June 27, 2019

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Bills Regarding Water Law, Medical Marijuana, Unemployment Insurance, and More

Governor Hickenlooper continues to sign bills as they reach his desk. To date, he has signed 137 bills into law.

On April 4, 2013, the governor signed 19 bills. Five of them are summarized here.

  • SB 13-074 – Concerning the Resolution of Ambiguities in Old Water Right Decrees Regarding the Place of Use of Irrigation Water, by Sen. Mary Hodge and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill creates a mechanism to determine the maximum number of acres that may be irrigated under a pre-1937 determination of water rights.
  • HB 13-1054 – Concerning Lessening the Reduction of Unemployment Insurance Benefits Required when a Claimant Withdraws Amounts from a Retirement Plan as a Result of Unemployment, by Reps. Jovan Melton and Tony Exum and Sen. Lois Tochtrop. The bill changes the way unemployment benefits are affected by the withdrawal of funds from employer-sponsored retirement accounts.
  • HB 13-1061 – Concerning Standards for Responsible Medical Marijuana Vendors, by Rep. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Irene Aguilar. The bill creates the Responsible Medical Marijuana Vendor Server and Seller Designation for licensed medical marijuana businesses and establishes procedures for receiving the designation.
  • HB 13-1124  – Concerning the Reduction of Improper Unemployment Insurance Benefit Payments Through Compliance with the Federal “Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension act of 2011” and Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Dan Pabon and Amy Stephens and Sen. Cheri Jahn. The bill conforms Colorado unemployment insurance law with federal law.
  • HB 13-1157 – Concerning Adoption of the 2012 “Uniform Commercial Code” Article 4.5 Amendments, by Rep. Frank McNulty and Sen. Angela Giron. The bill clarifies provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code regarding remittance transfers.

The governor signed 12 bills on April 8, 2013. Four of them are summarized here.

  • SB 13-030 – Concerning an Additional Review of Rules Promulgated Pursuant to the “State Administrative Procedure Act” by Committees of Reference of the General Assembly, by Sen. Mark Scheffel and Rep. Dan Nordberg. The bill creates additional notice for the public and the General Assembly for rules adopted as a result of legislation.
  • SB 13-041 – Concerning the Protection of Stored Water and Preserving Supplies for Drought and Long-Term Needs, by Sens. Mary Hodge and Ellen Roberts and Reps. Randy Fischer and Jerry Sonnenberg. The bill, enacted because of the Colorado Supreme Court ruling in Upper Yampa Water Conservatory District v. Wolfe, expands the term “beneficial use” and clarifies rules regarding water storage rights.
  • SB 13-116 – Concerning the Authority of Forensic Psychologists to Conduct Mental Health Evaluations under Article 8 of Title 16, Colorado Revised Statutes, by Sen. Jessie Ulibarri and Rep. Pete Lee. The bill authorizes licenses forensic psychologists to conduct mental health evaluations for criminal defendants if so ordered by the court.
  • HB 13-1202 – Concerning Counseling by Medicaid Providers Relating to Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment, by Reps. Cheri Gerou and Mark Ferrandino and Sen. John Kefalas. The bill allows reimbursement for Medicaid providers who offer counseling regarding medical orders for scope of treatment.

Finally, on April 18, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper signed four bills into law. They are summarized here.

  • HB 13-1060 – Concerning Raising the Maximum Fine that may be Assessed by a Municipal Court, by Rep. Mike McLachlan and Sen. Linda Newell. The bill raises the maximum fine that may be assessed by a municipal court and allows for adjustments for inflation.
  • HB 13-1147 – Concerning Voter Registration Facilitated by State Institutions of Higher Education, by Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. Linda Newell. The bill requires state institutions of higher education to provide a link to voter registration for students who are registering online for classes, and to provide information about voter registration if the institution does not use online registration.
  • HB 13-1179 – Concerning Deadlines for State Agencies to Submit Documents Related to Appropriations to the Joint Budget Committee, by Rep. Claire Levy and Sen. Pat Steadman. The bill requires state agencies to submit budget requests by certain deadlines.
  • HB 13-1243 – Concerning Factual Findings Included in Parenting Time Orders, by Rep. Dave Young and Sen. Jessie Ulibarri. The bill requires courts to submit specific facts to support endangerment of child in orders that restrict parenting time.

For a complete list of the governor’s 2013 legislative decisions, click here.

SB 13-041: For Purposes of Perfecting a Water Right, Expanding the Definition of “Beneficial Use” to Include Storage of Water

On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, Sen. Mary Hodge introduced SB 13-041 – Concerning the Protection of Stored Water, and, in Connection Therewith, Preserving Supplies for Drought and Long-Term Needs. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

In the case of Upper Yampa Water Conservancy Dist. v. Wolfe, 255 P.3d 1108 (Colo. 2011), the Colorado Supreme Court held that storage of water is not a beneficial use, at least where flood control and fire or drought protection are not the stated uses of the water, and that to perfect a conditional storage right, the water must be released from storage and put to beneficial use. Further, an applicant must show that it has exhausted its absolute storage rights before its conditional storage rights can be perfected.

The bill reverses these holdings by:

  • Expanding the definition of “beneficial use” to include the impoundment of water for firefighting or storage for any decreed purpose;
  • Specifying that:
    1. An applicant doesn’t have to demonstrate that all existing absolute decreed water rights that are part of an integrated system have been utilized to their full extent to establish the need to exercise a conditional water storage right or to make it absolute, in whole or in part;
    2. When conditional water storage rights are made absolute, the decreed volume should be the extent of the volume of the appropriation that has been captured, possessed, and controlled at the decreed storage structure; and
    3. Carrying water over in storage from one year to another is not grounds for a determination of abandonment.

On Jan. 31, the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee approved the bill and moved it to the Senate 2nd Reading Consent Calendar.

Since this summary, on Second Reading, the Senate laid the bill over daily with amendments.