Eye on the Legislature

June 4, 2018

Today’s edition is the final column for the 2018 legislative session. Eye on the Legislature will return with the 2019 General Assembly.

Doris Beaver’s Seeing the Round Corners on this website is on hiatus until July, 2018. The mission statement for Seeing the Round Corners is to present information on various issues such as the environment, Senior issues, government and ethics to encourage readers to get involved, to ask questions, not just accept what’s in the print and on-air media

House Bill 18-1020 was signed by the Governor on May 29th, and provides for

implementation of the requirements placed into law with the passage of House Bill 17-1313. HB 1313 required state and local agencies involved in the seizure of property (seizing agencies) as part of a criminal investigation to submit reports to the Department of Local Affairs, and also established a $50,000.00 threshold for receiving proceeds from federal seizures. 

Among the significant changes made to the Colorado Revised Statutes is that “reporting agencies” rather than “seizing agencies” must file the reports required by HB 1020, expands the scope of the reports to include seizures related to a local public nuisance law or ordinance, and seizing agencies are prohibited from receiving forfeiture proceeds from the federal government unless the aggregate value of property seized in a case is over $50,000.00.

House Bill 18-1252 was also signed by the Governor on May 29th, and addresses the unlawful sale of academic materials for submission at an institution of higher education, a practice that under current Colorado law is not specifically prohibited, according to analysis by the legislative council staff and so stated in the fiscal impact analysis.

While Colorado institutions have policies in place, adding this new criminal offense to the Colorado Revised Statutes provides the attorney general and each district attorney with authority to apply to any court with jurisdiction for injunctive relief.

House Bill 18-1283 was signed by the Governor on May 29th, and involves improvements on property classified residential being destroyed. The bill also provides when the residential land classification must be changed by the county assessor:

  • a new residential improvement or part of a new residential improvement is not constructed or placed on the land prior to January 1, after the two year period identified in this bill;
  • the county assessor determines the classification of the land at the time of the destruction, demolition or relocation was incorrectly classified; or
  • a change of use has occurred.

   For readers unfamiliar with Colorado assessments, under current law, property taxes are paid on a portion of the actual value of the property called the assessed value. Assessed value is based on either the residential or non-residential classification of the land as determined by the land’s physical status and use.

House Bill 18-1306 is somewhat of a companion bill to HB 18-1319 signed by the Governor on May 18th.  HB 1306 recognizes students in foster care and other highly mobile student populations should be given the opportunity to achieve educational success. The intent of HB 1306 is to implement a policy that ensures flexibility and cooperation between the education system, child welfare system, families and students.

Toward that goal, among the sections of the Colorado Revised Statutes amended include but not limited to those providing for a foster care education coordinator, a child welfare education liaison for all school districts, transportation and services for a student in out-of-home placement to remain in the student’s school of origin, and counseling for improving access to post-secondary options. 

House Bill 18-1343 was signed by the Governor on May 24th, and repeals a sunset date of January 5, 2019 imposed in HB 16-1267 for the Colorado Veterans Service-to Career Pilot Program in the Colorado Department of Labor, thus making the pilot project into a permanent and ongoing program.

HB 1343 defines those covered as eligible participants with “skills training, internships, work placements, mentorship opportunities, career and professional counseling and support services”:

  • veterans
  • veteran’s spouse
  • veteran’s dependent child who is twenty-six years or younger and lives in the home of the veteran;
  • a veteran’s caregiver who is eighteen years of age or older and has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of an injured veteran; and
  • a person who is actively serving in the United States Armed Forces and who is within six months of being discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, or a member of the National Guard or military reserves who has completed entry training.

Senate Bill 18-235 titled “The Creation of the Colorado Industrial Hemp Research and Development Authority,” further supports the growing recognition of industrial hemp. The purpose of creating the Authority is to “develop, fund and promote educational, research and development programs and collaborative efforts concerning industrial hemp.” SB 18-205 was signed by the Governor on May 29th.

The Authority is also directed to “apply for federal funding from the National Institution of Food and Agriculture in the United States Department of Agriculture for industrial hemp education, research and extension programs and projects.”

Senate Bill 18-205, another step in the growing industrial hemp programs, expands the definition of farm products to add unprocessed industrial hemp seeds and industrial hemp. SB 205 was also signed by the Governor on May 29th.

Additional regulations coming into play with passage of SB 205:

  • unprocessed industrial hemp seeds will be subject to licensing under the Commodity Handler Act; and
  • a dealer, small-volume dealer, or agent for industrial hemp stocks, leaves, clones and flowers will be subject to licensing under the Farm Products Act.

   The Commissioner of Agriculture is authorized by the bill to set fees sufficient to cover the direct and indirect costs of the Industrial Hemp Program, replacing the method under current law of registration fees being based on the size and use of the land area on which the industrial hemp operations are conducted.

At deadline time, the Governor still had not acted on HB 18-1187, another of the several marijuana-related pieces of legislation which no doubt will be a part of a signing ceremony before the expiration of his actions deadline.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me doris@dorisbeaver.com. The mission of Seeing the Round Corners is to evoke a thought process and interest in becoming better informed and to be skeptical of the headline-grabbing purveyors of information. The writer is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.