November 14, 2018

Colorado Court of Appeals: When Voluntary Parenting Time Change Occurs, District Court May Order Retroactive Child Support

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Marriage of Garrett and Heine on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

Family LawPost-DissolutionModification of Child SupportRetroactive Child SupportParenting Time.

In this post-dissolution of marriage proceeding, both parents moved to modify parenting time. The district court entered a week on, week off parenting schedule and modified child support accordingly. In June 2015 the parents mutually agreed to modify this schedule so father would be the primary residential parent and mother would have parenting time every other weekend and one evening per week. Accordingly, father began paying mother a reduced amount of child support and then moved to modify child support in July 2016. The parties again agreed to change parenting time in February 2017, with mother the primary residential parent of one child and father the primary residential parent of the other child. The district court found that mother owed retroactive child support based on the substantial changes in parenting time beginning in June 2015, and it offset that amount against father’s current child support obligation.

On appeal, mother contended that the district court erred when it imputed income to her without finding she was voluntarily underemployed. If a parent is voluntarily underemployed, child support must be calculated based on the parent’s income. Here, the court did not explicitly find that mother was voluntarily underemployed and shirking her child support obligation and the record does not support such findings. Nor did the court make any findings concerning the reasonableness of mother’s efforts to secure a full-time position at her previous salary. Thus, the case was remanded to the district court for additional findings, reconsideration of mother’s income, and recalculation of child support accordingly.

Mother further contended that the district court erred in applying C.R.S. § 14-10-122(5) and ordering her to pay retroactive child support back to June 2015. When a voluntary change in parenting time occurs, a court may retroactively enter a child support order against either parent without regard to the parent’s status as obligor or obligee under the existing child support order. However, the record is not clear on whether the district court imposed the retroactive child support obligation as an act of discretion or imposed it under the mistaken view that it was required to do so. On remand, the district court must set forth the factors it considers in determining whether to impose such an obligation.

The order retroactively establishing a child support obligation for mother was affirmed. The portion of the order determining mother’s income was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Balancing Test Appropriate when Deciding Competing Interests of Potential Parents in IVF Divorce Case

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Marriage of Rooks on Monday, October 29, 2018.

Divorce—Assisted Reproduction—Embryos.

In this dissolution of marriage proceeding, the supreme court reviewed how courts should resolve disagreements over the disposition of a couple’s cryogenically preserved pre-embryos when that couple divorces. The court held that because the underlying interests at stake are the equivalently important, yet competing, right to procreate and right to avoid procreation, courts should strive, where possible, to honor both parties’ interests in procreational autonomy. Thus, courts should look first to any existing agreement expressing the spouses’ intent regarding disposition of the couple’s remaining pre-embryos in the event of divorce. In the absence of such an agreement, courts should seek to balance the parties’ respective interests in receipt of the pre-embryos. In balancing those interests, courts should consider the intended use of the party seeking to preserve the pre-embryos; a party’s demonstrated ability, or inability, to become a genetic parent through means other than use of the disputed pre-embryos; the parties’ reasons for undertaking in vitro fertilization in the first place; the emotional, financial, or logistical hardship for the person seeking to avoid becoming a genetic parent; any demonstrated bad faith or attempt to use the pre-embryos as unfair leverage in the divorce process; and other considerations relevant to the parties’ specific situation. However, courts should not consider whether the party seeking to become a genetic parent using the pre-embryos can afford a child. Nor shall the sheer number of a party’s existing children, standing alone, be a reason to preclude preservation or use of the pre-embryos. Finally, courts should not consider whether the party seeking to become a genetic parent using the pre-embryos could instead adopt a child or otherwise parent non-biological children. The court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case with directions to return the matter to the trial court to apply the announced balancing framework.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5) and “Plausibility” Standard Do Not Apply to C.R.C.P. 16.2 Motions

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Marriage of Durie on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

Division of Marital Property—C.R.C.P. 16.2(e)(10)Post-Dissolution Proceeding—C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5).

Three years after a decree was entered incorporating a separation agreement dividing the parties’ marital property, wife moved under C.R.C.P. 16.2(e)(10) to reallocate proceeds from husband’s post-decree sale of business assets. She alleged that husband had failed to disclose facts that materially impacted the value of the parties’ business assets. In response, husband filed a motion to dismiss wife’s motion. The district court applied the plausibility standard in Warne and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554–56 (2007), and granted husband’s motion to dismiss. Wife moved for attorney fees, but the district court did not rule on her request.

On appeal, wife contended that the district court erred in dismissing her motion. After briefing, but before argument, a division of the court of appeals decided In re Marriage of Runge, 415 P.3d 884 (Colo.App. 2018), concluding that Rule 12(b)(5) and the Warne plausibility standard do not apply to a Rule 16.2(e)(10) motion. The court agreed with Runge and concluded that the district court erred in dismissing wife’s motion under that standard.

The court also rejected husband’s argument that C.R.C.P. 9(b), which requires that pleadings asserting fraud or mistake must allege the circumstances with particularity, applied in this context. Rule 16(e)(10) does not refer to fraud, but to misstatements or omissions. While some claims not denominated as fraud may be subject to the Rule 9(b) pleading requirements, the Rule 9(b) particularity requirement does not apply to Rule 16.2(e)(10) motions.

The parties also disagreed as to whether a movant under Rule 16.2(e)(10) can make allegations based on information and belief. The court concluded that Rule 8(e)(1) allows allegations based on information and belief in the context of a Rule 16.2(e)(10) motion, and wife properly included allegations based on information and belief in her motion.

However, wife’s allegations here did not enable the district court to conclude that her motion was sufficient on its face. The court instructed that (1) given Rule 16.2(e)(10)’s lack of applicable standard for determining a motion under the rule, a preponderance of the evidence standard should apply and the moving party bears the burden of proof; and (2) wife is entitled to undertake discovery in support of her motion.

The court further concluded that wife is entitled to seek attorney fees under C.R.S. § 14-10-119 on remand, but is not entitled to attorney fees under C.R.S. § 13-17-102. The district court may also award wife appellate attorney fees in its discretion under C.R.S. § 14-10-119.

The order was reversed and the case was remanded.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Where Parent Indicates Desire to Relocate with Minor Children, Magistrate Has No Authority to Order Shared Parenting Time in Colorado

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Marriage of Morgan on Thursday, August 8, 2018.

Dissolution of Marriage—Relocation—Parenting Time.

In this dissolution of marriage proceeding, mother notified the magistrate well before the permanent orders hearing that she wished to move with the children to California. She sought orders that would name her the children’s primary residential parent and decision-maker. Dr. Albert was appointed as an expert to conduct a parental responsibilities evaluation (PRE). He recommended that the children be allowed to relocate to California with mother and that she should have sole decision-making responsibility. At father’s request, the magistrate appointed Lieberman to perform a supplemental PRE. Lieberman recommended that the children remain in Colorado with father with shared decision-making responsibilities with mother. After a two-day evidentiary hearing, the magistrate ordered the children to remain in Colorado, finding that their best interests would be served if the parents exercised equal parenting time with mutual decision-making responsibilities.

On appeal, mother contended that the magistrate erred by entering a parenting time order requiring her to remain in Colorado. When, as here, a parent indicates before permanent orders that she intends to move, a district court has no statutory authority to order her to live in a specific location. Mother’s admission that she would not “abandon” her children and move without them did not relieve the magistrate of his obligation to make the difficult decision to allocate parenting time with mother in California and father in Colorado.

Mother also contended that the magistrate erred in ordering mutual decision-making responsibilities over her objection and in the absence of credible evidence that the parents could work together. However, the magistrate reviewed the evidence and did not abuse his discretion in finding that the parties could make joint decisions and in ordering joint decision making.

The part of the judgment allocating parenting time was reversed and the case was remanded with directions. The judgment was otherwise affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Appeal of Parenting Time Order Mooted When Subject Child Turns 18

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Marriage of Tibbetts on Thursday, August 8, 2018.

Dissolution of Marriage—Post-Decree—Parenting Time—18 Years of Age.

In this post-dissolution of marriage action father moved to have the parenting plan terminated to allow the parties’ 16–year-old child to determine her own parenting time schedule.  A district court magistrate denied father’s request, and while the appeal was pending, the child turned 18 years of age. On father’s petition for review to the district court, the court adopted the order.

Father filed his opening brief the day before the child turned 18. Mother moved to dismiss the appeal, contending that because the child is now an adult, the parenting time issues father raises on appeal cannot be resolved. Once the parties’ child turned 18, she attained the right to make her own decisions, including whether to visit her parents, rendering the issues father raises on appeal moot.

The appeal was dismissed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: When Child Adjudicated Dependent and Neglected, Separate Court Loses Jurisdiction Over Parentage Proceeding

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of D.C.C. on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

Dependency and Neglect—Uniform Parentage Act—Exclusive, Continuing Jurisdiction.

The Weld County Department of Human Services (Department) filed a petition in dependency or neglect and for a determination of paternity. The petition named A.M.G. as the father of the child and advised him that paternity might be determined in the action pursuant to the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA). No one disputed paternity. Before the filing of the dependency and neglect proceeding, stepmother had filed a motion for allocation of parental responsibilities in a domestic relations court. The domestic relations court ordered father to complete genetic testing in this case, but he didn’t get tested before the dependency and neglect case. The domestic relations court then certified the issues of legal custody and parental rights and responsibilities to the dependency and neglect court.

Father failed to appear at his adjudicatory hearing in August 2016, and the district court entered a default decree adjudicating the child dependent or neglected. Father appeared for the first time at a hearing in February 2017, and the court appointed counsel and ordered genetic testing. Meanwhile, the Weld County Child Support Services Unit had filed a petition for support in another division of the juvenile court in November 2016. Father had failed to appear in that case as well and failed to appear for the genetic testing that was also ordered in that case.

In April 2017, the dependency and neglect court informed the parties that the magistrate in the child support case had entered an order finding that father wasn’t a legal parent of the child and declared stepmother to be the child’s legal parent. The dependency and neglect court was unsure if this was proper, but ultimately decided that the child support court’s parentage order was final because no one had sought review. The court dismissed A.M.G. from the case as the father.

On appeal, father argued that the dependency and neglect court erroneously relied on the order from the child support court that he wasn’t the child’s legal father. He argued that after the dependency and neglect court adjudicated the child, it maintained exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the child until the case was closed or the child reached age 21. Under the Children’s Code, the juvenile court has exclusive, original jurisdiction in both dependency and neglect proceedings and proceedings to determine parentage. The Court of Appeals held that once a child has been adjudicated dependent or neglected, all matters related to the child’s status must be addressed in the open dependency and neglect case, where parents are afforded procedural and substantive due process protections that aren’t available under the UPA.

The order dismissing father from the petition in dependency or neglect was reversed and the case was remanded.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Signed Regarding Domestic Violence Statute of Limitations, Prohibiting Use of Criminal Convictions to Deny Employment, and More

Concerning liability limits in snow and ice removal contractsOn Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed 34 bills into law. He also signed one bill on Thursday, May 31, 2018. To date, he has signed 350 bills into law this legislative session, and sent two to the Secretary of State without a signature. Some of the bills signed Wednesday and Thursday include a bill continuing the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, a bill prioritizing support for foster parents, a bill providing municipal grants to reimburse local governments for the cost of defense counsel for certain defendants, a bill to fund Colorado Water Conservation Board projects, and more. The bills signed Wednesday and Thursday are summarized here.

  • HB 18-1004 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Income Tax Credit for a Qualifying Contribution to Promote Child Care in the State,” by Reps. James Coleman & James Wilson and Sens. Jack Tate & John Kefalas. A taxpayer who makes a monetary contribution to promote child care in the state is allowed an income tax credit that is equal to 50% of the total value of the contribution. This exemption is currently available for income tax years that commence prior to January 1, 2020. The bill extends the credit for 5 years.
  • HB 18-1070 – “Concerning an Increase in the Amount of Financial Assistance that can be Provided for Public School Capital Construction Under the ‘Building Excellent Schools Today Act,’ and, in Connection Therewith, Increasing the Amount of Retail Marijuana Excise Tax Revenue that is Credited to the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund and Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Dave Young & Cole Wist and Sens. Ray Scott & Rachel Zenzinger. Currently, the first $40 million of retail marijuana excise tax revenue annually collected is credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund for purposes of the ‘Building Excellent Schools Today Act’ and the remainder of the revenue is credited to the state public school fund.
  • HB 18-1094 – “Concerning the Reauthorization of the ‘Child Mental Health Treatment Act,’ and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Leslie Herod & Cole Wist and Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Dominick Moreno. The bill extends indefinitely the ‘Child Mental Health Treatment Act’ and renames it the ‘Children and Youth Mental Health Treatment Act’. It also makes several changes to the act.
  • HB 18-1176 – “Concerning Continuation of the Grant Program in the Department of Corrections to Provide Funding to Eligible Community-Based Organizations that Provide Reentry Services to Offenders, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations in the 2017 Report of the Department of Regulatory Agencies,” by Reps. Pete Lee & Cole Wist and Sen. John Cooke. Under current law, a grant program exists in the Department of Corrections to provide funding to eligible community-based organizations that provide reentry services to offenders. The grant program is scheduled to repeal on September 1, 2018. The bill reschedules the repeal of the grant program to September 1, 2023. The bill also provides that, in awarding grants from the grant program, the department shall release as much as one quarter of the amount annually appropriated to the grant program to an intermediary at the beginning of each fiscal year.
  • HB 18-1189 – “Concerning Pilot Programs to Expand Effective Teacher Residency Programs Across the State, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Brittany Pettersen & Lang Sias and Sens. Owen Hill & Nancy Todd. The bill creates the teacher residency expansion program in the Department of Education. The goal of the program is to identify and communicate to school districts, charter schools, and boards of cooperative services that operate public schools the best practices, effective strategies, and critical components of effective teacher residency programs and thereby facilitate expansion of the effective teacher residency programs across the state.
  • HB 18-1190 – “Concerning Modifications to the ‘Colorado Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act,'” by Reps. Daneya Esgar & Hugh McKean and Sens. Jack Tate & Leroy Garcia. The bill makes several modifications to the existing ‘Colorado Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act.’
  • HB 18-1236 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies’ Sunset Report,” by Reps. Barbara McLachlin & Jon Becker and Sen. Randy Baumgardner. The bill implements the recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies in its sunset review and report on the Colorado food systems advisory council by extending the council indefinitely.
  • HB 18-1267 – “Concerning an Income Tax Credit for Retrofitting a Residence to Increase the Residence’s Visitability, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Matt Gray & Hugh McKean and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill provides an income tax credit to an individual who retrofits or hires someone to retrofit the individual’s residence, and makes several specifications concerning the retrofit.
  • HB 18-1287 – “Concerning the Extension of the Repeal of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Mike Weissman and Sens. Daniel Kagan & John Cooke. Current law repeals the Colorado commission on criminal and juvenile justice, effective July 1, 2018. The bill extends the repeal date to July 1, 2023, and requires the Department of Regulatory Agencies to perform a sunset review of the commission prior to such repeal.
  • HB 18-1295 – “Concerning Modifications to the ‘Colorado Food and Drug Act’ to Allow Products Containing Industrial Hemp, and, in Connection Therewith, Establishing that Products Containing Industrial Hemp are not Adulterated or Misbranded by Virtue of Containing Industrial Hemp,” by Reps. Joseph Salazar & Daneya Esgar and Sen. Don Coram. The bill establishes that food and cosmetics are not adulterated or misbranded by virtue of containing industrial hemp. The bill also sets forth the Department of Public Health and Environment’s powers with regard to applicants and registrants engaged in, or attempting to engage in, the wholesale food selling, manufacturing, processing, or storage of an industrial hemp product, as that term is defined in the bill.
  • HB 18-1321 – “Concerning Efficient Administration of Nonemergency Medical Transportation Within the Existing Benefit under the Medical Assistance Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing an Appropriation,” by Reps. Hugh McKean & Jeni James Arndt and Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Dominick Moreno. The bill requires the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to create and implement a method for meeting urgent transportation needs within the existing nonemergency medical transportation benefit under the medical assistance program.
  • HB 18-1340 – “Concerning Transfers of Money to be Used for the State’s Infrastructure,” by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill makes several transfers of money through the 2018-19 fiscal year.
  • HB 18-1346 – “Concerning Child Abuse Related to Youth who are Under the Continuing Jurisdiction of the Court in an Out-of-Home Placement when they are Younger than Twenty-one Years of Age,” by Reps. Jim Smallwood & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Jim Smallwood & John Kefalas. The bill directs the Colorado commission on criminal and juvenile justice to study the issue of institutional child abuse for children and youth in facilities operated by the department of human services. On or before July 1, 2019, the commission shall provide a report with its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.
  • HB 18-1348 – “Concerning Families Involved in the Child Welfare System, and, in Connection Therewith, Prioritizing Services and Providing Support for Foster Parents,” by Reps. Jonathan Singer & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Bob Gardner & John Kefalas. The bill allows foster parents access to certain information regarding a foster child or prospective foster child, including judicial information and education records. The bill requires that a county prioritize child care assistance for certified foster parents and certified kinship foster parents and for noncertified kinship care providers that provide care for children with an open child welfare case.
  • HB 18-1353 – “Concerning the Creation of a Grant Program to Reimburse Local Governments for Costs Associated with the Provision of Defense Counsel to Certain Defendants at their First Appearances in Municipal Courts, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Susan Lontine & Terri Carver and Sen. Vicki Marble. The bill creates the defense counsel on first appearance grant program in the division of local government within the Department of Local Affairs. The division shall award grants from the program to reimburse local governments, in part or in full, for costs associated with the provision of defense counsel to defendants at their first appearances in municipal courts.
  • HB 18-1354 – “Concerning a Requirement that Written Warranties for Powersports Vehicles be Honored,” by Rep. Hugh McKean and Sen. Rachel Zenzinger. Current law appears to forbid a powersports vehicle manufacturer or distributor from honoring written warranties. The bill clarifies that the powersports dealer is required to honor written warranties.
  • HB 18-1355 – “Concerning Changes to the Accountability System for the Elementary and Secondary Public Education System to Strengthen the Accountability System for the Benefit of Students,” by Reps. Brittany Pettersen & Lang Sias and Sens. Bob Gardner & Dominick Moreno. The bill changes the criteria that the Department of Education must consider in assigning an accreditation category to a school district or the state charter school institute or in recommending the type of performance plan that a public school must implement.
  • HB 18-1361 – “Concerning Expanded Eligibility for a Veteran of the Vietnam War Specialty License Plate,” by Reps. Tony Exum & Donald Valdez and Sen. Angela Williams. The bill extends the end date to be eligible for a veteran of the Vietnam war specialty license plate from January 27, 1973, to July 1, 1975.
  • HB 18-1364 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Colorado Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Sunset Review Recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, and Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Rachel Zenzinger. The bill continues the Colorado advisory council for persons with disabilities, but transfers it from the office of the governor to the department of health care policy and financing. The makeup of the council is decreased from no more than 20 members to a total of 10 members, 3 of whom are nonvoting members. The newly appointed council shall convene its first meeting on or before August 1, 2018, and meet quarterly thereafter. The department is authorized to provide staff support to the council. The powers and duties of the council are expanded and articulated.
  • HB 18-1367 – “Concerning Professional Development in Leadership for Public School Principals, and, in Connection Therewith, Creating the School Leadership Pilot Program and Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Barbara McLachlin & James Wilson and Sen. Kevin Priola. The bill creates the school leadership pilot program  to provide professional development for public elementary, middle, and high school principals. During the 2018-19 budget year, the Department of Education is directed to design and implement the program or contract with a nonprofit entity to design and implement the program.
  • HB 18-1398 – “Concerning the Statute of Limitations for Commencing a Civil Action in Tort to Recover Damages for an Act of Domestic Violence,” by Reps. Matt Gray & Cole Wist and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill states that any civil action to recover damages caused by an act of domestic violence must be commenced within 6 years after a disability has been removed for a person under disability or within 6 years after a cause of action accrues, whichever occurs later.
  • HB 18-1418 – “Concerning the Use of Criminal Convictions in Employment,” by Rep. Mike Weissman and Sens. Don Coram & Daniel Kagan. Current law directs a state or local agency, when deciding whether to issue a license or permit, to consider an individual’s criminal record in determining whether the individual is of good moral character. The bill changes the determination to consider whether the individual is qualified. The bill adds to the factors that an agency considers whether the applicant will be directly responsible for the care of individuals susceptible to abuse or mistreatment.
  • SB 18-001 – “Concerning Transportation Infrastructure Funding, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring Specified Amounts to be Transferred from the General Fund to the State Highway Fund, the Highway Users Tax Fund, and a New Multimodal Transportation Options Fund During State Fiscal Years 2018-19 and 2019-20 for the Purpose of Funding Transportation Projects and to the State Highway Fund During Any State Fiscal Year from 2019-20 through 2038-39 for State Highway Purposes and to Repay any Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes that may be Issued as Specified in the Bill and, if no Citizen-Initiated Ballot Measure that Requires the State to Issue Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes is Approved by the Voters of the State at the November 2018 General Election, Requiring the Secretary of State to Submit a Ballot Question to the Voters of the State at the November 2019 Statewide Election, which, if Approved, Would Require the State, with no Increase in any Taxes, to Issue Additional Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes for the Purpose of Addressing Critical Priority Transportation Needs in the State by Funding Transportation Projects; Would Exclude Note Proceeds and Investment Earnings on Note Proceeds from State Fiscal Year Spending Limits; and Would Reduce the Amount of Lease-Purchase Agreements Required by Current Law to be Issued for the Purpose of Funding Transportation Projects,” by Sens. Randy Baumgardner & John Cooke and Reps. Perry Buck & Faith Winter. The bill requires the state treasurer to transfer $500 million from the general fund to the state highway fund on June 30, 2019, and to transfer $250 million from the general fund to the state highway fund annually on June 30 of state fiscal years 2019-20 though 2038-39. Several other transfers are also specified.
  • SB 18-016 – “Concerning the Repeal Date for the Transfer of Money from Community Corrections to the Housing Assistance for Persons Transitioning from the Criminal or Juvenile Justice System Cash Fund, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Rhonda Fields and Reps. Jonathan Singer & Adrienne Benavidez. In 2017, the general assembly enacted a provision requiring at the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year the state treasurer to transfer unexpended and unencumbered money appropriated for community corrections programs to a new fund to assist persons transitioning from the criminal or juvenile justice systems. The act repealed the provision in 2018.
  • SB 18-062 – “Concerning Liability Limits in Snow and Ice Removal Contracts,” by Sen. Dominick Moreno and Rep. Jovan Melton. The bill enacts the ‘Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act’, which makes void provisions of snow removal agreements that require one party to indemnify the other party for damages, hold the other party harmless for damages, and provide for the defense of the other party in a liability lawsuit.
  • SB 18-086 – “Concerning the Use of Cyber Coding Cryptology for State Records, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Kent Lambert & Angela Williams and Reps. Joann Ginal & Bob Rankin. The chief information security officer in the governor’s office of information technology (OIT), the director of OIT, the department of state, and the executive director of the department of regulatory agencies are required to take certain actions to protect state records containing trusted sensitive and confidential information from criminal, unauthorized, or inadvertent manipulation or theft.
  • SB 18-087 – “Concerning In-state Tuition at Institutions of Higher Education for Certain Foreign Nationals Legally Settled in Colorado,” by Sen. Stephen Fenberg and Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet & Faith Winter. The bill contains a legislative declaration about the circumstances facing special immigrants and refugees and the benefit of access to education. The bill grants eligibility for in-state tuition status to refugees and special immigrants admitted to the United States pursuant to federal law who have settled in Colorado.
  • SB 18-218 – “Concerning the Funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects, and, in Connection Therewith, Making Appropriations,” by Sen. Don Coram and Rep. Jeni James Arndt. The bill appropriates money from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) construction fund to the CWCB or the division of water resources in the department of natural resources for certain projects.
  • SB 18-219 – “Concerning the Rates a Motor Vehicle Dealer Charges a Motor Vehicle Manufacturer for Work Performed by the Dealer in Accordance with a Warranty Obligation,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp. The bill requires motor vehicle manufacturers to fulfill warranty obligations. A manufacturer must compensate each of its motor vehicle dealers in accordance with a set of standards designed to reflect the current market rate for labor and the profit margin on parts the dealer can expect to obtain. Dealers must submit certain repair orders to the manufacturer as required by the bill to establish compensation rates.
  • SB 18-231 – “Concerning a Task Force on the Transition of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from Educational Services to Home- and Community-Based Services, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Kent Lambert & Dominick Moreno and Rep. Dave Young. The bill establishes a task force for transition planning to make recommendations on improvements for the transition of individuals with disabilities who are receiving services and supports in an educational setting to receiving services and supports through home- and community-based services. It specifies membership on the task force and duties including making a report to specified committees of the general assembly.
  • SB 18-232 – “Concerning a Clarification of the Calculation used to Determine the Amount of Money that Must be Spent to Acquire Works of Art for Capital Construction Projects that are the Subject of a Lease-Purchase Agreement,” by Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg & John Kefalas and Reps. Daneya Esgar & Chris Hansen. The bill clarifies that for any capital construction project that is the subject of a lease-purchase agreement, the one percent of the total construction costs that is required to be used for the acquisition of works of art is calculated on the state-funded portion of the total construction costs and not on the total construction costs.
  • SB 18-234 – “Concerning Measures to Reduce the sale Without Consent of the Remains of a Human who was Born Alive, and, in Connection Therewith, Registering Nontransplant Tissue Banks and Prohibiting Certain Owners of Nontransplant Tissue Banks from Owning Certain Other Businesses that Provide for the Final Disposition of Human Remains, and Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Don Coram & Larry Crowder and Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Marc Catlin. The bill makes it unlawful under the ‘Mortuary Science Code’ for a person to own more than a 10% indirect interest in a funeral establishment or crematory while simultaneously owning interest in a nontransplant tissue bank.
  • SB 18-248 – “Concerning the Treatment under Statutory Provisions Governing Tax Increment Financing of Revenues Received by an Urban Renewal Authority Following Certain Voter-Approved Revenue Increases,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Reps. Polly Lawrence & Matt Gray. Under current law, in connection with the use of a special fund of an urban renewal authority to collect the increment used to finance urban renewal projects, any additional revenues received by a municipality, county, special district, or school district  resulting because the voters have authorized the taxing entity to retain and spend such money under the TABOR requirements of the state constitution after the creation of the fund or as a result of an increase in the property tax mill levy approved by the voters of the taxing entity after the creation of the fund are not included in the amount of the increment that is allocated to and, when collected, paid into the special fund. Under the bill, such additional revenues that have been received because of the 2 specified forms of voter-approved revenue changes are restricted from being pledged by an authority for the payment of any bonds of, or any loans or advances to, or any indebtedness incurred by the authority without the consent of the relevant taxing entity.
  • SB 18-249 – “Concerning Establishing Alternative Programs in the Criminal Justice System to Divert Individuals with a Mental Health Condition to Community Treatment, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Bob Gardner & Kent Lambert and Reps. Pete Lee & Dave Young. The bill creates up to 4 pilot programs in judicial districts in the state that divert individuals with low-level criminal behavior and a mental health condition to community resources and treatment rather than continued criminal justice involvement. The programs must be developed in accordance with the principles and proposed model recommended by the Colorado commission on criminal and juvenile justice, adopted on January 12, 2018.
  • SB 18-271 – “Concerning Changes to Improve Funding for Marijuana Research, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Dan Pabon. Subject to rules of the marijuana enforcement division, the bill authorizes marijuana research and development licensees and marijuana research and development cultivation licensees (research licensees) to transfer unused marijuana within the regulated marijuana industry; and research licensees to be co-located at the premises of a medical marijuana-infused products manufacturer or a retail marijuana products manufacturer.
  • SB 18-272 – “Concerning Suicide Prevention Training in Schools, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Nancy Todd and Reps. Terri Carver & Barbara McLachlin. The bill creates the crisis and suicide prevention training grant program in the Department of Public Health and Environment. The purpose of the grant program is to provide financial assistance to schools in providing crisis and suicide prevention training to schools, with priority given to those schools that have previously not received such training. The grant program may authorize up to $400,000 in grants per year in varying amounts. The office of suicide prevention and the school safety resource center shall work collaboratively with the department to develop guidelines and criteria for the grant program. Grant recipients are required to report on their activities using grant money.

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

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 Supreme Court: Non-resident’s Harassment and Threatening of Colorado Victim Sufficient to Establish Long-arm Jurisdiction for Civil Protection Order

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Parocha v. Parocha on Monday, May 21, 2018.

Personal Jurisdiction.

The supreme court considered whether and when a civil protection order is available to a victim of alleged domestic abuse who comes to Colorado seeking refuge from a non-resident. The court concluded that an out-of-state party’s harassment of, threatening of, or attempt to coerce an individual known by the non-resident to be located in Colorado is a tortious act sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction under the state’s long-arm statute, C.R.S. § 13-1-124. The court also concluded that such conduct creates a sufficient nexus between the out-of-state party and Colorado to satisfy the requisite minimum contacts such that the exercise of jurisdiction by a Colorado court to enter a protection order comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

The court reversed the district court’s order vacating the permanent civil protection order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: District Court Retains Jurisdiction Over Allocation of Parental Responsibilities while Prior Order on Appeal

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Parental Responsibilities Concerning W.C. on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Parental Responsibilities—Jurisdiction—Appeal—Motion to Modify—Changed Circumstances.

In this allocation of parental responsibilities case, father appealed the district court’s permanent orders granting mother sole decision-making authority and majority parenting time. Though his appeal is pending with this court, father filed verified motions to modify parenting time and decision-making in the district court. The district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider those motions while the appeal was pending; it decided to take no action on father’s motions unless and until the Court of Appeals finds that the district court has jurisdiction or remands and gives the court authority to consider the motions.

The Court determined that under Colorado’s Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, a district court retains continuing jurisdiction over motions to modify parental responsibilities while the current allocation order is on appeal, as long as those motions are based on a material change in circumstances that occurred after the original order was entered.

Father’s motion to clarify was granted and the case was remanded.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Signed Changing Revenge Pornography Crimes, Amending Laws Related to Bicycles Approaching Intersections, and More

On Thurdsay, May 3, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed seven bills into law. To date, he has signed 211 bills and sent two to the Secretary of State without a signature. The bills signed Thursday include a bill changing the laws concerning revenge pornography crimes, a bill requiring state agencies to conduct analyses to determine which businesses are not complying with their rules, a bill permitting municipalities to adopt rules concerning bicycles approaching intersections, and more. The bills signed Thursday are summarized here.

  • SB 18-132 – “Concerning a Waiver of Federal Law to Permit Insurance Carriers to Offer Catastrophic Health Plans to Any Individual Residing in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Jim Smallwood and Rep. Chris Kennedy. The bill requires the commissioner of insurance to conduct an actuarial analysis to determine if the sale of catastrophic health plans to Colorado residents 30 years of age and older and not meeting a hardship requirement would result in a reduction in advanced premium tax credits received by Colorado residents or increase the average premiums of individual health plans.
  • SB 18-144 – “Concerning the Regulation of Bicycles Approaching Intersections,” by Sen. Andy Kerr and Reps. Yeulin Willett & Chris Hansen. The bill permits a municipality or county to adopt a local ordinance or resolution regulating the operation of bicycles approaching intersections with stop signs or illuminated red traffic control signals. Under a local regulation, a bicyclist approaching a stop sign must slow to a reasonable speed and, when safe to do so, may proceed through the intersection without stopping. A bicyclist approaching an illuminated red traffic control signal must stop at the intersection and, when safe to do so, may proceed through the intersection.
  • SB 18-177 – “Concerning Procedures when Certain Private Schools Cease Operations,” by Sens. Kevin Priola & Nancy Todd and Reps. Jeff Bridges & Lang Sias. Under existing law, private occupational schools and certain private degree-granting schools are required to provide a bond or other form of surety that is used to facilitate transfer or to provide tuition and fee reimbursement for students in the event that the school closes. When a private occupational school closes, that school’s records must be maintained by the private occupational school board in the Division of Private Occupational Schools. The bill allows the Department of Education to make a claim on a surety bond for reimbursement of actual administrative costs associated with a school closure.
  • HB 18-1193 – “Concerning the Advanced Placement Incentives Pilot Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. James Wilson & Barbara McLachlin and Sens. Ray Scott & Rachel Zenzinger. The bill extends the pilot program three years. It requires the Department of Education to report the number of students in the pilot program who enrolled in advanced placement courses during the prior school year and to collect disaggregated data from the advanced placement exam vendor to capture the performance of students who are participating in the pilot program on the end-of-course advanced placement exams.
  • HB 18-1250 – “Concerning an Analysis to Improve Compliance with Departmental Rules by Regulated Businesses,” by Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Lang Sias and Sen. Kevin Priola. The bill equires each state agency to conduct an analysis of noncompliance with its rules to identify rules with the greatest frequency of noncompliance, rules that generate the greatest amount of fines, how many first-time offenders were given the opportunity to cure a minor violation, and what factors contribute to noncompliance by regulated businesses. The analysis will guide each department on how to improve its education and outreach to regulated businesses on compliance with the department’s rules.
  • HB 18-1257 – “Concerning a Correction to House Bill 16-1316 by Reinserting the Word ‘Not,'” by Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. John Cooke. House Bill 16-1316 amended the venue statute for transferring child welfare proceedings between counties and inadvertently struck the word ‘not’ in one sentence. Due to this error, courts are not allowed to transfer child welfare proceedings between counties after adjudication even though the intent of House Bill 16-1316 was to allow post-adjudication transfers. The bill reinserts the word ‘not’ to allow such transfers.
  • HB 18-1264 – “Concerning Measures to Clarify the Scope of Revenge Porn Criminal Offenses,” by Reps. Dominique Jackson & Terri Carver and Sens. John Cooke & Rhonda Fields. Currently, Colorado criminalizes posting nude images of another person for harassment purposes or for pecuniary gain. The bill adds images of sex acts that may not include nude images, removes the requirement that the defendant intend to inflict serious emotional distress removes as an exception to the crimes that the image relates to a newsworthy event, and clarifies that the images subject to the crimes may be disclosed by law enforcement personnel, human or social services personnel, prosecutors, and court personnel in the course of their normal business.

For a complete list of the governor’s 2018 legislative actions, click here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Where Father Acquitted of Underlying Sexual Abuse Charges, Juvenile Court Erred in Terminating Parental Rights

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of L.M. on Thursday, April 19, 2018.

Dependency and Neglect—Juvenile Court—Termination of Parent-Child Legal Relationship.

The juvenile court found by a preponderance of the evidence that father had sexually abused L.M. and that M.M. was suffering secondary trauma as a result of the abuse. The court adjudicated L.M. and M.M. dependent and neglected. The court granted temporary custody to mother and prohibited father from having any contact with the children during the pendency of the case.

Father’s treatment plan was predicated on his guilt, but he was later acquitted in the criminal case. The juvenile court could not find that the assault allegations had been established by clear and convincing evidence and further concluded that it could not discount the possibility that no abuse occurred. Even so, the juvenile court terminated father’s parental rights, finding there were no less drastic alternatives because the children continued to experience trauma specific to father, which he did not recognize.

On appeal, father challenged the finding that there were no less drastic alternatives to terminating his parental rights. When considering termination under C.R.S. § 19-3-604(1)(c), the court must also consider and eliminate less drastic alternatives. The determination of whether there is a less drastic alternative to termination is influenced by a parent’s fitness to care for his or her child. Here, there is no indication in the record that father was offered treatment or a path to becoming a fit parent other than to acknowledge sexual abuse of L.M. It was error to terminate his parental rights.

Although not raised on appeal, the court of appeals also determined that the juvenile court failed to make the required inquiry of father under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with instructions that before considering termination of parental rights, the court must adopt an appropriate treatment plan under C.R.S. § 19-3-508(1)(e)(I) that relates to the children’s trauma and is reasonably calculated to render father a fit parent. If the court again considers termination of father’s parental rights, it must confirm whether he knows or has reason to know or believe that the children are Indian children.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.