Eye on the Legislature

May 30, 2016

House Bill 16-1255:  Forest issues are always of concern to Colorado's legislature. HB 1255 was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on April 21st, and was effective upon his signature.

HB 1255 "directs the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) to conduct demonstration pilot projects to implement forest management treatments that improve forest health and resilience supply forest products to Colorado businesses, and target a Colorado watershed."

Interesting in this bill is the requirement that the CSFS, in conjunction with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, is also required to conduct a study to quantify and document the relationship between the state water plan and the importance of forest management in protecting and managing Colorado's water resources, with study results due to House and Senate legislative committees by January 2017.

Take note, the cost of the study ($200,000.) reduces the money available for activities under current law, including the administration and award of forest restoration grants and prescribed burning projects. (There's that word restoration yet again.)

House Bill 16-1230:  HB 1230 was one passed with a bit of incentive included. Colorado has a State Transparency Online Project site (TOPS). Counties must now provide revenue and expenditure data to the state Chief Information Office no later than 30 days after the end of the fiscal year for inclusion on TOPS. Failure to do so within 90 days of the deadline means the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) will consider this to be an adverse factor when making local government severance grant awards.

HB 1230 was signed by the Governor on April 21st, but the Act is subject to petition for its effective date, August 10, 2016, which is the expiration of the ninety-day period after final adjournment of the General Assembly, unless a referendum petition is filed.

Senate Bill 16-137:  Signed by the Governor on May 4th, SB 137 clarifies issues regarding the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Landowner Preference Program which "gives owners of agricultural land who make their property available for hunting, the ability to apply for hunting licenses using a number of applications based on the acreage registered with the program."

Also provided by SB137 is that the program "does not limit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission from entering into an agreement with a private landowner for public hunting and fishing and including the issuance of a hunting license in that agreement."

Effective date for SB 137 is August 10, 2016, if no referendum is filed by that date.

House Bill 1224:  "Concerning Child Abuse Involving Human Trafficking of Minors," HB 1224 was signed by the Governor on April 15th, and is effective August 10, 2016 if no referendum is filed by that date. HB 1224 " adds human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude or commercial sexual exploitation of a child to the definition of

'abuse' or 'child abuse or neglect for dependence and neglect cases." HB 1224 also requires  county departments of human or social services, when necessary and appropriate, to offer services immediately to any child reported to be a victim of sexual trafficking or sexual exploitation and allows county departments to file a petition in juvenile court on behalf of the child. 

House Bill 16-1408:  In the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (Tobacco MSA), states consented to release participating tobacco manufacturers from health-related claims associated with the use, manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products in exchange for perpetual annual payments from manufacturers.

HB 1408 establishes as new formula for the allocation of the annual payment received by the state as part of the Tobacco MSA, replacing the old hybrid scheme of fixed dollar amounts and capped percentages in multiple tiers with a formula for revenue by percentage shares.

Governor Hickenlooper signed HB 1408 on May 4th. The safety clause makes it effective upon the Governor's signature.

House Bill 16-1444:  The definition of "Qualifying Disabled Veteran" for the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption is expanded by HB1444 which was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on May 27th to include veterans with a full medical retirement. HB 144 aligns the statutory definition of "qualifying disabled veteran" as it relates to a property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans with the language established in

Section 3.5 of Article X of the Colorado Constitution.

To receive the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption provided for in the state constitution," a disabled veteran residential property owner must have a service-connected disability rated at 100 percent by the Veterans Administration." Review of each veterans' application for the tax exemption must be made by the Colorado Division of Military and Veterans Affairs, then it is forwarded to county assessors who "apply the property tax exemption to individual properties."

The definition of "service-connected disabilities" as provided in the fiscal impact analysis is  "those resulting from an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during military service." The degree of disability is determined by the VA, from 0 percent to 100 percent in increments of 10, "based on the severity of the medical condition and the amount by which it will diminish the veterans earning potential." "A veteran may have both a 100 service related disability and a full medical military retirement."

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