia contains as many new problems as new benefits, this complex interaction of working and broken is very hard to predict.

Doesn’t sound like much, but there’s more to it than appears. Protopia is about incremental, sustainable progress — even in the impatient onslaught of technology. Kelly’s optimism is ambitious — for a full dose of it, see his book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (2016). This is from the book blurb:

Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives — from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture — can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces.

These larger forces will completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits.

Kelly’s bright, hopeful book will be indispensable to anyone who seeks guidance on where their business, industry, or life is heading — what to invent, where to work, in what to invest, how to better reach customers, and what to begin to put into place — as this new world emerges.

Protopian thinking begins with Kelly’s “bright, hopeful” attitude of optimism about progress (again, remember the thinkers we heard from last week). To adopt both optimism and the protopian vision it produces, we’ll need to relinquish our willful cognitive blindness, our allegiance to inadequate old models and explanations, and our nostalgic urge to resist and retrench.

Either that, or we can just die off. Economist Paul Samuelson said this in a 1975 Newsweek column:

As the great Max Planck, himself the originator of the quantum theory in physics, has said, science makes progress funeral by funeral: the old are never converted by the new doctrines, they simply are replaced by a new generation.

Planck himself said it this way, in his Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers:

 A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Progress funeral by funeral[3]. . . . If that’s what it takes, that’s the way protopian progress will be made — in the smallest increments of “better today than yesterday” we will allow. But I somehow doubt progress will be that slow; I don’t think technology can wait.

Plus, if we insist on “not in my lifetime, you don’t,” we’ll miss out on a benefit we probably wouldn’t have seen coming: technology itself guiding us as we stumble our way forward through the benefits and problems of progress. There’s support for that idea in the emerging field of complexity economics — I’ve mentioned it before, and we’ll look more into it next time.


[1] The article is based on Shermer’s recent book Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia.

[2] Kelly is a prolific TED talker — revealing his optimistic protopian ideas. Here’s his bio.

[3] See the Quote Investigator’s history of these quotes.

 

Kevin Rhodes would create workplace utopia if he could. But since he doesn’t trust himself to do that, he writes this blog instead. Thanks for reading!

Bills Signed Regarding Civil Forfeiture Reform, Community Corrections Transition Placements, Electronic Vehicle Title Filing, and More

On Tuesday, May 29, 2019, Governor Hickenlooper signed 59 bills into law. To date, he has signed 315 bills into law and sent two to the Secretary of State without a signature. Some of the bills signed Tuesday include a bill reforming the civil asset forfeiture process, a bill enacting a community corrections transition placement program, a bill providing relief from collateral criminal consequences, a bill allowing vehicle titles to be transferred electronically, a bill changing the own-source requirements for medical marijuana sales, a bill expanding civil jurisdiction of county courts, and more. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 18-1019 – “Concerning Criteria Applied in Determining Performance Ratings for Entities in the Elementary and Secondary Public Education System, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Kevin Priola and Rep. Mike Cooke. For purposes of determining the level of attainment for accreditation of each public high school, each school district, the state charter school institute, and the state as a whole on the postsecondary and workforce readiness performance indicator, the bill adds additional measures of the percentage of students who successfully complete certain courses.
  • HB 18-1020 – “Concerning Civil Forfeiture Reform, and, in Connection Therewith, Changing the Entity Required to Report on Forfeitures, Expanding the Scope of the Forfeitures to be Reported, Establishing Grant Programs, Changing the Disbursement of Net Forfeiture Proceeds, and Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Leslie Herod and Sens. Daniel Kagan, Tim Neville, & Bob Gardner. During the 2017 session, the General Assembly enacted a bill involving civil forfeiture requiring seizing agencies to submit reports to the Department of Local Affairs The bill expands the scope of the reports to include seizures related to a local public nuisance law or ordinance. The 2017 act also prohibited seizing agencies from receiving forfeiture proceeds from the federal government unless the aggregate value of property seized in a case is over $50,000. The bill establishes the law enforcement assistance grant program in the Department of Public Safety to reimburse seizing agencies for revenue lost because of this prohibition.
  • HB 18-1057 – “Concerning the Collection of Debts, and, in Connection Therewith, Allowing Collection Agents to Add Certain Expenses to Amounts Due for Collection,” by Rep. Hugh McKean and Sen. Don Coram. The bill allows a private collection agency or privately retained attorney collecting on any debt arising from past-due orders, obligations, fines, or fees due to the state, or to any political subdivision within the state, to add to the amount due that has been placed for collection all fees, costs, and costs of collection, including designated contractual attorney fees and costs that are awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • HB 18-1060 – “Concerning a State Income Tax Deduction for Military Retirement Benefits for an Individual who is Under Fifty-five Years of Age,” by Reps. Jessie Danielson & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Larry Crowder & Angela Williams. The bill allows an individual who is under 55 years old and whose military retirement benefits are less than $40,000 to claim a federal income tax deduction.
  • HB 18-1108 – “Concerning the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and, in Connection Therewith, Renaming the Commission the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind; Creating the Colorado Deafblind Citizens Council to Advise the Commission on Deafblind Issues; Clarifying and Expanding the Commission’s Duties to Provide Services to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind; and Changing the Membership of the Committee Charged with Reviewing Grant Applications,” by Rep. Jessie Danielson and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill changes the name of the ‘Colorado commission for the deaf and hard of hearing’ to the ‘Colorado commission for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind’. The bill expands the commission’s duties to include establishing a community access program for one-on-one system navigation and changes the membership on the committee reviewing grant applications under the act.
  • HB 18-1128 – “Concerning Strengthening Protections for Consumer Data Privacy,” by Reps. Cole Wist & Jeff Bridges and Sens. Kent Lambert & Lois Court. Except for conduct in compliance with applicable federal, state, or local law, the bill requires covered and governmental entities in Colorado that maintain paper or electronic documents that contain personal identifying information to develop and maintain a written policy for the destruction and proper disposal of those documents.
  • HB 18-1135 – “Concerning the Extension of the Advanced Industries Export Acceleration Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Traci Kraft-Tharp & James Wilson and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill extends the advanced industries export acceleration program that is currently managed by the office of economic development.
  • HB 18-1152 – “Concerning Making Certain Records of the State Judicial Department Relating to Sexual Harassment Investigations Subject to the Colorado Open Records Act,” by Rep. Polly Lawrence and Sen. John Cooke. Under the Colorado open records act (CORA), records related to sexual harassment complaints are not open records; except that those records are available to a person making a sexual harassment complaint and the subject of the complaint. The bill makes the judicial department subject to the sexual harassment provision of CORA until May 1, 2021.
  • HB 18-1155 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Physical Therapy Board, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations Contained in the 2017 Sunset Review and Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies,” by Reps. Larry Liston & Jonathan Singer and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill extends the licensing of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to 2024 and makes several other changes.
  • HB 18-1174 – “Concerning the Continuation Under the Sunset Law of the Board of Mortgage Loan Originators, and, in Connection Therewith, Adopting the Legislative Recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies as Contained in the Department’s Sunset Report,” by Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Matt Gray and Rep. Kevin Priola. The bill implements the recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies in its sunset review of the board of mortgage loan originators.
  • HB 18-1184 – “Concerning the Creation of a Report on 911 Service in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring Consideration of Issues Related to the Implementation of Next Generation 911,” by Reps. Tony Exum & Polly Lawrence and Sens. Irene Aguilar & Bob Gardner. The bill requires the public utilities commission to annually publish a ‘state of 911’ report. The report must address the commission’s activities related to 911 service, the current statewide architecture and operations related to 911 service, 911 network reliability and resiliency, any identified gaps or vulnerabilities in 911 service, national trends and activities, funding, and the implementation of next generation 911.
  • HB 18-1202 – “Concerning an Income Tax Credit for an Employer Related to an Employee’s Paid Leave of Absence for the Purpose of Making an Organ Donation, and, in Connection Therewith, Enacting the ‘Living Organ Donor Support Act,'” by Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Bob Gardner. Beginning January 1, 2020, an employer is allowed an income tax credit that is an amount equal to 35% of the employer’s expenses incurred while the employee is on paid leave or for paying a temporary employee.
  • HB 18-1217 – “Concerning a Temporary Income Tax Credit for Employers that Make Contributions to 529 Qualified State Tuition Program Accounts Owned by their Employees, and, in Connection Therewith, Enacting the “Working Families College Savings Act,'” by Reps. Kevin Van Winkle & Alec Garnett and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill creates a temporary income tax credit for income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2019, but prior to January 1, 2022, for employers that make contributions to 529 qualified state tuition program accounts owned by their employees in an amount equal to 20% of the contribution, not to exceed $500.
  • HB 18-1224 – “Concerning the Process that is Due for the Imposition of Discipline that Affects a Person’s Ability to Practice an Occupation, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring the Parties to Submit to Mediation and Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Yeulin Willett and Sen. Bob Gardner. Current law requires state agencies to give notice to a licensee of certain facts that may lead to discipline or suspension. The bill makes certain changes to these requirements.
  • HB 18-1251 – “Concerning Measures to Improve the Efficiency of the Community Corrections Transition Placements, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Pete Lee & Cole Wist and Sens. Daniel Kagan & Bob Gardner. The bill requires the state board of parole to submit a list of offenders for community corrections transition placement referrals to the department of corrections staff. The staff shall inform the board when the referral is made or the reason for not making the referral.
  • HB 18-1252 – “Concerning Unlawful Sale of Academic Materials for Submission to an Institution of Higher Education,” by Reps. Dylan Roberts & James Wilson and Sen. Kevin Priola. Under existing law, a person is not permitted to prepare, offer to prepare, cause to be prepared, sell, or distribute any term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material for another person for compensation if he or she knows or should reasonably have known, that it is to be submitted by any other person for academic credit at a public or private college, university, or other institution of higher education, or to advertise the same. A court may issue an injunction to prevent these practices. The bill defines ‘assignment’ to include any specific written, recorded, pictorial, artistic, or other academic task; maintains the existing offenses related to preparing or selling assignments, or advertising the same; and prohibits a person from preparing, selling, or offering to sell a document or service that provides answers for, or completes on behalf of a student, an online exam that is administered pursuant to a course of study at any institution of higher education, or advertising the same.
  • HB 18-1269 – “Concerning Notification to Parents of Charges Brought Against Public School Employees for Alleged Felony Offenses that would Result in the Revocation of an Educator License Pursuant to title 22, Colorado Revised Statutes,” by Reps. Paul Lundeen & Brittany Pettersen and Sens. Owen Hill & Rhonda Fields. The bill requires school districts, district charter schools, institute charter schools, and boards of cooperative services to notify parents of students enrolled in a local education provider of charges brought against an employee or former employee, if the employee was employed at any time within 12 months before an offense is charged, who has or had contact with students, if the charges are for one of the felony offenses that requires the denial, suspension, or revocation of a teacher license if the employee were a teacher.
  • HB 18-1277 – “Concerning a Requirement that an Application for a “Building Excellent Schools Today Act” Grant of Financial Assistance for Public School Capital Construction Include a Plan for the Future Use or Disposition of any Existing Public School Facility that the Applicant will Stop Using for its Current Use if it Receives the Grant,” by Reps. Jon Becker & Daneya Esgar and Sens. Randy Baumgartner & John Kefalas. Beginning with the state fiscal year 2019-20 grant cycle, the bill requires an application made to the public school capital construction assistance board under the ‘Building Excellent Schools Today Act’ for a grant of financial assistance that is for either the construction of a new public school facility that will replace one or more existing public school facilities or the reconstruction or expansion of an existing public school facility to include a plan for the future use or disposition of any existing public school facility that the applicant will stop using for its current use if it receives the grant.
  • HB 18-1283 – “Concerning the Classification of Residential Land for Property Tax Purposes Resulting from a Significant Change in the Residential Improvements Located Upon the Land,” by Rep. Adrienne Benavidez and Sen. Tim Neville. When residential improvements are destroyed, demolished, or relocated on or after January 1, 2018, that, were it not for their destruction, demolition, or relocation, would have qualified the land upon which the improvements were located as residential land for the following property tax year, the bill requires the residential land classification to remain in place for the year in which the improvements were destroyed, demolished, or relocated and one subsequent property tax year if the assessor determines that evidence is present that the owner intends to rebuild or locate a residential improvement on the land.
  • HB 18-1285 – “Concerning Parking for People with Certain Disabilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sens. Jim Smallwood & Nancy Todd. The bill creates a remuneration-exempt identifying placard that exempts an individual with a disability from paying for parking if the disability limits the individual’s fine motor skills, ability to grow above 48 inches, or ability to reach or access a parking meter.
  • HB 18-1291 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2017 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies,” by Reps. Faith Winter & Dan Thurlow and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill implements the recommendations of the department of regulatory agencies in its sunset review of the conservation easement oversight commission by extending the repeal date of the commission for 7 years until 2025 and modifies the composition of the commission.
  • HB 18-1294 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Regulation of Nursing Home Administrators by the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators in the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring the Board to Record by Board Member Each Vote Regarding Licensee Discipline,” by Reps. Susan Longtine & Janet Buckner and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill partially implements the recommendations of the department of regulatory agencies, as contained in the department’s sunset review of nursing home administrators by continuing the regulation of nursing home administrators by the board of examiners of nursing home administrators in the division of professions and occupations for 5 years, until September 1, 2023.
  • HB 18-1296 – “Concerning an Expansion of the Ability to Leave a Motor Vehicle Unattended in Certain Circumstances,” by Reps. Jovan Melton & Justin Everett and Sens. Vicki Marble & Dominick Moreno. Currently, if a person’s motor vehicle has a remote starter system and adequate security measures, he or she may leave the motor vehicle unattended while the engine is running. The bill provides that a motor vehicle may be left unattended if either a remote starter system or adequate security measures are in place.
  • HB 18-1299 – “Concerning Electronic Documents Related to the Ownership of a Vehicle that is Regulated by the Department of Revenue, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Jeff Bridges & Patrick Neville and Sens. Ray Scott & Rachel Zenzinger. The bill creates a framework for the department of revenue to establish electronic processing for issuing certificates of title, filing or releasing liens, or registering vehicles and special mobile machinery. This is subject to the department promulgating rules.
  • HB 18-1300 – “Concerning Granting Authority for Local District Colleges to Provide a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Program as a Completion Degree to Students who Have or Are Pursuing an Associate Degree in Nursing,” by Reps. Dave Young & Perry Buck and Sens. Vicki Marble & John Cooke. The bill allows a local district college, such as Aims community college, to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing program as a completion degree in nursing to students who have or are pursuing an associate degree in nursing, provided that the college’s board of trustees determines it is appropriate to address the needs of the communities within its service area, as approved by the Colorado commission on higher education based on existing criteria.
  • HB 18-1309 – “Concerning Programs Addressing Educator Shortages, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. James Coleman & James Wilson and Sen. Owen Hill. The bill requires the Colorado department of education and the Colorado department of higher education to create the framework for a grow your own educator program and specifies required provisions.
  • HB 18-1344 – “Concerning Relief from Collateral Consequences of Criminal Actions,” by Reps. Mike Weissman & Lang Sias and Sens. Dominick Moreno & Don Coram. Current law has separate collateral relief sections for when a court orders an alternative sentence, probation, or community corrections. The bill combines collateral relief provisions into one section and authorizes a court to enter an order for collateral relief at the time of conviction of a defendant or any time thereafter. The bill requires a fingerprint-based criminal history record check only if the hearing is held after sentencing.
  • HB 18-1351 – “Concerning Signage for the Old Spanish Trail,” by Reps. Donald Valdez & Phil Covarrubias and Sens. Leroy Garcia & Larry Crowder. The bill recognizes the significance of the old Spanish national historic trail as a historic resource in Colorado. Subject to the availability of funding from gifts, grants, or donations, the bill requires the executive director of the department of transportation to erect signs marking portions of the trail that travel along or cross highways in Colorado.
  • HB 18-1362 – “Concerning the Membership Expansion of the Colorado Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving,” by Rep. Jeni James Arndt and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill adds 3 members to the Colorado task force on drunk and impaired driving. The executive director of the department of transportation, or the director’s designee, shall appoint a community-based representative from the substance use disorder prevention field and a representative from the retail or medical marijuana industry who is an owner or manager of a retail dispensary. The executive director of the department of revenue, or the director’s designee, shall appoint a representative from the marijuana enforcement division.
  • HB 18-1371 – “Concerning Capital Construction Budget Items, and, in Connection Therewith, Codifying the Three-year Period that Capital Construction Budget Items Remain Available and Clarifying the Deadlines for the Submission of Capital Construction Budget Requests, Budget Request Amendments, and Budget Request Amendments that are Related to a Request for a Supplemental Appropriation,” by Reps. Daneya Esgar & Jon Becker and Sens. John Kefalas & Randy Baumgardner. The bill codifies the 3-year period that capital construction appropriations remain available and clarifies the deadlines for the submission of capital construction budget requests, budget request amendments, and budget request amendments that are related to a request for a supplemental appropriation.
  • HB 18-1372 – “Concerning an Exemption of the Regional Center Depreciation Account in the Capital Construction Fund from the Definition of Cash Fund for Purposes of the Requirements under the Automatic Cash Fund Funding Mechanism for Payment of Future Costs Attributable to Certain of the State’s Capital Assets,” by Reps. Daneya Esgar & Jon Becker and Sen. John Kefalas. The bill exempts the Department of Human Services’ regional center depreciation account in the capital construction fund from the definition of ‘cash fund’ for purposes of the requirements under the automatic cash fund funding mechanism for payment of future costs attributable to certain of the state’s capital assets.
  • HB 18-1375 – “Concerning the Nonsubstantive Revision of Statutes in the Colorado Revised Statutes, as Amended, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending or Repealing Obsolete, Imperfect, and Inoperative Law to Preserve the Legislative Intent, Effect, and Meaning of the Law,” by Reps. Yeulin Willett & Pete Lee and Sen. Bob Gardner. To improve the clarity and certainty of the statutes, the bill amends, repeals, and reconstructs various statutory provisions of law that are obsolete, imperfect, or inoperative.
  • HB 18-1381 – “Concerning Operations Related to the Sale of Medical Marijuana in the Regulated Medical Marijuana Market, and, in Connection Therewith, Moving from the Seventy Percent Own Source Requirement to a One-year Transition Period of Fifty Percent Own Source Requirement to an Elimination of the Own Source Requirement,” by Reps. Matt Gray & Kevin Van Winkle and Sens. Tim Neville & Cheri Jahn. The bill creates a transition period between the current limited sourcing model that begins July 1, 2018. For one year from that date, medical marijuana centers and optional premises cultivation facilities can purchase and sell 50% of their inventory as a wholesale transaction, and medical marijuana trim is not included in the calculation of the percentage.
  • HB 18-1388 – “Concerning an Exemption from the Requirement to Register a Security if the Security is Subject to a Notice Filing as Permitted under Federal Law,” by Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Jack Tate. Existing law generally requires that, for a person to issue a security, either the security or the person must be exempt or the person must register the security with the securities commissioner. The bill eliminates the registration requirement, and substitutes a notice filing requirement.
  • HB 18-1393 – “Concerning Measures to Support Effective Implementation of the ‘Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act’ for all Students who Receive Services Pursuant to READ Plans, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Millie Hamner & Tony Exum and Sen. Bob Gardner. Under existing law, the state board of education is required to adopt an approved list of reading assessments, and the department of education is required to adopt advisory lists of literacy programming and professional development in literacy. With regard to the list of approved assessments and the advisory lists, the bill makes several changes.
  • HB 18-1431 – “Concerning Updating Managed Care Provisions in the Medical Assistance Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Aligning Managed Care Provisions with new Federal Managed Care Regulations, Removing Obsolete or Duplicative Statutory Language and Programs, and Updating and Aligning Statutory Provisions to Reflect the Current Statewide Managed Care System,” by Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. Jim Smallwood. The bill amends, repeals, and relocates provisions of part 4 of article 5 of title 25.5, C.R.S., relating to managed care provisions under the medical assistance program to align with the federal ‘Medicaid and CHIP Managed Care Final Rule of 2016’, and to reflect the implementation of the accountable care collaborative as the statewide managed care system.
  • HB 18-1433 – “Concerning Modifications to the ‘Naturopathic Doctor Act,’ and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring a Naturopathic Doctor to Disclose that the Naturopathic Doctor is Registered and Updating the Terms that a Naturopathic Doctor May Use,” by Rep. Matt Gray and Sens. Jack Tate & Don Coram. As it relates to naturopathic doctors, the bill makes changes to terminology they may use.
  • SB 18-012 – “Concerning Including Military Enlistment as Part of the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Performance Indicator for Public Schools,” by Sen. Owen Hill and Rep. Brittany Pettersen. For purposes of determining the level of attainment of each public high school, each school district, the state charter school institute, and the state as a whole on the postsecondary and workforce readiness performance indicator for accreditation, the bill adds enlistment in the military within a year of graduation as a measure of performance.
  • SB 18-013 – “Concerning Expanding the Grades Eligible for the Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Rhonda Fields & Bob Gardner and Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet. Current law creates an annual appropriation to provide lunches at no charge to children in state-subsidized early childhood education programs administered by public schools or in kindergarten through fifth grade who would otherwise have to pay for a reduced-price lunch. The bill extends the grade of eligibility to eighth grade in schools that elect to participate in the expanded program.
  • SB 18-031 – “Concerning an Extension of the Title 12 Recodification Study Being Conducted by the Office of Legislative Legal Services, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Rep. Mike Foote. Current law directs the office of legislative legal services to study the organizational recodification of title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The law authorizing the study repeals on September 1, 2018. The bill extends the title 12 recodification study for one additional year, through September 1, 2019.
  • SB 18-033 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Animal Feeding Operation Permit Program under the Department of Public Health and Environment, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Jon Becker. The bill replaces the July 1, 2018, repeal date for the department of public health and environment’s animal feeding operation permit program with a repeal date of July 1, 2025. The bill also extends the fees associated with the program at their current levels.
  • SB 18-056 – “Concerning Monetary Amounts in Civil Actions,” by Sen. Cheri Jahn and Reps. Pete Lee & Yeulin Willett. Under current law, a person may file a civil action in county court if the value of the claim is $15,000 or less. The bill increases that limit to $25,000 or less. The bill also changes the filing fees.
  • SB 18-108  – “Concerning the Issuance of Identification Documents under the ‘Colorado Road and Community Safety Act’ to Persons who are Not Lawfully Present in the United States, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Larry Crowder & Don Coram and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Jonathan Singer. Currently, a person who is not lawfully present in the United States may obtain a driver’s license or identification card if certain requirements are met. One of the requirements is that the person present a taxpayer identification card. The bill allows a person to present a social security number as an alternative to a taxpayer identification card. The bill allows the license or identification card to be reissued or renewed in accordance with the process used for other licenses and identification cards.
  • SB 18-119 – “Concerning False Imprisonment of a Minor, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Bob Gardner & Terri Carver and Rep. Adrienne Benavidez. The bill states that a person commits class 5 felony false imprisonment if he or she confines or detains another person less than 18 years of age by means of tying, locking, caging, chaining, or otherwise restricting that person’s freedom of movement by any instrumentality for an unreasonable amount of time under the circumstances.
  • SB 18-141 – “Concerning Voluntary Contribution Designations on the Colorado Individual Income Tax Return Form,” by Sen. Lois Court and Reps. James Wilson & Chris Hansen. The bill creates the donate to a Colorado nonprofit fund in the state treasury. A voluntary contribution designation line for the fund will appear on the state individual income tax return form.
  • SB 18-150 – “Concerning Measures to Facilitate Voter Registration of Individuals in the Criminal Justice System, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Stephen Fenberg & Kevin Lundberg and Reps. Hugh McKean & Pete Lee. The bill allows a person on parole to preregister to vote. A person who preregisters is required to meet all the requirements of a person who registers.
  • SB 18-191 – “Concerning the Local Government Limited Gaming Impact Fund, and, in Connection Therewith Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Reps. Terri Carver & Edie Hooten. The bill annually increases the amount of money credited to the limited gaming impact fund by an amount equal to the growth of the state share from the previous fiscal year.
  • SB 18-205 – “Concerning the Regulation of Industrial Hemp as an Agricultural Product, and, in Connection Therewith, Identifying the Unprocessed Seeds of Industrial Hemp as a Commodity under the ‘Commodity Handler Act’ and Industrial Hemp as a Farm Product under the ‘Farm Products Act,'” by Sens. Vicki Marble & Don Coram and Reps. Marc Catlin & Barbara McLachlin. The bill includes the unprocessed seeds of industrial hemp in the definition of ‘commodity’ within the ‘Commodity Handler Act’, thus subjecting a person who acts as a commodity handler with respect to the unprocessed seeds of industrial hemp to the licensing requirements set forth in the ‘Commodity Handler Act’.
  • SB 18-208 – “Concerning the Creation of the Governor’s Mansion Maintenance Fund,” by Sen. Randy Baumgartner & John Kefalas and Reps. Daneya Esgar & Chris Hansen. The bill creates the governor’s mansion maintenance fund, which is comprised of the money generated from the mansion’s operation, such as rental fees.
  • SB 18-209 – “Concerning Modifications to the Government Data Advisory Board Created in the Office of Information Technology,” by Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Nancy Todd and Reps. Dan Thurlow & Dan Pabon. The government data advisory board (board) was created in the office of information technology to advise and provide recommendations to the chief information officer regarding interdepartmental data protocol and best practices in sharing and protecting data in state government. The bill modifies the definition of interdepartmental protocol to reflect current practice. The bill also modifies the composition of the board to include a representative from each state agency and to remove members of the education data subcommittee from the board.
  • SB 18-210 – “Concerning the Regulation of Real Estate Appraisal Management Companies, and, in Connection Therewith, Aligning State Law with Current Federal Law and Regulations,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Edie Hooten. The bill amends the definition of ‘appraisal management company’ to contain all of the elements specified in recent amendments to Title XI of the federal ‘Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989’ (FIRREA) and regulations adopted in furtherance of FIRREA. Section 1 also adds a definition of ‘appraiser panel’ to include appraisers working as independent contractors.
  • SB 18-213 – “Concerning Requiring Local School Districts to Recognize Academic Credits Earned by Students in the Custody of the Division of Youth Services,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Leslie Herod. Under current law, when a student in out-of-home placement transfers from one school to another school, the sending school must certify to the receiving school or school district the course work that the student has fully or partially completed while enrolled at the school. The bill requires receiving schools and school districts to follow the same procedures for a student who transfers to a school or school district from a division of youth services placement.
  • SB 18-233 – “Concerning Technical Modifications to Miscellaneous Provisions of the ‘Uniform Election Code of 1992,’ and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Vicki Marble & Stephen Fenberg and Reps. Mike Foote & Patrick Neville. The bill makes several technical modifications to miscellaneous provisions of the ‘Uniform Election Code of 1992.’
  • SB 18-235 – “Concerning the Creation of the Colorado Industrial Hemp Research and Development Authority,” by Sen. Don Coram and Rep. Jeni James Arndt. The bill creates the Colorado industrial hemp research and development task force to study whether to develop an industrial hemp research and development authority to develop, fund, and promote educational, research, and development programs and collaborative efforts concerning industrial hemp.
  • SB 18-239 – “Concerning a Licensed Chiropractor’s Ability to Perform Animal Chiropractic on an Animal Patient,” by Sen. Vicki Marble and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & James Wilson. Under current law, a licensed chiropractor must obtain a veterinary medical clearance from a licensed veterinarian before performing an animal chiropractic act that falls within the chiropractor’s scope of practice on an animal patient. The bill removes the veterinary medical clearance requirement for licensed chiropractors who have successfully completed 9 hours of course work related to contagious, infectious, and zoonotic diseases.
  • SB 18-253 – “Concerning the Effective Date to Transition the Department of Revenue’s CSTARS Account to the Department of Revenue’s DRIVES Vehicle Services Account,” by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Dave Young. The bill establishes a uniform date of July 1, 2019, to transition the department of revenue’s Colorado state titling and registration (CSTARS) account to the department of revenue’s DRIVES vehicle services account. The bill also delays for one year the corresponding statutory repeal dates.
  • SB 18-262 – “Concerning Targeted Funding for Public Institutions of Higher Education to Help Achieve the Colorado Commission on Higher Education Master Plan Goals, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Reps. Crisanta Duran & Jeff Bridges. The bill makes appropriations to the department of higher education for need-based grants, student stipends, fee-for-service contracts with institutions of higher education, local district college grants, and area technical colleges.
  • SB 18-266 – “Concerning Controlling Costs under the ‘Colorado Medical Assistance Act, and, in Connection Therewith, Using Data and Technology, Creating a Hospital Review Program, and Making and Reducing an Appropriation,” by Sen. Kevin Lundberg and Rep. Dave Young. The bill directs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to provide information to providers participating in the accountable care collaborative.
  • SB 18-268 – “Concerning the Scope of the Authority of the Department of Transportation to Award a Design Bid Build Highway Project Contract in an Amount that Exceeds the Estimate of the Department on the Project,” by Sens. Ray Scott & Dominick Moreno and Reps. Barbara McLachlin. If there are fewer than 3 bidders on a design bid build highway project, a provision of current law generally prohibits the department of transportation (CDOT). The bill authorizes a designee of the executive director to award such a contract.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2018 legislative decisions, click here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 5/30/2018

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and six unpublished opinions.

United States v. Concho

United States v. Cunningham

Rolland v. Carnation Building Services, Inc.

United States v. Margheim

United States v. Sheriff

Kern v. Securities & Exchange Commission

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

Bill Signing Ceremonies Held for Rural Broadband Deployment Bill, Rural Economic Advancement, More

On Friday, May 25, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed five bills into law. To date, he has signed 256 bills and sent two to the Secretary of State without a signature. The bills signed Friday are summarized here.

  • SB 18-002 – “Concerning the Financing of Broadband Deployment,” by Sens. Don Coram & Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. KC Becker & Crisanta Duran. The bill updates definitions related to rural broadband networks, and requires the public utilities commission, in 2019, to allocate 60% of the total amount of high cost support mechanism (HCSM) money that the nonrural incumbent local exchange carrier would receive to the HCSM account dedicated to broadband deployment, and to allocate an additional 10% of the total money that the nonrural incumbent local exchange carrier would receive in each subsequent year until, in 2023, all of the money that the nonrural incumbent local exchange carrier would receive is allocated to the HCSM account dedicated to broadband deployment.
  • SB 18-005 – “Concerning Economic Assistance for Rural Communities Experiencing Certain Significant Economic Events that Lead to Substantial Job Loss in those Communities, and, in Connection Therewith, Authorizing the Department of Local Affairs to Coordinate Nonmonetary Assistance to Assist Rural Communities with Job Creation or Retention,” by Sens. Kerry Donovan & Ray Scott and Rep. Dylan Roberts. The bill authorizes the executive director of the Department of Local Affairs or the executive director’s designee to coordinate the provision of nonmonetary resources to assist with job retention or creation in a rural community experiencing a significant economic event, such as a plant closure or layoffs, including industry-wide layoffs, that has a significant, quantifiable impact on jobs within that community.
  • SB 18-167 – “Concerning Increased Enforcement of Requirements Related to the Location of Underground Facilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Ray Scott & Kerry Donovan and Reps. Faith Winter & Lori Saine. The bill creates the underground damage prevention safety commission as an independent agency within the department of labor and employment. The commission has rule-making and enforcement authority regarding specified portions of the excavation damage prevention law and is required to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the notification association to facilitate implementation and administration of the law. The notification association is required to provide administrative support to the commission in performing its duties.
  • HB 18-1002 – “Concerning Teaching Fellowship Programs to Assist Rural School Districts in Hiring High-quality Teachers, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating the ‘Rural Colorado Grow Your Own Educator Act’ and Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Millie Hamner & Bob Ranken and Sens. Nancy Todd & Don Coram. The bill directs the Department of Education to identify geographic areas within the state and specific subjects for which there is a teacher shortage. Under the bill, a rural school district, rural charter school, or rural board of cooperative services and a public or private institution of higher education may enter into an agreement to provide a teaching fellowship program for students enrolled in the fourth year of the approved educator preparation program.
  • HB 18-1366 – “Concerning a Local College District’s Authority to Manage District Property,” by Rep. Dylan Roberts and Sen. Kerry Donovan. The bill provides local college districts with the authority to sell or lease district property.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2018 legislative decisions, click here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Announcement Sheet, 5/29/2018

On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the Colorado Supreme Court issued four published opinions.

American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Barriga

Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Co. v. Estate of Casper

Rooftop Restoration, Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co.

People v. Delage

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming.

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, 5/29/2018

On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and seven unpublished opinions.

Hill v. Allbaugh

United States v. Lujan

Hill v. Allbaugh

United States v. Dean

Harrington v. Ozark Waffle, L.L.C.

Carr v. Commissioner, SSA

Heuston v. Bryant

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Probationary DUI Sentence Inappropriate Where Defendant Convicted of a Felony

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Coleman on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Aggravated Driving After Revocation Prohibited—Driving Under the Influence—Careless Driving—Department of Corrections—Probation—Miranda—Motion to Suppress—Prosecutorial Misconduct—Illegal Sentence.

Coleman was convicted of aggravated driving after revocation prohibited—driving under the influence (ADARP); driving under the influence (DUI)—third or subsequent alcohol related offense; and careless driving. The trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of one year in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) on the ADARP conviction; one year of jail and one year of additional jail, suspended subject to completion of four years of probation, on the DUI conviction; and 90 days in jail on the careless driving conviction.

On appeal, Coleman contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. He argued that because he was in custody when he first said he wanted to be taken to bond out and had not yet been given a Miranda advisement, that statement should have been suppressed. However, Coleman was not in custody during the brief traffic stop for Miranda purposes. Therefore, it was not error to deny the motion to suppress.

Coleman next contended that the prosecutor’s comments in summation on his pre-arrest and post-arrest silence violated his constitutional right against self-incrimination. Because defense counsel opened the door on the subject, Coleman’s pre-arrest silence was at issue, and the prosecutor’s comment was not error. Additionally, although the prosecutor’s comment on Coleman’s post-arrest silence was error, it was brief and did not materially contribute to defendant’s conviction. Therefore, there was no reversible error for this comment.

Lastly, Coleman contended that his probationary sentence is illegal under the DUI sentencing statute, C.R.S. § 42-4-1307. C.R.S. § 42-4-1307(6) prohibits a trial court from imposing probation on a defendant sentenced to DOC custody where that defendant has been sentenced to prison on a felony. Because Coleman cannot be sentenced to both the custody of the DOC and probation, his sentence was improper.

The judgment of conviction was affirmed. The entire sentence was vacated and the case was remanded for resentencing.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Defendant’s Three Stalking Convictions for Single Offense Must Be Merged

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Wagner on Thursday, May 18, 2018.

Stalking—Merger—Evidence—Unanimity Jury Instruction—Double Jeopardy.

Wagner was arrested and charged with three counts of stalking his ex-wife. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 90 days in jail on each count with all jail terms to run consecutively, and six years of probation on each count with all probation terms to run consecutively.

On appeal, the People conceded that two of Wagner’s stalking convictions should have merged at sentencing. The court of appeals determined that the People did not prove factually distinct instances of conduct sufficient to support multiple stalking convictions. The Double Jeopardy Clauses of the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions required that defendant’s three stalking convictions merge. The court concluded that defendant was charged with and convicted of multiplicitous counts and it was plainly erroneous for the trial court to enter three stalking convictions.

Wagner argued that there was insufficient evidence to support all three of his convictions. However, the evidence was sufficient to show both that Wagner’s conduct would have caused a reasonable person serious emotional distress and that it caused the victim serious emotional distress. Additionally, the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find that Wagner made credible threats.

Wagner further contended that the trial court erred in rejecting a defense-tendered unanimity jury instruction or, in the alternative, failing to require the prosecution to elect between the alleged credible threats. The prosecution presented evidence of numerous occasions on which Wagner contacted and followed the victim, any number of which could have supported a stalking conviction. The defense did not argue that Wagner did not commit the acts about which the victim and witnesses testified, and the jury would be likely to agree either that all of the acts occurred or that none occurred. Therefore, the prosecution was not required to elect the acts on which it was relying to prove that Wagner had made a credible threat, nor was the trial court required to give a unanimity instruction.

Two of the counts were vacated. The case was remanded for the trial court to merge the convictions and correct the mittimus. The judgment was otherwise affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: BAA Properly Determined that Vacant Land Could Not Be Reclassified as Residential

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Rust v. Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Vacant Land Tax Assessment—C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a)—Residential Property—“Used as a Unit” Element—Assessor’s Reference Library.

Rust bought residential property in Summit County and a year later bought the adjacent undeveloped parcel (the subject property). He and his family have used the two parcels for decades. The county assessor classified the subject property as vacant land for the years 2013 through 2015, subjecting it to a tax rate almost triple the rate for residential property. Rust sought reclassification, asserting that both properties should be classified as residential under C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a). The Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) affirmed the decision of the Board of County Commissioners of Summit County denying reclassification.

On appeal, Rust contended that the BAA misconstrued the “used as a unit” element in C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a), which defines residential land. County assessors use the Assessor’s Reference Library (ARL) for guidance in classifying land under this statute. The ARL further defines “used as a unit” as contiguous parcels of land that are under common ownership and are “used as an integral part of a residence.” Assessors use four guidelines when applying this definition. Here, the parties stipulated that the parcels are commonly owned and contiguous; the only issue was whether the subject property was “used as a unit” with the residential parcel. The assessor found no evidence that the subject property was an integral part of the residence, and the use of the subject property failed to support its reclassification as residential property. There was no error in the BAA’s decision.

The BAA’s order was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 5/25/2018

On Friday, May 25, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and two unpublished opinions.

United States v. Mejia-Amador

United States v. Hopper

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

Bills Signed to Improve Employment Opportunities for Disabled People, Continuing Civil Rights Division and Commission, and More

Since Friday, May 18, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper has signed 22 bills into law. To date, he has signed 251 bills and sent two to the Secretary of State without a signature. Some of the bills signed this week include a bill to continue the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Commission, a bill to implement “employment first” recommendations regarding people with disabilities, a bill extending and renaming the affordable housing tax credit, a bill allowing for equipment grants for rural fire departments, and more. The bills signed since Friday are summarized here.

Friday, May 18

  • HB 18-1319 – “Concerning the Extension of Services for a Successful Adulthood for Former Foster Care Youth who are Between the Ages of Eighteen Years and Twenty-one Years, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Jonathan Singer & Dave Young and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill allows county departments of human or social services to extend the provision of certain services for a successful adulthood to foster care youth between the ages of 18 and 21 who have exited the foster care system, including assistance with employment, housing, education, financial management, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment.
  • HB 18-1400 – “Concerning an Increase in Fees Paid by Stationary Sources of Air Pollutants, and, in Connection Therewith, Prioritizing the Use of the Revenues Generated by the Fee Increases to Reduce Permit Processing Times and Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. KC Becker & Hugh McKean and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Ray Scott. The bill increases statutory caps on the fees paid by stationary sources of air pollutants.
  • SB 18-039 – “Concerning the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, and, in Connection Therewith, Deferring the Date on which the Committee is Scheduled to Repeal and Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Matt Jones & John Cooke and Reps. Tony Exum & Dan Thurlow. The wildfire matters review committee (WMRC) is currently scheduled to repeal on July 1, 2018. The bill defers the repeal date to September 1, 2025.
  • SB 18-145 – “Concerning the Implementation of Employment First Advisory Partnership Recommendations to Advance Competitive Integrated Employment for Persons with Disabilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. John Kefalas and Rep. Joann Ginal. The bill requires the Department of Labor and Employment and the State Medical Services Board in the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to promulgate rules that require all providers of supported employment services for persons with disabilities to obtain a nationally recognized supported employment training certificate or earn a nationally recognized supported employment certification relating to supported employment services.
  • SB 18-254 – “Concerning Reforms to Child Welfare Services, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing an Appropriation,” by Sens. Kent Lambert & Dominick Moreno and Reps. Dave Young & Bob Rankin. The bill addresses numerous reforms to the funding structure for the state’s child welfare services.

Monday, May 21

  • HB 18-1003 – “Concerning Measures to Prevent Opioid Misuse in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Sens. Cheri Jahn & Kevin Priola. The bill establishes in statute the opioid and other substance use disorders study committee, consisting of 5 senators and 5 representatives from the General Assembly, and provides for tasks for the committee to address.
  • HB 18-1007 – “Concerning Payment Issues Related to Substance Use Disorders,” by Reps. Chris Kennedy & Jonathan Singer and Sens. Kent Lambert & Cheri Jahn. The bill requires all individual and group health benefit plans to provide coverage without prior authorization for a five-day supply of at least one of the federal food and drug administration-approved drugs for the treatment of opioid dependence for a first request within a 12-month period.
  • HB 18-1360 – “Concerning the Expansion of the Number of Directors on the Board of Directors of the State Historical Society,” by Reps. Faith Winter & Polly Lawrence and Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Nancy Todd. The bill increases the number of directors of the Board of the State Historical Society from 9 to 13.
  • SB 18-022 – “Concerning Clinical Practice Measures for Safer Opioid Prescribing,” by Sens. Jack Tate & Irene Aguilar and Reps. Brittany Pettersen & Chris Kennedy. The bill restricts the number of opioid pills that a health care practitioner, including physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians, may prescribe for an initial prescription to a seven-day supply and allows each health care practitioner to exercise discretion to include a second fill for a seven-day supply, with certain exceptions.
  • SB 18-024 – “Concerning Modifications to the Colorado Health Service Corps Program Administered by the Department of Public Health and Environment to Expand the Availability of Behavioral Health Care Providers in Shortage Areas in the State, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Cheri Jahn & Jack Tate and Reps. Brittany Pettersen & Jonathan Singer. The bill modifies the Colorado health service corps program administered by the primary care office in the Department of Public Health and Environment.
  • SB 18-270 – “Concerning Establishing a Statewide Program to Coordinate Referrals of High-risk Individuals in Need of Behavioral Health Transition Services, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Cheri Jahn & Tim Neville and Reps. Brittany Pettersen & Cole Wist. The bill establishes the community transition specialist program in the office of behavioral health in the Department of Human Services. The program coordinates referrals of high-risk individuals to transition specialists by certain behavioral health facilities and programs. High-risk individuals are under an emergency or involuntary hold, have a significant mental health or substance use disorder, and are not in consistent behavioral health treatment.

Tuesday, May 22

  • HB 18-1208 – “Concerning the Expansion of the Income Tax Credit for Child Care Expenses that is a Percentage of a Similar Federal Income Tax Credit,” by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Faith Winter and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill expands the state child care income tax credit by allowing a resident individual with an AGI that is less than or equal to $150,000 to claim a credit that is equal to 80% of the individual’s federal credit.
  • HB 18-1255 – “Concerning the Creation of a Childhood Cancer Awareness License Plate, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Terri Carver and Sens. John Cooke & John Kefalas. The bill creates the childhood cancer awareness license plate. A person becomes eligible to use the plate by providing a certificate confirming that the person has made a donation to an organization chosen by the Department of Revenue based on the organization’s assistance to children with cancer.
  • HB 18-1256 – “Concerning Continuation of the Regulation of Civil Rights Issues, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendation in the Department of Regulatory Agencies’ 2017 Sunset Review and Report on the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to Continue the Division and Commission and Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Leslie Herod and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill implements the recommendation of the Department of Regulatory Agencies in its sunset review of the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to continue the Commission and the Division and their respective functions for 9 years, through September 1, 2027.

Wednesday, May 23

  • HB 18-1008 – “Concerning the Financing of the Division of Parks and Wildlife’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating an Aquatic Nuisance Species Stamp for the Operation of Motorboats and Sailboats in Waters of the State, Increasing Penalties Related to the Introduction of Aquatic Nuisance Species into the Waters of the State, and Combining Two Separate Funds Related to the Aquatic Nuisance Species Program into One Fund,” by Reps. Daneya Esgar & Jeni James Arndt and Sens. Don Coram & Kerry Donovan. The bill updates a legislative declaration concerning aquatic nuisance species to encourage the federal government to dedicate sufficient funding and resources to the detection, prevention, control, and eradication of aquatic nuisance species for federally owned or managed aquatic resources and water infrastructure in Colorado, and makes other changes.
  • HB 18-1423 – “Concerning Grants to Provide Equipment to Rural Fire Protection Districts,” by Reps. Donald Valdez & Larry Liston and Sens. Leroy Garcia & Larry Crowder. The division of fire prevention and control in the department of public safety is currently authorized to use money in the local firefighter safety and disease prevention fund to provide grants for equipment and training to increase firefighter safety and prevent occupation-related diseases. The bill transfers $250,000 from the general fund to be used for these purposes.
  • SB 18-143 – “Concerning Measures to Increase Revenue for the Parks and Wildlife Division, and, in Connection Therewith, Setting Certain Hunting, Fishing, Parks, and Recreation Fees,” by Sens. Stephen Fenberg & Don Coram and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & James Wilson. The bill makes several statutory changes concerning hunting and fishing, including raising the amount of residential and nonresidential license fees, stamp fees, and surcharges for certain hunting and fishing activities.

Thursday, May 24

  • SB 18-042 – “Concerning the Creation of the Agricultural Workforce Development Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Kerry Donovan & Larry Crowder and Reps. Marc Catlin & Barbara McLachlin. The bill requires the commissioner of agriculture to create, by rule, the agricultural workforce development program to provide incentives to agricultural businesses to hire interns. Qualified agricultural businesses may be reimbursed an amount not to exceed 50% of the actual cost of hiring a qualified intern. The rules must include specified criteria for qualifying businesses and interns participating in the program. Qualified internships must include at least 130 hours of work experience and cannot exceed 6 months in duration. The program is repealed on July 1, 2024.
  • SB 18-066 – “Concerning an Extension of the Operation of the State Lottery Division Beyond July 1, 2024,” by Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg & Leroy Garcia and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Cole Wist. The bill extends the scheduled termination on July 1, 2024, of the state lottery division in the Department of Revenue to July 1, 2049.
  • SB 18-085 – “Concerning Providing Financial Incentives for Educators to Work in Rural Areas, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Nancy Todd and Rep. Barbara McLachlan. Current law allows the Department of Higher Education to provide up to 20 financial stipends annually, not to exceed $6,000 each, to teachers in rural schools or school districts who are seeking certification as a national board certified teacher, seeking certification as a concurrent enrollment teacher, or furthering their professional development plan through continuing education, and who commit to employment in a rural school for a minimum of 3 years. The bill increases the number of available stipends to 60 and expands it to include teachers completing an approved alternative licensure program leading to initial licensure and full-time employment in a rural school or school district that serves rural schools and individuals completing the required course work leading to certification and employment in a rural school or a rural school district that serves rural schools.
  • SB 18-229 – “Concerning Criminal History Record Checks for Educator Preparation Program Students Seeking Field Experiences in Schools, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Reps. Kim Ransom & Barbara McLachlan.  The bill permits a student in an educator preparation program who is seeking field experiences in a school to submit his or her fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of performing a fingerprint-based criminal history record check for the student. Upon completion of the fingerprint-based criminal history record check, the bureau must forward the results to the Department of Education. If the fingerprint-based criminal history record check of a student performed pursuant to this section reveals a record of arrest without a disposition, the department is required to perform a name-based criminal history record check of that student.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2018 legislative decisions, click here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Practice of Billing Foreclosure Clients for Costs Not Incurred Violates CCPA

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in State of Colorado ex rel. Coffman v. Robert J. Hopp & Associates, LLC on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Foreclosure Commitments—Colorado Consumer Protection Act—Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act—Deceptive Trade Practices—Statute of Limitations—Title Insurance Policy—Cancellation Fee—Civil Penalties—Evidence.

Hopp is an attorney whose law firms provided legal services for mortgage defaults, including residential foreclosures, in Colorado. Hopp also owned businesses that supported the law firms’ foreclosure services, including National Title, LLC and First National Title Residential, LLC, which provided foreclosure commitments for the law firms. National Title and First National Title Residential issued title commitments and policies through an underwriter, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company (Fidelity). Fidelity had a Division of Insurance (DOI)-approved manual that set forth rates and charges for foreclosure commitments.

While representing loan servicers, the law firms typically ordered foreclosure commitments from Hopp’s title companies. National Title invoiced the law firms a charge of 110% of the schedule of basic rates upon the delivery of a foreclosure commitment. As a routine practice, within 10 days of filing a foreclosure action, the law firms passed this cost on to the servicers by billing and seeking reimbursement from them for the charge of 110% of the schedule of basic rates, even though this cost may not have actually been incurred.

The State of Colorado ex rel. Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General for the State of Colorado, and Julie Ann Meade, Administrator, Uniform Consumer Credit Code (collectively, plaintiffs) sued Hopp, his law firms, his affiliated title companies, and his business that provided accounting and bookkeeping services for the law firms and title companies (collectively, defendants), alleging that defendants violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) by engaging in the billing practices described above. The district court found in favor of plaintiffs and imposed penalties of $624,000.

On appeal, defendants contended that the trial court erred by imposing penalties under the CCPA and the CFDCPA because they were barred by the one-year limitation period in C.R.S. § 13-80-103(1)(d) and C.R.S. § 5-16-113(5) (CFDCPA claims), and C.R.S. § 6-1-115 (CCPA claims). Because the CCPA contains a statute of limitations specifically addressing cases brought under its provisions, the three-year statute of limitations controls over the more general C.R.S. § 13-80-103(1)(d). Further, because the CFDCPA did not contain a clear statute of limitations applying to government enforcement actions at the times relevant to this action, a catch-all provision applies requiring the government to file any claims within one year of discovery, which was done in this case. Therefore, the trial court did not err in concluding that the CFDCPA claims were timely filed.

Defendants next contended that the trial court erred when it concluded that they violated the CCPA and the CFDCPA by charging 110% of the schedule of basic rates for foreclosure commitment required by Fidelity’s rates on file with the DOI. This was the same amount that Fidelity’s manual listed as the charge for a completed title insurance policy, even in cases where the policy would never be issued because the foreclosure was cured or cancelled. Defendants did not charge amounts in compliance with Fidelity’s filed rates because they required payment from servicers even when a title insurance policy was never issued. The evidence supported the trial court’s finding that defendants misrepresented the premium charges as actually incurred costs. Therefore, the trial court did not err.

Defendants also contended that the trial court erred when it concluded that they knowingly engaged in a deceptive trade practice. Here, the trial court’s finding that defendants acted knowingly was supported by evidence in the record.

Defendants next argued that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted plaintiffs’ Exhibit 103 and relied on it in assessing civil penalties against defendants. Exhibit 103 is a 1,114-page spreadsheet compiling electronic invoicing data submitted by Hopp’s law firms through a billing software to the servicers from 2008 until the time of trial. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted Exhibit 103 as a business record under CRE 803(6).

Plaintiffs contended on cross-appeal that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted defendants’ Exhibit 1093 to rebut plaintiffs’ Exhibit 104. At times, servicers directed the law firms to order foreclosure commitments from LSI Default Title and Closing (LSI), instead of from one of Hopp’s affiliated title companies. Plaintiffs amended their complaint to add claims for defendants’ violation of the CCPA and CFDCPA through conduct regarding the LSI transactions. Exhibit 104 reflected that LSI appeared to charge defendants only $350 for title commitments ordered, which was representative of a cancellation fee. Exhibit 1093 was an email from an LSI representative to Hopp’s wife, which included an attached spreadsheet showing charges for full policy premiums rather than outstanding charges of $350. There were “unusual and unexplained adjustments” to Exhibit 104, and the trial court declined to place any weight on the exhibit in its final order and concluded that plaintiffs failed to prove their claim based on the LSI transactions. Here, there was a proper foundation for admitting Exhibit 1093, and given the late addition of the LSI claim and the parameters of the claim set forth in the plaintiffs’ written notice, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exclude Exhibit 1093 as a sanction for defendants’ failure to supplement their mandatory disclosures at a late point in litigation.

Both parties requested an award of attorney fees and costs incurred in this appeal. Plaintiffs, but not defendants, are entitled to an award.

The judgment was affirmed and the case was remanded with directions.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.