August 14, 2018

HB 17-1156: Prohibiting “Conversion Therapy” by Licensed Mental Health Care Providers

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Paul Rosenthal and Sen. Stephen Fenberg introduced HB 17-1156, “Concerning a Prohibition on Conversion Therapy by a Licensed Mental Health Care Provider.”

The bill prohibits a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry or a licensed or registered mental health care provider from engaging in conversion therapy with a patient under 18 years of age. A licensee who engages in these efforts is subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate licensing board. ‘Conversion therapy’ means efforts that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Public Health Care & Human Services Committee.

HB 17-1122: Modifying Procedures to Change Gender Designation on Birth Certificate

On January 24, 2017, Rep. Daneya Esgar and Sen. Dominick Moreno introduced HB 17-1122, “Concerning the Issuance of a New Birth Certificate with a Gender Designation that Differs from the Gender Designated on the Person’s Original Birth Certificate.”

Under current law, a person born in Colorado who seeks a new birth certificate from the registrar of vital statistics (state registrar) to reflect a change in gender designation must obtain a court order indicating that the sex of the person has been changed by surgical procedure and ordering that the gender designation on the birth certificate be amended, and the person must obtain a court order with a legal name change. The bill repeals that provision and creates new requirements for the issuance of birth certificates in cases of changes to gender designation.

Under the bill, known as the ‘2017 Birth Certificate Modernization Act’, the state registrar shall issue a new birth certificate with a different gender designation to a person who was born in this state when the state registrar receives:

  • A written request from the person or the person’s legal representative requesting a new birth certificate with a gender designation that differs from the gender designated on the person’s original birth certificate; and
  • A statement from a medical or mental health care provider licensed in good standing stating that the person has undergone treatment appropriate for that person for the purpose of gender transition or stating that the person has an intersex condition, and that in the provider’s professional opinion the person’s gender designation should be changed accordingly.

The bill requires that the state registrar issue a new birth certificate rather than an amended birth certificate. The bill allows a person who has previously obtained an amended birth certificate under previous versions of the law to apply to receive a new birth certificate.

A person is not required to obtain a court order for a legal name change in order to obtain a new birth certificate with a change in gender designation. The bill creates a process for a person to update the person’s name on a birth certificate at other times than the issuance of the new birth certificate.

The state registrar is prohibited from requesting additional medical information but is authorized to contact the medical or mental health provider to verify the provider’s statement. The courts in this state are given jurisdiction to issue a decree to amend a birth certificate to reflect a change in gender designation for certain persons if the law in another state or foreign jurisdiction requires a court decree in order to amend a birth certificate to reflect a change in gender designation.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

J. Ryann Peyton Named Next Director of Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program

RyannPeytonOn Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of J. Ryann Peyton as director of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), effective July 1, 2016. Peyton will replace John Baker, who in February 2013 was named the first director of CAMP. Peyton will begin at CAMP on April 1, 2016 and will work with Baker through his June 30, 2016, departure.

Peyton is currently the Training and Legal Director at the GLBT Center of Colorado. She has been at The Center since March 2015. Prior to her work at The Center, Peyton was in private practice, focusing on domestic relations law for LGBT and non-traditional families. She has also served as an adjunct professor in the University of Denver’s externship program, serves on the board of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and is the former president of that association, served on the board of the Twin Cities Quorum (LGBT Chamber of Commerce) in Minnesota, and has been a board member for the Center for Legal Inclusiveness. She received her law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and her LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver.

The CAMP program was established in February 2013 to develop and administer mentoring programs in all of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts. CAMP programming occurs through bar associations, inns of court, law firms, agencies, and other legal organizations throughout the state. In locations where no organization-related programs are available, CAMP matches mentors with mentees in an individualized program.

For more information about Peyton’s directorship, click here.

 

Top Ten Employment Law Programs and Homestudies

As the end of the year draws nigh, we are reviewing the Top Ten Programs and Homestudies in several substantive areas of law. Previously, we covered ethics, family law, trust & estate law, real estate law, litigation, and business law. We continue our review with employment law. And now, without further ado, here are the Top Ten Employment Law Programs and Homestudies:

10. Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) Law Institute — Dignity to All Persons. Although not strictly an employment law program, the LGBT Law Institute included topics of interest to employment law attorneys, including a session called “GLBTQ Employment Law Issues, FMLA, Sensitivity Training and Discrimination.” Eleven general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

9. Employment Law Fall Update 2013 — New Cases, New Legislation, and Tools Every Employment Lawyer Needs. Highly experienced employment lawyers discuss what’s new in the field in this informative program. Topics covered include stock options with mergers & acquisitions, arbitration, workplace violence, FLSA, retaliation, and more. Seven general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

8. Independent Contractor or Employee? Softrock‘s and Western Logistics‘ Effect. In 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court issued two important employment law decisions, ICAO v. Softrock and Western Logistics v. ICAO, reversing decades of case law regarding the test for whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This program discusses the two decisions and their impact on employment law in Colorado. One general credit; available as MP3 audio download and Video OnDemand.

7. Discipline, Documentation, and Discharge of Problem Employees. Performance reviews strike dread into the hearts of employers and employees alike, but the consequences of poor disciplinary practices can be disastrous. This program provides practical tools for navigating the disciplinary process, including coaching, warnings, performance improvement plans, and last chance agreements. Eight general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

6. Non-Compete Agreements, Confidentiality Agreements, and Other Restrictions on Employee Competition. Many employers of entry level workers force their employees to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment. Is this legal? In this program, learn about the proper use of non-compete agreements and the law of restrictive employment covenants, as well as the necessity of and limitations on confidentiality agreements, statutory protection of trade secrets, common law rights of employers and employees, and litigation risks and realities. Four general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

5. Workplace Discrimination. Many employment law cases have an element of discrimination, and the important topic is the center of this program. Learn about the intersection of religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws, what really happens during mediations, bias and discrimination within the legal profession, Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act, employment testing and the ADA, and much more. Seven general credits, including one ethics credit; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

4. Employment Law 2014. Whether you are interested in state or federal issues, the plaintiff or defense perspective, or whether you are new to employment law or a seasoned professional – the 2014 Employment Law Conference is a must-have. This two-day program offers a litigation track and a counseling track, with sessions on associational discrimination, workplace privacy, premises liability, corporate compliance, and more. Nineteen general credits, including 1.2 ethics credits; available as CD homestudy and MP3 audio download.

3. Whistleblower Litigation, Discrimination, and the First Amendment — Employment Law Fall Update 2014. The hottest topics in employment law are featured in this program, including the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act, free speech, non-compete agreements, ADEA update, labor law for employment lawyers, and more. Eight general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

2. Intellectual Property in the Workplace — Employment Law Fall Update 2015. Regardless of a company’s business model, its IP assets are important in sustaining growth and fostering robust employment. But overly controlling a company’s ownership of the intellectual product of its employees can stifle the creativity of the workforce. This program discusses protection of employer and employee rights in intellectual property, workplace privacy concerns, defending employees against claims of trade secret theft, human capital as intellectual property, and much more. Six general credits; available as CD homestudy, MP3 audio download, and Video OnDemand.

1. 2015 Employment Law. This annual conference discusses everything employment law, regardless of whether you represent plaintiffs or the defense, are a solo or member of a large firm or in-house counsel, or are new to employment law or are a seasoned professional. Topics covered in the 2015 program include the cat’s paw theory, the Affordable Care Act, transgender issues in employment law, common investigation mistakes and how to avoid them, an update from the Division of Labor, and much more. Eighteen general credits, including 1.2 ethics credits; available as CD homestudy and MP3 audio download. NOTE: This program is repeated annually. Click here for the 2014 program and click here for the 2013 program.

e-Legislative Report: Week Seven, February 27, 2012

The latest Legislative Video Update with Michael Valdez summarizes the Colorado Bar Association’s position on several bills, including Civil Unions, a bill concerning the Dissolution of Marraige, and Electronic Death Certificates.

 

CBA Legislative Policy Committee

The LPC did not meet on Friday, February 24. However, positions taken by the committee met on February 17 were omitted from last week’s newsletter due to this writer being out on sick-leave so this is an opportune time to catch you up on LPC positions taken. One position was taken on Wednesday, February 15.

SB 12-002 – Civil Unions
The LPC voted by conference call on Wednesday, February 15 to support SB 2 – Concerning Civil Unions. The Wednesday meeting was called because the bill suddenly appeared on the Judiciary Committee calendar late on Monday afternoon. The Civil Rights Committee had asked the LPC to take a formal “no position” on the bill; several sections countered with requests to the LPC to support the bill – with some needed technical corrections amendments. The sections supporting the bill were: Family, Juvenile, Elder, and Business (the Trust and Estate Section has since voted to support the bill). The LPC voted to support the bill but asked the sections to suggest and develop amendments to improve the bill. In a by-the-way note, this position is consistent with the position taken by the CBA Board of Governors in 2006 when the Board voted to support Referendum I – Domestic Partnerships. The bill passed the Judiciary and Finance Committees on February 15 and 16 respectively; the bill sits in the Appropriations Committee waiting to be calendared.

HB 12-1262 – Concerning Updates to UCC Article 9 “Secured Transactions”
At the request of the Business Law Section, the LPC voted to support HB 1262 – Updates to UCC Article 9. The bill contains needed updates to the 2001 statute that was adopted in Colorado. The ad hoc committee of the Business Law Section spent the last 24-months working through the amendments suggested by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Legislation (NCCUSL). The CBA testified in support of the bill on Thursday, February 23 and the bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee, unamended, on a 10-0 vote, with one excused. The next stop for the bill is the floor of the House on 2nd Reading.

HB 12-1256 – Formula for Maintenance in a Dissolution of Marriage Action
The Family Law Section was granted permission to oppose the legislation at the Capitol but the LPC also allowed the section to approach the sponsor to request the bill be pulled from consideration in this session and that a Task Force work over the summer to try to find a bill that all can agree upon. The sponsor, Rep. Beth McCann, agreed to table for 2012 and to the establishment of a Task Force on the issue that will be spearheaded by the CBA Family Law Section.

HB 12-1041 – Electronic Death Certificates
The Trust and Estate Section asked for permission to support HB 1041 – Concerning Electronic Death Certificates. The bill creates an electronic death registration system to allow persons who report death information to the Office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to do so electronically. The bill contemplates an alternative to the current paper based system that relies on the hand delivery of death certificates to required locations. We do not see a direct positive to practitioners but it should help their clients who sometimes have to wait for the paper filings to make their way through the hand delivery process. The bill is headed to the House floor after surviving the Appropriations Committee on Friday, February 24.

Project Visibility: Understanding the Strengths and Needs of the Elder GLBT Community

There is increasing evidence that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender elders in our community are uncertain where to turn and what to do if they need care or support services. They are concerned with the level of sensitivity and awareness on the part of staff at facilities, businesses, and agencies. The GLBT Center and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) recognize that with a growing population of GLBT elders in the Denver area, steps need to be taken now to ensure a safe and healthy future for these older adults.

Project Visibility is a sensitivity program that began through Boulder County Aging Services, and has developed into a dynamic and continually updated training format that has touched hundreds of concerned providers in Colorado and across the country. The training is comprised of a moving film that showcases the lives of lesbian and gay elders, a Power Point presentation, and discussion of the steps service providers can take to provide good service for the GLBT community.

Free training for people serving older adults will be provided Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at Denver Regional Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging 1290 Broadway, Denver CO 80203, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Participants will receive

  • A new awareness of the strengths and needs of elder GLBTs
  • A manual to help you get started on simple and effective steps to communicate that your services/agency is welcoming and safe, and
  • Inclusion in a directory of service providers for GLBT elders developed by DRCOG and The Center.

To take part in this free training, contact Jennifer Solms at (303) 480-6796 or jsolms@drcog.org, or Shari Wilkins at (303) 733-7743, ext. 122 or swilkins@glbtcolorado.org.

e-Legislative Report: Week Four, February 6, 2012

At the Capitol – Week Four

CBA Bill Introduced: SB 12-131 – Duty to Search for Designated Beneficiary Agreements

On January 31, legislation sponsored by the CBA, SB 12-131, concerning the responsibilities of a fiduciary with regard to the estate of a person who may have executed a designated beneficiary agreement, was introduced by Senator Guzman and referred to the Judiciary Committee. The bill is scheduled for committee review on Wednesday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m.

Here is a little bit about the bill:

A personal representative in any probate proceeding regarding a decedent’s estate shall not be surcharged for making distributions to devisees or heirs at law that do not take into consideration a designated beneficiary agreement (DBA) if:

  • The personal representative has made a search in every county in which the personal representative has actual knowledge that the decedent was domiciled at any time during the 3 years prior to the decedent’s death for a recorded, unrevoked DBA in which the decedent granted the right of intestate succession; and
  • The personal representative has not received actual notice nor has actual knowledge of the existence of a valid, unrevoked DBA in which the decedent granted the right of intestate succession.

A personal representative or trustee is not individually or personally liable for making a distribution of property to devisees or heirs at law that does not take into consideration the right of a party to a DBA to inherit property due to a valid, unrevoked DBA if the personal representative or trustee complied with the fiduciary duty to search for the existence of a DBA and does not have actual notice or actual knowledge of the existence of a valid, unrevoked DBA in which the decedent granted a right of intestate succession.

CBA Legislative Policy Committee

For followers who are new to CBA legislative activity, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) is the CBA’s legislative policy making arm during the legislative session. The LPC meets weekly during the legislative session to determine CBA positions from requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association.

Due to the storm of the month on Friday, February 3, the LPC met by conference call to consider requests from sections of the CBA.

At the request of the Elder and Trust and Estate Sections, the LPC voted to support HB 12-1074 – Judicial Oversight of Guardians and Conservators. The bill is a response to the recent Legislative Audit of the state probate system. The bill authorizes the court with jurisdiction over a guardianship of an incapacitated person or over a conservatorship of a protected person to have access to data maintained by other state agencies in order to conduct an investigation when a guardian or conservator has failed to file required reports with the court or has failed to respond to court orders. The court will also have access to this data with respect to the incapacitated person or protected person. The bill specifies which types of data may be accessed. The court may access the data only to obtain contact information for the guardian, conservator, incapacitated person, or protected person.

The bill requires the court to preserve the confidentiality of the data obtained from state agencies and use the data only for the purposes of conducting the investigation of the guardian, conservator, incapacitated person, or protected person. Notwithstanding the provisions of the open records law, documents and information obtained by the court pursuant to an investigation are not public records and shall be open to public inspection only upon an order of the court based on a finding of good cause.

The judicial department and other state agencies may enter into agreements for the sharing of this data with the applicable court. Under current law, prior to appointment as a guardian or conservator, a nominee signs an acceptance of office. The bill amends the acceptance of office to include an acknowledgment that the nominee understands that Colorado law allows the court to access personal contact information held by state agencies if the nominee fails to file required reports or fails to respond to a court order.

The bill is assigned to the Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for review on Thursday, February 9 at 1:30 p.m.

The LPC also voted to support the budget priorities of the Judicial Branch. The Judicial Liaison Section urged support for all nine listed submitted budget priorities; the Trust & Estate and Elder Law Sections urged support for additional probate staff to address identified needs across the state; and finally the Access to Justice Commission specifically requested Bar Association support for additional “pro se” or self represented litigants throughout the state. The other budget priorities include: a modest pay increase for the lowest paid persons working in the court system; implementation of the final judges from the 2007 legislation (County Court Judge in Jefferson County and a district court judge in the 6th Judicial District [La Plata, Archuleta, and San Juan Counties); additional probation officers (sex offender supervision); hardware for in–house e–filing project; funding for judge training; operating funds for the new Ralph L. Carr Justice Center; and funding for courthouse furnishings across the state. Each request from the Judicial Branch has an identified designated cash fund source and will not increase Judicial’s general fund request; as a matter of fact, the FY 2013 budget request from State Judicial reflects a general fund request reduction of just under $500,000.

In the coming weeks, the Joint Budge Committee (JBC) will be considering the Judicial Branch budget priorities as well as requests from the various departments of state government.

Click here for the full e-Legislative Report.

e-Legislative Report: Week Three, January 30, 2012

The latest Legislative Video Update recaps Military Day at the Capitol and Phase 2 of the SMART Act. Additionally, it reviews which bills the Legislative Policy Committee moved to support during their January 27 meeting.

Military Day at the Capitol

The Senate and House honored Colorado veterans on Monday with what is affectionately called “Military Day at the Capitol.” Both Houses take time to celebrate service men and women, active and retired, through several joint resolutions. The presentations are a welcome relief from the day to day operations at the Capitol and an appropriate way to say “Thank You” to our veterans. Here is a list of the resolutions:

  • Concerning recognition of Military, Veterans, and MIA/POW Appreciation Day.
  • Concerning recognition of military personnel from Colorado who died during specific military conflicts, including those killed after September 11, 2001, during the War on Terrorism, including but not limited to those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Concerning the U.S.S. Pueblo.
  • Concerning the designation of Interstate 70 across Colorado as part of a nationwide system of “Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Trails”.

The presentations are a welcome relief from the day to day operations at the Capitol and an appropriate way to say “Thank You” to our veterans.

SMART Act

Again, the floor was light and the committees of reference were busily working through Phase 2 of the SMART Act review process. In case you missed last week, HB 10-119, or the State Measurements for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act, was adopted in 2010 and part of the act requires departments of state government to suggest improved efficiency or administration through line item consolidation in the budget bill. The presentations to the committees of reference include information about:

  • The departments’ strategic plan;
  • A review of the departments’ performance-based goals and measures; and
  • A report on actual outcomes.

Phase 2 of the meetings with the committees of reference call for the committees to recommend or vote their support for the various budget priority requests from the departments they oversee; e.g. Judiciary Committees oversee the Judicial Branch (Judicial Branch, Public Defender, Alternate Defense Counsel, Office of Child Representative), Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety. The committees met to discuss recommendations and votes but this process is new and the kinks are being worked out. We are hoping for a comprehensive statement from each committee detailing their votes and recommendations to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC).

As the legislature moves to the fourth week of the session, the committee calendars are starting to look like they are in midsession form in terms of workload.

CBA Legislative Policy Committee

For followers who are new to CBA legislative activity, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) is the CBA’s legislative policy-making arm during the legislative session. The LPC meets weekly during the legislative session to determine CBA positions from requests from the various sections and committees of the Bar Association.

At the January 27 meeting of the LPC, the Committee voted to adopt as Bar Sponsored legislation a proposal from the Trust and Estate Section. The proposal is designed to put “guard rails” around the search a personal representative, trustee or their legal counsel is required to undertake when searching for a filed Designated Beneficiary Agreement (DBA). To be effective, DBAs are filed with a clerk and recorder where one of the parties is domiciled. When the law was passed in 2009 the law was silent on the duty to search for a filed DBA; as a consequence, the fiduciary or their attorney could conceivably be required to search all 64 counties in Colorado. The Trust and Estate section is seeking to limit the number of counties being searched and to limit the time frame to make the search. This situation arises when there isn’t actual knowledge of the existence of a DBA.

The LPC also voted to support the study committee or Task Force on Abuse of the Elderly that is contemplated in SB 12-078, Protection of At-Risk Adults. The sponsor of the bill is searching ultimately for a way to move the reporting of elder abuse from the current state of “urge” to “mandatory” reporting. The fiscal impact for such a change has moved the focus from a substantive change in this legislation to finding solutions through the Task Force process.

Click here for the full e-Legislative Report.

SB 12-002: Authorizing Civil Unions in Colorado

On January 11, 2012, Sen. Steadman introduced SB 12-002 – Concerning authorization of civil unions. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill creates the “Colorado Civil Union Act” to authorize any two unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union. Parties wanting to enter into a civil union apply to a county clerk and recorder for a civil union license. Certain persons may certify a civil union. After the civil union is certified, the officiant files the civil union certificate with the county clerk and recorder. A priest, minister, rabbi, or other official of a religious institution or denomination or an Indian nation or tribe is not required to certify a civil union in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion. The criteria for a valid civil union are set forth in the bill.

The executive director of the department of public health and environment and the state registrar of vital statistics shall issue forms necessary to implement the Act. Each county clerk and recorder submits records of registered civil unions to the office of vital statistics. A county clerk and recorder collects a fee for a civil union license, which fee is credited to the vital statistics records cash fund. The state registrar of vital statistics is authorized to set and collect an additional fee for verification of civil unions, which fee is credited to the vital statistics records cash fund. A county clerk and recorder collects a $20 fee to be credited to the Colorado domestic abuse program fund.

The bill lists the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted under the law to spouses and states that the same shall apply in like manner to parties to a civil union.

The same processes that are provided in law for dissolution, legal separation, and declaration of invalidity of a marriage apply to dissolution, legal separation, and declaration of invalidity of a civil union. Any person who enters into a civil union in Colorado consents to the jurisdiction of the courts of Colorado for the purpose of any action relating to a civil union even if one or both parties cease to reside in the state. The courts are directed to follow the laws of Colorado in a matter filed in Colorado that is seeking a dissolution, legal separation, or invalidity of a civil union that was entered into in another state. The courts are authorized to collect docket fees for the dissolution of a civil union, legal separation of a civil union, and declaration of invalidity of a civil union.

The Act shall not be construed to create a marriage between the parties to a civil union or alter the public policy of this state that recognizes only the union of one man and one woman as a marriage. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Act shall not be interpreted to require a child placement agency to place a child for adoption with parties to a civil union.

The Act includes a reciprocity and principle of comity section that states that a relationship between persons of the same sex that does not comply with section 31 of article II of the state constitution that is legally entered into in another jurisdiction is deemed in Colorado to be a civil union and that, under principles of comity, a civil union, domestic partnership, or a substantially similar legal relationship that is legally created in another jurisdiction is deemed to be a civil union for purposes of Colorado law.

A severability clause is included in the Act.

The executive director of the department of revenue is authorized to appoint a study commission to investigate and report on what changes in the law could be made to ensure equitable tax treatment and to allow parties to a civil union to file a joint state tax return without violating the federal tax laws. Until a statutory change is enacted to authorize the filing of a joint state tax return by parties to a civil union, the Act shall not be construed to permit the filing of a joint income tax return by the parties to a civil union.

A custodian of records is prohibited from allowing a person, other than the person in interest or an immediate family member of the person in interest, to inspect the application for a civil union license of any person; except that a district court may order the custodian to permit inspection of the license application for a civil union upon a showing of good cause.

A person who has entered into a designated beneficiary agreement under Colorado’s designated beneficiary statute is precluded from entering into a civil union with a different person. If both parties to a designated beneficiary agreement are eligible to enter into a valid civil union and subsequently enter into a civil union, the civil union certificate constitutes a superseding legal document that supersedes and invalidates the prior designated beneficiary agreement.

The bill makes other conforming amendments.

The bill takes effect October 1, 2012; except that the provision relating to the inclusion of a partner in a civil union as a dependent on a health insurance policy takes effect January 1, 2013.

Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.

Colorado GLBT Bar Association Presents Awards to Barton and Getches

On Thursday, September 15, 2011, the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association held its Eighth Annual Awards Dinner. The evening drew allies from all across the Colorado legal community, including Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez, to celebrate diversity and the progress of civil rights recognitions both locally and nationally. Dinner was followed by the presentation of the association’s 2011 Attorney and Ally Awards, which went to Mindy Barton and David Getches, respectively.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Scott M. Malzahn, a former attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he was a member of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial team. With the team, he worked to repeal Proposition 8 in California, in which voters overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. Scott discussed the case’s trajectory in the Ninth Circuit and possible future before the United States Supreme Court. He also shared insights from the trial, including details about expert witness testimony that lead to United States District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturning Proposition 8 on August 4, 2010.

2011 Outstanding GLBT AttorneyMindy Barton

Mindy serves as the Legal Director at The Center, the only statewide, nonprofit community center dedicated to providing support and advocacy for Colorado’s GLBT population. The Center serves as a catalyst for community organizing, support services, social activities, and cultural events. Mindy also serves as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board of Directors for Equal Rights Colorado doing legislative advocacy work. She holds an undergrad degree in Speech Communications from the University of Illinois and a JD from the University of Denver College of Law. She has worked in this role at The Center for three years, managing the Legal Helpline, taking high-impact cases for pro bono direct representation, and presenting diversity trainings across the state.

While unable to attend personally, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had a representative on hand to present Mindy with a City and County of Denver Proclamation in recognition of her work on behalf of the GLBT community. The Proclamation declared that September 15, 2011 shall be known as Mindy Barton Day. It also happens to be her birthday.

2011 Oustanding GLBT AllyDavid Getches

David became a member of the CU Law faculty in 1979, and became dean of the school in 2003. He resigned from the position at the end of June this year, and died of pancreatic cancer just a few days later. During his tenure at the school, he oversaw the opening of the Wolf Law Building and was dedicated to increase scholarship money for his students. And David’s legacy is not confined to the law school. He earned his undergraduate degree from Occidental College in California and his law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. In 1968, he was co-directing attorney for California Indian Legal Services and, in 1970, he moved to Colorado to become the founding executive director for the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund, a national, nonprofit Indian-interest law firm.

Throughout his life, he was dedicated to protecting the rights of minorities and all groups that struggle for recognition in the legal system, including the GLBT community. His daughter was there to accept the award on behalf of him and his family. She reflected on her father’s life and mission, urging everyone in attendance to stand up for one another. Whether or not you belong to a particular minority or group, she reminded the audience that we are stronger together, diversity gives us strength, and that David’s legacy continues with us.

Raising the Bar: “Famous Firsts” Honored by the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation

Last night, Thursday, September 1, 2011, hundreds of attorneys, friends, and others gathered at the Brown Palace in downtown Denver to celebrate three women, pioneers of the legal profession in Colorado. Jean Dubofsky, Gale Norton, and Patricia Schroeder were honored by the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation as “famous firsts” for Colorado women:

      • Jean DubofskyFirst Woman Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court (1979)
        • Jean is an attorney who has represented litigants in state and federal courts – primarily appellate courts – in constitutional tort, workers’ compensation, commercial, criminal, civil rights, and family law cases.
        • She served as a justice on the Colorado Supreme Court from 1979 until 1987, the first woman appointed to the court. Subsequently, she was lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the successful constitutional challenge to Amendment 2 to the Colorado Constitution; the case, Romer v. Evans, is the first time that the United States Supreme Court recognized gay rights (1996).
        • Jean serves on the boards of Bell Policy Center, the Colorado Center for Law and Policy, Rocky Mountain Wild, and Boulder Community Hospital. She is a 1964 graduate of Stanford University and and a 1967 graduate of Harvard Law School.
      • Gale NortonFirst Woman Attorney General of Colorado (1990) and First Woman Interior Secretary (2001)
        • Gale has handled multi-billion-dollar and high-profile litigation involving products liability, antitrust, taxation, environmental, and constitutional issues, including arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court and negotiating one o the largest lawsuit settlements in history. Norton served two terms as the elected Attorney General of Colorado, from 1991-1999.
        • As Secretary of the Interior, from 2001-2006, she was responsible for managing of 20% of the land area of the United States, a Fortune-500-sized budget, and a workforce of 70,000 employees.
        • Gale returned to Colorado as General Counsel for Royal Dutch Shell Unconventional Oil, from 2007-2010. She is currently on boards for the Federalist Society, the Reagan Alumni Association, and the University of Colorado Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative.
      • Patricia SchroederFirst Woman Elected to the United States Congress from Colorado (1972) and the First Woman to Serve on the House Armed Services Committee (1973)
        • Graduating from law school in 1964, Pat worked at the National Labor Relations Board, taught in local universities, and was a hearing officer for the Colorado State Personnel system. After winning her campaign to serve in the United States Congress, she requested a seat on the Armed Services Committee; though it caused upheaval in the House, she got on and served on that committee and Judiciary for 24 years.
        • Retiring in 1997, Pat taught at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. After, she was the President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers. Currently, she is Chair of the English Speaking Union, the vice char of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, on the Boards of Common Cause, the Communications Consortium, and the Child Welfare League of America.
        • Pat is also the author of two books: “Champion of the Great American Family” and “24 Years of Housework…and the Place is Still a Mess: My Life in Politics.”

The event was emceed by Tamara Banks, who interviewed all of the honorees. The interviews can be viewed below and will also air this Sunday, September 4, 2011 on PBS Channel 12.2.

Watch the full episode. See more Studio 12.

The Colorado Women’s Bar Association was founded in 1978 and is the largest specialty bar association in Colorado and one of the largest and most influential bar associations in the country. It’s mission has remained the same since its inception: to promote women in the legal profession and the interests of women generally.

13th Annual Senior Law Day a Resounding Success

On Saturday, July 23, nearly 900 seniors, adult children, and caregivers attended the Thirteenth Annual Senior Law Day at the Merchandise Mart in Denver. Senior Law Day offers the public the opportunity to hear from experienced elder law attorneys and other professionals involved in elder care issues.  This year, there were twenty-eight different short, informative workshops to choose from that helped seniors learn how to better manage family and financial issues and prepare for retirement.

The tremendous number of resources and educational workshops available not only benefit seniors in our community, but also adult children and caregivers who are helping aging parents, relatives, and friends.

New workshops this year included “DNR Orders, Advance Directives and End of Life Issues,” “Planning for Your Pets,” “Dealing with Trusts & Trustees,” and “Nontraditional Domestic Relationships.”

Attorney Carl Glatstein, the program chair for the event, described the event as way for attorneys and other professionals to provide “relevant and important information to seniors and present it in a way that is easy for people to understand.”

In addition the informative seminars, there were nearly 50 organizations and companies in the Exhibitor area that provided information and resources relevant to seniors.

Much of the content presented at Senior Law Day also can be found in the comprehensive 2011 Senior Law Handbook, distributed to all who attend the event.  The handbook is written by Colorado attorneys and professionals who donate their time to provide this valuable resource, published by the Colorado Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (CBA-CLE).

Senior Law Day couldn’t happen without the incredible number of volunteers who not only helped during the day of the event, but also with organizing, planning, setup, and clean up. There were more than 70 volunteers from the legal community who dedicated their time to the event – thanks so much for helping to make the day so successful!

The event continues to grow each year and Boulder County and Larimer County are each holding a Senior Law Day in their communities on August 13.  Jefferson County held their event in June and other counties around the state will be holding events in the fall. Click here to view information about the upcoming Senior Law Day events around the state.

Senior Law Day is co-sponsored by the Elder Law Section and the Trust & Estate Section of the Colorado Bar Association, and CBA-CLE. A $10 contribution is suggested but not required to attend the event.

We look forward to seeing you in Denver again next year!

Click here to view more pictures from the event.