July 18, 2019

Bills Signed Regarding Appropriating Retail Marijuana Sales Tax to Schools, Clarifying Standard for Deceptive Trade Practices, and More

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, the governor signed 15 bills into law. To date, he has signed 55 bills this legislative session. Many of Thursday’s bills involved the relocation of statutes from Title 12. Some of the other bills signed include a bill to clarify which entities are eligible to apply for special event beverage licenses, a bill appropriating retail marijuana sales tax to schools, a bill changing the date of special district elections to May every-other year, and more. The bills signed Thursday are summarized here.

  • HB 18-1027 – “Concerning the Nonsubstantive Relocation of Laws Related to the Regulation of the Lottery from Title 24, Colorado Revised Statutes, to a New Title 44 as Part of the Organizational Recodification of Title 12,” by Rep. Cole Wist and Sen. Daniel Kagan. The bill creates Title 44 and relocates the sections of Title 12 related to the regulation of the lottery to Title 44.
  • HB 18-1028 – “Concerning Clarification of the Standard Required for Applications for a Court Order to Require Compliance with Investigations of Deceptive Trade Practices,” by Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Cole Wist and Sens. Lois Court & Jack Tate. The bill would allow a judge to issue a court order if compliance with an investigation is necessary to investigate a deceptive trade practice.
  • HB 18-1039 – “Concerning Changing Regular Special District Elections to May of Each Odd-numbered Year, and, in Connection Therewith, Adjusting the Length of Terms Served by Directors Elected in 2020 and 2022 in Order to Implement the New Election Schedule,” by Rep. Kim Ransom and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill moves regular special district elections to the Tuesday following the first Monday of May in odd-numbered years, rather than the Tuesday immediately succeeding the first Monday of May in every even-numbered year, starting in 2023.
  • HB 18-1087 – “Concerning Department of Public Safety Authority to Repeal Rules Relating to Defunct Boards,” by Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sens. Don Coram & Daniel Kagan. The victims compensation and assistance coordinating committee and the victims assistance and law enforcement advisory board in the department of public safety were repealed in 2009. The bill gives the executive director of the department of public safety the authority to repeal rules relating to those repealed boards.
  • HB 18-1096 – “Concerning the Eligibility of Certain Entities to Apply for a Special Event Permit to Sell Alcohol Beverages,” by Rep. Matt Gray and Sen. Kevin Priola. The bill adds to the list of organizations authorized to obtain a special event permit to sell alcohol beverages for a limited period an organization that is incorporated under Colorado law for educational purposes.
  • HB 18-1100 – “Concerning the Continuous Appropriation of Money in the Educator Licensure Cash Fund,” by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill extends the continuous appropriation of money to the State Board of Education and the Department of Education (Department) for its expenses incurred in the administration of the “Colorado Educator Licensing Act of 1991” for three more years.
  • HB 18-1101 – “Concerning Modification of the Manner in which Gross Retail Marijuana Tax Revenue that is Transferred from the General Fund to the State Public School Fund as Required by Current Law is Appropriated from the State Public School Fund,” by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. Beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year, the bill requires 12.59% of the gross retail marijuana sales tax revenue remaining in the general fund after a required allocation of 10% of the revenue to local governments to be transferred to the state public school fund, and continuously appropriates that revenue for the same state fiscal year in which it is transferred from the state public school fund to the department of education to help meet the state share of total program funding for school districts and institute charter schools.
  • HB 18-1140 – “Concerning Public Official Personal Surety Bonds, and, in Connection Therewith, Repealing Obsolete Provisions and Authorizing the Purchase of Insurance in Lieu of Public Official Personal Surety Bonds,” by Rep. Hugh McKean and Sen. Dominick Moreno. The bill repeals obsolete provisions related to personal surety bonds and authorizes a public entity to purchase insurance in lieu of a public official personal surety bond and states the requirements for the insurance.
  • SB 18-036 – “Concerning the Nonsubstantive Relocation of Laws Related to the Regulation of Tobacco Sales to Minors from Title 24, Colorado Revised Statutes, to a New Title 44 as Part of the Organizational Recodification of Title 12, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Daniel Kagan and Rep. Cole Wist. The bill creates Title 44, then relocates the sections of Title 24 regarding the regulation of tobacco sales to minors to Title 44.
  • SB 18-091 – “Concerning Modernizing Terminology in the Colorado Revised Statutes Related to Behavioral Health,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Dan Thurlow. The bill is a follow-up and clean-up to Senate Bill 17-242, which updated and modernized terminology in the Colorado Revised Statutes related to behavioral health, including mental health disorders, alcohol use disorders, and substance use disorders.
  • SB 18-092 – “Concerning Updating Statutory References to ‘County Departments of Social Services,'” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Edie Hooten. The bill modernizes outdated references in statute to “County Department(s) of Social Services,” or similar terms, to “County Department(s) of Human or Social Services.” Counties throughout the state have different ways of referring to the department in the county that does human or social services work, so it is necessary for statute to reflect that not all county departments go by one label.
  • SB 18-094 – “Concerning the Repeal of a Duplicate Definitions Section in Article 60 of Title 27, Colorado Revised Statutes,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Edie Hooten. The bill repeals section 27-60-102.5, Colorado Revised Statutes, which is a duplicate definitions section for general provisions related to behavioral health found in article 60 of title 27, Colorado Revised Statutes. The bill leaves in place section 27-60-100.3, Colorado Revised Statutes, enacted by Senate Bill 17-242.
  • SB 18-100 – “Concerning Disclosure of Additional Mandatory Charges by Motor Vehicle Rental Companies,” by Sen. Tim Neville and Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Kevin Van Winkle. The bill requires a motor vehicle rental company to disclose to a potential customer, in any vehicle rental cost quote and in the rental agreement, additional mandatory charges applicable to the motor vehicle rental.
  • SB 18-103 – “Concerning the Issuance of Performance-based Incentives for Film Production Activities in the State,” by Sens. Nancy Todd & Jim Smallwood and Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Timothy Leonard. The bill strengthens the requirements necessary to earn performance-based incentives for film production activities in the state in various ways.
  • SB 18-164 – “Concerning the Repeal of Reporting Requirements for Certain Unfunded Programs in the Department of Human Services Until Such Time as Funding is Received,” by Sen. Dominick Moreno and Rep. Dan Thurlow. The bill directs that reporting requirements for programs established in the department of human services that have not received funding in several years be placed on hold until such time as the program receives funding.

For all of the governor’s 2018 legislative decisions, click here.

Bills Enacting Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act, Exemption from Mandatory Advisement Requirements, and More Signed

On Thursday, April 13, 2017, Governor Hickenlooper signed ten bills into law. To date, he has signed 147 bills into law this 2017 legislative session. Some of the bills signed Thursday include a bill adopting the Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act, a bill granting immunity to a person who renders emergency assistance to a person or animal in a locked vehicle, a bill exempting certain traffic violations from the mandatory advisement requirements for municipal judges, and more. The bills signed Thursday are summarized here.

  • HB 17-1021“Concerning an Employer’s Violation of Wage Laws,” by Rep. Jessie Danielson and Sen. John Cooke. The bill clarifies that information obtained by the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics that relates to a finding of a violation of wage laws is not confidential and shall be released to the public or for use in a court proceeding, unless the Director of the Division makes a determination that the information includes specific information that is a trade secret.
  • HB 17-1081“Concerning Authority to Offer In-state Tuition Classification at State-supported Institutions of Higher Education for Athletes Training in Colorado in Programs Approved by the United States Olympic Committee,” by Rep. Dan Nordberg and Sen. Stephen Fenberg. The bill allows a state-supported institution of higher education to charge in-state tuition to an athlete residing anywhere in Colorado and training in an elite level program in Colorado approved by the United States Olympic committee and the governing body of an Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, or Parapan American sport.
  • HB 17-1083“Concerning an Exemption for Certain Traffic Violations of the Requirement that a Municipal Judge Inform a Defendant of Certain Rights,” by Rep. Larry Liston and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill excludes cases involving traffic infractions or violations for which the penalty is only a fine and for which jail is not a possibility from the requirement that municipal judges inform defendants of certain rights.
  • HB 17-1125“Concerning Eliminating the Duty of the Division of Correctional Industries to Provide Certain Services for the State’s Correctional Facilities,” by Reps. Dan Nordberg & Faith Winter and Sens. Jim Smallwood & Cheri Jahn. The bill removes a requirement that the Division of Correctional Industries in the Department of Corrections establish programs for vehicle maintenance, physical plant and facility maintenance, and food and laundry services for each of the state’s correctional facilities.
  • HB 17-1144“Concerning Amendments to the Automatic Cash Fund Funding Mechanism for Payment of Future Costs Attributable to Certain of the State’s Capital Assets,” by Rep. Daneya Esgar and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill requires the General Assembly to include an annual depreciation-lease equivalent payment line item payable from the cash fund that is the funding source for the capital construction appropriation in the operating section of the annual general appropriation act for each state agency.
  • HB 17-1145“Concerning Authorization for Amateur Winemakers to Enter Wines in Organized Events,” by Rep. Leslie Herod and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill authorizes amateur winemakers to enter their wine in organized events, such as contests, tastings, or judgings at licensed premises.
  • HB 17-1179“Concerning Immunity for a Person who Renders Emergency Assistance from a Locked Vehicle,” by Reps. Lori Saine & Joann Ginal and Sens. Lois Court & Vicki Marble. The bill provides immunity from civil and criminal liability for a person who forcibly enters a locked vehicle for the purpose of rendering assistance to an at-risk person or animal.
  • HB 17-1194“Concerning Technical Changes Relating to the Operation of Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools,” by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. John Cooke. The bill amends the definition of a pathways in technology early college (p-tech) high school to include a p-tech program that operates within a host school.
  • HB 17-1196“Concerning Changes to the Training Requirements for Applicants for Licensure under the ‘Barber and Cosmetologist Act’,” by Rep. Jeni Arndt and Sen. Kevin Priola. The bill requires the Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies to promulgate rules for applicants for cosmetologist or barber licensure to furnish proof of training, not to exceed 50 credits or 1,500 contact hours.
  • SB 17-154“Concerning  the ‘Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act’, by Sen. Bob Gardner and Rep. Cole Wist. The bill adopts in Colorado the Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act,expands the uniform law to include domestic unsworn declarations as contemplated, and clarifies that the act applies only to the use of unsworn declarations in state courts.

For a list of all Governor Hickenlooper’s 2017 legislative actions, click here.

Class Action Headaches: The Intersection of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Sports Concussion Litigation

Iron Mike Webster

“Iron Mike” Webster played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974-1988 and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989-1990, and played in 245 games during his career. He died at the age of 50 in 2002 from a heart attack. At his death, Iron Mike was suffering from dementia, self-mutilating, and living out of his pickup truck. A doctor named Bennet Omalu performed his autopsy, which showed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Dr. Omalu examined the remains of several other former NFL players who had similar symptoms to Iron Mike, including Terry Long, Andre Waters, and Justin Strzelczyk. He presented his findings to the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, but was largely ignored until Chris Henry of the Cincinatti Bengals died in 2006 at age 26 due to CTE.

Will Smith and Alec Baldwin starred in a December 2015 movie, “Concussion,” which detailed Dr. Omalu’s findings and his struggle to be taken seriously by the NFL. In April 2015, a federal district court judge approved a class-action settlement of former NFL players for long-term neurological problems associated with repeated concussions. All eligible retired former NFL players will receive a baseline neuropsychological and neurological examination, and additional medical testing, counseling, or treatment if they are diagnosed with moderate cognitive impairment. The settlement also provides for monetary awards, conceivably into the millions of dollars, for diagnoses of certain neurocognitive diseases or impairments, such as ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or certain levels of dementia. Fewer than 200 retired NFL players have opted out of the settlement.

Other sports organizations have filed class actions, as well. A number of former college athletes have filed suit against the NCAA, alleging long-term injuries from concussions experienced while playing NCAA sports. The U.S. Soccer Federation, U.S. Water Polo, the NHL, and the World Wrestling Federation have also been the subjects of concussion-related lawsuits. Many states, including Colorado, have passed measures intended to protect young athletes from second-impact syndrome, a rare and potentially fatal consequence of repeated concussions.

Reid Neureiter of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell has researched concussion litigation extensively. On Thursday, March 9, from noon to 1 p.m., he will present “Concussions in the Courts,” a one-hour lunch program to highlight the continuing litigation between athletes and athletic organizations. Register by calling (303) 860-0608 or by clicking the links below.



CLE Program: Concussions in the Courts

This CLE presentation will occur on March 9, 2017, at the CBA-CLE offices (1900 Grant Street, Third Floor), from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register for the live program here or register for the webcast here. You may also call (303) 860-0608 to register.

Can’t make the live program? Order the homestudy here: MP3Video OnDemand.

Nine Point One Shades of Grey — Are You In Compliance?

The Law Club is performing its annual Ethics Revue next week on Tuesday and Wednesday at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret in Denver. This entertaining production features ethics vignettes in musical theater format. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have at an ethics CLE. To prove it, check out these photos from last year’s Ethics Revue. Don’t miss out – register today! Space is limited. Click here to register for Tuesday night and click here to register for Wednesday night.

Came in Like a Wrecking Ball - Law Revue - Nov. 2014

She came in like a wrecking ball.



The Hunger Games, ethics style.


Carnac the Magnificent - Law Revue - Nov. 2014

Carnac the Magnificent.



The Yale Team.


Finale - photo #2 - Law Revue - Nov. 2014

The grand finale. Congratulations on another successful performance!

Colorado Court of Appeals: Talent Agency Not Employer for Unemployment Insurance Tax Purposes

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Division of Unemployment Insurance Employer Services/Integrity v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office on Thursday, October 8, 2015.

Employees of a Talent Agency for Unemployment Insurance Tax Purposes.

Marbles Kids, Inc. (Marbles) is a talent agency that represents individuals seeking acting and modeling work, most of whom are children. Marbles provides possible candidates for auditions, and the artists are free to turn down the auditions. The artists have contracts with Marbles stating that Marbles will receive a percentage commission on any assignments booked through them. The clients pay Marbles, and Marbles deducts its commission and pays the artist the remaining amount.

The Division of Unemployment Insurance Employer Services—Integrity/Employer Audits (Division) issued a liability determination that the artists were in covered employment with Marbles and thus Marbles was required to pay unemployment insurance tax premiums on amounts paid to artists. Marbles appealed, and the hearing officer affirmed. The Industrial Claim Appeals Office (Panel) reversed.

On appeal, the Division argued that the Panel erred in concluding that no employment relationship existed. Under the Colorado Employment Security Act, employment requires a showing that a “service [has been] performed by an individual for another.” Service has been defined as “an act done for the benefit or at the command of another.” The Division argued that the artists performed their acting and modeling services “at the command” of Marbles. The Court of Appeals disagreed. The artists were free to reject auditions or assignments from Marbles’ clients and were not “at the command” of Marbles. The Court also rejected the Division’s argument that the artists performed services “for the benefit of” Marbles. The artists did not provide a benefit for Marbles; rather, Marbles worked for the artists in finding them work with third parties. The artists worked for clients, not for Marbles.

Because the artists did not perform acting or modeling services for Marbles, Marbles was not an employer of the artists and they were not Marbles’ employees. Accordingly, Marbles was not required to pay unemployment insurance tax premiums on the amounts it paid the artists after deducting its agent commissions. The Panel’s order was affirmed.

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

Tenth Circuit: Non-Disclosure of Unedited Film Substantially Prejudiced Party Claiming Defamation

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Brokers’ Choice of America, Inc. v. NBC Universal, Inc. on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

Tyrone Clark and his company, Brokers’ Choice of America, Inc. (BCA) sued NBC Universal and some of its employees after Dateline aired a segment called “Tricks of the Trade” that featured snippets of Clark taken from one of his two-day “Annuity University” seminars filmed at BCA’s Colorado campus. The snippets were surreptitiously recorded, and Clark asserts that they were illegally filmed. Only 112 words were taken from the two-day seminar and were used to portray Clark and BCA as teaching insurance agents to employ misrepresentations and use questionable tactics in order to dupe seniors into purchasing inappropriate annuity products. BCA claims that the statements were taken out of context in order to create a false impression and defame Clark and BCA. BCA also asserts a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim because Dateline obtained false credentials from Alabama officials in order to surreptitiously film the seminar.

Dateline moved to dismiss the complaint, maintaining that BCA did not allege sufficient facts to show defamation. It also sought to dismiss BCA’s civil rights claims, stating that BCA’s factual allegations did not demonstrate the help received from Alabama officials was joint conduct. The court granted Dateline‘s motion. BCA appealed, contending the district court failed to credit its allegations as true and improperly made factual determinations to reach its conclusions.

The Tenth Circuit first examined the court’s dismissal of BCA’s claims. The Tenth Circuit determined that BCA had alleged sufficient facts to support its defamation claims, noting that the correct inquiry was not the district court’s determination that the statements were substantially true but rather whether the characterization of BCA was substantially true, a question of fact to be determined by a jury. Because Dateline had contested discovery of its unedited video, the only evidence that could have been used to determine whether the characterization was substantially true, the Tenth Circuit turned its inquiry to the video.

After a lengthy discussion, the Tenth Circuit determined that Colorado’s media privilege statute, C.R.S. § 13-90-119, required disclosure of the video. The Tenth Circuit found that BCA would be substantially prejudiced by non-disclosure, and noted that the statute is to be used as a shield to protect confidential informants, not a sword to defeat potentially viable claims. The “probable falsity” test was unwarranted where no confidential informant existed.

As to BCA’s § 1983 claims, the Tenth Circuit found no merit. The Tenth Circuit noted that the government frequently engages in deception to further investigative interests, and the Alabama officials’ furnishing of broker licenses to the Dateline crew amounted to no more than investigative deception.

The dismissal of the § 1983 claim was affirmed. The dismissal of the defamation claim was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.

Colorado Supreme Court: Issue Preclusion Bars Claims But Incorrect Rule of Civil Procedure Applied in Dismissal

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Bristol Bay Productions, LLC v. Lampack on Monday, October 21, 2013.

Issue Preclusion—CRCP 12(b)(5).

The Supreme Court held that the Colorado action brought by Bristol Bay Productions, LLC (Bristol Bay) is barred on issue preclusion grounds, because the identity of the defendants in this case is not relevant to the causation element Bristol Bay must prove to prevail on its fraud and fraud-based claims. The Court emphasized that Bristol Bay’s Colorado action is based on identical allegations concerning substantially identical misrepresentations to those Bristol Bay alleged in its previous California action.

The Court also held that the trial court erred by dismissing Bristol Bay’s Colorado action under CRCP 12(b)(5) without converting defendants’ motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment under CRCP 56. Because CRCP 56 was the appropriate procedure to resolve this case, Bristol Bay is not liable for attorney fees under Colorado’s attorney fee-shifting statute. The judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Printout of Liability Waiver Not Necessary Where Waiver Prerequisite to Playing in League

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Berenson v. USA Hockey on Thursday, October 10, 2013.

Summary Judgment—Best Evidence Rule—Exculpatory Agreement in Online Registration Process.

Annette Berenson appealed the summary judgment in favor of USA Hockey, Inc. and the Colorado Ice Hockey Referees Association (collectively, USA Hockey). The judgment was affirmed.

Berenson played in an amateur hockey league that required participants to register annually through the USA Hockey website. Players were required to signify agreement to the league’s terms by inserting their initials on a Web page with a liability waiver and release. Berenson was injured during a game and sued, seeking to hold USA Hockey liable for her injuries.

USA Hockey filed a motion for summary judgment based on the liability waiver and release Berenson had executed. Berenson testified that she could not remember whether she had agreed to the terms. USA Hockey submitted an affidavit from an employee stating that the online registration process could not be completed without executing the page with the waiver and release and confirming that Berenson had registered the year she was injured. The district court granted USA Hockey’s motion for summary judgment.

On appeal, Berenson argued that the facts stated in the employee’s affidavit were inadmissible as a matter of law and should not have been considered by the court. She contended that under the best evidence rule (codified in CRE 1002), the only admissible evidence showing she had executed the waiver and release would have been a printout of it, which was never produced. The Court of Appeals disagreed.

The Court noted that the primary purpose of the rule is “to prevent error and to guard against fraud in the ascertainment of content.” [See 5 Mueller and Kirkpatrick, Federal Evidence§ 10:17 (3d ed., 2007).] Based on the employee’s affidavit as to how the online registration process worked, there could be no issue of material fact as to whether Berenson had executed an exculpatory agreement with USA Hockey; she had to execute the liability waiver and release to complete the registration process and play in the league.

Summary and full case available here.

Bills Regarding Employment Law, the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act, and More Signed by Governor

On Friday, April 19, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper signed one dozen bills. He has currently signed a total of 137 bills this legislative session. The bills signed Friday include bills relating to employment law, damages under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act, education law, and more. The bills are summarized here.

  • SB 13-013 – Concerning Peace Officer Authority for Certain Employees of the United States Secret Service, by Sen. Steve King and Rep. Beth McCann. The bill allows certain agents of the U.S. Secret Service to have limited peace officer authority while working in Colorado.
  • SB 13-018 – Concerning the Use of Consumer Credit Information by Employers, by Sen. Jessie Ulibarri and Rep. Randy Fischer. The bill restricts the use of employees’ and applicants’ consumer credit information by employers, and requires employers to allow employees or potential employees to explain any adverse information.
  • SB 13-023 – Concerning an Increase in the Limitation on the Amount of Damages that may be Recovered by an Injured Party under the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act,” by Sens. Bill Cadman and John Morse and Reps. Claire Levy and Bob Gardner. The bill increases the amount of damages available under the CGIA to reflect inflation adjustments.
  • SB 13-042 – Concerning the Renewal of Distinguished Foreign Teaching Physician Licenses by a Person Ranked Lower than an Associate Professor, by Sen. John Morse and Rep. Mark Waller. The bill allows distinguished foreign physicians who are teaching at state medical schools to renew their licenses if they are at the level of assistant professor or higher.
  • SB 13-058 – Concerning the Verification Requirement for Parking Privileges for Persons with a Permanent Disability, by Sen. Kevin Grantham and Rep. Lois Landgraf. The bill waives the requirement that persons with permanent disabilities must prove their disabilities every three years in order to renew their parking permits.
  • SB 13-071 – Concerning Uniquely Identifying Student Numbers for Persons Enrolled in Adult Education Programs, by Sen. Evie Hudak and Rep. Rhonda Fields. The bill requires that the Educational Data Subcommittee must identify a method for applying a unique student identification number to individuals enrolled in adult education programs.
  • SB 13-139 – Concerning Supplemental On-Line Education Services, by Sen. Ellen Roberts and Rep. Don Coram. The bill designates the authority to contract for online education services to the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
  • SB 13-184 – Concerning Repeal of the Criminal Penalties for Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodation, by Sens. Pat Steadman and Steve King and Rep. Paul Rosenthal. The bill repeals the criminal penalties for discrimination in public places but leaves in place the civil penalties.
  • SB 13-192 – Concerning the Ability of Government Agencies to Extend the Time Permitted for Action Based on the Results of Fingerprint-Based Criminal History Record Checks, by Sen. Rollie Heath and Rep. Max Tyler. The bill extends the amount of time government agencies may have before acting on the results of criminal background checks.
  • HB 13-1039 – Concerning Additional Sources of Moneys to be Credited to the Legislative Department Cash Fund, by Rep. Lois Court and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill allows certain moneys collected to be allocated to the legislative department cash fund.
  • HB 13-1208 – Concerning Creative Districts and Authorizing the Creative Industries Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development to Offer Incentives in the Form of Need-Based Funding for Infrastructure Development in State-Certified Creative Districts and to Provide Such Funding from any Moneys Appropriated to the Creative Industries Cash Fund for that Purpose, by Rep. Crisanta Duran and Sen. Linda Newell. The bill allows the Creative Industries Division in the Office of Economic Development to spend money to develop infrastructure for creative districts.
  • HB 13-1237 – Concerning the Voluntary Contribution Benefiting the Special Olympics Colorado Fund that Appears on the State Individual Income Tax Returns, by Reps. Dave Young and John Buckner and Sen. Mary Hodge. The bill reestablishes the Special Olympics tax return check-off, since it was not renewed in 2012 after its 2011 sunset.

For the complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2013 legislative decisions, click here.

Tenth Circuit: Summary Judgment for Defendant Affirmed in Defamation Case

The Tenth Circuit published its opinion in Spacecon Specialty Contractors, LLC v. Bensinger on Monday, April 15, 2013.

Richard Bensinger produced and screened a film about Spacecon Specialty Contractors, LLC. Claiming the film conveyed several defamatory statements, Spacecon filed suit against Bensinger in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, based on diversity jurisdiction, asserting a state-law claim for defamation per se. The district court granted Bensinger’s motion for summary judgment, concluding the messages conveyed by the film involved matters of public concern and Spacecon did not show Bensinger published the film with actual malice.

“In determining whether statements involve a matter of public concern, [a court] must analyze the content, form, and context of the statements, in conjunction with the motivation or ‘point’ of the statements as revealed by the whole record.” Spacecon focused its arguments on context and motive. The Tenth Circuit held that the film was a matter of public concern based on context. The messages of the film had the potential to impact many groups and the fact that a panel discussion was held after one showing illustrated that the film’s message was one of public concern.

The court then analyzed Bensinger’s motive in making the film. While there was some evidence Bensinger’s motive may have been to harm Spacecon, the fact that the film was a documentary shown to the public and its content and context all supported that it involved matters of public concern.

Spacecon argued the evidence showed Bensinger acted with actual malice. The court disagreed. “[V]iewing the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in Spacecon’s favor, no reasonable juror aware of the entire context surrounding the production and dissemination of the film could conclude by clear and convincing evidence that Bensinger included falsehoods in the film knowingly or with a reckless disregard for the truth.”

The court affirmed summary judgment for Bensinger.

Governor Hickenlooper Continues to Sign Bills Into Law

Governor Hickenlooper continues to sign bills that cross his desk. To date, he has signed over 200 bills into law.

Eight bills were signed by the governor on May 11, 2012. Three of them are summarized here.

  • SB 12-123Concerning the Secretary of State’s On-Line Business Filing System, and, In Connection Therewith, Authorizing Enhancements to the System, the Designation of Commercial Registered Agents, and Changes to a Reporting Entity’s Anniversary Month and Making an Appropriation.
    Sponsored by Sen. Scott Renfroe and Rep. J. Paul Brown. The bill requires the Secretary of State to develop and implement changes to the online business filing system.
  • HB 12-1114Concerning the Crime of Stalking.
    Sponsored by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill modifies the crime of stalking by requiring the issuance of a protection order at sentencing and requiring sentences including stalking charges to be served consecutively.
  • HB 12-1140Concerning the Duties of the Department of Public Health and Environment as Coordinator for Suicide Prevention Programs Throughout the State.
    Sponsored by Rep. Matt Jones and Sen. Linda Newell. The bill allows but does not require the Department of Public Health to coordinate with hospitals in order to distribute resource materials to people who have attempted suicide.

On Tuesday, May 15, Governor Hickenlooper signed one bill into law, which bill is summarized here.

  • HB 12-1086Concerning Implementation of Recommendations of the Committee on Legal Services in Connection with Legislative Review of Rules and Regulations of State Agencies.
    Sponsored by Rep. Bob Gardner and Sen. John Morse. The bill follows recommendations by the Committee on Legal Services regarding certain state agency rules and regulations.

Governor Hickenlooper signed five bills into law on Thursday, May 17, 2012, including HB 12-1238, the READ Act to promote early childhood literacy. This bill and two others are summarized below.

  • HB 12-1238 Concerning Literacy Education for Students Enrolled in Kindergarten Through Third Grade, and, In Connection Therewith, Creating the “Colorado Early Literacy Act” and Making and Reducing Appropriations.
    Sponsored by Reps. Tom Massey and Millie Hamner and Sens. Mike Johnston and Nancy Spence. The bill strives to ensure that children receive the education needed to ensure they are able to read and succeed in life.
  • HB 12-1213Concerning the Penalty for a Person who Escapes from a Place of Confinement Other Than a County Jail or Correctional Facility.
    Sponsored by Rep. Rhonda Fields and Sen. Steve King. The bill exempts some felony escape charges from the designation of a habitual criminal.
  • HB 12-1292Concerning Technical Modifications to Laws Relating to the Administration of Elections, and, In Connection Therewith, Harmonizing Current Laws with Federal Law, Altering the Time Periods Within Which Certain Actions Must Be Taken, Raising Certain Fees, and Deleting Obsolete References.
    Sponsored by Rep. Carole Murray and Sen. Rollie Heath. The bill makes various procedural and substantive changes to election laws.

Three more bills were signed into law on Friday, May 19, 2012. These are summarized here.

  • HB 12-1276Concerning Child Care Licensure Waivers for Materials Related to a Child Care Center’s Curriculum.
    Sponsored by Rep. Crisanta Duran and Sen. Linda Newell. The bill allows child care centers to use certain materials in their curricula that previously were not allowed to be used without parental approval.
  • HB 12-1286 Concerning Film Production Activities in Colorado, and, In Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation.
    Sponsored by Reps. Tom Massey and Mark Ferrandino and Sens. Linda Newell and Jean White. The bill attempts to encourage the production of films in Colorado by offering certain incentives.
  • HB 12-1108Concerning the Authority of the Colorado Department of Transportation to Have Signs Within Rights-of-Way on the Highway System.
    Sponsored by Rep. Daniel Kagan and Sen. Mark Scheffel. The bill repeals certain sign restrictions for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

On Saturday, May 19, 2012, Governor Hickenlooper signed three more bills into law as he traveled throughout the state. These bills are:

  • HB 12-1345Concerning the Financing of Public Schools, and, In Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing Appropriations.
    Sponsored by Rep. Tom Massey and Sen. Bob Bacon. The bill changes funding for students in K-12 education in Colorado.
  • HB 12-1080Concerning Changing the Name of Adams State College to Adams State University.
    Sponsored by Rep. Ed Vigil and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill changes the name of Adams State College to Adams State University, and allows the school to provide some graduate level programs.
  • SB 12S-002Concerning the Funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects, and, In Connection Therewith, Making Appropriations.
    Sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill appropriates funds from the Colorado Water Conservation Board for certain water-related projects.

Finally, five more bills were signed by the Governor as he journeyed to Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction on Monday, May 21. Two of these are summarized here.

  • HB 12-1329Concerning the County Treasurer Becoming the Public Trustee in Certain Counties Where the Public Trustee is Currently Appointed by the Governor.
    Sponsored by Reps. Ray Scott and Dan Pabon and Sen. Jeanne Nicholson. The bill allows the Board of County Commissioners for certain counties to include the budget for the Office of the Public Trustee in its budget. It also specifies which counties will have appointed public trustees.
  • HB 12-1042Concerning a State Income Tax Credit Related to the Portion of Colorado Estate Taxes Paid that are Attributable to Agricultural Land.
    Sponsored by Rep. Sal Pace and Sen. Gail Schwartz. The bill allows a state income tax credit for certain agricultural lands equal to the amount of an estate tax credit.

A complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s legislative decisions is available here.

HB 12-1286: Moving Office of Film, Television, and Media to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

On February 7, 2012, Rep. Tom Massey and Sen. Linda Newell introduced HB 12-1286 – Concerning Film Production Activities in Colorado and, In Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill modifies provisions governing the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media. The bill:

  • Moves the office to the office of economic development;
  • Adds “television show” to the definition of “film”;
  • Clarifies that sound recording is included in allowable payments for qualified local expenditures;
  • Reduces the payments allowed for each employee or contractor frnt of qualified local expenditures for a production company that does not originate the film production activities in Colorado to $1 million;
  • Requires the Colorado economic development commission to approve all conditional approvals of the incentives;
  • Requires a production company that has received conditional approval for an incentive to retain a certified public accountant licensed to practice in this state to conduct an audit of financial documents that detail the expenses incurred in the course of the film production activities in Colorado, and requires such certified public accountant to certify to the office that the requirements were met; and
  • Creates the Colorado office of film, television, and media operational account cash fund.

The bill makes conforming amendments related to moving the office and creating the cash fund. The bill makes a $3 million appropriation from the general fund to the Colorado office of film, television, and media operational account cash fund. On February 16, the bill was amended by the Economic and Business Development Committee and referred to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee approved and mended the bill on February 29 and referred it to the Appropriations Committee.

Since this summary, the bill was amended by the Appropriations Committee and referred to the House Committee of the Whole.

Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.