Eye on the Legislature

May 29, 2017

House Bill 17-1214 signed by the Governor on May 18th, HB 1214 concern efforts to encourage employee-ownership of the state’s existing small businesses, and recognizes the enormous contribution small businesses contribute to the economy of Colorado. HB 1214 requires that the Office of Economic Development and International Trade establish a revolving loan fund program to assist existing businesses with transition to becoming employee-owned businesses.

Acknowledged in the legislative declaration of HB 1214 is the importance of employee ownership of the state’s small businesses:

  1. Nearly one million workers are employed  by small businesses in Colorado which equals about half of our workforce;
  2. Nearly sixty-six percent of small businesses are owned by so-called “baby boomers,” people who began turning sixty-five years old in 2011 (U. S. Census Bureau); and
  3. Many small business owners in both urban and rural areas do not have a succession plan for their retirement – as these business owners retire, there will be approximately ten trillion dollars in assets up for sale on the national level.

   “Companies that are partially or fully employee-owned and democratically managed offer many advantages – a succession plan in place to ensure that the company continues to add value to the communities it serves, employees are invested in their place of employment and get to enjoy the fruits of their labor, employees and management goals are aligned, allowing for a stronger and more resilient company, and employees have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur without all the risk.”

House Bill17-1230 was postponed on April 11th, and was no doubt a posturing attempting for future battles with the Trump Administration over sanctuary to persons illegally in the state. Titled “Protection for Colorado Residents from Federal Overreach Based on a Person’s Status,” HB 1230 would have required a state or political subdivision therein to determine the legality and constitutionality of any request from the federal government concerning a Colorado resident’s race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status or religious affiliation or personal information before complying with such a request.”

House Bill 17-1204 was signed by the Governor on May 15th, and makes significant changes to gaining access to juvenile delinquency records and the eligibility process for expunging those records.

HB 1204 makes these significant changes to current law:

  1.  public access to arrest and criminal records will be available whenever a judge orders a juvenile to be charged as an adult;
  2. opens certain records, with juvenile consent, to nonprofit organizations providing free legal representation or an attorney of record;
  3. provides that private attorneys may be charged a reasonable fee per use or a monthly fee for electronic access to records; and
  4. removes lower level offenses from the list of those from which prosecuting attorneys must notify and provide records to a juvenile’s school principal.

   Current law provides that “public access to such records is permitted when a petition is filed that alleges a juvenile committed an offense that would constitute unlawful sexual behavior or a crime of violence if committed by an adult.”

Current law also provides that a person may petition for expungement of juvenile delinquency records after a waiting period of one to five years, depending on the context of the case and offense. This provision of the law is changed by HB 1204 and requires the court to automatically expunge all records in a juvenile delinquency case within 42 days, pending review to determine the performance of the juvenile while supervised, and whether any pending cases exist, after the following takes place:

  1.  a finding of not guilty at trial;
  2.  dismissal of the petition in its entirety; or
  3. the completion of a juvenile sentence for a petty offense or a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor if that offense is not a sex offense, does not involve domestic violence, and is not a level 2 drug misdemeanor.

   The requirements for expungement are numerous and should be carefully undertaken in minute detail by some experienced in such matters.

Senate Bill 17-105 was signed by the Governor  on May 22nd. Customer’s of investor-owned electric utilities will find a wealth of information on their bill effective January 1, 2018. If reader’s have ever asked about what makes up their tab for electricity, the new format will answer that.

When an investor-owned electric utility company files a rate schedule with the Public Utilities Commission, that filing must include the new comprehensive billing format. The new billing format must include a line-item representation of all monthly charges and credits applied to the customer, including:

  1. indication whether the charges have increased from the prior month as a result of increased fuel costs; and
  2. for each source of electricity used to provide the customer’s electricity for the month, including renewable energy sources, natural gas, and coal, and a determination of the percentage of the monthly charges that apply to electricity derived from that source.

House Bill 17-1283, signed on May 22nd, the bill creates a task force to “identify and develop models for a program to promote child welfare caseworker resiliency.” The legislative declaration of HB 1283 includes these reasons for the legislation:

  1. Child caseworkers are regularly exposed to a heightened level of trauma and often exposed to children and families who suffer from violence, behavioral health challenges, or extreme poverty, with most child welfare caseworkers experiencing what is known as “secondary trauma;
  2. Secondary trauma is defined as indirect exposure to trauma through a firsthand account or narrative of a traumatic event; and
  3. Symptoms of secondary trauma can include distressing emotions, intrusive imagery, numbing or work avoidance, addictive or compulsive behavior and impairment of daily functioning.

   Also described in HB 1283 are the various circumstances child welfare caseworkers work under such as a high degree of uncertainty and they have the responsibility for life and death decisions concerning children and families. “The work environment for child welfare caseworkers can be physically and emotionally dangerous. Caseworkers enter the homes of involuntary clients and are expected to conduct a thorough safety assessment of both the patients and children.”

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