August 18, 2019

SB 16-134: Allowing Qualified Military Veterans Access to Professional Licenses

On February 18, 2016, Sens. Rollie Heath & Leroy Garcia and Reps. Jessie Danielson & Daniel Kagan introduced SB 16-134Concerning Professional Licensing for Military Veterans in Certain Professions. The bill was assigned to the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee, where it was amended. The bill passed through the Senate with amendments on Second Reading, and was introduced into the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee. The bill was unamended in the House committee and referred to the House Committee of the Whole for Second Reading.

First, this bill requires the Department of Revenue to consider the training, education, or experience obtained by an applicant as a member of the U.S. armed forces, reserves, or National Guard, and the Department of Revenue may credit the training, education, or experience toward the qualifications necessary to receive a license, certification, or registration.

Second, this bill requires the Division of Veteran Affairs within the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to make reasonable efforts to notify discharged members of the armed services who are located in – or who intend to relocate to – Colorado of the requirements enacted by this bill and enforced by the Department of Revenue, as well as the requirements in C.R.S. § 24-34-102(8) and (8.5), enforced by the Division of Professions and Occupations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Max Montag is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Real Estate Broker Properly Disciplined by Commission for Conversion of HOA Funds

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Disciplinary Action Against the Real Estate Broker’s License of Bernard McConnell v. Colorado Real Estate Commission on Thursday, September 24, 2015.

Real Estate Commission Discipline.

In 2010 and 2011, while serving as president of the Pinecliff Homeowners Association (HOA), McDonnell wrote four checks totaling $10,000 on the HOA’s account payable to himself or his business. When the treasurer discovered one of these checks, McDonnell claimed he had written the check by mistake and repaid the HOA. When the treasurer’s term ended, McDonnell took custody of the HOA’s accounting records and refused to appoint a new treasurer.

The next year, an HOA board member called for a meeting to discuss accounting issues. McDonnell declined to attend and resigned. He then deposited the remaining $8,000 he had withdrawn for non-HOA purposes into the HOA bank account.

When the HOA board discovered the checks, they reported McDonnell to the police and the Colorado Real Estate Commission (Commission). No criminal charges were filed, but the Commission opened an investigation. The Commission charged McDonnell with four violations of the Colorado Real Estate Broker License Law. McDonnell appealed the Commission’s order sanctioning him on some of those counts.

The Court of Appeals first rejected McDonnell’s contention that the Commission did not have authority to sanction him for conduct that does not involve “selling, exchanging, buying, renting or leasing” real estate. The Court cited numerous provisions that allow the Commission to sanction a broker’s improper conduct outside of the real estate context, particularly when it speaks to the broker’s honesty, dignity, or moral character.

The Court also rejected McDonnell’s argument that CRS § 12-61-113(1)(g) (providing for sanctions for failure to properly account for funds) only applies to a licensee’s conduct involving real estate matters. The plain language of the section is clearly broader and not so limited.

McDonnell argued that CRS § 13-16-113(1)(g.5) (providing for discipline for conversion of funds of others and diverting funds of others without authorization) applies only to real estate transactions and that, even if it applies, his conduct was not conversion because he always intended to return the money. The Court disagreed, again holding that the section applies to more than just real estate transactions. Moreover, the Commission’s conclusion that McDonnell took the funds from the HOA without authorization and used them was amply supported in the record.

The Court further rejected McDonnell’s argument that CRS § 12-61-113(1)(t) (providing for discipline for any other conduct that constitutes dishonest dealing) only applies in the real estate context. It also rejected his argument that his actions did not rise to the level of dishonest dealing. Although “dishonest dealing” is not defined in Colorado statute or case Law, a court can determine the meaning of an undefined phrase of common usage by ascertaining its usual and ordinary meaning. Here, McDonnell’s misrepresentations and misappropriations demonstrate the ordinary meaning of a dishonest act.

The Court agreed with McDonnell that he could not be disciplined under CRS § 12-61-113(1)(n) (providing for discipline for incompetency or endangerment to the public). The administrative rule implementing this section provides an exhaustive list of grounds for unworthiness or incompetence, none of which were done by McDonnell and none of which apply outside of the real estate context. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Commission’s conclusions as to three of the four counts, along with the Commission’s sanctions.

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

HB 14-1183: Requiring Director of Registrations to Reinstate Expired Professional Licenses for Returning Service Members

On January 29, 2014, Rep. Rhonda Fields and Sen. Matt Jones introduced HB 14-1183 – Concerning the Reinstatement of the Authority for Active Military Personnel to Practice Professionally. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill requires the director of the division of registrations in the department of regulatory agencies to reinstate the expired license, certificate, or registration of any active military personnel pursuant to specific requirements.

The bill was given final approval by the House on Feb. 17; the bill is assigned to the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.

HB 13-1065: Allowing Professional Persons Licensed in Other States to Provide Mental Health Services

On January 9, 2013, Rep. Amy Stephens and Sen. Nancy Todd introduced HB 13-1065 – Concerning the Definition of Professional Persons under the Mental Health StatutesThis summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

As amended in the House, the bill amends the definition of “professional person,” for purposes of providing care and treatment to persons with a mental illness, to include a person who is providing medical or clinical services at a treatment facility in Colorado that is operated by the United States and who is licensed to practice medicine in another state or is a psychologist certified to practice in another state. The bill was approved by the House on February 4 and is assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee in the Senate.