Eye on the Legislature

March 5, 2018

House Bill 18-1067: Representative Joseph A. Salazar refuses to give up on  helping the homeless and he should receive a gold star for his diligence in trying to create the “Colorado Right to Rest Act” yet again this session.

The short and brief description of the purpose of HB 1067 is it “prohibits the state of Colorado and its subdivisions from enacting and enforcing laws, ordinances, rules and regulations that limit, prohibit, or penalize the ability of persons to use public space.”

But that “short and brief” must be clarified which is a sad statement on today’s world on the rights of certain persons, namely the homeless:

  • use and move freely in public spaces;
  • rest or sleep in public spaces and protect oneself from the elements in a manner that does not obstruct the use of or access to private property;
  • eat, share, accept, or give food in any public space where food is not prohibited;
  • occupy legally parked motor vehicles; and
  • expect a reasonable amount of privacy over personal property.    

There are some exceptions for all those bleeding hearts especially the ones who show up annually from the City of Denver agencies:

  • if a government entity can demonstrate that it offered housing to a person experiencing homelessness and that person refused to accept this offer, it is exempt from the bill’s enforcement prohibition;
  • providers of services to persons experiencing homelessness are not obligated to provide shelter or other services that are unavailable or when the rules or policies of the provider disqualify the person from receiving services;
  • the bill provides that public space includes property owned or leased by a state or local government or any property with an easement for public use; and
  • enclosed buildings and structures are included when open to the public. 

      HB 1067 is yet to have its first committee hearing.

Lead Sponsors of House Bill 18-1067:   Representatives Jovan Melton (D-Arapaho) 866-2919 and Joseph A. Salazar (D-Adams) 866-2918. No sponsor as yet in the Senate.

House Bill 18-1194:  Conservation easements have long been used in Colorado to protect the interests of landowners who create conservation easements on their property. HB 1194, if passed and enacted as introduced will probably be responsible for a huge decline in conversation easement applications.

The fiscal impact analysis states that HB 1194 adds additional requirements that must be met before creating a conservation easement, limits the term of the easement to 20 years, and changes the application process for conservation easement tax credits. Additional details of this analysis are:

  • instead of requiring the conservation easement to be permanent, the bill limits the term of the conservation easement to 20 years beginning in 2019;
  • allows for conservation easements to be dissolved if the holder of the easement is insolvent or delinquent; and
  • changes the application process for conservation easement tax credits within the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

   Here is what will impact creating a conservation easement:

  • Local governments where easements are located are required to hold a public meeting before the conservation easement can be created;
  • The landowner and the conservation easement holder must have a formal agreement for the purposes of the conservation easement.
  • The agreement must provide for an annual report from the holder to the landowner providing information on how the conservation easement is being used.
  • Consequences and risks of creating a conservation easement must be disclosed as provided in HB 1194.
  • The holder of the proposed conservation easement must provide a good faith estimate of total costs to the landowner of creating the easement.
  • The landowner will not be liable for any costs over the estimate prepared by the easement holder.
  • The holder of the conservation easement is not allowed to permit development on the easement.
  • The application fee is fixed at $12,350 by HB 1194, and does not allow the fee to be reduced for multiple applicants.

   A word of caution:  Anyone considering creating a conservation easement should deal only with unquestionable experts in handling such matters and be extremely cautious in hiring appraisers.

Lead Sponsors of House Bill 18-1194: Kimmi Lewis (R-Baca) 866-2398; and Senators Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Cheyenne (866-6360 and Vicki Marble (Broomfield, Larimer, Weld) 866-4876.

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