End of Session Recap

One hundred and twenty days after we began in January, we have concluded the Second Session of the 69th General Assembly. Members proposed 621 bills for consideration, and 425 have been passed and sent to the Governor for signature. But numbers tell only part of the story.

When we began the Legislative session in January, we committed to provide relief from the devastating effects of the floods and wildfires, to help our rebounding economy create jobs, and to ensure that our education system serves all of our students. We may have differed on other priorities, but these were key commitments with strong bipartisan support and cooperation. Looking back, I am proud that we have delivered on our commitment.

Colorado has moved to 4th in the nation in job creation and our unemployment rate has dropped to 6.2%. Our economy is improving. We have made major financial commitments to education and to address the impacts of the natural disasters. Serving on the House Judiciary, Transportation and Energy, Interim Juvenile Defense Attorney and Transportation Legislative Review Committees, I have been involved with my fellow legislators working on many bills to improve the lives of Coloradans: the Black Forest family who lost their home in last year’s fire, the returning veteran with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury in need of job training and peer support, the working mom who needs tools to start a business, the high school student who needs tuition assistance to attend college, the teen in need of mental health services after being bullied at school, the parents struggling to stay in the workforce without access to affordable child care – all of them will be supported by the bills that we passed this session.

In addition to these legislative accomplishments, one of the General Assembly’s primary obligations is to pass a balanced budget. This year’s budget reflects the needs of our State and the principles and values that we cherish. The 2014 budget:

  • Commits $144 million to recovery from the floods and wildfires of 2013
  • Invests $44 million in wildfire prevention, including nearly $20 million for aircraft to assist with early wildfire detection
  • Increases state education funding by $500 million amounting to almost $400 per pupil, after 5 years of devastating education cuts during the recession
  • Boosts funding to our colleges and universities by over $100 million
  • Increases the state reserve by more than $130 million, to 6.5 percent, to prepare for future emergencies and economic downturns
  • Implements economic development programs to boost key industries, create good-paying jobs and build a strong, sustainable economy
  • Increases funding for workforce development programs by nearly half a million dollars
  • Increases reimbursements for social services providers and increases pay for Colorado’s public employees
  • Boosts investments in women’s health services and family planning

Those are the highlights, but for those who want specific, detailed information about any bills we passed, the following summary is divided by category for easy reference. The bills are divided into subjects: Jobs and the Economy, Education, Floods and Wildfires, Criminal Justice, Veterans, the Environment, Seniors, and other significant bills.

I was very pleased to have Governor Hickenlooper sign HB14-1023 in the historic courtroom of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. This bill provides 8 social workers to work with juvenile offenders through the public defenders office, assessing youth, providing support, and addressing underlying issues that may lead juveniles into the criminal justice system. My bill will improve outcomes for youth, reduce the rates of recidivism in our communities, and decrease the significant costs of incarceration.
1013 signing

We still have a lot to do to enhance economic security for Colorado families; create educational opportunity; protect our air, water and natural environment; provide access to affordable housing and healthcare; improve public safety and criminal justice; address the challenges of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas; and ensure a world class transportation system and infrastructure throughout the state.

Thank you for the giving me the privilege of continuing to serve as your State Representative.

Pete Lee

State Representative
House District 18


Detailed Bill Summary

Jobs and the Economy- Enhancing Coloradans’ Economic Security

Advanced Industry Economic Development Funding (HB 1011) – Reps. Young & Gerou / Sen. Heath

Speeds the flow of grant dollars into the Advanced Industries Accelerator program, which has proven highly popular since it became law in 2013. Funding for the program will continue to provide grant opportunities to promising new technologies and foster innovation.

Telecomm Reform (HB 1327-1331) – Reps. Williams, Murray & Coram / Sens. Schafer, Tochtrop, Nicholson, Crowder & Kerr

This package of five bills will modernize telecommunication regulation, expand rural broadband Internet service and protect public safety. These bills will be a boost to Colorado’s economy, especially for hundreds of thousands of rural Coloradans who will gain access to broadband for the first time. The package streamlines permitting, construction, modification, maintenance and operation of cell towers, fiber-optic lines and other infrastructure, and diverts part of the high-cost support mechanism to fund the rural broadband build out, a major boost for rural Colorado’s economic competitiveness with no additional cost to ratepayers.

Monetary Amount Limited Offerings Securiteis (HB1079) – Rep. Lee / Sen. Zenzinger

Increases the amount of money a Colorado business can raise in an intra-state stock offering from $1 million to $5 million, thus enabling companies to expand and create jobs. This exemption is only available to Colorado companies with Colorado based employees who plan to spend the proceeds on expansion in Colorado.

Income Tax Credit for Business Personal Property (HB 1279) – Reps. Young & Primavera / Sens. Heath & Schafer

Gives small business owners a tax break on their business personal property taxes up to the first $15,000 in business personal property.

Income Tax Credit for Child Care Expenses (HB 1072) – Reps. Pettersen & Exum / Sen. Kefalas

Creates a state income tax credit for childcare costs for Colorado families that make less than $25,000 a year. These families currently do not qualify for the state tax credit for childcare costs because those tax credits are tied to federal income taxes and couples making $25,000 or less do not pay federal taxes. This bill will create fairness in our tax system by allowing working families access to the same tax credits that middle-class families receive.

Colorado Child Care Assistance Program Changes (HB 1317) – Rep. Duran / Sens. Nicholson & Kefalas

Incentivizes and rewards successful, high-quality child care programs and ensures that families with lower incomes receive more state dollars to help struggling parents remain in the workforce. The bill also lowers copayments for families with incomes below the federal poverty level and implements policies that support parents’ efforts to find and keep a job.


Other Significant Bills

Extend Transitional Jobs Program (HB 1015) – Rep. Kraft-Tharp / Sen. Kerr

Extends the ReHire Colorado program for two years. ReHire Colorado was created in 2013 to provide on-the-job skills, training and experience to low-income, low-skill Colorado workers who are unemployed or underemployed and are at the greatest risk of seeing the economic rebound pass them by. Over 500 people are already enrolled in this statewide program. The pilot program, HIRE Colorado, helped 75% of the people enrolled find work.

Tax Credit for Donating Food to Charitable Organization (HB 1119) – Reps. McLachlan & Dore / Sens. Hodge & Roberts

Many farmers throw away extra produce because it is often just not worth the time and effort to gather. Now it can go where it’s needed most; helping struggling Colorado families. This bill incentivizes farmers and food producers to donate a portion of their fresh excess produce to charitable organizations by providing them with a tax credit of up to $5,000. This will provide food banks in Colorado, especially rural areas, with a much-needed supply of fresh produce and help needy Coloradans access fruits and vegetables.

Senior & Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption (HB 1373) – Reps. Lebsock & Scott /Sens. Zenzinger & Crowder

Under current law, seniors who have lived in the same residence for 10 or more years and 100% disabled veterans who suffered their disability while serving are able to claim a property tax exemption. HB 1373 allows continued claims by seniors who were forced to move because their former residence was destroyed by a natural disaster. It also allows the surviving spouse of a deceased disabled veteran to claim the exemption.

Wage Protection Act (SB 5) – Rep. Singer / Sen. Ulibarri

Makes irresponsible employers think twice about trying to exploit their workers. SB 5 would set a $50 minimum fine per day of wage nonpayment and allow the state to assess a penalty, payable to the employee, of 125 percent of unpaid wages under $7,500 and 50 percent of unpaid wages over $7,500. Proof of an employer’s willful nonpayment would incur an additional 50 percent penalty. This bill will protect people who aren’t getting paid their earned wages so they can have a home or have enough food to put on the table.

Education – Building an Education System for a Future Generation

The Student Success Act (HB 1292) - Reps. Hamner & Murray / Sen. Johnston

Increases total funding to reduce the “negative factor” by $$110 million, creates an Implementation Fund of $40 million to help school districts fund projects that are already on the books, implements a new student count system so that school funding follows students, increases financial transparency in our education system down to the school level, increases funding for public and charter school construction, invests more money into English Language Learner programs, and increases funding for early literacy programs under the Colorado READ Act.
Financing of Public Schools (HB 1298) - Reps. Hamner & Buckner / Sens. Kerr & Steadman

This annual school finance bill funds an additional 5,000 early childhood education seats, provides more capacity for local bonding in the event of increased enrollment, and increases funding to BOCES by $2 million to assist with meeting state education priorities. In addition, every Colorado student will see an increase of $369, which will be applied in his or her classroom.

College Affordability Act (SB 001) - Reps. McLachlan & Garcia / Sens. Jahn & Kerr

Recent studies show that more than 70 percent of all jobs in Colorado will require some form of post-secondary credential from a college or trade school by the end of the decade. Costs of a college education continue to skyrocket. The College Affordability Act, Senate Bill 1, will invest an extra $101.3 million in students, making colleges like UCCS and Pikes Peak Community Colleges more accessible and affordable for all Colorado families.

College Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Fund (HB 1384) - Reps. Pettersen & McNulty / Sens. Ulibarri & Crowder

HB 1384 allocates $30 million within the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Fund. Ten percent of the annual contributions to the fund may be used by nonprofits and government agencies that prepare high school students for college and offer support services to students to help them stay in school and graduate with a degree. The bill is designed to increase public and private investment in higher education scholarship programs and make college more accessible to students that might not otherwise be able to enroll.

Outcomes-based Funding for Higher Education (HB 1319) - Reps Ferrandino & Holbert / Sens. Todd & Lambert

HB 1319 makes sure state funding follows students, not institutions, by guaranteeing that at least 52.5% of the total Higher Ed appropriation is allocated to College Opportunity fund Stipends, which are awarded to in-state Colorado students. It also rewards positive outcomes – institutions benefit when students graduate with degrees or certificates. Ten percent bonuses would be awarded to disadvantaged students, defined as those who are eligible for federal Pell grants. Other incentives would reward schools for retaining students and promote access to educations in all areas of the state by giving bonuses to smaller schools away from the Front Range.

Adult Education and Literacy Programs (HB 1085)– Rep. Fields / Sen. Zenzinger

This bill will create a grant program for adult education and literacy training to help under- and unemployed Coloradans gain skills they need to find a job. It requires the Department of Education to annually evaluate the effectiveness of the programs that receive grants. To apply for funding, an education facility must participate in a workforce development partnership that will help adults in the education and literacy programs find employment.

Safe Routes to School Program State Funding (HB1301) - Rep. Mitsch Bush / Sen. Kerr

The Safe Routes to School Program allows schools, non-profits and local governments to apply for grants for projects to upgrade infrastructure and increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety in school areas. This bill requires that between 20 and 30% of grant funds be used for non-infrastructure projects like crossing guard trainings or instructional materials for teachers and parents. The program was previously funded by federal grants. The bill is intended to encourage kids to be more physically active by walking and biking to school and thus helping to reduce childhood obesity and develop lifelong habits promoting healthy living.

School Turnaround Leaders Development Program (SB 124) - Rep. Fields / Sen. Zenzinger

SB 124 creates the School Turnaround Leaders Development Program which will contract with providers of high-quality turnaround leadership development program, and award grants to school districts so they can develop school leaders capable of turning around low-performing schools.

Analysis of Student Opportunity Gaps (HB 1376) - Reps. Buckner & Moreno / Sen. Ulibarri

HB1376 directs the Colorado Department of Education to provide every public school in the state with a report of their student performance and core course level participation broken down by demographics. The report will help schools assess how their course placement decisions affect student performance and implement policies to ensure that all students are appropriately challenged and have opportunities for growth.

Floods and Wildfires 

The first 10 bills introduced, and 17 total bills, dealt with natural disasters.

Tax Credit for Property Destroyed by a Natural Cause (HB 1001) – Rep. Singer / Sen. Nicholson

Extending a helping hand to those who are still rebuilding their homes and their communities, HB 1001 establishes an income tax credit for personal property that was destroyed by a natural disaster. The credit will be equal to the taxpayer’s property tax liability for the destroyed property during the year the disaster occurred.

Tax Remittance for Local Marketing Districts (HB 1006) – Rep. Singer / Sen. Lundberg

Many businesses saw their revenues plunge after the September floods. This bill will allow businesses in affected areas to more easily advertise to tourists, cutting red tape and increasing their access to revenues to rebound from the disaster.

Local Firefighter Safety Grant Program (SB 46) – Rep. Exum / Sen. Nicholson

This bill creates a grant program for local fire departments to invest in equipment and training that increases firefighter safety.It also creates the Local Firefighter Safety and Disease Prevention Fund.

Relocate Ditch Headgate, Helping Avoid Water Court (HB 1005) – Reps. Young & Sonnenberg / Sens. Kefalas & Lundberg

This bill allows the owner of an irrigation ditch to move its headgate without having to take the time and expense of going to water court in cases where floodwaters damaged the ditch or changed the stream being diverted, preventing the headgate from operating properly.

County General Fund for Road & Bridge Flood Damage (SB 7) – Reps. Foote & DelGrosso / Sen. Jones & Lundberg

This legislation gives counties the flexibility to use their general funds for infrastructure repairs following a disaster and is an important step toward rehabilitating flood-damaged areas in Colorado. It removes red tape and a decades-old policy that hindered the ability of counties to quickly fix their roads and bridges after disasters.

Water Infrastructure Natural Disaster Grants Fund (HB 1002) – Rep. Young / Sen. Jones

This bill creates a natural disaster grant fund and directs the CDPHE to award grants from the fund to local governments. These grants will be used for the repair of domestic wastewater treatment works and public drinking water systems that have been impacted by a natural disaster.


Other Significant Bills

Allow CWRPDA Private Entity Forest Health Loans (HB 1008) – Rep. Hamner / Sen. Schwartz

HB 1008 will allow the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to make loans to private entities for projects concerning forest health. Currently the CWRPDA can only make loans to governmental agencies.

Corrections to Prescribed Burning Laws (HB 1010) -Rep. Hamner / Sen. Rivera

HB 1010 corrects definitions in prescribed burning laws and clarifies that suppression actions will be taken to control an escaped prescribed fire.

CDPS Emergency Management Entities and Disaster Assistance (HB 1004) – Reps. Foote & Humphrey / Sens. Nicholson & Lambert

HB 1004 authorizes the Governor to provide financial assistance to individuals and families upon a gubernatorial declaration rather than requiring a presidential declaration of a disaster emergency and streamlines the state’s emergency planning and response hierarchy under the Department of Public Safety.

Assistance to Local Governments After a Disaster Emergency (SB 121) – Rep. Young / Sen. Lambert

Under current law, if the federal government declares a disaster emergency, federal aid is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies. To receive moneys from federal agencies, the federal government typically requires the affected unit of local government to provide a certain percentage of matching funds. This bill allows the Governor to determine a percentage of state aid that can be made available to local government to assist it in meeting the federal match requirement

Flood Debris Cleanup Grants (SB 179) – Reps. Foote & Sonnenberg / Sens. Nicholson & Renfroe

Many watersheds in the flood-impacted areas were clogged with debris or were pushed into new river channels, posing future flooding risk. SB 179 invests $5 million in watershed cleanup grants.

 Criminal Justice Reform- Promoting Community Safety

 Jessica’s Law (HB14-1260) - Rep. Foote

With the passage of HB 1260, Colorado becomes the 45th state to adopt a version of “Jessica’s Law,” which is named for Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old girl from Florida whose 2005 death launched a national campaign for mandatory minimum sentences for sex offenders who target children. This bill implements Jessica’s Law in a way that makes sense for Colorado, raising minimum sentences for particularly heinous sexual crimes to ensure that we have safeguards in place to crack down on the worst of the worst sexual offenders.

Reentry Programs For Adult Parolees (HB 14-1355) - Reps. Kagan & Gardner

HB 1355 improves public safety by developing strategies to help prepare parolees for release, so that they are less likely to reoffend and can become productive, law-abiding citizens. The bill directs the Department of Corrections to develop initiatives to prepare parolees to re-enter their communities, and creates grants that the DOC can award to community organizations that are effective at helping parolees adjust to their community.

Keep Legal Marijuana From Those Under 21 (HB 14-1122) - Rep. Kagan

HB 1122 enhances provisions that keep marijuana out of the hands of kids by increasing the penalty for selling marijuana to a minor from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 1 misdemeanor. It also allows a marijuana storeowner to confiscate a fake ID and notify law enforcement when someone under 21 is trying to purchase marijuana.

Retail Marijuana Fingerprint Check Local Authority (HB 14-1229) - Reps. Kagan & Wright

This bill makes our marijuana code easier to enforce by giving cities full access to CBI background check data. This will weed out bad actors applying for marijuana licenses and ensure that criminals do not have easy access to retail marijuana.

Civil Damages Unlawful Termination Of A Pregnancy (HB14-1388) – Reps. Foote & Pettersen

HB 1388 gives women a new tool in the rare, but tragic, circumstances where they lose a pregnancy due to criminal conduct, allowing them to sue for ‘unlawful termination of pregnancy. Building on a 2013 law that created a new category of crimes for these instances, this provides an accompanying civil remedy and allows the woman to sue for damages.

Safe2Tell Program in Department of Law (SB 14-002) - Reps. Ferrandino & DelGrosso

This bill streamlines and boosts funding for the Safe2Tell program, which provides a free, anonymous hotline for students to report threats made by other students. The program was initially developed in response to the Columbine High School tragedy, and has led to interventions that have prevented numerous suicides and attacks in schools.

Police officers training (SB 14-123) - Rep. Kagan

Currently, there are no training requirements for police officers once they have graduated from the police academy; they may be on the force for 20 years and never fire their weapon. This bill allows officers to receive ongoing professional training in firearms use and high-speed pursuit techniques, so that they are prepared to protect the citizens of Colorado.

Human Trafficking (HB14-1273) - Reps. McCann & Wright

HB 1273 boosts important protections for victims of human trafficking and cracks down on the perpetrators of these crimes. The bill creates the Colorado Human Trafficking Council, which will study issues surrounding human trafficking and work to prevent this crime. It also expands rape shield laws and restitution provisions for survivors of human trafficking, and closes a legal loophole that traffickers use to try to avoid being held responsible for their crimes.

Wage Theft SB 14-005 - Rep. Singer SB 005 helps ensure that workers are treated fairly in Colorado by cracking down on employers who don’t pay their employees. Specifically, the bill allows daily fines and penalties to be levied, as well as additional penalties for willful nonpayment by the employer.

Use Of Isolated Confinement Mental Illness (SB14-064) – Rep. Salazar

SB 064 reforms the way Colorado Department of Corrections deals with mentally ill offenders by reducing reliance on administrative segregation, also known as solitary confinement. The bill restricts DOC from placing offenders with serious mental illnesses in solitary confinement, unless there are specific exigent circumstances. It also creates a working group that will advise the DOC on appropriate treatment of these offenders.

Social Workers For Juveniles (HB 14-1023) - Rep. Lee

This bill allows the state public defender to hire social workers to assist in representing juvenile defendants by doing needs assessments. Recommendations by the social workers can be submitted to the court to propose detention alternatives as well as treatment for mental health, substance abuse, and education and family issues.

Support for Restorative Justice

A supplemental appropriation to the Judicial Department in the amount of $187,000 for 2013 will pay expenses related to the start- up and first year operation of the four restorative justice pilot programs. $481,000 was allocated for restorative justice programs throughout the State in 2014-2015. The 2014 budget allocated $70,000 to the Department of Corrections for victim offender dialogues. Working with local judges, military advocates and Joint Budget Committee member Kent Lambert, funding was provided for the highly successful Veterans Trauma Court in our local 4th Judicial District.

Supporting our Veterans and Armed Forces

Veterans Assistance Grant Program (HB 1205) - Rep. Ryden / Sen. Crowder

HB 1205 creates the Veterans Assistance Grant Program for nonprofits or government agencies who provide services to veterans. The bill also creates a cash fund that can accept gifts, grants or donations from individuals in addition to the $ 1 million appropriation from the General Assembly.

Military Family Relief Fund Eligibility (HB 1277) - Rep. Melton / Sen. Todd

Under current law, a member of the Colorado National Guard must be involuntarily mobilized for at least 30 days on active military duty for the member or his or her family to be eligible for a grant from the Military Family Relief Fund. This important bill expands grant eligibility to Colorado National Guard members and the families of members who are called to active duty by executive order of the governor to reduce the financial impact while the member is serving the state

Fallen Soldier License Plate Combat Zone (SB 132) - Reps. Exum & Gardner / Sen. Ulibarri & Crowder

Under current law only families of soldiers who were killed in a combat zone are eligible for the Fallen Soldier license plate. All families of fallen soldiers deserve to have these license plates. This bill allows that to happen and by doing so honors our brave men and women who have died serving our country.

Service-disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Set Aside (HB 1224) - Rep. Gardner / Sen. Herpin

HB 1224 creates a goal in the state procurement code for service-disabled veteran owned (SDVO) small businesses. The state is encouraged to award at least 3 percent of the value of its contracts to SDVO small businesses. To achieve the goal, a state agency may grant a preference to SDVO small businesses. Prior to awarding a contract, a state agency is to require the bidder to submit proof from the United State Department of Veterans Affairs that it qualifies as a SDVO small business.

Veterans Community Living Centers in Colorado (SB 96) - Reps. Pettersen & Exum / Sen. Crowder

The bill changes the terms “state veterans nursing home” and “state nursing home” throughout statute to “veterans community living center” and “veterans center” to more accurately reflect the wide array of services provided by these facilities to meet the multiple needs of veterans and their families in Colorado.

Deployed Military Motor Vehicle Fee & Taxes (SB 75)- Rep. Sonnenberg / Sen. Baumgardner

SB 75 exempts a member of the United States armed forces from paying the basic motor vehicle registration fees and authorizes payment of an alternate specific ownership tax of $1 if the person is deployed outside the United States for a full year. The vehicle may not be driven during this time. If the person is not deployed for a whole year, the basic fees and taxes are prorated. If the person has already paid the fees at the time of deployment, the department credits the fees towards succeeding years.

Maintain State’s Relationship with US Military (HB 1351) – Reps. Ryden & Nordberg / Sens. Todd & Herpin

This bill requires the Colorado office of economic development, in addition to its general duties, to maintain the state’s positive interactions with the United States armed forces by advocating for the state’s involvement in current and potential military missions, supporting private Colorado businesses that bid for contracts with the United States military, and assisting the state’s congressional delegation in protecting Colorado’s current United States armed forces commands from future military base realignments or closures.

DMVA Commission Report Value US Mil Activities (SB 157) – Reps. Ryden & Nordberg / Sens. Carroll & Cadman

Beginning in 2015, the Department of Defense will begin to implement Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) evaluations as it reduces its overall budget. SB 157 aims to demonstrate the importance of Colorado’s military bases and personnel to national security. Under the bill, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is required find a contractor to conduct the study and prepare its findings no later than April 15, 2015.

Veteran License Certificate Registration (SB 208) -Rep. Fields / Rep. Jones

The bill requires the director of the division of registrations in the department of regulatory agencies to reinstate the expired license, certificate, or registration of a veteran who has not been dishonorably discharged if the veteran meets specific requirements.

Safeguarding Our Environment

Plug-in Electric Motor Vehicle Definition (HB 1027) -Rep. Fischer /Sen. Jones

For purposes of registering a motor vehicle, a “plug-in electric motor vehicle” is defined to include motor vehicles that are certified to be eligible for a particular federal tax credit and a catch-all provision that applies to other vehicles; for example, one that is retrofitted to be a plug-in electric vehicle. This bill clarifies the catchall component of the definition to ensure that it is not too expansive.

Phase Out low Efficiency Plumbing Fixtures (SB 103)-

Sen. Guzman /Rep. FisherTo respond to state wide water shortages, effective 2016, this bill phases in high efficiency plumbing fixtures, including faucets, showerheads, and toilets that are EPA certified as “water-sense” or the equivalent. It is expected to result in significant water savings

Hydroelectric Generation Incentive (HB 1030) – Reps. Mitsch Bush & Coram / Sens. Schwartz & Roberts

This bill streamlines and coordinates the complex permitting process for small hydroelectric facilities that produce 10 megawatts of energy or less. It cuts red tape and will stimulate small, rural, hydroelectric businesses and help creates rural jobs.

Community Solar Garden Business Personal Property Tax Exemption (HB 1101) – Rep. Tyler / Sen. Schwartz

HB 1101 exempts residences with a stake in a community solar garden from business personal property tax on that interest. Currently, the exemption only applies to solar collectors placed on the residential property.

Mineral Estate Disclosure (SB 009) - Rep. Moreno and Sen. Hodge

To protect buyers of property residential sales contracts will have to disclose the possible separate ownership of the mineral estate underneath the property.

Biogas System Components Sales & Use Tax Exemption (HB 1159) – Reps. Young & Dore / Sen. Schwartz & Crowder

This bill exempts items used in the production of biogas from state sales and use taxes and also gives local governments the ability to exempt these items from local sales and use tax if they choose. It will help rural biogas producers by giving them a tax break and encourage more investment into this developing technology.

Clean Energy Project Private Activity Bonds (HB 1222) – Rep. McLachlan / Sens. Schwartz & Roberts

HB 1222 allows a county to issue bonds worth $500,000 or more for constructing, expanding or upgrading a geothermal project. The bill also extends the repayment period from 10 years to 15 years. It will spur investment in this developing and sustainable technology and help rural property owners and CEAs build these projects and bring jobs to southwestern Colorado.

Tax Incentives for Alternative Fuel Trucks (HB 1326)- Reps. Primavera & Scott / Sen. Hodge

This bill makes changes to three areas of tax policy affecting low-emission and alternative fuel vehicles. It creates a new income tax credit, reduces the number of vehicles eligible to claim existing sales and use tax exemptions, and reduces the taxable value of certain vehicles for the purpose of calculating the specific ownership tax.

Expand Electric Vehicle Charging Station Grants (SB 28) – Reps. Tyler & Duran / Sen. Jones

SB 28 expands the list of eligible entities that may receive grants from the Electric Vehicle Grant Fund to include private nonprofit and for-profit corporations, state agencies, public universities, and public transit agencies.

Species Conservation Trust Fund Project List (SB 188) – Reps. Fischer & Schwartz / Sens. Schwartz & Baumgardner

This bill appropriates money from the species conservation trust fund for programs submitted by the executive director of the department of natural resources that are designed to conserve native species that have been listed as threatened or endangered under state or federal law, or are candidate species or are likely to become candidate species as determined by the United States fish and wildlife service.

Uranium Processing Groundwater Protection (SB 192) – Rep. Becker / Sen. Hodge

SB 192 clarifies the review process for licenses of new uranium processing technologies. These new technologies involve pumping high-pressure water underground, creating uranium slurries, and have never been used commercially in the US. The bill ensures that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reviews operations using these technologies and ensures that Coloradans are protected from contamination at future uranium sites.

Funding For Energy Efficiency in Schools (SB 202) -Rep. Tyler / Sen. Kerr

SB 202 increases the availability of funds for applicant school districts for renewable energy projects.

Update Waste Tire Management System (HB 1352) -Reps. Tyler m& Coram / Sens. Todd & King

This Bill will encourage the owners of waste tire dumps to reuse and recycle, and give them four years to get the job done. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, waste tire permit holders will be forbidden to accept “new” waste tires. On that same date the $1.50 fee will decrease to 55 cents, subsidies to reuse/recycle programs will end and waste tires will basically become a free market. And by 2024, the waste tire dumps must close.

Keeping our Promise to Colorado’s Seniors

The Budget includes an additional $4.5 million for senior services delivered by the state’s area agencies on aging and services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, as well as an additional $2.7 million from the Old Age Pension fund to provide a 3 percent cost of living adjustment.

Property Tax Rent Heat Fuel Grants for Low-income Seniors (SB 14) – Rep. Pettersen / Sen. Kefalas

Beginning with grants claimed for 2014, SB 14 modifies the real property tax assistance grants, which includes grants for property tax, specific ownership tax, or tax equivalent payments and heat or fuel expenses assistance grants for low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. The bill increases the income limits for grant eligibility from approximately $12,639 to $14,937 for individuals and from approximately $16,935 to $20,163 for married couples. It also establishes flat minimum grant amounts of $227 for the real property tax expense assistance grant and $73 for the heat or fuel expenses assistance grant.

Veterans Community Living Centers in Colorado (SB 96) - Reps. Pettersen & Exum / Sen. Crowder

The bill changes the terms “state veterans nursing home” and “state nursing home” throughout statute to “veterans community living center” and “veterans center” to more accurately reflect the wide array of services provided by these facilities to meet the multiple needs of veterans and their families in Colorado.

Crimes Against At-risk Elders (SB 98) – Reps. Schafer & Foote / Sen. Zenzinger

This bill establishes a new crime called “criminal exploitation of at-risk elders” and adds “exploitation” to the definition of abuse. The bill changes mandatory elder abuse reporting requirements and requires that local law enforcement or county social services departments be notified first, rather than the district attorney. These modifications would allow the problems of elder abuse to be addressed more quickly, and at a local level.

Senior & Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption (HB 1373) – Reps. Lebsock & Scott / Zenzinger & Crowder

Under current law, seniors who have lived in the same residence for 10 or more years and 100% disabled veterans who suffered their disability while serving are able to claim a property tax exemption. HB 1373 allows a senior to continue to claim the exemption if they were forced to move because their former residence was destroyed by a natural disaster. It also allows the surviving spouse of a deceased disabled veteran to claim the exemption.

Nursing Home Innovations (SB 151) – Rep. Young / Sen. Tochtrop

Fines levied on nursing facilities are used to provide nursing home innovation grants. This bill modifies how this fine revenue may be used and makes numerous changes to the Nursing Home Innovation Grant Program, by requiring a minimum annual grant amount of up to $250,000, based on whether the fund balance is greater than $2 million on July 1 of that fiscal year; renaming the current Nursing Facility Culture Change Accountability Board to the Nursing Home Innovations Grant Board and establishing the new composition of the ten member board by September 1, 2014; awarding grants for measures intended to foster innovation and directly improve the quality of life and care provided at nursing home facilities; specifying that no state agency or any governmental entity, with the exception of a facility that is owned or operated by a governmental agency and licensed as a nursing facility, may apply for grants; clarifying that all grant-funded work products are the intellectual property of the state and must be made available to all nursing homes in the state;  supporting initiatives in line with the measures promoted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; limiting administrative costs paid to the board to $10,000 per year; and extending the sunset date of the board to September 1, 2021.

Alzheimer’s Disease Center (SB 211) – Reps. Hullinghorst & Waller / Sens. Johnston & Balmer

SB 211 establishes the Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment and Research Center within the University of Colorado School of Medicine to create programs for the care and treatment of persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Other Significant Bills

Lobbyist Transparency and Disclosure SB 217 - Rep. Hullinghorst / Sen. Carroll

This bipartisan bill is intended to improve transparency of government by requiring more frequent filing by lobbyists of their clients, contracts and earnings.

Remote Public Testimony to Legislative Committees HB 1303 – Rep. Ferrandino / Sen. Schwartz

Authorizes the taking of testimony before legislative committees from remote locations utilizing teleconferencing technology.  This bill will allow greater citizen input into the law making process while saving travel time and expense.

Transportation Network Companies Regulation SB-125 - Sen. Jahn, Harvey/ Reps. Pabon, Szabo

To regulate a new form of ridesharing utilizing smart phone apps to link drivers with passengers, the bill imposes requirements for vehicle inspection, background checks of drivers, insurance, and non-discrimination. The present companies are Uber and Lyft.

Hit and Run Medina Alert HB 1191 - Rep. Conti, Sen. King

Like the Amber Alert for missing children, the Medina Alert is triggered by a hit and run involving a death or serious bodily injury

Posting Intimate Photos on the Internet HB 1378 - Rep. Pabon

The bill creates a new misdemeanor for non-consensual posting of intimate photos or videos of a person on the Internet with the intent of causing emotional distress.

Of course, if you have questions or want additional information about specific bills,  you can always call me at 719 460-2834 or go to the Colorado General Assembly website at  www.leg.state.co.us.

Thank you for your support.