Eye on the Legislature

May 14, 2018

House Bill 18-1147 was signed by the Governor on April 26th, and repeals the September 1, 2018 date for cessation of weather modification operations. Colorado’s arrid climate necessitates weather modifications (commonly referred to as cloud seeding) by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in the Department of Natural Resources.

House Bill 18-1067 was postponed indefinitely on March 15th. Representative Salazar’s bill to create a “right to rest” was killed yet again. HB 1067 would have created the “Colorado Right to Rest Act,” and prohibited 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. 

House Bill 18-1194 would have made changes to the conservation easements that were just too detrimental for legislators to go along with. HB 1194 was killed on March 16th, and would have made the process onerous to both the applicant and local governments. Among the most significant:

  • 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;
  • changes the application process for conservation easement tax credits within the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
  • 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; and
  • the application fee is fixed at $12,350 by HB 1194, and does not allow the fee to be reduced for multiple applicants. 

   Look for this one to appear again.

House Bill 18-1177’s intent and purpose was to prevent youth suicides, but it was postponed indefinitely on April 11th. Killing such a bill borders on insanity (in the opinion of this writer), but that’s just what the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee did on April 11th. Among the statistics from the legislative declaration worthy of repetition are these:

  • The Centers for Disease Control found suicide to be the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2013 and is currently the leading cause of death for Colorado youth who are ten through fourteen years of age;
  • According to the American Association of Suicidology, the suicide rate for youth who are ten through fourteen years of age has increased by more than fifty percent over the past three decades; and
  • Youth who are ten through fourteen years of age often avoid obtaining, or are legally unable to obtain without parental consent, outpatient psychotherapy services that would help them prior to reaching crisis levels because they are embarrassed or concerned about speaking with their parents about their mental health concerns and situation.

      The further declaration of the General Assembly stated, “It is a matter of statewide concern to allow youth who are twelve years of age and older to have legal access to outpatient psychotherapy services without the consent or notification to the youth’s parents or legal guardian.”  HB 1177 also included safeguards for parental concerns.

  House Bill 18-1148 was signed by the Governor on April 9th. Requiring step therapy for covered persons with stage four advanced metastatic cancer will be prohibited when HB 1148 goes into effect on January 1, 2019. Insurers will be prohibited from requiring step therapy prior to receiving a federally approved drug for stage four metastatic cancer if the use of the drug is considered with best practices for treatment of the cancer.  (FYI: The effective date is January 1, 2019, unless a referendum petition is appropriately filed within the 90-day period after final adjournment which would require getting it on the November 2018 ballot for approval by the voters of Colorado.)

House Bill 18-1282 was signed by the Governor on March 22nd, and concerns efforts to increase prevention efforts involving duplicate billings and outright fraud in billings from off-campus locations by obtaining and using a unique National Provider Identifier code used by the main campus of a hospital. The statistics on spending for health care are astounding – 17% of the U. S. economy accounts for health care spending with 39 cents of every dollar spent on health care in Colorado going to hospital care. The potential for fraud and the ease to tap it by crooks is mind boggling.

Senate Bill 18-173 Signed by the Governor on April 2nd, SB 173 clarifies what licensed establishments may sell one partially consumed and resealed bottle of wine to a customer, referred to as Colorado’s “cork and carry” policy. The criteria is broadened from “must have meals available” to “may have sandwiches and light snacks available for consumption.”

House Bill 18-1078 was signed by the Governor on April 12th, and requires that a court determine if a defendant is a veteran of or actively serving in the U. S. Military at first appearance or upon arraignment, whichever is first. The bill also sets forth two important requirements for the courts:

  • must inform any such defendant that he or she may be entitled to receive mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, or other services if the court determines that such treatment or services are applicable and a presentence report has been prepared in the case; and
  • a court shall not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere without first determining whether the defendant is serving in the U. S. armed forces or is a veteran of such forces, and advise the defendant as set forth in the previous paragraph. 

      House Bill 18-1264 gained the Governor’s signature on May 3rd. With the proliferation of cell phones, revenge porn has found its element. HB 1264 modifies certain elements of existing crime concerning the posting of nude images of another person for purposes of harassment or for monetary gain to this extent:

  • adds images of sex acts that may not include nude images;
  • removes the requirement that the defendant intend to inflict serious emotional distress;
  • removes as an exception to the crimes that the image relates to a newsworthy event; and
  • clarifies that the images subject to the crimes may be disclosed by law enforcement personnel, human or social services personnel, prosecutors, and court personnel in the course of normal business.

HB 1264 makes both posting a private image for harassment and posting a private image for pecuniary gain a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 to $5,000 and 6 to 18 months in county jail or both, and subject to civil action against the person who caused the posting(s), as well as injunctive relief.

House Bill 18 1273 was postponed indefinitely on April 30th. HB 1273 was titled “Protection for Colorado Residents From Federal Government Overreach Based on a Person’s Status.” The legislative declaration provides the basis for HB 1273 as:

  • Colorado has been a beacon of hope against inhumane practices;
  • the Colorado General Assembly is aware that history often repeats itself;
  • history has demonstrated that the demonization of communities leading to internment camps and the deprivation of human rights, constitutional rights, and civil rights is often rooted in the overreach of federal policies;
  • the Colorado General Assembly rejects any federal attempts to demonize Colorado communities;
  • rejects any attempts to detain or intern Coloradans because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity or religious affiliation; and
  • rejects any attempts to access data or information about Coloradans for illegal or unconstitutional purposes.
      The fiscal impact analysis summarizes HB 1273 as requiring “the state and its political subdivisions (local governments, schools, statutory public entities and special districts) to determine whether a request from a federal government agency is for a legal and constitutional purpose prior to disclosing certain information about a Colorado resident.” The U. S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution identify those protected as “citizens,” and does not refer to “residents.” No where in the two constitutions is “citizens” replaced by the world “residents.”

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