Eye on the Legislature

May 8, 2017

With adjournment day set for May 10th, this week’s column will cover some of the bills not written about this session, but already signed by Governor Hickenlooper that may be of interest to readers. Several bills not written about by this writer were postponed indefinitely (killed) along the way that may also be of interest to readers.

House Bill 17-1179, signed by the Governor on April 13th, grants immunity for a person who renders emergency assistance from a locked vehicle. There are certain requirements to be met in order to receive this immunity:

  •  must have a good faith belief that the person or animal is in imminent danger of death or suffering great bodily injury;
  • must make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or operator of the vehicle and document the color, make, model, license plate number and location of the vehicle;
  • the person must contact a local law enforcement agency, the fire department, animal or a 911 operator prior to forcibly entering the vehicle;
  • must not interfere with, hinder or fail to obey a lawful order of a person duly empowered with police authority or other first responder duties; and
  • the person uses no more force than he or she believes is reasonably necessary.

   The person rendering assistance must remain with the at-risk person or animal, reasonably close to the vehicle, until a law enforcement officer or animal control officer or other first responder arrives at the scene.

A person leaving the scene of such an incident must place a notice on the windshield of the vehicle with necessary information for contact by law enforcement, animal control or other first responder.

House Bill 17-1138 was signed by the Governor on April 18th, and will change current law beginning in 2018. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) will be required to include in its SMART Act presentation information about bias-motivated crimes reported to the department by law enforcement agencies. Currently, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation receives this information through the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which allows law enforcement agencies to indicate whether or not a crime had a bias motivation. The purpose behind the bill is to determine whether each law enforcement agency is accurately reporting hate crimes occurring within the agency’s jurisdiction.

 Senate Bill 17-125, signed by the Governor on April 4th, makes an option available to a person(s) who were wrongly convicted of crimes and subsequently incarcerated. Currently, such compensation is paid in annual payments of $100,000 until the state’s duty of compensation is satisfied. SB 125 provides that an exonerated person may elect to receive the remaining balance of the state’s duty of compensation in a lump sum by notifying the state court administrator, the governor and the general assembly of such election, completing a personal financial management instruction course, and acquiring and committing to maintain a qualified health insurance plan.

Senate Bill 17-011 (reengrossed), signed by the Governor on March 20th, creates a technical demonstration forum within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to review transportation needs for people with disabilities throughout the state and to study how advanced technologies can improve access. SB 011 requires the following directors and superintendents or their designees to serve on the forum:

  • CDLE (chair);
  • Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (vice chair);
  • Public Utilities Commission;
  • Office of Information Technology;
  • Department of Human Services;
  • Department of Military and Veterans Affairs;
  • the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind; and
  • Department of Transportation

   The forum may recommend legislation and may recommend that CDLE enter into a contract with a technology developer, transportation network company (e.g. Uber of Lyft), taxicab service or other technological or transportation business solution provider to conduct a pilot program in El Paso and/or Teller County to be completed prior to December 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 17-109 (reengrossed) requires the Commissioner of Agriculture to create a working group to study the feasibility of including hemp products in animal feed. For reader information purposes, industrial hemp means a plant of the genus Cannibis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. The 2014 federal farm bill allows farmers in states with industrial hemp legislation to grow and harvest hemp in conjunction with their state department of agriculture. The Colorado Department of Agriculture began administering a registration program for industrial hemp growers in 2014.

 Senate Bill 17-135 was postponed indefinitely (killed) on March 14th. The bill would have removed the requirement that a registered animal chiropractor receive medical clearance by a licensed veterinarian to perform animal chiropractic treatment. The bill encouraged the animal chiropractor to collaborate with a veterinarian if the animal patient was also under the care of a licensed veterinarian.

 Senate Bill 17-136, postponed indefinitely on February 15th, involved civil forfeiture reform in Colorado. Forfeiture is a civil action undertaken in combination with a criminal prosecution in Colorado. Generally, Colorado law requires a conviction prior to the forfeiture judgment by the court. Colorado law states that “generation of revenue shall not be the primary purpose of asset forfeiture.” Colorado law also requires the plaintiff to provide by clear and convincing evidence that the property, real or personal, constitutes the proceeds or instrumentality of an illegal act and that the owner was involved in, knew or should have known of, the illegal act.

Senate Bill 17-147, postponed indefinitely (killed)  would have required the Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) to develop and distribute informational materials concerning federal student loan forgiveness programs no later than December 31, 2017. In lieu of developing the materials, the DPA could have provided materials published by a federal agency that included the required information.   

   Next week, Eye on Legislature begins the “Wrap Up” which covers what happened to the bills written about this session – passed and signed by the Governor, postponed indefinitely (killed), became law without the Governor’s signature, deemed lost or vetoed.

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