Eye on the Legislature

April 11, 2016

Sometimes political fallout from scandals reaches a broad spectrum, and unfortunately affects some really well-intended programs. The now infamous VA Hospital in Colorado comes to mind.

House Bill 16-1351 would have meant the development of transitional housing for homeless veterans and veterans with disabilities. A second parcel of land would have been developed into an assisted living housing for veterans with disabilities and their spouses and legal dependents, all pursuant to a memorandum of agreement with the United States Army, and in accordance with the requirements of Title V of the federal "McKinney-Vento Homeless Act."

The Colorado state veterans home at Fitzsimons was constructed and opened in 2001, but the Department of Human Services has not yet developed transitional housing for homeless veterans and veterans with disabilities. The Housing Authority of the City of Aurora sought one of the parcels of land not yet built upon, but legislators were having no part of such a change.

Us ordinary citizens have no idea just how complicated such a housing facility could be. HB 16-1351 exempted the new facility proposed by the City of Aurora from the statutory requirements that veterans' centers constructed on or after July1, 1998 have a bed capacity of at least 120 beds, and the requirement that no new veterans' centers be built after July 1, 1998, unless other centers have maintained an average occupancy rate of at least 80 percent over a six month period immediately prior to construction. Talk about the ridiculous, and since 1998!   

One last piece of information gleaned from the fiscal impact analysis – "The Department of Health and Human Services recently completed a needs study which identified a domiciliary for veterans as the number one need for services on the Front Range."

The House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs voted to postpone indefinitely HB 1351. Lead sponsors of HB 1351 were Representative JoAnn Windholz and Senator Larry Crowder.  House Bill 16-1342: Titled "The Sale of Motor Vehicles That Are Required to be Issued Certain Branded Certificates of Title," HB 1342 applies to vehicles considered sale-able as salvage, non-repairable, flood-damaged, junk or similarly branded motor vehicles. Licensed automobile dealers who sell such vehicles must report each transaction to a National Motor Vehicles Title Information System (NMVTIS) approved third-party data consolidator within two days of sale. A brand is a permanent marking on a motor vehicle's title, associated with the vehicle's identification number (VIN), that provides information about the value of the vehicle.

The significant requirements of the report are these:

•             the motor vehicle's make, model, year, vehicle identification number (VIN) and current odometer


  1. the name and address of the purchaser and the seller;
  2. a copy of the purchaser's driver's license or other governmental-issued identification document; and
  3. proof of the purchaser's in-or out-of-state automobile dealer license, if applicable.

   All such information must be provided by the consolidator without charge and upon request to law enforcement, the Department of Revenue(DOR), and if the DOR approves, a nongovernmental entity.

HB1342 also increases penalties for unlicensed automobile sales. Sponsors of House Bill 16-1342: Representative Dominic Moreno (D-Adams) 866-2964. No sponsor as yet in the Senate. Senate Bill 16-176:  The Nevilles (father Tim and son Patrick) are the lead sponsors of SB 176, "Concerning the Governor's Authority to Restrict the Distribution of Firearms During a State of Disaster Emergency."What SB 176 would do if passed and enacted would eliminate the authority of the Governor to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of firearms during a state of disaster emergency.

A little background for SB 176 is this. Under current law, a disaster emergency is defined as "the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property resulting from any natural cause or cause of human origin."

When such situation occurs, the Governor has the authority to suspend the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosive or combustibles. (There have been 49 declarations and extension of declarations of disaster emergencies related to wildfire, flood and weather since 2012, but none restricted the sale, dispensing or transportation of firearms.)

SB 176 is yet to have its first committee hearing. Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 16-176: Senator Tim Neville (D-Boulder, Denver, Gilpin, Jefferson) 866-4873; Representative Patrick Neville (D-Douglas) 866-2948. House Bill 16-1434: Expanded disclosure communications under the "Fair Campaign Practices Act" will go into effect if HB 1434 is passed and enacted.

There are three changes:

•             adds a definition of "party communication activity" which means a type of electioneering

communication that mentions a political party;

•             requires that any party communication activity made by any person that is controlled by

or coordinated with a state political party be reported by both the person undertaking the party communication activity and the coordinating state political party; and

•             makes large party expenditures on party communication activity subject to the same disclosure

requirements as standard electioneering communications.

Electioneering communications are a type of campaign as advertising that unambiguously refer to a candidate, and are broadcast, printed, mailed, or otherwise delivered to voters within a certain period prior to an election. Electioneering communication does not include opinion pieces or endorsements.

HB 1434 as introduced also has a provision making political party communication activities subject to the same disclosure requirements as electioneering communications.

For the reader's information, HB 1434 has lots of language explaining these three changes, so be forewarned, the bill will likely go under significant amendment in committee hearing – that's the reason for such a brief description of what the bill is about. (HB 1434 is yet to have its first committee hearing.)

As the reader might suspect, "by expanding the number of required disclosures, this bill potentially increases fine revenue collected by the Secretary of State when disclosures are not filed in a timely manner." Legislators would not want to miss an opportunity to increase regulatory revenue. The bill includes the safety clause:  "The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety." How appropriate for an  election year such as 2016. Lead Sponsors of House Bill 16-1434:  Representative K.C. Becker (D-Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson) 866-2578, and Daniel Kagan (D-Arapahoe) 866-2921. No sponsor in the Senate at this time.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at doris@dorisbeaver.com.