August 20, 2018

Colorado Court of Appeals: Including Landowners in Special District Violated Owners’ Rights to Due Process

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Landmark Towers Association, Inc. v. UMB Bank, N.A. on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Special District—Taxation—Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights—Due Process—Injunction—Uniform Tax Clause of the Colorado Constitution—Mill Levy—Misappropriation of Bond Sales.

A developer created the Marin Metropolitan District, a special district, to comprise two separate projects, the Landmark Project and the European Village Project. The developer created the District as a means to use owners of condominiums in the Landmark Project to pay for improvements in the European Village Project. As part of his application to Greenwood Village for approval of the District, the developer submitted a Service Plan. Using dubious means and without notice to the Landmark Project buyers, the developer and his associates then voted in an election to organize the District and approve bonds and “taxes” to pay for the bonds. The District sold bonds to Colorado Bondshares. UMB Bank, N.A. held the bond sales proceeds in trust. Among other things, the Service Plan capped the debt service levy for the bonds at 49.5 mills, but the District imposed a levy of 59.5 mills. The developer drew on the funds, but the European Village Project infrastructure was never built.

Landmark Towers Association, Inc., a homeowners association, sued UMB, Bondshares, and the District (collectively, defendants), challenging the creation of the District. Landmark asserted that the special district can’t levy Landmark owners’ properties to pay for bonds issued by the special district, which funded improvements on other property, because the election organizing the special district, approving the bonds, and approving the levies paying for the bonds violated the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) and the Landmark owners’ rights to due process. The district court ruled that the election was illegal; Landmark is entitled to injunctive relief preventing the District’s levy; the District’s mill levy rate exceeds the legal limit; Landmark owners are entitled to a refund of excessive assessments; and Landmark owners are entitled to a “refund” of misappropriated bond sale proceeds. It enjoined the District from trying to collect levies from the Landmark owners and ordered that the owners may recover bond proceeds misappropriated by the District’s creator under TABOR.

On appeal, defendants asserted that the district court erred in finding that including the Landmark Project in the District violated the Landmark owners’ rights to due process. Specifically, defendants argued that the levy was a tax, and property subject to a tax does not need to receive any benefit in return for the tax payments. Colorado law is clear that imposing a special assessment on property that doesn’t specially benefit from the funded improvements violates the due process rights of those property owners. Here, the Landmark project was included in the District only to use it as a payment source for improvements to other property, and Landmark receives no benefit from those improvements. Further, the “tax” is in substance a special assessment because it doesn’t defray the general expenses of government but funds a private venture’s infrastructure. Because the Landmark owners derive no benefit from the improvements, the special assessments violated the owners’ rights to due process.

Defendants also argued that the district court erred in weighing the equities in imposing the injunction. The district didn’t abuse its discretion in balancing the equities.

Defendants further contended that the injunction violated the Uniform Tax Clause of the Colorado Constitution because it means that only some of the property in the district can be taxed. First, it is undisputed that defendants raised this issue for the first time in their motion for reconsideration, which was too late. Second, the Uniform Tax Clause applies only to taxes, not special assessments. Third, the injunction doesn’t obligate the District to do anything with respect to other persons or property outside the Landmark Project. Fourth, the violation of the Landmark owners’ rights to due process under both the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions entitles them to the injunctive relief they request, as a matter of law. Therefore, the district court correctly ruled on this issue.

Defendants also contended that the district court erred in ruling that the District may not levy property taxes in excess of 50 mills. The mill levy rate imposed by the District exceeds that allowed by the statutorily required service plan approved by the City of Greenwood Village. Furthermore, it did not comply with the District’s Service Plan or the financing plan. Therefore, the 59.5-mill-rate levy was illegal.

Finally, defendants contended that the district court erred in ruling that the misappropriation of bond sale proceeds violated TABOR and in ordering a refund of those proceeds because the bond proceeds aren’t “revenue.” The bond proceeds at issue are borrowed funds, not “revenue” within the meaning of the relevant TABOR provision. Further, they aren’t subject to refund because they were lent to the District by a private, outside entity and not collected from property owners. Therefore, the owners may not recover bond proceeds misappropriated by the District’s creator under TABOR. Nor may the owners recover those misappropriated funds under other provisions of the Colorado Constitution because the District is not subject to those provisions. Therefore, the district court erred in ordering refunds of the misappropriated money.

The portion of the judgment ordering TABOR refunds was reversed. The remainder of the judgment was affirmed and the case was remanded.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Requiring Elected Officials to Swear by “Everliving God,” Providing Representation to Indigent Defendants in Municipal Courts, and More Signed

On Friday, June 1, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed 10 bills into law and vetoed three bills. On Monday, June 4, the governor signed seven bills and vetoed two. To date, he has signed 367 bills into law, sent two to the Secretary of State without a signature, and vetoed five bills.

Some of the bills signed include a bill requiring elected officials who choose to swear their oath of office, rather than affirm, to do so by the “everliving God” while raising their hand, a bill allowing transportation services for foster children in order to improve high school graduation rates, a bill allowing independent representation for indigent defendants in municipal courts, and more. Some of the bills vetoed include a bill allowing out-of-state electors to participate in Colorado elections, a bill restricting parties able to receive autopsy reports for minors, and a bill allowing a credit for tobacco products shipped out of state. The bills signed and vetoed Friday are summarized here.

Signed

  • SB 18-003 – “Concerning the Colorado Energy Office,” by Sen. Ray Scott and Reps. Chris Hansen & Jon Becker. The bill repeals several programs providing energy grants for schools, and specifies several preferred energy methods.
  • SB 18-200 – “Concerning Modifications to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association Hybrid Defined Benefit Plan Necessary to Eliminate with a High Probability the Unfunded Liability of the Plan Within the Next Thirty Years,” by Sens. Jack Tate & Kevin Priola and Reps. KC Becker & Dan Pabon. The bill makes changes to the hybrid defined benefit plan administered by PERA with the goal of eliminating, with a high probability, the unfunded actuarial accrued liability of each of PERA’s divisions and thereby reach a 100% funded ratio for each division within the next 30 years.
  • SB 18-203 – “Concerning the Provision of Independent Counsel to Indigent Defendants in Municipal Courts, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Susan Lontine. The bill requires each municipality, on and after January 1, 2020, to provide independent indigent defense for each indigent defendant facing a possible jail sentence for a violation of a municipal ordinance. Independent indigent defense requires, at minimum, that a nonpartisan entity independent of the municipal court and municipal officials oversee the provision of indigent defense counsel.
  • 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 18-230 – “Concerning Modification of the Laws Governing the Establishment of Drilling Units for Oil and Gas Wells, and, in Connection Therewith, Clarifying that a Drilling Unit may Include more than One Well, Providing Limited Immunity to Nonconsenting Owners Subject to Pooling Orders, Adjusting Cost Recovery from Nonconsenting Owners, and Modifying the Conditions upon which a Pooling Order may be Entered,” by Sen. Vicki Marble and Reps. Lori Saine & Matt Gray. Current law authorizes ‘forced’ or ‘statutory’ pooling, a process by which any interested person–typically an oil and gas operator–may apply to the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission for an order to pool oil and gas resources located within a particularly identified drilling unit. The bill clarifies that an order entered by the commission establishing a drilling unit may authorize more than one well.
  • SB 18-242 – “Concerning the Swearing of a Public Official Oath of Office,” by Sens. Vicki Marble and Reps. Timothy Leonard & Stephen Humphrey. The bill requires a person swearing an oath of office for a public office or position to do so by swearing by the everliving God. The bill also requires the person swearing the oath of office to do so with an uplifted hand.
  • SB 18-243 – “Concerning the Retail Sale of Alcohol Beverages, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Chris Holbert & Lucia Guzman and Reps. Daneya Esgar & Hugh McKean. Under current law, effective January 1, 2019, the limitation on the maximum alcohol content of fermented malt beverages, also referred to as ‘3.2% beer’, is eliminated, thereby allowing grocery stores, convenience stores, and any other person currently licensed or licensed in the future to sell fermented malt beverages for consumption on or off the licensed premises to sell fermented malt beverages containing more than 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4% alcohol by volume, referred to as ‘malt liquor’. The bill modifies laws governing the retail sale of fermented malt beverages, which will be synonymous with malt liquor as of January 1, 2019.
  • SB 18-276 – “Concerning an Increase in the General Fund Reserve,” by Sens. Kevin Lundberg & Millie Hamner and Reps. Kent Lambert & Dave Young. For the fiscal year 2018-19, and each fiscal year thereafter, the bill increases the statutorily required general fund reserve from 6.5% to 7.25% of the amount appropriated for expenditure from the general fund.
  • HB 18-1006 – “Concerning Modifications to the Newborn Screening Program Administered by the Department of Public Health and Environment, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Millie Hamner & Larry Liston and Sens. Bob Gardner & Dominick Moreno. The bill updates the current newborn screening program to require more timely newborn hearing screenings. The department of public health and environment (department) is authorized to assess a fee for newborn screening and necessary follow-up services. The bill creates the newborn hearing screening cash fund for the purpose of covering the costs of the program.
  • HB 18-1185 – “Concerning Changes to the State Income Tax Apportionment Statute Based on the Most Recent Multistate Tax Commission’s Uniform Model of the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act,” by Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Cole Wist and Sens. Tim Neville & Dominick Moreno. For income tax years commencing on and after January 1, 2019, the bill generally replaces the method for sourcing of sales for purposes of apportioning the income of a taxpayer that has income from the sale of services or from the sale, lease, license, or rental of intangible property in both Colorado and other states from the cost-of-performance test in the case of services and the commercial domicile test in the case of intangible property to a market-based sourcing system.
  • HB 18-1187 – “Concerning the Lawful Use of a Prescription Drug that Contains Cannabidiol that is Approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration,” by Reps. Janet Buckner & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Dominick Moreno & John Cooke. The bill amends the definition of ‘marijuana’ to exclude prescription drug products approved by the federal food and drug administration and dispensed by a pharmacy or prescription drug outlet registered by the state of Colorado. The bill also specifies that the change does not restrict or otherwise affect regulation of or access to marijuana that is legal under Colorado’s statutory or constitutional scheme or industrial hemp and its derivatives.
  • HB 18-1244 – “Concerning the Creation of a Submarine Service License Plate to Honor the Service of Submarine Veterans, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Jessie Danielson and Sens. Nancy Todd & Bob Gardner. The bill creates the submarine service license plate. In addition to the standard motor vehicle fees, the plate requires 2 one-time fees of $25. One fee is credited to the highway users tax fund and the other to a fund that provides licensing services.
  • HB 18-1270 – “Concerning Energy Storage, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring the Public Utilities Commission to Establish Mechanisms for Investor-Owned Electric Utilities to Procure Energy Storage Systems if Certain Criteria are Satisfied,” by Reps. Chris Hansen & Jon Becker and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill directs the public utilities commission to adopt rules establishing mechanisms for the procurement of energy storage systems by investor-owned electric utilities, based on an analysis of costs and benefits as well as factors such as grid reliability and a reduction in the need for additional peak generation capacity.
  • HB 18-1271 – “Concerning the Authorization of Economic Development Rates to be Charged by Electric Utilities to Qualifying Nonresidential Customers,” by Reps. Matt Gray & Yeulin Willett and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill allows the public utilities commission to approve, and electric utilities to charge, economic development rates, which are lower rates for commercial and industrial users who locate or expand their operations in Colorado so as to increase the demand by at least 3 megawatts.
  • HB 18-1286 – “Concerning Allowing School Personnel to Give Medical Marijuana to a Student with a Medical Marijuana Registry Card while at School,” by Rep. Dylan Roberts and Sens. Irene Aguilar & Vicki Marble. Under current law, a primary caregiver may possess and administer medical marijuana in a nonsmokeable form to a student while the student is at school. The bill allows a school nurse or the school nurse’s designee, who may or may not be an employee of the school, or school personnel designated by a parent to also possess and administer medical marijuana to a student at school. The bill provides a school nurse or the school nurse’s designee or the school personnel designated by a parent protection from criminal prosecution if he or she possesses and administers medical marijuana to a student at school.
  • HB 18-1306 – “Concerning Ensuring Educational Stability for Students in Out-of-Home Placement, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sens. Don Coram & Dominick Moreno. The bill aligns state law with federal ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ (ESSA) provisions relating to students in foster care, referred to in state statutes as ‘students in out-of-home placement’. ESSA permits students in out-of-home placement at any time during the school year to remain in their school of origin, as defined in the bill, rather than move to a different school upon placement outside of the home or changes in placement, unless the county department of human or social services determines that it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in his or her school of origin.
  • HB 18-1430 – “Concerning the Requirement that a State Agency Prepare a Long-Range Financial Plan,” by Reps. Kevin Van Winkle & Dave Young and Sen. Kevin Lundberg. The bill requires each state agency to develop a long-range financial plan on or before November 1, 2019, and to update the plan each of the next 4 years thereafter. The department of state, the department of treasury, the department of law, and the judicial branch shall each publish the required components of the plan for their respective state agencies. The office of state planning and budgeting shall publish the required components of the plan in its annual budget instructions for all other state agencies.

Vetoed

  • SB 18-179 – “Concerning Adjustments to Total Gross Purchases for Purposes of Calculating the Excise Tax on Tobacco Products, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Owen Hill & Angela Williams and Reps. Edie Hooten & Dan Pabon. Currently and until September 1, 2018, a distributor can claim a credit for taxes paid on tobacco products that are shipped or transported by the distributor to a consumer outside of the state. The bill would have made the credit permanent and requires the distributor to maintain certain records related to the out-of-state sales to consumers. “While the bill’s economic benefits appear minimal, the negative health effects of cheaper tobacco are both significant and compelling,” said Governor John Hickenlooper in the veto letter. “These concerns remain from when we vetoed SB 17-139.”
  • SB 18-223 – “Concerning the Circumstances Under Which an Autopsy Report Prepared in Connection with the Death of a Minor may be Released to Certain Parties,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Reps. Matt Gray & Terri Carver. The bill specified that an autopsy report prepared in connection with the death of a minor is confidential and may be disclosed by the county coroner to any other person or entity only in accordance with certain exceptions. “Transparency can lead to enhanced government protections, greater public and private resources, and heightened public understanding and demand for change,” wrote Governor John Hickenlooper in the veto letter. He went on to say, “An informed public has societal benefits for all at-risk children, present and future.”
  • HB 18-1181 – “Concerning Measures to Expand the Ability of Nonresident Electors to Participate in the Governance of Special Districts, and, in Connection Therewith, Allowing Nonresident Electors Who Own Taxable Property Within the Special District to Vote in Special District Elections And Allowing Such Electors to Serve on Special District Boards in a Nonvoting Capacity,” by Rep. Larry Liston and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill would have expanded the definition of ‘eligible elector’, as used in reference of persons voting in special district elections, to include a natural person who owns, or whose spouse or civil union partner owns, taxable real or personal property situated within the boundaries of the special district or the area to be included in the special district and who has satisfied all other requirements in the bill for registering to vote in an election of a special district but who is not a resident of the state. “Allowing non-Coloradans to vote in Colorado elections to select our elected representatives is poor public policy,” said Governor John Hickenlooper in the veto letter. “Out-of-state landowners enjoy Colorado’s great views, activities, and economy. While we are grateful to our out-of-state neighbors and their love of Colorado, we are unpersuaded that the State should allow those who spend days or weeks in Colorado to make decisions impacting those who make it their home each and every day.”
  • HB 18-1258 – “Concerning Authorization for an Endorsement to an Existing Marijuana License to Allow for a Marijuana Accessory Consumption Establishment for the Purposes of Consumer Education, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Jovan Melton & Jonathan Singer and Sens. Tim Neville & Stephen Fenberg. The bill would have  authorized each licensed medical marijuana center or retail marijuana store to establish one retail marijuana accessory consumption establishment that may sell marijuana, marijuana concentrate, and marijuana-infused products for consumption, other than smoking, at the establishment. “Since Colorado approved Amendment 64 in 2012, this Administration implemented a robust regulatory system to carry out the intent of this voter-initiated measure,” said Governor John Hickenlooper in the veto letter. “Amendment 64 is clear: marijuana consumption may not be conducted ‘openly’ or ‘publicly’ on ‘in a manner that endangers others’ We find that HB 18-1258 directly conflicts with this constitutional requirement.”
  • HB 18-1427 – “Concerning a Prohibition on Conflicts of Interest of Members of the Sex Offender Management Board,” by Reps. Leslie Herod & Cole Wist and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill would have prohibited members of the sex offender management board from receiving a direct financial benefit from the standards or guidelines adopted by the board. “We all support proper handling of conflicts. We veto this bill today, however, because it is redundant and overbroad,” wrote Governor John Hickenlooper in the veto letter. He went on to say, “Despite the issues with HB 18-1427, recent media reports raise important issues as to the need for better conflict of management interests.”

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

Bills Signed Regarding Civil Forfeiture Reform, Community Corrections Transition Placements, Electronic Vehicle Title Filing, and More

On Tuesday, May 29, 2019, Governor Hickenlooper signed 59 bills into law. To date, he has signed 315 bills into law and sent two to the Secretary of State without a signature. Some of the bills signed Tuesday include a bill reforming the civil asset forfeiture process, a bill enacting a community corrections transition placement program, a bill providing relief from collateral criminal consequences, a bill allowing vehicle titles to be transferred electronically, a bill changing the own-source requirements for medical marijuana sales, a bill expanding civil jurisdiction of county courts, and more. The bills signed Tuesday are summarized here.

  • HB 18-1019 – “Concerning Criteria Applied in Determining Performance Ratings for Entities in the Elementary and Secondary Public Education System, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Kevin Priola and Rep. Mike Cooke. For purposes of determining the level of attainment for accreditation of each public high school, each school district, the state charter school institute, and the state as a whole on the postsecondary and workforce readiness performance indicator, the bill adds additional measures of the percentage of students who successfully complete certain courses.
  • HB 18-1020 – “Concerning Civil Forfeiture Reform, and, in Connection Therewith, Changing the Entity Required to Report on Forfeitures, Expanding the Scope of the Forfeitures to be Reported, Establishing Grant Programs, Changing the Disbursement of Net Forfeiture Proceeds, and Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Leslie Herod and Sens. Daniel Kagan, Tim Neville, & Bob Gardner. During the 2017 session, the General Assembly enacted a bill involving civil forfeiture requiring seizing agencies to submit reports to the Department of Local Affairs The bill expands the scope of the reports to include seizures related to a local public nuisance law or ordinance. The 2017 act also prohibited seizing agencies from receiving forfeiture proceeds from the federal government unless the aggregate value of property seized in a case is over $50,000. The bill establishes the law enforcement assistance grant program in the Department of Public Safety to reimburse seizing agencies for revenue lost because of this prohibition.
  • HB 18-1057 – “Concerning the Collection of Debts, and, in Connection Therewith, Allowing Collection Agents to Add Certain Expenses to Amounts Due for Collection,” by Rep. Hugh McKean and Sen. Don Coram. The bill allows a private collection agency or privately retained attorney collecting on any debt arising from past-due orders, obligations, fines, or fees due to the state, or to any political subdivision within the state, to add to the amount due that has been placed for collection all fees, costs, and costs of collection, including designated contractual attorney fees and costs that are awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • HB 18-1060 – “Concerning a State Income Tax Deduction for Military Retirement Benefits for an Individual who is Under Fifty-five Years of Age,” by Reps. Jessie Danielson & Lois Landgraf and Sens. Larry Crowder & Angela Williams. The bill allows an individual who is under 55 years old and whose military retirement benefits are less than $40,000 to claim a federal income tax deduction.
  • HB 18-1108 – “Concerning the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and, in Connection Therewith, Renaming the Commission the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind; Creating the Colorado Deafblind Citizens Council to Advise the Commission on Deafblind Issues; Clarifying and Expanding the Commission’s Duties to Provide Services to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind; and Changing the Membership of the Committee Charged with Reviewing Grant Applications,” by Rep. Jessie Danielson and Sen. Nancy Todd. The bill changes the name of the ‘Colorado commission for the deaf and hard of hearing’ to the ‘Colorado commission for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind’. The bill expands the commission’s duties to include establishing a community access program for one-on-one system navigation and changes the membership on the committee reviewing grant applications under the act.
  • HB 18-1128 – “Concerning Strengthening Protections for Consumer Data Privacy,” by Reps. Cole Wist & Jeff Bridges and Sens. Kent Lambert & Lois Court. Except for conduct in compliance with applicable federal, state, or local law, the bill requires covered and governmental entities in Colorado that maintain paper or electronic documents that contain personal identifying information to develop and maintain a written policy for the destruction and proper disposal of those documents.
  • HB 18-1135 – “Concerning the Extension of the Advanced Industries Export Acceleration Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Traci Kraft-Tharp & James Wilson and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill extends the advanced industries export acceleration program that is currently managed by the office of economic development.
  • HB 18-1152 – “Concerning Making Certain Records of the State Judicial Department Relating to Sexual Harassment Investigations Subject to the Colorado Open Records Act,” by Rep. Polly Lawrence and Sen. John Cooke. Under the Colorado open records act (CORA), records related to sexual harassment complaints are not open records; except that those records are available to a person making a sexual harassment complaint and the subject of the complaint. The bill makes the judicial department subject to the sexual harassment provision of CORA until May 1, 2021.
  • HB 18-1155 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Physical Therapy Board, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations Contained in the 2017 Sunset Review and Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies,” by Reps. Larry Liston & Jonathan Singer and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill extends the licensing of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to 2024 and makes several other changes.
  • HB 18-1174 – “Concerning the Continuation Under the Sunset Law of the Board of Mortgage Loan Originators, and, in Connection Therewith, Adopting the Legislative Recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies as Contained in the Department’s Sunset Report,” by Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Matt Gray and Rep. Kevin Priola. The bill implements the recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies in its sunset review of the board of mortgage loan originators.
  • HB 18-1184 – “Concerning the Creation of a Report on 911 Service in Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring Consideration of Issues Related to the Implementation of Next Generation 911,” by Reps. Tony Exum & Polly Lawrence and Sens. Irene Aguilar & Bob Gardner. The bill requires the public utilities commission to annually publish a ‘state of 911’ report. The report must address the commission’s activities related to 911 service, the current statewide architecture and operations related to 911 service, 911 network reliability and resiliency, any identified gaps or vulnerabilities in 911 service, national trends and activities, funding, and the implementation of next generation 911.
  • HB 18-1202 – “Concerning an Income Tax Credit for an Employer Related to an Employee’s Paid Leave of Absence for the Purpose of Making an Organ Donation, and, in Connection Therewith, Enacting the ‘Living Organ Donor Support Act,'” by Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Bob Gardner. Beginning January 1, 2020, an employer is allowed an income tax credit that is an amount equal to 35% of the employer’s expenses incurred while the employee is on paid leave or for paying a temporary employee.
  • HB 18-1217 – “Concerning a Temporary Income Tax Credit for Employers that Make Contributions to 529 Qualified State Tuition Program Accounts Owned by their Employees, and, in Connection Therewith, Enacting the “Working Families College Savings Act,'” by Reps. Kevin Van Winkle & Alec Garnett and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill creates a temporary income tax credit for income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2019, but prior to January 1, 2022, for employers that make contributions to 529 qualified state tuition program accounts owned by their employees in an amount equal to 20% of the contribution, not to exceed $500.
  • HB 18-1224 – “Concerning the Process that is Due for the Imposition of Discipline that Affects a Person’s Ability to Practice an Occupation, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring the Parties to Submit to Mediation and Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Yeulin Willett and Sen. Bob Gardner. Current law requires state agencies to give notice to a licensee of certain facts that may lead to discipline or suspension. The bill makes certain changes to these requirements.
  • HB 18-1251 – “Concerning Measures to Improve the Efficiency of the Community Corrections Transition Placements, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Pete Lee & Cole Wist and Sens. Daniel Kagan & Bob Gardner. The bill requires the state board of parole to submit a list of offenders for community corrections transition placement referrals to the department of corrections staff. The staff shall inform the board when the referral is made or the reason for not making the referral.
  • HB 18-1252 – “Concerning Unlawful Sale of Academic Materials for Submission to an Institution of Higher Education,” by Reps. Dylan Roberts & James Wilson and Sen. Kevin Priola. Under existing law, a person is not permitted to prepare, offer to prepare, cause to be prepared, sell, or distribute any term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material for another person for compensation if he or she knows or should reasonably have known, that it is to be submitted by any other person for academic credit at a public or private college, university, or other institution of higher education, or to advertise the same. A court may issue an injunction to prevent these practices. The bill defines ‘assignment’ to include any specific written, recorded, pictorial, artistic, or other academic task; maintains the existing offenses related to preparing or selling assignments, or advertising the same; and prohibits a person from preparing, selling, or offering to sell a document or service that provides answers for, or completes on behalf of a student, an online exam that is administered pursuant to a course of study at any institution of higher education, or advertising the same.
  • HB 18-1269 – “Concerning Notification to Parents of Charges Brought Against Public School Employees for Alleged Felony Offenses that would Result in the Revocation of an Educator License Pursuant to title 22, Colorado Revised Statutes,” by Reps. Paul Lundeen & Brittany Pettersen and Sens. Owen Hill & Rhonda Fields. The bill requires school districts, district charter schools, institute charter schools, and boards of cooperative services to notify parents of students enrolled in a local education provider of charges brought against an employee or former employee, if the employee was employed at any time within 12 months before an offense is charged, who has or had contact with students, if the charges are for one of the felony offenses that requires the denial, suspension, or revocation of a teacher license if the employee were a teacher.
  • HB 18-1277 – “Concerning a Requirement that an Application for a “Building Excellent Schools Today Act” Grant of Financial Assistance for Public School Capital Construction Include a Plan for the Future Use or Disposition of any Existing Public School Facility that the Applicant will Stop Using for its Current Use if it Receives the Grant,” by Reps. Jon Becker & Daneya Esgar and Sens. Randy Baumgartner & John Kefalas. Beginning with the state fiscal year 2019-20 grant cycle, the bill requires an application made to the public school capital construction assistance board under the ‘Building Excellent Schools Today Act’ for a grant of financial assistance that is for either the construction of a new public school facility that will replace one or more existing public school facilities or the reconstruction or expansion of an existing public school facility to include a plan for the future use or disposition of any existing public school facility that the applicant will stop using for its current use if it receives the grant.
  • HB 18-1283 – “Concerning the Classification of Residential Land for Property Tax Purposes Resulting from a Significant Change in the Residential Improvements Located Upon the Land,” by Rep. Adrienne Benavidez and Sen. Tim Neville. When residential improvements are destroyed, demolished, or relocated on or after January 1, 2018, that, were it not for their destruction, demolition, or relocation, would have qualified the land upon which the improvements were located as residential land for the following property tax year, the bill requires the residential land classification to remain in place for the year in which the improvements were destroyed, demolished, or relocated and one subsequent property tax year if the assessor determines that evidence is present that the owner intends to rebuild or locate a residential improvement on the land.
  • HB 18-1285 – “Concerning Parking for People with Certain Disabilities, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sens. Jim Smallwood & Nancy Todd. The bill creates a remuneration-exempt identifying placard that exempts an individual with a disability from paying for parking if the disability limits the individual’s fine motor skills, ability to grow above 48 inches, or ability to reach or access a parking meter.
  • HB 18-1291 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2017 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies,” by Reps. Faith Winter & Dan Thurlow and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill implements the recommendations of the department of regulatory agencies in its sunset review of the conservation easement oversight commission by extending the repeal date of the commission for 7 years until 2025 and modifies the composition of the commission.
  • HB 18-1294 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Regulation of Nursing Home Administrators by the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators in the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring the Board to Record by Board Member Each Vote Regarding Licensee Discipline,” by Reps. Susan Longtine & Janet Buckner and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill partially implements the recommendations of the department of regulatory agencies, as contained in the department’s sunset review of nursing home administrators by continuing the regulation of nursing home administrators by the board of examiners of nursing home administrators in the division of professions and occupations for 5 years, until September 1, 2023.
  • HB 18-1296 – “Concerning an Expansion of the Ability to Leave a Motor Vehicle Unattended in Certain Circumstances,” by Reps. Jovan Melton & Justin Everett and Sens. Vicki Marble & Dominick Moreno. Currently, if a person’s motor vehicle has a remote starter system and adequate security measures, he or she may leave the motor vehicle unattended while the engine is running. The bill provides that a motor vehicle may be left unattended if either a remote starter system or adequate security measures are in place.
  • HB 18-1299 – “Concerning Electronic Documents Related to the Ownership of a Vehicle that is Regulated by the Department of Revenue, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Jeff Bridges & Patrick Neville and Sens. Ray Scott & Rachel Zenzinger. The bill creates a framework for the department of revenue to establish electronic processing for issuing certificates of title, filing or releasing liens, or registering vehicles and special mobile machinery. This is subject to the department promulgating rules.
  • HB 18-1300 – “Concerning Granting Authority for Local District Colleges to Provide a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Program as a Completion Degree to Students who Have or Are Pursuing an Associate Degree in Nursing,” by Reps. Dave Young & Perry Buck and Sens. Vicki Marble & John Cooke. The bill allows a local district college, such as Aims community college, to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing program as a completion degree in nursing to students who have or are pursuing an associate degree in nursing, provided that the college’s board of trustees determines it is appropriate to address the needs of the communities within its service area, as approved by the Colorado commission on higher education based on existing criteria.
  • HB 18-1309 – “Concerning Programs Addressing Educator Shortages, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. James Coleman & James Wilson and Sen. Owen Hill. The bill requires the Colorado department of education and the Colorado department of higher education to create the framework for a grow your own educator program and specifies required provisions.
  • HB 18-1344 – “Concerning Relief from Collateral Consequences of Criminal Actions,” by Reps. Mike Weissman & Lang Sias and Sens. Dominick Moreno & Don Coram. Current law has separate collateral relief sections for when a court orders an alternative sentence, probation, or community corrections. The bill combines collateral relief provisions into one section and authorizes a court to enter an order for collateral relief at the time of conviction of a defendant or any time thereafter. The bill requires a fingerprint-based criminal history record check only if the hearing is held after sentencing.
  • HB 18-1351 – “Concerning Signage for the Old Spanish Trail,” by Reps. Donald Valdez & Phil Covarrubias and Sens. Leroy Garcia & Larry Crowder. The bill recognizes the significance of the old Spanish national historic trail as a historic resource in Colorado. Subject to the availability of funding from gifts, grants, or donations, the bill requires the executive director of the department of transportation to erect signs marking portions of the trail that travel along or cross highways in Colorado.
  • HB 18-1362 – “Concerning the Membership Expansion of the Colorado Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving,” by Rep. Jeni James Arndt and Sen. Jack Tate. The bill adds 3 members to the Colorado task force on drunk and impaired driving. The executive director of the department of transportation, or the director’s designee, shall appoint a community-based representative from the substance use disorder prevention field and a representative from the retail or medical marijuana industry who is an owner or manager of a retail dispensary. The executive director of the department of revenue, or the director’s designee, shall appoint a representative from the marijuana enforcement division.
  • HB 18-1371 – “Concerning Capital Construction Budget Items, and, in Connection Therewith, Codifying the Three-year Period that Capital Construction Budget Items Remain Available and Clarifying the Deadlines for the Submission of Capital Construction Budget Requests, Budget Request Amendments, and Budget Request Amendments that are Related to a Request for a Supplemental Appropriation,” by Reps. Daneya Esgar & Jon Becker and Sens. John Kefalas & Randy Baumgardner. The bill codifies the 3-year period that capital construction appropriations remain available and clarifies the deadlines for the submission of capital construction budget requests, budget request amendments, and budget request amendments that are related to a request for a supplemental appropriation.
  • HB 18-1372 – “Concerning an Exemption of the Regional Center Depreciation Account in the Capital Construction Fund from the Definition of Cash Fund for Purposes of the Requirements under the Automatic Cash Fund Funding Mechanism for Payment of Future Costs Attributable to Certain of the State’s Capital Assets,” by Reps. Daneya Esgar & Jon Becker and Sen. John Kefalas. The bill exempts the Department of Human Services’ regional center depreciation account in the capital construction fund from the definition of ‘cash fund’ for purposes of the requirements under the automatic cash fund funding mechanism for payment of future costs attributable to certain of the state’s capital assets.
  • HB 18-1375 – “Concerning the Nonsubstantive Revision of Statutes in the Colorado Revised Statutes, as Amended, and, in Connection Therewith, Amending or Repealing Obsolete, Imperfect, and Inoperative Law to Preserve the Legislative Intent, Effect, and Meaning of the Law,” by Reps. Yeulin Willett & Pete Lee and Sen. Bob Gardner. To improve the clarity and certainty of the statutes, the bill amends, repeals, and reconstructs various statutory provisions of law that are obsolete, imperfect, or inoperative.
  • HB 18-1381 – “Concerning Operations Related to the Sale of Medical Marijuana in the Regulated Medical Marijuana Market, and, in Connection Therewith, Moving from the Seventy Percent Own Source Requirement to a One-year Transition Period of Fifty Percent Own Source Requirement to an Elimination of the Own Source Requirement,” by Reps. Matt Gray & Kevin Van Winkle and Sens. Tim Neville & Cheri Jahn. The bill creates a transition period between the current limited sourcing model that begins July 1, 2018. For one year from that date, medical marijuana centers and optional premises cultivation facilities can purchase and sell 50% of their inventory as a wholesale transaction, and medical marijuana trim is not included in the calculation of the percentage.
  • HB 18-1388 – “Concerning an Exemption from the Requirement to Register a Security if the Security is Subject to a Notice Filing as Permitted under Federal Law,” by Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Jack Tate. Existing law generally requires that, for a person to issue a security, either the security or the person must be exempt or the person must register the security with the securities commissioner. The bill eliminates the registration requirement, and substitutes a notice filing requirement.
  • HB 18-1393 – “Concerning Measures to Support Effective Implementation of the ‘Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act’ for all Students who Receive Services Pursuant to READ Plans, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Reps. Millie Hamner & Tony Exum and Sen. Bob Gardner. Under existing law, the state board of education is required to adopt an approved list of reading assessments, and the department of education is required to adopt advisory lists of literacy programming and professional development in literacy. With regard to the list of approved assessments and the advisory lists, the bill makes several changes.
  • HB 18-1431 – “Concerning Updating Managed Care Provisions in the Medical Assistance Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Aligning Managed Care Provisions with new Federal Managed Care Regulations, Removing Obsolete or Duplicative Statutory Language and Programs, and Updating and Aligning Statutory Provisions to Reflect the Current Statewide Managed Care System,” by Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. Jim Smallwood. The bill amends, repeals, and relocates provisions of part 4 of article 5 of title 25.5, C.R.S., relating to managed care provisions under the medical assistance program to align with the federal ‘Medicaid and CHIP Managed Care Final Rule of 2016’, and to reflect the implementation of the accountable care collaborative as the statewide managed care system.
  • HB 18-1433 – “Concerning Modifications to the ‘Naturopathic Doctor Act,’ and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring a Naturopathic Doctor to Disclose that the Naturopathic Doctor is Registered and Updating the Terms that a Naturopathic Doctor May Use,” by Rep. Matt Gray and Sens. Jack Tate & Don Coram. As it relates to naturopathic doctors, the bill makes changes to terminology they may use.
  • SB 18-012 – “Concerning Including Military Enlistment as Part of the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Performance Indicator for Public Schools,” by Sen. Owen Hill and Rep. Brittany Pettersen. For purposes of determining the level of attainment of each public high school, each school district, the state charter school institute, and the state as a whole on the postsecondary and workforce readiness performance indicator for accreditation, the bill adds enlistment in the military within a year of graduation as a measure of performance.
  • SB 18-013 – “Concerning Expanding the Grades Eligible for the Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Rhonda Fields & Bob Gardner and Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet. Current law creates an annual appropriation to provide lunches at no charge to children in state-subsidized early childhood education programs administered by public schools or in kindergarten through fifth grade who would otherwise have to pay for a reduced-price lunch. The bill extends the grade of eligibility to eighth grade in schools that elect to participate in the expanded program.
  • SB 18-031 – “Concerning an Extension of the Title 12 Recodification Study Being Conducted by the Office of Legislative Legal Services, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Rep. Mike Foote. Current law directs the office of legislative legal services to study the organizational recodification of title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The law authorizing the study repeals on September 1, 2018. The bill extends the title 12 recodification study for one additional year, through September 1, 2019.
  • SB 18-033 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Animal Feeding Operation Permit Program under the Department of Public Health and Environment, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Jon Becker. The bill replaces the July 1, 2018, repeal date for the department of public health and environment’s animal feeding operation permit program with a repeal date of July 1, 2025. The bill also extends the fees associated with the program at their current levels.
  • SB 18-056 – “Concerning Monetary Amounts in Civil Actions,” by Sen. Cheri Jahn and Reps. Pete Lee & Yeulin Willett. Under current law, a person may file a civil action in county court if the value of the claim is $15,000 or less. The bill increases that limit to $25,000 or less. The bill also changes the filing fees.
  • SB 18-108  – “Concerning the Issuance of Identification Documents under the ‘Colorado Road and Community Safety Act’ to Persons who are Not Lawfully Present in the United States, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Larry Crowder & Don Coram and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Jonathan Singer. Currently, a person who is not lawfully present in the United States may obtain a driver’s license or identification card if certain requirements are met. One of the requirements is that the person present a taxpayer identification card. The bill allows a person to present a social security number as an alternative to a taxpayer identification card. The bill allows the license or identification card to be reissued or renewed in accordance with the process used for other licenses and identification cards.
  • SB 18-119 – “Concerning False Imprisonment of a Minor, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Bob Gardner & Terri Carver and Rep. Adrienne Benavidez. The bill states that a person commits class 5 felony false imprisonment if he or she confines or detains another person less than 18 years of age by means of tying, locking, caging, chaining, or otherwise restricting that person’s freedom of movement by any instrumentality for an unreasonable amount of time under the circumstances.
  • SB 18-141 – “Concerning Voluntary Contribution Designations on the Colorado Individual Income Tax Return Form,” by Sen. Lois Court and Reps. James Wilson & Chris Hansen. The bill creates the donate to a Colorado nonprofit fund in the state treasury. A voluntary contribution designation line for the fund will appear on the state individual income tax return form.
  • SB 18-150 – “Concerning Measures to Facilitate Voter Registration of Individuals in the Criminal Justice System, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Stephen Fenberg & Kevin Lundberg and Reps. Hugh McKean & Pete Lee. The bill allows a person on parole to preregister to vote. A person who preregisters is required to meet all the requirements of a person who registers.
  • SB 18-191 – “Concerning the Local Government Limited Gaming Impact Fund, and, in Connection Therewith Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Reps. Terri Carver & Edie Hooten. The bill annually increases the amount of money credited to the limited gaming impact fund by an amount equal to the growth of the state share from the previous fiscal year.
  • SB 18-205 – “Concerning the Regulation of Industrial Hemp as an Agricultural Product, and, in Connection Therewith, Identifying the Unprocessed Seeds of Industrial Hemp as a Commodity under the ‘Commodity Handler Act’ and Industrial Hemp as a Farm Product under the ‘Farm Products Act,'” by Sens. Vicki Marble & Don Coram and Reps. Marc Catlin & Barbara McLachlin. The bill includes the unprocessed seeds of industrial hemp in the definition of ‘commodity’ within the ‘Commodity Handler Act’, thus subjecting a person who acts as a commodity handler with respect to the unprocessed seeds of industrial hemp to the licensing requirements set forth in the ‘Commodity Handler Act’.
  • SB 18-208 – “Concerning the Creation of the Governor’s Mansion Maintenance Fund,” by Sen. Randy Baumgartner & John Kefalas and Reps. Daneya Esgar & Chris Hansen. The bill creates the governor’s mansion maintenance fund, which is comprised of the money generated from the mansion’s operation, such as rental fees.
  • SB 18-209 – “Concerning Modifications to the Government Data Advisory Board Created in the Office of Information Technology,” by Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & Nancy Todd and Reps. Dan Thurlow & Dan Pabon. The government data advisory board (board) was created in the office of information technology to advise and provide recommendations to the chief information officer regarding interdepartmental data protocol and best practices in sharing and protecting data in state government. The bill modifies the definition of interdepartmental protocol to reflect current practice. The bill also modifies the composition of the board to include a representative from each state agency and to remove members of the education data subcommittee from the board.
  • SB 18-210 – “Concerning the Regulation of Real Estate Appraisal Management Companies, and, in Connection Therewith, Aligning State Law with Current Federal Law and Regulations,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Edie Hooten. The bill amends the definition of ‘appraisal management company’ to contain all of the elements specified in recent amendments to Title XI of the federal ‘Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989’ (FIRREA) and regulations adopted in furtherance of FIRREA. Section 1 also adds a definition of ‘appraiser panel’ to include appraisers working as independent contractors.
  • SB 18-213 – “Concerning Requiring Local School Districts to Recognize Academic Credits Earned by Students in the Custody of the Division of Youth Services,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Leslie Herod. Under current law, when a student in out-of-home placement transfers from one school to another school, the sending school must certify to the receiving school or school district the course work that the student has fully or partially completed while enrolled at the school. The bill requires receiving schools and school districts to follow the same procedures for a student who transfers to a school or school district from a division of youth services placement.
  • SB 18-233 – “Concerning Technical Modifications to Miscellaneous Provisions of the ‘Uniform Election Code of 1992,’ and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sens. Vicki Marble & Stephen Fenberg and Reps. Mike Foote & Patrick Neville. The bill makes several technical modifications to miscellaneous provisions of the ‘Uniform Election Code of 1992.’
  • SB 18-235 – “Concerning the Creation of the Colorado Industrial Hemp Research and Development Authority,” by Sen. Don Coram and Rep. Jeni James Arndt. The bill creates the Colorado industrial hemp research and development task force to study whether to develop an industrial hemp research and development authority to develop, fund, and promote educational, research, and development programs and collaborative efforts concerning industrial hemp.
  • SB 18-239 – “Concerning a Licensed Chiropractor’s Ability to Perform Animal Chiropractic on an Animal Patient,” by Sen. Vicki Marble and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & James Wilson. Under current law, a licensed chiropractor must obtain a veterinary medical clearance from a licensed veterinarian before performing an animal chiropractic act that falls within the chiropractor’s scope of practice on an animal patient. The bill removes the veterinary medical clearance requirement for licensed chiropractors who have successfully completed 9 hours of course work related to contagious, infectious, and zoonotic diseases.
  • SB 18-253 – “Concerning the Effective Date to Transition the Department of Revenue’s CSTARS Account to the Department of Revenue’s DRIVES Vehicle Services Account,” by Sen. Kent Lambert and Rep. Dave Young. The bill establishes a uniform date of July 1, 2019, to transition the department of revenue’s Colorado state titling and registration (CSTARS) account to the department of revenue’s DRIVES vehicle services account. The bill also delays for one year the corresponding statutory repeal dates.
  • SB 18-262 – “Concerning Targeted Funding for Public Institutions of Higher Education to Help Achieve the Colorado Commission on Higher Education Master Plan Goals, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Reps. Crisanta Duran & Jeff Bridges. The bill makes appropriations to the department of higher education for need-based grants, student stipends, fee-for-service contracts with institutions of higher education, local district college grants, and area technical colleges.
  • SB 18-266 – “Concerning Controlling Costs under the ‘Colorado Medical Assistance Act, and, in Connection Therewith, Using Data and Technology, Creating a Hospital Review Program, and Making and Reducing an Appropriation,” by Sen. Kevin Lundberg and Rep. Dave Young. The bill directs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to provide information to providers participating in the accountable care collaborative.
  • SB 18-268 – “Concerning the Scope of the Authority of the Department of Transportation to Award a Design Bid Build Highway Project Contract in an Amount that Exceeds the Estimate of the Department on the Project,” by Sens. Ray Scott & Dominick Moreno and Reps. Barbara McLachlin. If there are fewer than 3 bidders on a design bid build highway project, a provision of current law generally prohibits the department of transportation (CDOT). The bill authorizes a designee of the executive director to award such a contract.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals: BAA Properly Determined that Vacant Land Could Not Be Reclassified as Residential

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Rust v. Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Vacant Land Tax Assessment—C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a)—Residential Property—“Used as a Unit” Element—Assessor’s Reference Library.

Rust bought residential property in Summit County and a year later bought the adjacent undeveloped parcel (the subject property). He and his family have used the two parcels for decades. The county assessor classified the subject property as vacant land for the years 2013 through 2015, subjecting it to a tax rate almost triple the rate for residential property. Rust sought reclassification, asserting that both properties should be classified as residential under C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a). The Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) affirmed the decision of the Board of County Commissioners of Summit County denying reclassification.

On appeal, Rust contended that the BAA misconstrued the “used as a unit” element in C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a), which defines residential land. County assessors use the Assessor’s Reference Library (ARL) for guidance in classifying land under this statute. The ARL further defines “used as a unit” as contiguous parcels of land that are under common ownership and are “used as an integral part of a residence.” Assessors use four guidelines when applying this definition. Here, the parties stipulated that the parcels are commonly owned and contiguous; the only issue was whether the subject property was “used as a unit” with the residential parcel. The assessor found no evidence that the subject property was an integral part of the residence, and the use of the subject property failed to support its reclassification as residential property. There was no error in the BAA’s decision.

The BAA’s order was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Practice of Billing Foreclosure Clients for Costs Not Incurred Violates CCPA

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in State of Colorado ex rel. Coffman v. Robert J. Hopp & Associates, LLC on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Foreclosure Commitments—Colorado Consumer Protection Act—Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act—Deceptive Trade Practices—Statute of Limitations—Title Insurance Policy—Cancellation Fee—Civil Penalties—Evidence.

Hopp is an attorney whose law firms provided legal services for mortgage defaults, including residential foreclosures, in Colorado. Hopp also owned businesses that supported the law firms’ foreclosure services, including National Title, LLC and First National Title Residential, LLC, which provided foreclosure commitments for the law firms. National Title and First National Title Residential issued title commitments and policies through an underwriter, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company (Fidelity). Fidelity had a Division of Insurance (DOI)-approved manual that set forth rates and charges for foreclosure commitments.

While representing loan servicers, the law firms typically ordered foreclosure commitments from Hopp’s title companies. National Title invoiced the law firms a charge of 110% of the schedule of basic rates upon the delivery of a foreclosure commitment. As a routine practice, within 10 days of filing a foreclosure action, the law firms passed this cost on to the servicers by billing and seeking reimbursement from them for the charge of 110% of the schedule of basic rates, even though this cost may not have actually been incurred.

The State of Colorado ex rel. Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General for the State of Colorado, and Julie Ann Meade, Administrator, Uniform Consumer Credit Code (collectively, plaintiffs) sued Hopp, his law firms, his affiliated title companies, and his business that provided accounting and bookkeeping services for the law firms and title companies (collectively, defendants), alleging that defendants violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) by engaging in the billing practices described above. The district court found in favor of plaintiffs and imposed penalties of $624,000.

On appeal, defendants contended that the trial court erred by imposing penalties under the CCPA and the CFDCPA because they were barred by the one-year limitation period in C.R.S. § 13-80-103(1)(d) and C.R.S. § 5-16-113(5) (CFDCPA claims), and C.R.S. § 6-1-115 (CCPA claims). Because the CCPA contains a statute of limitations specifically addressing cases brought under its provisions, the three-year statute of limitations controls over the more general C.R.S. § 13-80-103(1)(d). Further, because the CFDCPA did not contain a clear statute of limitations applying to government enforcement actions at the times relevant to this action, a catch-all provision applies requiring the government to file any claims within one year of discovery, which was done in this case. Therefore, the trial court did not err in concluding that the CFDCPA claims were timely filed.

Defendants next contended that the trial court erred when it concluded that they violated the CCPA and the CFDCPA by charging 110% of the schedule of basic rates for foreclosure commitment required by Fidelity’s rates on file with the DOI. This was the same amount that Fidelity’s manual listed as the charge for a completed title insurance policy, even in cases where the policy would never be issued because the foreclosure was cured or cancelled. Defendants did not charge amounts in compliance with Fidelity’s filed rates because they required payment from servicers even when a title insurance policy was never issued. The evidence supported the trial court’s finding that defendants misrepresented the premium charges as actually incurred costs. Therefore, the trial court did not err.

Defendants also contended that the trial court erred when it concluded that they knowingly engaged in a deceptive trade practice. Here, the trial court’s finding that defendants acted knowingly was supported by evidence in the record.

Defendants next argued that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted plaintiffs’ Exhibit 103 and relied on it in assessing civil penalties against defendants. Exhibit 103 is a 1,114-page spreadsheet compiling electronic invoicing data submitted by Hopp’s law firms through a billing software to the servicers from 2008 until the time of trial. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted Exhibit 103 as a business record under CRE 803(6).

Plaintiffs contended on cross-appeal that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted defendants’ Exhibit 1093 to rebut plaintiffs’ Exhibit 104. At times, servicers directed the law firms to order foreclosure commitments from LSI Default Title and Closing (LSI), instead of from one of Hopp’s affiliated title companies. Plaintiffs amended their complaint to add claims for defendants’ violation of the CCPA and CFDCPA through conduct regarding the LSI transactions. Exhibit 104 reflected that LSI appeared to charge defendants only $350 for title commitments ordered, which was representative of a cancellation fee. Exhibit 1093 was an email from an LSI representative to Hopp’s wife, which included an attached spreadsheet showing charges for full policy premiums rather than outstanding charges of $350. There were “unusual and unexplained adjustments” to Exhibit 104, and the trial court declined to place any weight on the exhibit in its final order and concluded that plaintiffs failed to prove their claim based on the LSI transactions. Here, there was a proper foundation for admitting Exhibit 1093, and given the late addition of the LSI claim and the parameters of the claim set forth in the plaintiffs’ written notice, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exclude Exhibit 1093 as a sanction for defendants’ failure to supplement their mandatory disclosures at a late point in litigation.

Both parties requested an award of attorney fees and costs incurred in this appeal. Plaintiffs, but not defendants, are entitled to an award.

The judgment was affirmed and the case was remanded with directions.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Statute of Limitations Does Not Begin when Party Signs Prepared Document

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Bell v. Land Title Guarantee Co. on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Buy and Sell Contract—Mineral Rights—Warranty Deed—Negligence—Breach of Contract—Statute of Limitations—Third Party—Cause of Action—Accrual Date.

The Bells hired Orr Land Company LLC (Orr) and its employee Ellerman to represent them in selling their real property. Orr found a buyer and the Bells entered into a buy and sell contract with the buyer, which provided, as pertinent here, that the sale excluded all oil, gas, and mineral rights in the property. Orr then retained Land Title Guarantee Company (Land Title) to draft closing documents, including the warranty deed. In 2005 the Bells signed the warranty deed and sold the property to the buyer. The Bells didn’t know that the warranty deed prepared by Land Title didn’t contain any language reserving the Bells’ mineral rights as provided in the buy and sell contract. For over nine years, the Bells continued to receive the mineral owner’s royalty payments due under an oil and gas lease on the property. In 2014 the lessee oil and gas company learned that the Bells didn’t own the mineral rights, so it began sending the payments to the buyer. After that, the Bells discovered that the warranty deed didn’t reserve their mineral rights as provided in the buy and sell contract. In 2016 the Bells filed this negligence and breach of contract action against defendants Land Title, Orr, and Ellerman. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the Bells’ claims were untimely because the statute of limitations had run. The district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss.

On appeal, the Bells contended that the district court erred in granting defendants’ motions to dismiss because they sufficiently alleged facts that, if true, establish that the statute of limitations didn’t begin to accrue on their claims until the oil and gas company ceased payment in September 2014, which is when they contended they discovered that the warranty deed didn’t reserve their mineral rights. A plaintiff must commence tort actions within two years from the date the cause of action accrues, and contract actions within three years from the date the cause of action accrues. A cause of action accrues on the date that “both the injury and its cause are known or should have been known by the exercise of reasonable diligence.” The trial court relied on the legal principle that one who signs a document is presumed to know its contents, so the Bells should have known on the day they signed the deed that the mineral rights reservation language was not included, and thus their claims accrued on that date. However, the presumed-to-know principle applies conclusively only where a party (for example, a grantor) seeks to avoid the legal effects of a deed in an action against another party to the conveyance (a grantee), not where a party (a grantor) asserts claims against third parties who failed to conform the deed to an underlying agreement on that party’s behalf. Here, the Bells claims against defendants, who aren’t parties to the deed, don’t seek to avoid the deed, but seek damages for negligent preparation of the deed, and the purpose of the presumed-to-know principle isn’t applicable. Taking the complaint’s factual allegations as true, the Bells filed their negligence and breach of contract claims within the statute of limitations and stated a plausible claim for relief. The court erred in granting defendants’ motions to dismiss.

The order of dismissal was reversed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Municipality Cannot Remove Property from Regional Transportation Authority Simply by Annexing Property

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Annexation—Colorado Constitution Article XX, section 6—Regional Transportation Authority—Sales Tax—Use Tax—Matter of Mixed Local and State Concern.

Colorado’s Regional Transportation Authority law (RTA Law) allows municipalities, counties, special districts, and the state to combine to provide regional transportation services and to collect sales and use taxes to pay for such services. In 2014, the City of Fountain annexed a parcel of vacant land (the Property) from unincorporated El Paso County. The Property was within the boundaries of the Authority when it was formed in 2004. Fountain, a home rule city in El Paso County, has never been a member of the Authority. After the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (Authority) announced its intention to collect a 1% sales tax from recently built retail businesses on the Property, the operators of the businesses, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Sam’s West, Inc. (collectively, plaintiffs) filed a declaratory judgment action against the Authority and the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR), which collects sales tax on behalf of both Fountain and the Authority. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that defendants could not collect sales and use taxes on the Property because the Property was now part of Fountain, which was not a member of the Authority. On cross-motions for summary judgment the district court declared that the taxes could be collected and entered summary judgment for defendants.

On appeal, plaintiffs first argued that Fountain’s annexation of the Property removed it from the Authority’s boundaries and that the Authority’s attempt to tax retail sales outside of its boundaries violates the RTA law. A municipality may annex property from unincorporated parts of the county in which it lies. However, that annexation power does not permit a municipality to automatically remove territory from other political subdivisions of the state. The Property remained within the Authority’s boundaries.

Plaintiffs’ also argued that under C.R.S. § 43-4-603(2)(d) the Property was no longer within the boundaries of the Authority due to its annexation by Fountain, which is not a “member of the combination” constituting the Authority and must be deemed to be outside the Authority’s boundaries under RTA Law. The court of appeals concluded that the legislature intended the statute to define the boundaries of an authority at its inception, not to define requirements for changing those boundaries thereafter. Further, the RTA law defines a specific procedure for how territory may be removed from an established authority, which was not followed here. Fountain’s annexation of the Property did not remove it from the Authority’s boundaries.

Plaintiffs further contended that the Authority’s statutory power to tax is preempted by Article XX, section 6 of the Colorado Constitution, which they argued gives home rule cities “plenary” and “sole” authority over local concerns such as municipal taxation and supersedes state statutes that conflict with local laws in these areas. Colorado case law has long recognized that transportation regulation is generally a matter of mixed local and state concern, and the Colorado Constitution does not give home rule cities sole authority over taxation within their boundaries. The provision of transportation services to the Property and the imposition of taxes to pay for such services is not a matter of purely local concern that under article XX, section 6 would supersede conflicting state law. Further, plaintiffs failed to establish that the state statute granting the Authority the right to impose such a tax conflicts with Fountain’s power to impose its own taxes. The district court did not err in rejecting plaintiffs’ preemption argument and concluding that the Authority’s sales tax on eligible transactions on the Property was valid.

Lastly, the court rejected plaintiffs’ argument that the district court erred by failing to address all of the factors that courts frequently consider in determining whether an issue is a matter of local, mixed, or state concern.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Plaintiff Need Not Post Bond in Every Land Use Appeal Under C.R.C.P. 106

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Stor-N-Lock Partners Inc. v. City of Thornton on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Administrative Law—C.R.C.P. 106—Specific Use Permit—Zoning Regulations—Evidence—Bond—Preliminary Injunction.

Plaintiff, Stor-N-Lock Partners #15, LLC (Stor-N-Lock), owns a self-storage facility located in the City of Thornton (the City). The Stor-N-Lock facility is located next to vacant property. Defendant Resolute Investments, Inc. (Resolute) contracted to buy the vacant property and then sought a specific use permit from the City to operate a self-storage facility there. The City granted the permit. Stor-N-Lock appealed the City’s decision to the district court under C.R.C.P. 106. While the case was pending in district court, Resolute filed a motion to require Stor-N-Lock to post a bond, theorizing that by filing the Rule 106 action, Stor-N-Lock had effectively obtained an injunction. The district court summarily denied the motion and affirmed.

On appeal, Stor-N-Lock argued that the City granted the permit in violation of its own zoning regulations, because the City failed to find that Resolute’s use of the property as a self-storage facility enhanced Stor-N-Lock’s property. However, the record evidence supports the City Council’s determination that the proposed use of the property would contribute to, enhance, or promote the welfare of adjacent properties, including Stor-N-Lock’s property. This evidence was sufficient to clear Rule 106(a)(4)’s low no-competent-evidence bar. Thus, the City Council did not abuse its discretion in granting the permit.

On cross-appeal, Resolute argued that although Stor-N-Lock did not seek a preliminary injunction, and the district court did not enjoin Resolute’s use of the property in any way, Stor-N-Lock should nonetheless have been ordered to post a bond when it initiated its Rule 106 action in the district court. Resolute argued that the mere filing of the action increased the financial risk associated with the project and thus created an “effective stay” of its development plan. However, a plaintiff is required to post a bond only when a restraining order or preliminary injunction has been entered . Here, Stor-N-Lock did not seek injunctive relief or a temporary restraining order and therefore was not required to post a bond. The district court did not err in denying Resolute’s motion to require security.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Land Parcels Only Contiguous If They Touch, so Parcels Separated by Public Right-of-Way Not Contiguous

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Bringle Family Trust v. Board of Assessment Appeals on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Property Tax—Classification—Residential—Vacant—Contiguous.

The Bringle Family Trust (Trust) owns two parcels of land in Summit County that are platted lots in the Bills Ranch Subdivision. The “residential parcel” is separated from the “subject parcel” by a road. This road is a public right-of-way maintained by the Bills Ranch Subdivision Association. In early 2016, the Trust petitioned the Board of County Commissioners of Summit County (the County) for an abatement or refund of taxes, arguing that the subject parcel’s property tax assessment classification should be changed from vacant to residential for tax years 2013 to 2015. The County denied the Trust’s petitions. The Board of County Commissioners (Board) upheld this decision.

On appeal, the Trust contended that the Board erroneously denied its petition by misconstruing C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a) to conclude that the subject parcel was not contiguous to the residential parcel or “used as a unit in conjunction with the residential improvements located thereon.” The subject parcel must be contiguous to the residential parcel to be classified as residential property for tax purpose. Parcels are contiguous only if they touch. The Trust’s subject and residential parcels are distinct parcels separated by a public road that the Trust does not own. The Trust failed to show that the subject parcel meets the C.R.S. § 39-1-102(14.4)(a) contiguity requirement, and thus the Board correctly declined to reclassify the subject parcel as residential property. Given this determination, the court of appeals did not address the Trust’s contention that the subject parcel meets the “used as a unit” requirement.

The Board’s order was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Bills Signed Modifying Public Trustee Foreclosure Process, Lowering Mandatory Parole for Certain Felonies, and More

On Monday, April 23, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed 20 bills into law. To date, he has signed 169 bills and sent one to the Secretary of State without a signature. Some of the bills signed Monday include a bill modifying the Public Trustee Foreclosure process, a bill lowering mandatory parole for certain felonies, a bill allowing discretionary parole of special needs offenders, and more. The bills signed Monday are summarized here.

  • 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. Kerry Donovan & Don Coram. 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.
  • HB 18-1025 – “Concerning the Nonsubstantive Relocation of Laws Related to the Regulation of Alcohol Beverages from Title 12, Colorado Revised Statutes, to a New Title 44 as Part of the Organizational Recodification of Title 12, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Leslie Herod and Sens. John Cooke & Bob Gardner. The bill creates Title 44 and relocates laws related to the regulation of alcohol beverages to the new Title 44.
  • HB 18-1029 – “Concerning Lowering the Period of Mandatory Parole from Five Years to Three Years for Certain Felony Offenses,” by Rep. Mike Weissman and Sen. Kevin Lundberg. Under current law, the length of a mandatory parole sentence for a class 2 and 3 felony is 5 years. The bill lowers the length of mandatory parole for a class 2 felony if the offense is not a crime of violence and a class 3 felony to 3 years.
  • HB 18-1047 – “Concerning Technical Modifications to the ‘Fair Campaign Practices Act’ to Facilitate its Administration,” by Rep. Susan Lontine and Sen. Bob Gardner. The bill makes technical modifications to the “Fair Campaign Practices Act” (FCPA) to facilitate its administration.
  • HB 18-1065 – “Concerning Discipline of a Department of Human Services Employee when the Employee is Found to have Mistreated a Vulnerable Person,” by Reps. Susan Beckman & Janet Buckner and Sens. Kent Lambert. Current law specifies when an employee of the Department of Human Services will be suspended or dismissed after being charged with specified criminal offenses. However, the Department has encountered difficulty in suspending, dismissing, or otherwise disciplining employees through the administrative process when the employee was involved in an egregious incident of mistreatment of a vulnerable person but was not convicted of a criminal offense. The bill specifies that in considering a disciplinary action against an employee for engaging in mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or exploitation, against a vulnerable person, the appointing authority shall give weight to the safety of vulnerable persons over the interests of any other person.
  • HB 18-1098 – “Concerning the Expanded Ability of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to Finance the Remediation of Oil and Gas Locations,” by Reps. Lori Saine & Matt Gray and Sen. Vicki Marble. Under current practice, expenditures by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to address the mitigation of adverse environmental impacts of oil and gas operations are paid from the environmental response account of the oil and gas conservation and environmental response fund, and the year-end balance of the account transfers into the fund. The bill specifies that the year-end balance of the account remains in the account.
  • HB 18-1109 – “Concerning Discretionary Parole of Special Needs Offenders,” by Rep. Mike Weissman and Sen. John Cooke. The bill makes several changes to the process of determining parole for special needs offenders.
  • HB 18-1191 – “Concerning a Local Authority’s Ability to Alter Speed Limits Within the Local Authority’s Jurisdiction,” by Rep. Faith Winter and Sens. Beth Martinez Humenik & John Kefalas. Current law requires county and municipal authorities (authorities) to conduct a traffic investigation or survey before increasing or decreasing the speed limits within the authority’s jurisdiction. The bill allows the authority to also consider certain other factors.
  • HB 18-1227 – “Concerning the Authority of the Real Estate Commission to Issue Licenses for an Initial Period of Less than Three Years,” by Reps. Leslie Herod & Cole Wist and Sen. John Cooke. The bill authorizes the Real Estate Commission to issue licenses that expire on December 31 of the year of issuance.
  • HB 18-1242 – “Concerning the Salary Categorization of Locally Elected Officers in Specified Counties,” by Reps. KC Becker & Donald Valdez and Sens. Larry Crowder & Randy Baumgardner. Current law categorizes each county for purposes of establishing the salaries of elected county officials in the county. The statutory salary amounts are adjusted every 2 years for inflation and take effect for terms commencing after any change is made. The bill modifies the categories of 4 counties with the accompanying percentage increase in salary.
  • HB 18-1254 – “Concerning the Modification of the Foreclosure Process on Property that is Encumbered by a Deed of Trust,” by Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and Sen. Jim Smallwood. The bill makes several modifications to the public trustee foreclosure process, including eliminating the authority of the holder’s attorney to specify a newspaper for publication, allowing an amended combined notice to be omitted in certain circumstances, modifying the amounts of deposits required for fees and costs of the public trustee, and more.
  • HB 18-1327 – “Concerning the All-Payer Health Claims Database, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Dominick Moreno. The bill authorizes the General Assembly to appropriate general fund money to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to pay for expenses related to the all-payer health claims database.
  • HB 18-1330 – “Concerning a Supplemental State Payment Relating to Certain Office-Administered Oncology-Related Drugs for Qualified Providers under the Medical Assistance Program who Experienced a Reduction in Reimbursement Payments in the 2017-18 State Fiscal Year as a Result of the Implementation of the Federal Final Rules for Covered Outpatient Drugs, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Dominick Moreno. The bill authorizes a supplemental payment of state-only money to providers under the medicaid program of certain office-administered drugs relating to oncology who experienced a decrease in aggregate reimbursements in the 2017-18 fiscal year as a result of the implementation of the federal department of health and human services final rule for covered outpatient drugs, 81 FR 5169, published in the federal register on February 1, 2016.
  • SB 18-014 – “Concerning Requiring the Department of Corrections to Disclose the Location of Inmates who are Relocated to Facilities Outside of the State,” by Sens. Rhonda Fields & John Cooke and Reps. Cole Wist & Leslie Herod. The bill states that if the Department of Corrections relocates an inmate for incarceration or contracts with another state for the incarceration of an inmate in a penal institution in another state, then not later than 48 hours after such relocation, the Department shall notify the prosecuting attorney and any registered victim of crimes for which the inmate is serving his or her sentence of the name and location of the penal institution where the inmate is to be housed, with certain exceptions.
  • SB 18-026 – “Concerning Measures to Make Sex Offender Registration More Effective,” by Sen. Daniel Kagan and Reps. Pete Lee, Leslie Herod, and Yeulin Willett. The bill makes several changes to the sex offender registration process.
  • SB 18-055 – “Concerning the Crimes Against Children Surcharge in Cases Involving Trafficking of Children,” by Sen. Tim Neville and Reps. Kevin Van Winkle & Edie Hooten. Current law requires each person who is convicted of a crime against a child to pay a surcharge to the clerk of the court for the judicial district in which the conviction occurs. The bill adds the crime of human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude to the definition of crime against a child for purposes of the surcharge.
  • SB 18-149 – “Concerning Records of the Board of Directors of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Reps. Matt Gray & Leslie Herod. The bill specifies that certain reports, statements, agreements, bonds, guidelines, manuals, handbooks, and accounts of the authority are public records. The bill also specifies that the content of an electronic medical record system and individual medical records or medical information are not public records.
  • SB 18-151 – “Concerning Department of Education Research to Develop Bullying Prevention Policies,” by Sens. Rhonda Fields & Kevin Priola and Reps. Janet Buckner & James Wilson. The bill requires the Department of Education to research approaches, policies, and practices in other states related to bullying prevention and education, and to develop a model bullying prevention and education policy after considering its research.
  • SB 18-174 – “Concerning Liability of Entities that Provide Services to Persons with Developmental Disabilities in Residential Settings,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Rep. Lang Sias. The bill defines ‘case management agency’ and adds a case management agency to the definition of ‘provider’ that provides services and supports to persons with developmental disabilities. The bill requires providers and service agencies to operate pursuant to department of health care policy and financing rules.
  • SB 18-188 – “Concerning Agricultural Commodities, and, in Connection Therewith, Adding Millet to the Definition of an Agricultural Commodity and Allowing the Commissioner of Agriculture to Determine Marketing Order Public Announcement Requirements,” by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Jon Becker. The bill adds millet to the definition of an agricultural commodity in the “Colorado Agricultural Marketing Act of 1939.” The bill removes the requirement that marketing order issuance, suspension, amendment, or termination be posted in the office of the commissioner of agriculture and published in a newspaper.

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

Bills Signed Requiring Commercial Drivers to Receive Training in Human Trafficking Prevention, Modifying Water Court Process for Substitute Water Rights, and More

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed 23 bills into law. To date, he has signed 149 bills and sent one to the Secretary of State without a signature. Some of the bills signed Thursday include a bill allowing a water court process for mitigation measures, a bill requiring commercial drivers to receive training on prevention of human trafficking, a bill authorizing insurers’ agents to access the electronic motor vehicle title database, and more. The bills signed Thursday are summarized here.

  • SB 18-011 – “Concerning Treatment of Students who are Excused by their Parents from Participating in State Assessments,” by Sens. Chris Holbert & Andy Kerr and Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Paul Lundeen. The bill clarifies procedures for parents who excuse their children from taking state assessments and students whose parents excuse them from testing shall still be allowed to receive rewards designed for students who complete the assessments.
  • SB 18-079 – “Concerning Classifying Sake as a Vinous Liquor for the Purposes of the ‘Colorado Liquor Code,'” by Sen. Lucia Guzman and Rep. Dan Pabon. The bill classifies sake as a vinous liquor (wine) for the purposes of the “Colorado Liquor Code.”
  • 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.
  • SB 18-106 – “Concerning Obsolete Statutory Provisions Related to a Local Government’s Pledging of Sales or Use Tax Revenues to Pay for Revenue Bonds Issued for the Purpose of Financing Capital Improvements,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Don Thurlow. Current law specifies that a county, city, or incorporated town may include the creation of a sales and use tax capital improvement fund (special fund) when the county, city, or incorporated town seeks voter approval to levy a sales or use tax. The creation of the special fund does not have a purpose for a county, city, or incorporated town post-TABOR because the question of using sales or use tax revenues for financing capital improvements is asked when the county, city, or incorporated town seeks voter approval for the bond issuance. Thus, the language regarding the creation of the fund is unnecessary.
  • SB 18-110 – “Concerning the Repeal of the Requirement that Each State Agency Annually Report the Amount of Federal Money it Received in the Prior Fiscal Year,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Jeni James Arndt. During the 2017 legislative session, the statutory revision committee put forth House Bill 17-1058, which, in part, repealed a requirement that the state controller submit to the general assembly a report of all federal money received by state agencies during the prior fiscal year. State agencies are still required to submit an annual report to the state controller of all federal moneys received by the state agency in the prior fiscal year for the state controller’s use in preparing the report for the general assembly.The bill repeals the state agency reporting requirement as the state controller is no longer required to prepare a report for the general assembly.
  • SB 18-127 – “Concerning the Repeal of the Department of Revenue’s Requirement to Publish an Historical Explanation of Income Tax Rate Modifications Enacted in the State on Every Income Tax Return Form,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Rep. Dan Thurlow. The bill repeals the requirement that the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue publish an historical explanation of income tax rate modifications enacted in the state on every income tax return form.
  • SB 18-129 – “Concerning the Nonsubstantive Reorganization of the Law Exempting from State Sales Tax Certain Drugs and Medical and Therapeutic Devices,” by Sen. Dominick Moreno and Rep. Jeni James Arndt. The bill makes several modifications to the laws exempting certain drugs and medical devices from sales tax.
  • SB 18-136 – “Concerning Fees for Advising Clients About the Selection of an Individual Health Benefit Plan,” by Sen. Tim Neville and Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Lang Sias. The bill allows an insurance producer or broker advising a client on individual health benefit plans to charge the client a fee if the producer or broker does not receive a commission related to the individual health benefit plan selected by the client and if the producer or broker discloses in writing the fee to the client.
  • SB 18-161 – “Concerning Repeal of the Behavioral Health Transformation Council,” by Sen. Jim Smallwood and Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp & Lois Landgraf. The bill repeals the behavioral health transformation council.
  • SB 18-162 – “Concerning Substitute Child Care Providers,” by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and Reps. Janet Buckner & James Wilson. The bill creates a license within the Department of Human Services for a substitute placement agency that places or that facilitates or arranges placement of substitute child care providers in licensed child care facilities providing less than 24-hour care.
  • SB 18-170 – “Concerning a Water Court Process by Which an Owner of a Storage Water Right Allowing Water to be Stored in New Reservoir Capacity may Release Water into an Identified Stream Reach in a Manner that Protects the Water Releases while Complying with Mitigation Measures Identified in a Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Plan Approved by the Colorado Water Conservation Board,” by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. Chris Hansen & Hugh McKean. The bill establishes a water court process by which an owner of a water storage right allowing water to be stored in a newly constructed reservoir or an enlarged existing reservoir may comply with the mitigation measures identified in a mitigation plan by contracting with the board.
  • SB 18-172 – “Concerning Testing of Horse Racing Licensees for the Presence of Prohibited Substances,” by Sen. Bob Gardner and Rep. Pete Lee. The bill adds to the responsibilities of the Colorado racing commission the protection of all participants, human and animal, involved in horse racing.
  • SB 18-176 – “Concerning Changes to the Requirements for Meeting Dates for the Board of the Southwestern Water Conservation District,” by Sen. Don Coram and Reps. Barbara McLachlin & Marc Catlin. The bill requires the Board of the Southwestern Water Conservation District to meet once every three months and makes amendments to the terms of the board members and board president.
  • SB 18-182 – “Concerning the Authority to Allocate a Portion of the Source Market Fee to Statutorily Authorized Purse Funds,” by Sens. Don Coram & Lucia Guzman and Reps. Marc Catlin & Jeni James Arndt. Current law requires persons outside of Colorado who accept wagers from residents of Colorado on simulcast horse racing events to be licensed in Colorado and to pay a source market fee into the racing cash fund. The bill authorizes the Director of the Division of Racing Events to allocate a portion of the source market fee to be paid to any horse purse trust fund established pursuant to existing law, if necessary, to maintain a sustainable and competitive purse structure in Colorado.
  • SB 18-183 – “Concerning Authorizing Agents of Insurers to Access the Electronic System that Insurers Access for Owner and Lienholder Information of a Motor Vehicle,” by Sen. Jack Tate and Reps. Jeni James Arndt & Larry Liston. Current law authorizes the creation and maintenance of an electronic system that vehicle towers, insurers, and salvage pools may use to access motor vehicle title records if the vehicle is insured or possessed by those entities. The bill allows an agent of an insurer to use the system in the same circumstances.
  • SB 18-184 – “Concerning a New Permit for the Short-term Extraction of Construction Materials,” by Sen. Don Coram and Reps. Hugh McKean & Daneya Esgar. The bill creates a new class of limited impact construction materials permits for one-time activities that produce construction materials as a by-product and are not intended to be ongoing mining operations and authorizes an application fee of $400 for the permit and an annual fee of $200.
  • HB 18-1017 – “Concerning the Adoption of an Interstate Compact to Allow a Person Authorized to Practice Psychology in a Compact State in Which the Person is not Licensed, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” by Rep. Dafna Michelson Jenet and Sens. Bon Gardner & Stephen Fenberg. The bill enacts the ‘Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact Act’ allowing psychologists licensed in any compact state to provide telepsychology services to clients in any other compact state, or temporary in-person client services in any compact state not exceeding 30 days in a calendar year.
  • HB 18-1018 – “Concerning a Requirement that Education to Prevent Human Trafficking be Included in the Training to Obtain a Commercial Driver’s License,” by Reps. Terri Carver & Dominique Jackson and Sens. Rachel Zenzinger & John Cooke. The bill requires that the training to obtain a commercial driver’s license to drive a combination vehicle contain education to prevent human trafficking if the training is conducted in a driving school. The department must also publish information about human trafficking for commercial driver’s license holders and trainees.
  • HB 18-1049 – “Concerning the Department of Human Services’ Authority to Continue to Lease Portions of the Grand Junction Regional Center Campus to Third-party Behavioral Health Providers,” by Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sen. Ray Scott. The Department of Human Services currently leases portions of the Grand Junction regional center campus to third-party behavioral health providers. The bill authorizes the Department to continue such leases until June 30, 2020, and each party to such lease may terminate the lease early provided that the terminating party provide the other party with 90 days notice before vacating the property or requiring the property to be vacated.
  • HB 18-1056 – “Concerning the Statewide Standard Health History Form that Members of the Fire and Police Pension Association Complete when Commencing Employment,” by Reps. Kevin Van Winkle & Dave Williams and Sen. John Cooke. Every member of the fire and police pension association (FPPA), at the commencement of employment, is required to complete a health history on a statewide standard health history form. The bill clarifies several aspects of the form.
  • HB 18-1078 – “Concerning Court Programs for Defendants who have Served in the Armed Forces,” by Reps. Lois Landgraf & Tony Exum and Sen. Bob Gardner. Under current law, the chief judge of a judicial district may establish an appropriate program for the treatment of veterans and members of the military. The bill states that, in establishing any such program, the chief judge, in collaboration with the probation department, the district attorney, and the state public defender, shall establish program guidelines and eligibility criteria. The bill requires a court, in determining whether to issue an order to seal criminal records of a petitioner who has successfully completed a veterans treatment program, to consider such factor favorably in making the determination.
  • HB 18-1154 – “Concerning Consumer Protections Relating to a Solicitation to Provide a Copy of a Public Record for a Fee,” by Reps. Edie Hooten & Kevin Van Winkle and Sen. Cheri Jahn. The bill requires a person who solicits a fee for providing a copy of a deed or deed of trust to give a copy of the document that will be used for the solicitation to each county clerk and recorder where the solicitation is to be distributed; not charge a fee of more than 4 times the amount charged by the county clerk and recorder; and include specified disclosures.
  • HB 18-1239 – “Concerning Continuation under the Sunset Law of the Environmental Management System Permit Program, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies by Allowing the Program to Repeal,” by Rep. Lois Landgraf and Sen. Ray Scott. The bill implements the recommendations of the sunset review and report on the environmental management system permit program by allowing the program to repeal.

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

Bills Signed Regarding Ground Water Commission Approval of Aquifer Storage and Recovery Plans, Repealing Procedures to Fill Municipal Vacancies, and More

On Monday, April 9, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed 12 bills into law. To date, he has signed 126 bills into law and sent one to the Secretary of State without a signature. The bills signed Monday include a bill to increase transparency in higher education statutes concerning military service, a bill repealing procedures to fill vacancies in candidate nominations for municipal elections, a bill allowing the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission to roll-over its year-end balances in order to facilitate financing, and more. The bills signed Monday are summarized here.

  • SB 18-107 – “Concerning the Repeal of Procedures to Fill Vacancies in Candidate Nominations for Elections Conducted under the ‘Colorado Municipal Code of 1965,'” by Sen. Rachel Zenzinger and Rep. Dan Thurlow. The bill repeals the process by which a vacancy in nomination may be filled for an election conducted under the ‘Colorado Municipal Code of 1965’ and makes conforming amendments.
  • HB 18-1098 – “Concerning the Expanded Ability of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to Finance the Remediation of Oil and Gas Locations,” by Reps. Lori Saine & Matt Gray and Sen. Vicki Marble. Under current practice, expenditures by the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission to address the mitigation of adverse environmental impacts of oil and gas operations are paid from the environmental response account of the oil and gas conservation and environmental response fund, and the year-end balance of the account transfers into the fund. The bill specifies that the year-end balance of the account remains in the account.
  • HB 18-1112 – “Concerning Covered Health Care Services Provided by a Pharmacist,” by Reps. Jon Becker & Daneya Esgar and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill requires a health benefit plan to provide coverage for health care services provided by a pharmacist if the services are provided within a health professional shortage area and the health benefit plan provides coverage for the same services provided by a licensed physician or advanced practice nurse.
  • HB 18-1134 – “Concerning Eligibility of Kindergarten Students Funded through Early Childhood At-risk Enhancement Positions,” by Reps. Brittany Pettersen & James Wilson and Sens. Michael Merrifield & Beth Martinez Humenik. If a district chooses to use early childhood at-risk enhancement (ECARE) positions to enroll children in the district’s full-day kindergarten program, children using the ECARE positions must satisfy at least one of the eligibility requirements of the Colorado preschool program.
  • HB 18-1145 – “Concerning the Repeal of Laws Regulating Ballot Issue Petition Circulators that have been Permanently Enjoined from Enforcement,” by Rep. Edie Hooten and Sen. Dominick Moreno. The bill repeals laws ordered permanently enjoined from enforcement in Independence Inst. v. Gessler , 936 F. Supp. 2d 1256 (D. Colo. 2013).
  • HB 18-1148 – “Concerning the Prohibition Against a Carrier Requiring Step Therapy for Covered Persons with Stage Four Advanced Metastatic Cancer,” by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sen. Larry Crowder. The bill prohibits a carrier that issues a health benefit plan that covers treatment for stage four advanced metastatic cancer from requiring a cancer patient to undergo step therapy prior to receiving a drug approved by the United States food and drug administration if use of the approved drug is consistent with best practices for treatment of the cancer and as long as the drug is on the carrier’s prescription drug formulary.
  • HB 18-1172 – “Concerning Money Allocated from an Appropriation from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund to a Designated Managed Service Organization to Implement its Community Action Plan,” by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Kent Lambert. The bill amends the ‘Increasing Access to Effective Substance Use Disorder Services Act’ to clarify that a designated managed service organization (designated MSO) may use money allocated to it from the marijuana tax cash fund for expenditures for substance use disorder services and for any start-up costs or other expenses necessary to increase capacity to provide such services and may allow allocations to roll forward.
  • HB 18-1199 – “Concerning a Process for the Ground Water Commission to Use for Approving Aquifer Storage-and-Recovery Plans, and, in Connection Therewith, Requiring that the Ground Water Commission Promulgate Rules Governing its Implementation of the Process,” by Reps. Marc Catlin & Barbara McLaughlin and Sen. Don Coram. The bill authorizes a person to apply to the ground water commission (commission) for approval of an aquifer storage-and-recovery plan and requires the commission to promulgate rules governing the application process and the requirements that an aquifer storage-and-recovery plan must meet to be approved.
  • HB 18-1228 – “Concerning Increasing Transparency in Higher Education Statutes Relating to Military Service,” by Reps. Justin Everett & Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sen. Leroy Garcia. The bill creates a new article 7.4 in title 23, Colorado Revised Statutes, with the article heading ‘Military Members, Veterans, and Dependents’, in order to locate physically within the same article, whenever practicable, higher education provisions relating to the military.
  • HB 18-1238 – “Concerning the Continuation of the Wildland-Urban Interface Training Advisory Board, and, in Connection Therewith, Implementing the Recommendations of the 2017 Sunset Report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies,” by Reps. Dominique Jackson & Marc Catlin and Sen. Vicki Marble. The bill implements the recommendation of the Department of Regulatory Agencies to sunset the wildland-urban interface training advisory board.
  • HB 18-1246 – “Concerning Updates to the “Colorado Nursery Act”, and, in Connection Therewith, Modernizing the Act and Protecting Agriculture from Pests, Diseases, and Noxious Weeds,” by Rep. Jessie Danielson and Sen. Don Coram. The bill updates the ‘Colorado Nursery Act’, last amended in 2009, to protect nursery stock.
  • HB 18-1293 – “Concerning Payment of Expenses of the Legislative Department,” by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Patrick Neville and Sens. Kevin Grantham & Lucia Guzman. The bill makes appropriations for matters related to the legislative department for the 2018-19 state fiscal year.

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