August 23, 2019

SB 16-171: Enacting Modifications to New Energy Improvement District Program

On March 22, 2016, Sen. Martinez and Rep. Tyler introduced SB 16-171Concerning Modification and Clarification of the Statutes Pertaining to the New Energy Improvement District. The bill was assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee, where it was referred, unamended, to the Senate Committee of the Whole for Second Reading. The bill passed Second and Third Readings in the Senate with no amendments and was referred to the House Committee on Transportation & Energy. The bill passed through the House with no amendments and is awaiting signature.

The New Energy Improvement District (“NEID”) is a statewide district operating a program to facilitate private financing of energy and water improvements to eligible real property. This bill modifies and clarifies the statutes that pertain to the NEID as follows:

Section 2 of the bill, C.R.S. § 32-20-105, requires the county treasurer of a county that has authorized the operation of the NEID Program (“Program”) to retain a one percent collection fee for each NEID special assessment that is collected. The bill also authorizes such a county to revoke its authorization for the operation of the program so long as the county meets all of its program financing obligations existing on the effective date of the deauthorization until all fees have been paid in full to the NEID.

Section 3 of the bill, C.R.S. § 32-20-106, does three things. First, it repeals the authority of the NEID to reduce the amount of any special assessment with the consent of the owner of the property where the special assessment is levied. Second, it clarifies that delinquent special assessment installments incur interest charges at the same rate as delinquent property taxes. Third, it requires the county treasurer to distribute NEID special assessments to the NEID in the same manner, less the collection fee, as property taxes are distributed.

Section 4, C.R.S. § 32-20-107, repeals an existing prohibition against county assessors that prohibited them from taking into account, when valuing real property, an increase in market value resulting from an energy or water improvement financed through the NEID program. Section 4 also repeals the existing authority for the NEID to initiate a civil action for foreclosure.

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

SB 16-169: Allowing Certain Persons Detained on Mental Health Holds to be Admitted to Law Enforcement Facilities

On March 21, 2016, Sen. Beth Martinez and Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp introduced SB 16-169Concerning Changes Related to the Seventy-Two-Hour Emergency Mental Health Procedure. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was amended and referred to the Senate Floor for Second Reading.  The bill was amended several times on Second Reading in the Senate, and it passed Third Reading with no further amendments. It has been introduced in the House and is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill clarifies the difference between a designated facility, an emergency medical services facility, and a law enforcement facility as those terms are used in connection with the 72-hour emergency mental health procedure. Under C.R.S. § 27-65-102, a Designated Facility means a facility designated or approved by the executive director for seventy-two-hour treatment and evaluations of persons meeting the criteria provided in § 27-65-105. Emergency Medical Services Facility means a facility licensed pursuant to Part 1 of Article 3 of Title 25, that provides medical services. Finally, the bill defines Law Enforcement Facility to mean a secure jail, lockup, or other place used to confine persons charged with or convicted of crimes.

Under current law, a person who is being detained under a 72-hour emergency mental health procedure must be taken to a facility that was previously approved by the executive director of the Department of Human Services (“Designated Facility”). The bill looks to expand this and would allow individuals to be admitted to a law enforcement facility if there is no available space in a Designated Facility or an emergency medical facility and if certain conditions are met. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the person cannot be held longer than 24 hours in the law enforcement facility unless a court order is obtained granting a one-time extension that cannot exceed 72 additional hours.

Current law also allows for the facility where a person is being treated to hold the person for no longer than 72 hours from the time of admission, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays if treatment and evaluation is not available on those days. This bill would also exclude any time required for non-psychiatric medical screening or treatment from the 72-hour calculations.

Additionally, if, at any time during the 72-hour custody, a mental health or medical professional determines the person can be properly cared for without being detained, that person must be discharged as soon as possible.

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

SB 16-163: Directing Office of Legislative Legal Services to Study Potential Reorganization of C.R.S. Title 12

On March 16, 2016, Sen. Michael Johnston and Rep. Daniel Kagan introduced SB 16-163Concerning A Study of an Organization Recodification of Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes Governing the Regulation of Professions and Occupations. The bill was assigned to the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee. It passed out of that committee unamended and was referred to Appropriations, where it was amended and referred to the Senate Committee of the Whole for Second Reading.

This bill directs the Office of Legislative Services to conduct a study of an organizational recodification of Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. In conducting this study, the office must solicit input, including regarding the potential fiscal impacts of a recodification, from the judicial department, state agencies, local governments, and other entities with regulation and enforcement responsibilities established by Title 12.

The bill requires the committee to determine whether to direct the office to present proposed legislation to the committee for organizational recodification by December 31, 2017. Any proposed recodification should be largely organizational and nonsubstantive. This includes only those substantive provisions necessary to promote the public purposes of an organizational recodification, such as changes to make similar but repetitive provisions uniform and capable of consolidation and changes that eliminate archaic or obsolete provisions.

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

SB 16-153: Encouraging Nominating Commissions to Give Preferences to Attorneys in the County for County Court Vacancies

On March 11, 2016, Sen. Larry Crowder and Rep. Jim Wilson introduced SB 16-153Concerning Nominees for County Court Judges. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. It passed through both the House and Senate without amendments and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

This bill encourages judicial district nominating commissions to give preference to attorneys who reside in the county in which the vacancy occurs.

Specifically, under C.R.S. § 13-6-206(2), the amended bill provides that if a vacancy opens for a county judge, the judicial district nominating commission should give preference to (1) persons who reside in the county in which the vacancy occurs, and (2) persons who have been admitted to practice law in the State of Colorado.

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

SB 16-106: Giving Secretary of State Authority to Appoint ALJs to Handle Campaign Finance Complaints

On January 29, 2016, Sen. Chris Holbert and Rep. Joseph Salazar introduced SB 16-106Concerning Measures to Facilitate The Efficient Administration of Colorado Laws Governing Campaign Finance, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing an Appropriation. The bill was introduced in the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations. The Senate Appropriations Committee further amended the bill and referred it to the Senate floor for Second Reading. The bill passed Second Reading in the Senate with amendments and passed Third Reading with no further amendments. The bill was referred to the House and introduced in the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.

This bill aims to do two things in order to facilitate the administration of Colorado laws governing campaign finance. First, Section 1 of the bill modified the definition of limited liability company in the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The reengrossed bill, however, does not provide the new definition for limited liability company.

Second, C.R.S. § 24-30-1004(1)(a) of the bill gives the Secretary of State the authority to appoint and designate persons to serve as Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) in connection with any complaint alleging a violation of the campaign finance laws that is referred to such ALJ. Additionally, Section 2 of the bill specifies the procedures by which ALJ appointments are to be made.

Specifically, under Subsection (I), the Secretary of State shall appoint two persons, who must have been affiliated with a major political party for at least five years, to a recommendations committee to assist in appointing ALJs.

Under Subsection (II), the committee must solicit with 30 days of appointment, by notice on the Secretary of State’s website, a list of candidates being considered for an ALJ appointment.

Subsection (IV) provides that, not later than 30 days after posting the list of candidates for notice & comment, the recommendations committee shall recommend two candidates for each ALJ appointment opening to the Secretary of State. The bill also provides that, for the initial appointment, five candidates shall be recommended.

Subsection (V) provides the term lengths for the appointed ALJs. The initial three appointments will serve terms of two years, three years, and four years, respectively. The term for appointments made following the initial ALJs will be three years.

Furthermore, the bill stipulates the minimum requirements, powers, and duties for a person appointed to be an ALJ. Section 2 also requires the Secretary of State, not later than January 1, 2017, to establish and maintain a program to train ALJs to undertake their powers and duties.

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

SB 16-113: Repealing Statutory Ban on Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines

On January 29, 2016, Sen. Vicki Marble and Reps. Lori Saine & Stephen Humphrey introduced SB 16-113Concerning the Repeal of Certain Provisions Concerning Ammunition Magazines. The bill was introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it passed with no amendments. It also passed Second and Third Reading in the Senate unamended, and was referred to the House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.

This bill, if enacted, would repeal statutory provisions:

  • Prohibiting the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines; and
  • Requiring each large-capacity magazine that is manufactured in Colorado on or after July 1, 2013 to include a permanent stamp or marking indicating that the magazine was manufactured or assembled after July 1, 2013.

The law repealed under this bill was created by House Bill 13-1224. Among its provisions, that bill established four new criminal offenses (one class 6 felony, two class 1 misdemeanors, and one class 2 misdemeanor). Since HB13-1224 took effect, 20 cases have been filed. Of these 20 cases, 2 misdemeanor convictions have been entered.

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

SB 16-102: Removing Mandatory Sentences for Second Degree Assault and Bail Bond Crimes

On January 29, 2016, Sen. Andy Kerr and Rep. Dominick Moreno introduced SB 16-102Concerning the Elimination of Mandatory Sentences to Incarceration for Certain Crimes, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing an Appropriation. The bill was introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it passed without amendments and was referred to Appropriations. It was amended in Appropriations and sent to the Senate Committee of the Whole, where it passed with amendments on Second and Third Reading. In the House, the bill was assigned to and amended by the Judiciary Committee, then referred to Appropriations where it was again amended. The bill passed Second Reading in the House with amendments.

Under current law, a person who is convicted of certain types of second degree assault and convicted of violating bail bond conditions must be sentenced to a mandatory term of incarceration. This bill, if enacted, would remove the mandatory term of incarceration requirement in those circumstances.

Specifically, the Senate has proposed to delete language under C.R.S. § 18-8-212(3), which states that a person who fails to appear for a court proceeding with the intent of avoiding prosecution and who is convicted of a felony shall be sentenced to mandatory imprisonment of not less than one year if violating subsection (1) or not less than 6 months if violating subsection (2). The amendments that the Senate is proposing for this section would keep the imprisonment requirements “unless the court makes findings that unusual or extenuating circumstances exist and finds that a sentence to incarceration would not be in the interest of justice and would be inconsistent with the purposes of sentencing as described in section 18-1-102.5.”

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

SB 16-080: Enacting Requirements for In-Home Growing of Marijuana

On January 19, 2016, Sen. Linda Newell and Reps. Cole Wist & Dan Pabon introduced SB 16-080Concerning Secured Marijuana Cultivation Requirements. The bill was introduced in the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee, where it passed unamended. The bill passed Second Reading in the Senate with amendments and was not further amended on Third Reading. In the House, the bill was approved by the Finance Committee with amendments. It was amended again on Second Reading in the House and passed through Third Reading. The bill is now back in the Senate for consideration of the House amendments.

C.R.S. § 18-18-406 sets forth the requirements to be met for persons cultivating adult-use marijuana at their residence. Under current law, if a person is growing adult-use marijuana in a residence where another person, who is under the age of 21, resides, the grow site must be in an enclosed and locked space.

Additionally, if no person under 21 years old lives in the residence, but a person under 21 years old enters the residence, the person growing the marijuana must ensure access to the grow site is reasonably restricted during the period the under-aged person is staying at the residence. The bill also applies the same conditions to a person growing medical marijuana.

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

SB 16-077: Utilizing a Collaborative Multi-Agency Approach to Increase Employment Opportunities for Disabled Individuals

On January 19, 2016, Sen. John Kefalas and Reps. Joann Ginal & Dianne Primavera introduced SB 16-077Concerning a Collaborative Multi-Agency Approach to Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Developing and Implementing an Employment First Policy. The bill was introduced in the Senate Finance Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations.

If enacted, this bill would require the heads of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (“HCPF”), the Department of Labor and Employment (“CDLE”), the Department of Education (“CDE”), and the Department of Higher Education (“CDHE”), (referred to in the bill as “Agency Partners”), to develop an employment first policy. This policy would increase competitive integrated employment, as defined in the bill, for people with disabilities.

The bill would require Agency Partners to consult with the Employment First Advisory Board (“Advisory Board”) as part of developing and implementing the employment first policy. At the very least, the employment first policy must do the following:

  • Ensure that Competitive Integrated Employment (“CPI”) is the primary objective for all working-age persons regardless of their disability;
  • Remove any barriers to CPI for persons with disabilities;
  • Rearrange existing resources, if possible, to increase provider capacity through funding incentives;
  • Include provisions relating to post-secondary education planning, career planning, transition planning, employment services, and closing gaps in service;
  • Include provisions for data collection and sharing by Agency Partners to employment and post-secondary education for persons with disabilities, consistent with state and federal data privacy laws;
  • Require professionals, who will provide employment services, to complete a nationally-certified program before being allowed to provide employment services;
  • Establish the employment first policy as part of the State’s plan to address federal case law relating to providing disability services in an integrated setting; and
  • Include a plan for a statewide outreach and training program.

Additionally, each agency is required to implement the program pursuant to its statutory authority if changes relate to Medicaid waivers. Furthermore, the bill will require the Agency Partner’s policy boards to adopt any rules necessary to implement the program. In addition to any other duties under the plan, the HCPF shall:

  • Develop a plan to expand CPI for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities that includes a gradual shift in funding from noncompetitive employment to CPI;
  • Limit pre-vocational services for persons receiving home and community based services to a maximum of two (2) years, with the possibility of an extension for up to three (3) years;
  • Provide persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities who work in segregated employment (or employment paying below minimum wage) with services related to exploring CPI prior to allowing the individual to remain in segregated or low-wage employment;
  • Establish baseline data for CPI and set goals for annual increases in the number of persons in home or community based services who obtain CPI;
  • Develop a plan and implementation timeline to expand the Medicaid buy-in program and develop a plan to raise asset limits for Medicaid eligibility categories that do not have federal limits;
  • Dedicate a full-time staff member to oversee and coordinate employment support through Medicaid waiver programs;
  • Maintain Colorado’s membership in the National Employment Leadership Network for States;
  • Actively participate in the United States Department of Labor’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (“Federal Mentoring Program”); and
  • Prepare annual reports concerning the employment first policy and its implementation by Agency Partners and present the report to the general assembly for HCPF.

Lastly, in addition to any other duties under the plan, the proposed bill would require the CDLE to:

  • Establish Colorado’s membership in the Federal Mentoring Program;
  • Promote partnerships with employers to overcome hurdles to employment for persons with disabilities;
  • Create a reimbursement code discovery process for persons with significant disabilities;
  • Require workforce centers to promote nondiscrimination and equal opportunities in employment for persons with disabilities through the use of federal reference guides and checklists; and
  • Provide information to HCPF to prepare the annual report on the employment first policy and present the report to the general assembly’s committee of reference for the CDLE.

The bill creates the advisory board in the CDLE, which encompass the State’s advisory group created for purposes of the Federal Mentoring Plan, and will include that group’s membership and duties, along with additional advisory board members and duties. The bill includes the structure of the advisory board, including the advisory board’s membership and appointing authorities. In addition, the bill requires a sunset review of the advisory board by the department of regulatory affairs before the advisory board’s repeal date in 2026.

The bill also encourages the CDE, in conjunction with the Agency Partners, to facilitate, support, and develop programs for students with disabilities relating to school-to-work transitions, early transition planning, and postsecondary education options and career paths. Furthermore, the bill requires the CDE to actively participate in the Federal Mentoring Program to coordinate employment first practices that affect public schools. Finally, the bill requires the CDE to provide information to HCPF to prepare the annual report on the employment first policy and present the report to the general assembly’s committee of reference for the CDE.

In addition to any other duties under the plan, the bill requires the CDHE to collaborate with the CDE concerning policies and programs that support early transition planning, including postsecondary education, the use of assistive technology, and the retention and graduation of students with disabilities attending higher education institutions. The bill also requires the CDHE to actively participate in the Federal Mentoring Program and to coordinate employment first practices in the higher education setting. The CDHE shall provide information to HCPF to prepare the annual report on the employment first policy and present the report to the general assembly’s committee of reference for the CDHE.

The bill would take effect July 1, 2016.

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

HB 16-1167: Creating the “Colorado Family First Employer Act” to Recognize Family-Friendly Employers

On January 29, 2016, Reps. Faith Winter & Brittany Pettersen and Sens. Nancy Todd & Kerry Donovan introduced HB 16-1167Concerning the Creation of the Colorado Family First Employer Act, and, in Connection Therewith, Establishing a Program that Recognizes Colorado Employers that Meet Certain Family-Friendly Requirements. It was assigned to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

This bill proposes to create the Colorado Family First Employer Act under Article 13.7. The Colorado family first employer program, which would be created by the bill, would require the department of labor and employment (department) to establish a program that would designate Colorado employers who meet certain family-friendly criteria as Colorado family first employers. C.R.S. § 8-13.7-104 sets forth the criteria that an employer must demonstrate in order to be considered for an award by the Governor’s Office.

The bill proposes, among other things, to decrease the wage gap between men and women, specifically as it relates to African-American, Latina, Asian-American, and Native-American women. The bill also proposes to provide incentives to workers who have families needing child-care services or paid-leave for family responsibilities.

Additionally, the Office of the Governor would be authorized by the bill to recognize the employers who have been certified by the department with an award. Furthermore, the bill would allow designated employers to use a logo, created by the Office of the Governor, for promotional purposes.

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

HB 16-1129: Strengthening Measures Against Charitable Fraud

On January 20, 2016, Reps. Polly Lawrence & Beth McCann and Sens. Larry Crowder & Rollie Heath introduced HB 16-1129Concerning Measures for Enhanced Enforcement Against Acts of Charitable Fraud, And, In Connection Therewith, Making An Appropriation. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations. The Appropriations Committee amended the bill and referred it for Second Reading, where it passed with amendments, and passed Third Reading. The bill has now been introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

This bill is proposed in four sections. Section 1 of the bill would create enhanced penalties under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act for committing acts of charitable fraud involving knowledge or intent under the Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act. The bill proposes a penalty of $10,000 for each violation with no cap for a related series of violations.

Sections 2 and 4 of the bill would require two things. First, a statement on applications for registration by a paid solicitor to the Secretary of State, stating that neither the paid solicitor nor any officer, director, or employee serves on the board of directors of a charitable organization or directs the operations of a charitable organization in which the paid solicitor solicits contributions. Furthermore, the statement shall state that no officer, director, or employee of the paid solicitor’s charitable organization clients have any financial interest in the paid solicitor.

Second, Sections 2 and 4 of the bill require paid solicitors to have either a bond or savings account, deposit, or certificate of deposit in a financial institution payable to the State of Colorado. This is conditional upon the performance of the paid solicitor in good faith without fraud or fraudulent representation and without the violation of any provision of the Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act.

Lastly, Section 3 of the bill proposes to make it charitable fraud to misrepresent that a charitable organization, for which a paid solicitor solicits, has a significant membership of a certain type, such as active police, sheriff, patrol, firefighters, first responders, or veterans. Additionally, Section 3 of the bill proposes to make a charitable organization liable with a paid solicitor if the charitable organization knew or should have known that the paid solicitor was engaged in charitable fraud on behalf of the charitable organization.

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

HB 16-1174: Limiting the Ability of the Director of the Department of Revenue to Contest Claimed Conservation Easements

On February 1, 2016, Rep. Becker introduced HB 16-1174Concerning a Perpetual Conservation Easement in Gross Granted for Property in Colorado for Which a Tax Credit Claim has been Rejected. The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, and was referred by that committee, unamended, to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee amended the bill and referred it to Appropriations.

Under current Colorado law, a state income tax credit is allowed for a portion of the value of a perpetual conservation easement that is granted by a taxpayer on real property located in Colorado. This bill, if enacted, would restrict the ability of the executive director of the department of revenue to contest an appraisal and credit claimed for an easement donated prior to January 1, 2008, in which a final settlement has not been reached by July 1, 2016.

C.R.S. § 39-22-522 proposes that this restriction would apply unless the executive director can show two things. First, the restriction would not apply if the executive director is able to produce clear and convincing evidence of an overvaluation of the easement, confirmed in writing by the State Attorney General prior to a specified date. Second, if the valuation is supported solely by an appraisal from an appraiser convicted of fraud or misrepresentation in connection with preparing the appraisal.

Currently, Colorado law allows for a conservation easement to be terminated in the same manner as any other easement. The proposed bill specifies, however, under C.R.S. § 38-30.5-107(2) that a court may exercise its equitable jurisdiction to terminate a conservation easement where a tax credit has been claimed in certain circumstances if the claim has been rejected.

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