Legislative Accomplishments

During her tenure in the Colorado State Senate, Hon. Gail Schwartz worked on the following legislation:

SB07-041 Public School Facilities Equity Act

The bill creates the Advisory Committee for Public School Capital Construction with no more than 14-members and stipulates its composition. Committee members are to serve without compensation but are eligible to receive reimbursement for travel and expenses incurred carrying out official duties. The advisory committee is required to formulate facility and safety priorities, award school construction grants based on the priorities established, and assist in the implementation of the grants.

SB07-054: Research Building Funds Bond Limits

Under current law, the total bond issuance debt service cannot exceed six percent of the average total current restricted fund revenue from the revolving fund. The bill eliminates the bonding limits on the University of Colorado (CU) and the Colorado State University (CSU) research building revolving funds.

SB07-091: Renewable Resource Generation Development Areas

The bill creates the 16-member Renewable Resource Generation Development Area Task Force and specifies its membership. Members of the task force must be appointed within 30 days of the effective date of the bill. The task force is required to hold at least four public meetings, solicit comments from members of the public, and develop a map of existing generation and transmission lines and areas in Colorado with potential to support competition among renewable energy developers for renewable energy projects. At a minimum, the task force is required to consider:
  • the use of enterprise zones in the development of these areas;
  • the transmission needs of these areas to locations where customers can use the renewable resources; and
  • the potential development of various renewable resources.
The task force must adopt and deliver the map to the Governor and the General Assembly by December 31, 2007. Any recommendations require the assent of a majority of members. The task force will be dissolved December 31, 2007. The bill authorizes the task force to accept gifts, grants, and donations, but specifies that the Governor’s Office of Energy is not required to solicit such moneys on behalf of the task force. If by July 1, 2007, sufficient moneys have not been raised to cover task force expenses, the task force is disbanded and the office must return any contributions received to donors.

SB07-152: Allowing Dentists to Volunteer Their Services

The bill allows dentists and dental hygienists licensed in other states to volunteer their professional services up to five consecutive days per year, as long as the State Board of Dental Examiners is properly notified. Both in-state and out-of-state volunteer dentists and dental hygienists are also included in the Volunteer Service Act, and given immunity from civil liability. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on May 3, 2007, and unless a referendum is filed, the bill will take effect August 3, 2007. While the State Board of Dental Examiners is expected to receive a limited number of notifications of volunteer services, processing those notifications is not expected to significantly impact the workload of the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

SB07-155: Banking ATM Fees Foreign Bank

The bill allows the owner of an automated teller machine (ATM) to charge access fees to customers who conduct financial transactions with a foreign bank. Currently, two of the largest credit and debit card companies, VISA and MasterCard, prohibit an ATM owner from charging fees for foreign transactions. The Governor signed the bill into law on April 20, 2007, and unless a referendum petition is filed, the bill will take effect August 3, 2007.

SB07-206: Pest Control

The Colorado Department of Agriculture provides insects to residents to help suppress weed and insect pests for free. Insects are raised in the state insectary, which is part of the Biological Pest Control Program. These insects are typically either mailed to the requesting party or delivered in person to the release site. The bill creates the Biological Pest Control Cash Fund and permits the Agriculture Commission to set and collect fees for the insects provided through the Biological Pest Control Program.

SB07-207: Modification to Feed Standards

The bill makes the following changes to the Colorado Feed Act: it requires the Commissioner of Agriculture to promulgate rules establishing the dates upon which registrations to manufacture feed expire and the required fees. The bill changes the term “inspection fees” to “distribution fees,” and defines the terms “contract feeder” and “feeder.” The bill modifies various features and procedures in existing programs in the Department of Agriculture. As such, the bill will not affect state or local government revenue or expenditures, and is assessed as having no fiscal impact. The bill was signed by the Governor and became law on May 22, 2007.

SB07-208: Modification of Consumer Protection Act

Currently, civil penalties assessed in the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) for deceptive practices by hearing aid providers are split between the state and local law enforcement agencies and the General Fund (half of the proceeds to each). The bill changes the distribution of the fine revenue to be exclusively General Fund. As a result, the General Fund is expected to receive a minimal amount of fine revenue.

SB07-220: Rio Grande Water District

The bill expands the powers of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and its subdistricts in a manner similar to those possessed by other water conservation districts with a water management plan, except where such diversions are intended to address groundwater depletions or diversions.

SB07-253: Stabilize Oil & Gas Production Revenues

The bill directs the consensus revenue estimate group, consisting of the Staff of the Legislative Council (LCS) in consultation with the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB), to prepare quarterly forecasts of oil and gas revenues including state oil and gas severance taxes and federal mineral leasing revenue. The bill stipulates that if there is a legislative interim study committee regarding severance tax allocations that meets during 2007, the committee is required to study whether the General Assembly should authorize the State Treasurer to enter into price insurance contract. The bill defines a price insurance contract as a written agreement between the State Treasurer and a qualified counterparty relating to a commodity price for crude oil and natural gas based on levels of floor transactions or forward rate transactions executed through standard financial industry mechanisms. Such contracts would be designed to minimize revenue fluctuations from state oil and gas severance taxes and federal mineral leasing revenue (oil and gas revenues). The bill was signed by the Governor and became law on June 1, 2007.

SBO7-209: Council for Excellence in Health Careers Education

The bill creates the Southern Colorado Council for Excellence in Health Careers Education. The bill specifies council membership and charges the council with facilitating collaboration between health education providers and health care providers to improve health care in southern Colorado. Beginning in July 2007, the council is required to meet on a quarterly basis each year. Council members serve without compensation or expense reimbursement. The council is authorized to request staff support from Adams State College and Trinidad State Junior College. The council is required to:
  • identify, recommend and assist in developing new health education programs to be offered by public educational institutions in southern Colorado;
  • collaborate on strategies for increasing enrollment in such programs;
  • increase collaboration between public education institutions and health care employers to enrich course work with internships and other hands-on experience;
  • explore opportunities for developing shared facilities;
  • explore possible public-private partnerships to create new funding sources to support students in health education programs;
  • facilitate student’s transition from school to work in health care careers;
  • improve quality in health education programs offered in southern Colorado;
  • promote community education programs concerning health care issues;
  • recommend legislation to the General Assembly; and
  • provide information concerning rural health education program issues to the General Assembly and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE).
The council is authorized to form task forces to work on these issues. On or before March 1, 2008, and annually thereafter, the council is required to submit a report to the Education Committees of the General Assembly and the CCHE detailing its activities. Finally, Adams State College and Trinidad State Junior College are authorized to seek and accept gifts grants and donations in support of the council’s activities.

HB07-1012: Protect Instream Flow Loaned Water Right

The bill excludes loaned rights from any analysis of historic consumptive use and from the definition of abandoned water rights, when loaned rights are used by the Colorado Water Conservation Board for instream flow purposes. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on March 14, 2007, and unless a referendum is filed, the bill will take effect 90 days after adjournment. Increased workload resulting from additional analysis of historic consumptive use can be absorbed with current resources. Thus, The bill will not affect state or local revenues or expenditures and is assessed as having no fiscal impact.

HB07-1014: Offering Graduate Programs at Western State College

The bill expands the role and mission of Western State College by requiring the institution to offer a limited number of graduate programs.

HB07-1066: Supplementary On-line Education Providers

The bill appropriates $480,000 annually to the Colorado Department of Education for allocation to the Mountain BOCES to manage the supplemental on-line education program provider. This appropriation is from federal mineral lease revenue in the State Public School Fund.

HB07-1132: Water Quality Assessment

The bill authorizes water court judges to include conditions in their decrees that address decreases in water quality resulting from a change in the use of water rights. Regarding stream water quality, the bill specifies that the applicant for such a change in use is responsible for only that portion of the decline in water quality due to the change in use. The Governor signed the bill into law on March 12, 2007, and it applies to changes in water rights filed thereafter.

HB07-1165: Building Restrictions and Permitting for Agricultural Structures

The bill creates a five-member task force to study any issues by the use of agricultural buildings as subject to county building code requirements, and to recommend legislation on these issues. The first meeting is to be convened by the task force’s chairperson. Task force members are not to be reimbursed for their expenses or compensated for their participation.

HB07-1190: Regional Transportation Authority Tax

The bill limits the amount of sales or use tax levied by a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) that the Department of Revenue may retain for its costs in collecting, administering, and enforcing the tax to the department’s “net incremental” costs.

HB07-1281: Renewable Energy Standards

The bill makes several statutory changes to the renewable energy initiative passed by Colorado voters in 2004. Specifically, it expands the definitions of a “qualifying retail utility” to include all utilities. The bill raises the standard for electricity generation from eligible energy sources for investor-owned utilities (IOUs).

HB07-1305: Water Bank Program

The bill removes the repeal of the Arkansas River Water Bank Program. The bill will not affect state or local government revenues or expenditures and is assessed as having no fiscal impact. The bill was signed by the Governor and became law on April 9, 2007. Water banks provide a mechanism by which water rights can be leased, loaned, or exchanged. The approach is intended to reduce the costs associated with such transactions and to help water right holders.

HB07-1333: Tax Status of Conservation Land

The bill clarifies that conservation districts are political subdivisions of the state and that conservation district property is exempt from taxation under the state constitution. The bill will not affect state or local government revenue or expenditures, and is assessed as having no fiscal impact. The bill was signed by the Governor and became law on May 10, 2007. SB08

SB08-010: Water Resources & Power Development Authority Board

The bill, recommended by the Water Resources Review Committee, raises the per-diem payment for board members of the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority from $50 to $100. The bill also authorizes board members to participate in board meetings using telecommunications devices.

SB08-013: Severance Tax Trust Fund Operational Account

The bill, recommended by the Interim Committee to Study the Allocation of Severance Tax and Federal Mineral Lease Revenues, changes permissible appropriations from the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund to the Department of Natural Resources as follows:
  • reduces the share of the account that may be used to fund programs within the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) from 45 to 40 percent;
  • reduces the share of the account that may be used to fund programs within the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) from 30 to 25 percent;
  • allows appropriations of up to 5 percent of the account for programs within the Division of Wildlife, to monitor, manage or mitigate the impact of mineral production in regions of the state where production activity is occurring, or research impacts from any region in the state in which production activity is occurring; and
  • allows appropriations of up to 5 percent of the account for programs within the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation to operate, maintain or improve state parks in regions of the state where production activity is occurring.

SB08-038: K-12 Education Regional Service Cooperatives

The bill requires that the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Higher Education, and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), divide the state into 12 regional service areas. Educational agencies within these service areas may create service cooperatives to include participants from school districts, the community, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), institutions of higher education, and/or other educational service agencies. Participation in the service area is voluntary. Once formed, each participating service area is required to establish a regional service council to act as the governing body. The bill sets requirements for the composition of the councils. Each council must submit a comprehensive plan to the State Board for approval. Funding provided by the bill is contingent upon the council submitting its plan on or before June 30, 2009. Among other requirements, the plan must include measurable goals and objectives to be used for evaluation and accountability. Once a comprehensive plan has been approved by the State Board, a service area may apply for a 1-time grant of $10,000 to reimburse it for the cost of developing the plan. If the plan is approved, the service area shall receive an annual appropriation of $50,000, subject to availability, beginning in FY 2009-10. If availability is insufficient to award each service area the full amount, the State Board shall reduce all awards proportionally for that year. Additionally, each service area shall receive $0.50 for each student enrolled in a school district within its area. Each service area may use up to 10 percent of moneys received for grant management and fiscal oversight. Service areas where enrollment is less than 15,000 students may use up to 20 percent. Each service area is authorized to seek gifts, grants, and donations for the purposes of implementing the bill. Each service area that receives funding from the bill is required to submit an annual report to the State Board and the CDE, and an annual budget to the CDE. The bill requires that a BOCES within the service area act as the fiscal agent.

SB08-081: Colorado Renewable Energy Authority

The bill clarifies the powers and duties of the Colorado Renewable Energy Authority and specifies that it report to the General Assembly all activity related to intellectual property, licensing, commercialization, and/or other economic benefit to the state. The bill repeals the provision requiring it to remit 50 percent of all revenue received as a result of licensing or commercialization to the state Treasury. The bill was signed by the Governor and became law on April 10, 2008.

SB08-215: OIT Broadband Telecom Map

The bill directs the Chief Information Officer within the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) to create an inventory of broadband service areas within Colorado that includes the following:
  • an illustrative map showing wired, wireless, and satellite-based broadband services;
  • the potential use of enterprise zones to develop rural broadband service;
  • the need for additional infrastructure; and
  • demographic information.
OIT must complete the inventory by April 1, 2009, submit a report to the legislature, and publish certain data on a publicly available website. In developing the inventory, OIT must consult the Governor’s Innovation Council and other public and private entities. It must also hold at least 4 public meetings, consider comments submitted from the public, and employ private contractors. The bill declares the intent of the General Assembly to have OIT seek gifts, grants, and donations to cover its costs, but if sufficient moneys are not received by September 1, 2008, OIT may use up to $100,000 from the high cost support mechanism, which is administered through the PUC. All funds would be credited to the Broadband Inventory Fund. The bill specifically prohibits the inventory from disclosing proprietary information. Any information submitted by telecommunications providers in connection with the inventory would be exempt from disclosure under the open records law.

SB08-218: Allocation of Federal Mineral Lease Revenues

Beginning July 1, 2008 The bill modifies the allocation of the state’s portion of federal mineral lease (FML) revenue in several ways. First, the bill segregates FML bonus payment revenue and provides for reallocation of these moneys. Second, the bill specifies the reallocation of non-bonus (rent and royalty) FML revenue. These reallocations are depicted in flowcharts as Appendices A and B. Finally, the bill creates a new Higher Education FML Revenues Fund and a new Higher Education Maintenance and Reserve Fund, and specifies the uses of moneys in these funds.

SB08-228: More Public Disclosure Prospecting

The bill specifies that all information provided to the Mined Land Reclamation Board in a notice of intent to conduct prospecting or a modification of an existing notice, is a matter of public record and is subject to the open records act. The bill exempts information relating to the location, size, or nature of the mineral deposit, and other information designated by the operator as proprietary, from this specification. The bill requires the board to promulgate rules regarding its implementation, and requires the person filing the notice to provide an electronic version to the board in a format determined by the board. The board is then required to post the electronic notice on its web site. The bill was signed by the Governor and became law on June 2, 2008.

HB08-1026: Colorado Water Institute

The bill changes the name of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute at Colorado State University (CSU) to the Colorado Water Institute. The bill expands the purpose of the institute to include:
  • creating and operating a water research information and education center for water resources, water quality, and water-related policy issues;
  • training future generations of water scientists, managers and planners; and
  • conducting scientific research and policy analysis in areas including but not limited to water development and storage and surface and groundwater hydrology, water resource and quality management, drought planning and mitigation and climate change and adaptation.
The bill expands the duties of the institute to:
  • consult with drought and climate change planning organizations and water quality planning organizations in identifying and prioritizing the state’s water scientific and policy-related research needs;
  • support public health and water quality protection agencies’ research on water-related issues including the effects of climate change on water quality, water availability, runoff timing, drought planning and future compact compliance;
  • examine the interconnnections between climate change, water supply, and water quality and provide tools needed by water managers and policymakers for adapting to global climate change; and
  • establish and maintain a clearinghouse of water research, water quality, and climate projection data.
The bill specifies that state funds granted or appropriated for water research at the state’s institutions of higher education may pass through administrative control of the institute. In addition, the institute is authorized as an administering entity and oversight provider for state agencies seeking to utilize Colorado universities for water research. The institute may assess a fee to cover administrative costs of 20 percent or less of any project budget. The bill charges the advisory committee on water research policy with annually setting the administrative fee. The bill also designates the executive directors of the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Public Health and Environment as members of the committee, and specifies that the remaining 8 committee members will be appointed by the director of the institute. Finally, the bill repeals the existing limitation that no General Fund moneys be appropriated to the institute.

HB08-1164: New Solar Energy Technologies

The bill modifies the Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) responsibilities with regard to the promotion of renewable energy resources. Specifically, the bill authorizes the PUC to consider the likelihood of future environmental regulation and the risk of higher future costs associated with greenhouse gas emissions when evaluating utility resource acquisition proposals. Where utilities eliminate or reduce carbon dioxide emissions through sequestration, the commission may consider the benefits of using carbon dioxide for other uses. In addition, the amended bill authorizes the PUC to determine the appropriate amount of utility-scale solar energy projects (nameplate capacity greater than 2 megawatts) to be acquired, by considering whether such electricity generation could:
  • provide energy storage to match the times when utility generation is at higher cost;
  • reduce performance or financial risk for the utility;
  • reduce water consumption associated with electricity generation;
  • stabilize future electricity costs by offsetting the variation in fossil fuel prices; and
  • reduce long-term risks related to potential carbon regulation or taxation.
The bill was signed by the Governor and became law on June 2, 2008.

HB08-1241: CO Watershed Protection Fund Checkoff

The bill changes the name of the Colorado Watershed Protection Fund to the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund, and extends for 3 tax years (2008 through 2010) the period that state income tax returns will include a voluntary contribution designation benefitting the fund. Money in the fund is used by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) in cooperation with the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) to award competitive grants to Colorado residents working toward the restoration and protection of land and natural resources within Colorado watersheds.

HB08-1280: Protect Leased Instream Flow Water Right

The bill specifies that water rights which have been leased or loaned to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), for instream flow purposes, to preserve or improve the natural environment are to be excluded from the water court’s historic consumptive use analysis, and shall not be considered as abandoned water rights. In addition, the CWCB is required to adopt criteria for evaluating proposed contracts or agreements for leases or loans of water. In the case of such loan or lease agreements, the CWCB is required to:
  • make a finding that the lessor or lender is not entering into the agreement for speculative purposes;
  • obtain confirmation from a division engineer that the proposed lease or loan is administrable;
  • maintain records regarding how much water it uses for each year that the lease or loan agreement is in effect;
  • install any measuring device deemed necessary by the division engineer to administer the contract and to record how much water flows out of the affected reach if none currently exists; and
  • file a change of water right application with the water court to obtain a decreed right to use water for instream flow purposes.
The bill also requires the water court, as part of its evaluation of a change decree related to the agreement, to quantify the historical consumptive use of the leased or loaned water right. Finally, the amended bill specifies that decrees for changes of a water right that implement a contract for a lease, loan, or donation of water to the CWCB for instream flow use must provide that either the lessor or the CWCB may put the water to beneficial use downstream of the instream flow reach, in a manner to prevent injury to other vested water rights or decreed conditional water rights. The Governor signed the bill into law on April 21, 2008, and unless a referendum petition is filed, the bill will take effect August 5, 2008.

HB08-1304: Illegal Taking & Possessing Bald Eagles

The bill makes it illegal to hunt, take, or possess bald eagles. Each violation is an unclassified misdemeanor that carries a fine of $1,000 to $100,000, up to 1 year imprisonment in a county jail, or both. Additionally, a fine of 20 license suspension points will be assessed. License suspension points are tracked by the Division of Wildlife (DOW), Department of Natural Resources. If a person accumulates a total of 20 or more license points over a 5-year period, the Wildlife Commission or an authorized hearing officer can suspend that person’s ability to apply for, purchase, or use any type of DOW license. The license suspension period cannot exceed 5 years. The bill clarifies that a person with a federal permit to possess all or part of a bald eagle or golden eagle is not in violation of Colorado law.

HB08-1335: Building Excellent Schools Today Act

The bill repeals and reenacts Article 43.7 of Title 22, C.R.S., with amendments. Article 43.7 addresses the financing of capital construction for public school buildings. In summary, the bill consolidates several sources of revenue currently used for capital construction into one account, the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is authorized to enter lease purchase agreements or issue grants from the fund with school districts or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). Matching funds are required to obtain funding, although a waiver process exists. The bill also creates the Division of Public School Capital Construction Assistance and the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Board within the CDE to manage the selection of projects, funding matters, and to provide technical assistance.

HB08-1385: Increased Health Insurance Transparency

The bill requires the Insurance Commissioner to implement and maintain a consumer guide to health benefits coverage on the Division of Insurance website. The website must include information on each carrier, a link to the division’s complaint form and index of complaints, and other information the commissioner determines to be useful to consumers. Additional information on health plan quality can be included from state or nationally recognized organizations. In addition, health care insurance producers and agents must disclose expected commission amounts to consumers.

SJR07-027: March Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The joint resolution establishes the month of March 2007 as “Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” in the state of Colorado, and encourages the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in cooperation with the medical community and the American Cancer Society, to continue to coordinate an aggressive educational program concerning colorectal cancer.

SJR07-042: Mineral Revenue Allocation Interim Committee

The joint resolution creates an 11-member legislative interim committee to study the allocation of severance tax and federal mineral lease revenues. The committee will consist of five members of the Senate, five members of the House of Representatives, and one member appointed jointly by the chairs of the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee of the Senate and the Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives. The resolution specifies the interim committee’s duties and issues that may be considered. Legislative members shall be compensated as provided in Section 2-2-307, C.R.S. Legislative Council Staff and the Office of Legislative Legal Services will be available to assist the committee in carrying out its duties. The resolution also creates an 11-member working group to make policy recommendations to the interim committee. It is assumed that members of the working group will not receive compensation from the General Assembly for serving on the working group. Additionally, the resolution states its intent that the Departments of Local Affairs and Natural Resources work closely with the interim committee and the working group as they study and develop issues, policy recommendations and proposed legislation.

SJR08-013: Peace Jam Week

The joint resolution:
  • establishes the week of February 29 through March 6, 2008, to be Peace Jam Week in Colorado
  • expresses the Colorado General Assembly’s sincere appreciation and support of the continuing statewide, national, and international efforts of Colorado’s Peace Jam Foundation to create a new generation of young leaders who are committed to transforming themselves, their communities, and the world
  • welcomes and honors 1980 Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina as he works with Peace Jam on February 29, March 1, and March 2, 2008, in Denver to further the education of our youth and to inspire global action toward peace; and
  • encourages the people of Colorado to help Peace Jam and the Nobel Peace Laureates meet their goal of completing over one billion acts of service and peace over the next ten years through the Global Call to Action that will address the issues of ensuring equal access to water and other natural resources; ending racism and hate; halting the spread of global disease; eliminating extreme poverty; promoting social justice and human rights for all, including rights for women and children; restoring the earth’s sustainability; controlling the proliferation of weapons; breaking the cycle of violence; and investing in human security.

SJR08-015: Endorse Veterans Education Assistance Act

The resolution supports the federal “Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007” and encourages members of Congress to adopt this legislation in order to enable our country’s military service men and women to pursue their educational goals so they can further enrich lives.

SM08-001: Memorializing Former Senator Wilson Rockwell

The memorial recognizes Senator Wilson Rockwell as an outstanding citizen and public servant, and extends our deep and heartfelt sympathy to the members of his family and pays tribute to a man who served his community and his state well and faithfully.

SM08-003: Memorializing Former Senator David Robinson Crocker Brown

The memorial recognizes Senator David Robinson Crocker Brown as an outstanding father, grandfather, citizen, and dedicated public servant, and extends our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the members of his family and pay tribute to a man who served his community and his state honorably and faithfully.

SB09-171 New Energy Jobs Training Program

This bill will encourage the training of the next generation of new energy workers by offering targeted funding for community colleges to work directly with renewable energy companies to create customized job training programs. Green industry protects our environment, but more importantly it develops reliable jobs for Colorado. This bill permits available funds from the Colorado Customized Training Program to be used to train potential employees, establish programs and help companies train employees for participation in Colorado’s New Energy Economy. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Todd Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-013 Good Samaritan Law Volunteer Firefighters

This bill was endorsed by the Interim Committee on Wildfire Issues in Wild Land-Urban Interface Areas. SB09-013 Enacts the “Marc Mullenix Volunteer Firefighter Protection Act”, providing limited civil immunity/legal protections for volunteer firefighters, their commanders, and the organizations that employ them to fight fires and respond to other emergencies. Sponsored by Sens. Gibbs and Schwartz, Rep. Levy Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-039 Conserve Energy Tiered Rates Incentive

This bill will expand energy efficient investments and promote energy savings for electricity consumers. For years, water utilities have encouraged water conservation through a method called ‘inclining block rate,’ where the price of water rises with increasing usage. This bill would use the same method to deal with rising power costs while creating sensible energy markets that benefit the economy and Colorado’s environment. I worked with Holy Cross Rural Electric Association on this bill as one of their concepts for energy conservation. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Curry Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-048: Audit of Childs Representative

Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Primavera Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-059: Enactment of 2008 CRS

Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Gardner B. Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-075 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles

This bill will open more Colorado low speed roads and city streets to neighborhood electric vehicles. Currently, Colorado has a patchwork of conflicting regulations for these vehicles. By establishing statewide legislation for their operation, we hope to encourage more Coloradans to consider using energy efficient electric cars. By facilitating their use, we’re promoting an environmentally responsible transportation option while setting forth guidelines for their safe use. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Marostica Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-098 Tax Exempt Blended Diesel Products

Over the past several years, biofuels have been at a competitive disadvantage due to a Special Fuel excise tax. Senate Bill 98 will open up the market for biofuels by providing the same tax-exempt status for biodiesel as is given to dyed special fuels in Colorado. The bill will create the opportunity for petroleum distributors to blend biofuel locally and sell biodiesel products for construction and agricultural use without having to tax consumers. In working on this legislation, we partnered with the biodiesel community and petroleum distributors to ensure that it meets the long-term needs of the biofuel industry and firms that are currently advancing biodiesel production in Colorado. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Vigil Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-127 Continuing the Regulation of Egg Quality

Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Fischer Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-162 Broadband Service Areas

For rural Colorado, one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of the Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth is the inventory of broadband service areas. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz and Rep. Liston, this bill creates an inventory of state broadband areas and removes restrictions on private gift and grants needed to fund this program. This bill will initiate the mapping of broadband connectivity throughout the state. The faster we can get broadband access to rural areas, the faster we can level the playing field and ensure that healthcare, education and businesses can thrive in all parts of Colorado. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Liston Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-177 New Solar Facility Property Tax Valuation

This bill will require that, similar to wind energy facilities, state assessed solar energy facilities will be valued using the income approach. This means that taxation of solar energy facilities will be based on the generation so that local revenues will guarantee long term success. The bill helps to compensate for high capital construction costs and encourage investment by the solar industry. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Vigil Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-232 Local Government Financing with Severance Tax

This bill creates a program that provides state financial assistance to local governments for capital construction projects.  This will put much-needed capital construction dollars in our local communities to create new jobs and infrastructure. $17 Million was made available for projects in communities with oil and gas reserves on federal lands. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. McFadyan Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-257 Building Excellent Schools Today

This bill amends the 2008 Building Excellent Schools Today Act (B.E.S.T.).  It allows more efficient implementation of the act without reducing funding or restricting lease-purchase agreement authorizations. The B.E.S.T. program I helped to create provides rural school districts with much-needed funding for capital construction projects. Funds received from this program will help to create a safe, 21st century, supportive learning environment for the children throughout rural Colorado. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Reps. Fischer and Vigil Link to: Text of Bill and History

SB09-289 Waste Tire Recycling

This legislation is an opportunity to make use of existing revenue, create green jobs from waste tire recycling and support a new sector for sustainable recycling businesses. Colorado’s large tire monofills are a public health threat and environmental disaster waiting to happen. This bill requires the Department of Public Health and Environment to adopt a ten-year plan for waste tire management and the elimination of Colorado’s two tire monofills. Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Primavera Link to: Text of Bill and History

HB09-1111 Health Care Resources for Underserved

This bill will help the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment increase the availability of health care resources in under-served areas. The legislation will help to coordinate available federal and state programs that capitalize on medical reimbursements, grants and the placement of health care professionals in those areas. This bill also uses a federal visa program designed to bring foreign medical professionals into under-served rural areas. The visa program is a unique and exciting opportunity to bring in health care professionals coming from other Spanish-speaking countries to serve in our Spanish-speaking communities. The program will also attract new doctors by offering a student-loan payment program to help young doctors with their debt. I am proud to have worked as the Senate sponsor on this bill with Representative Tom Massey to create new opportunities to address physician shortages without increasing public spending. Sponsored by Rep Massey, Sen. Boyd and Sen. Schwartz Link to: Text of Bill and History

HB09-1119  Rural Substance Abuse

Sen. Schwartz worked with Representative Ed Vigil on this legislation to establish a grant program that will provide alcohol and substance abuse programs with prevention and treatments services to youth in rural areas. This bill will create a surcharge of less than $10 on individuals convicted of drunk driving offenses that will be used to fund the new prevention programs. These new programs will provide much-needed assistance to rural communities in their efforts to manage and prevent substance abuse. We appreciate the strong support and cooperation of the Colorado District Attorney’s Association and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing on this legislation. Sponsored by Rep. Vigil, Sen. Schwartz Link to: Text of Bill and History

HB09-1213 Creation of the Housing Development Fund in the State Treasury

This bill creates a Housing Development Grant Fund to be administered by the Division of Housing within the Department of Local Affairs. The fund will be used to make grants or loans to improve, preserve, or expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado. Sponsored by Rep. Gagliardi, Sen. Schwartz Link to: Text of Bill and History

HB09-1233 Recognize Acequias

This bill recognizes the historic value and cultural importance of the Acequia tradition, which are community ditches in Southern Colorado. Acequias are central to the viability of the historic communities that depend on this system as a means of irrigation and cultural preservation. Colorado’s first water rights and agricultural traditions are intimately tied to these irrigation systems and should be recognized and protected. Sponsored by Rep. Vigil, Sen. Schwartz Link to: Text of Bill and History

HB09-1282 Electronic Device Recycling Task-Force

This bill creates a task force within the Department of Public Health and Environment to make recommendations regarding the implementation of an electronic device recycling program. The task force is designed to represent both public and private stakeholders to address the millions of tons of electronics scrap generated in the US every year. The desired outcomes of the task force are: to increase diversion rates for electronic devices, to promote new non-toxic designs for electronics, to consider a landfill disposal ban for electronic devices, to create jobs in Colorado, and to build on the existing infrastructure that currently diverts e-waste in Colorado. Sponsored by Rep. Fischer, Sen. Schwartz Link to: Text of Bill and History

HB09-1312 Renewable Energy Loans for Schools

This innovative bill will create a renewable energy and energy efficiency loan program for schools to fund renewable energy projects and hybrid-electric buses. Every year, Colorado’s school districts struggle with tight budgets constrained by volatile energy prices that result in high utility and transportation bills. A small but growing number of school districts have responded to these challenges by increasing energy efficiency and producing their own energy with renewable sources. This allows schools to reduce their energy costs while promoting energy independence and providing students with an opportunity to learn about emerging energy technologies. This loan program will be administered by the Governor’s Energy Office, which will evaluate project proposals and review loan applications for funding. Sponsored by Rep. Kerr A., Sen. Schwartz Link to: Text of Bill and History

HB09-1345 Electric Utilities Integrate Transmission Infrastructure

The legislature took an important step in establishing transmission infrastructure to put clean, green electrons on the wires and to make Colorado a net-clean energy exporter. This bill gives us an opportunity to identify where we stand in our integrated transmission planning and what we need to do to ensure continued and balanced growth in our new energy economy. By expanding our infrastructure and reassessing our legislative and economic priorities, Colorado has ensured that – as a state – we will be prepared to embrace new energy opportunities and meet the economic potential of our communities. Sponsored by Rep. Solano, Sen. Schwartz Link to: Text of Bill and History

Colorado Renewable Energy Standard:

HB10-1001 This bill changes and expands the renewable portfolio standard statutes, which require investor owned (IOU) and other utilities to have a percentage of their energy generated from renewable sources. This bill requires IOUs to have 30 percent of their generation come from renewable sources by 2020. This bill changes the distributed generation requirements, rebate offers, retail rate impact, and solar certification. It also addresses PUC responsibilities when looking at new energy technologies.

Prohibition on Consideration of Gender in Health Insurance Rates:

HB10-1008 This bill prohibits insurance companies from basing individual health care plan rates on a person’s gender. Women have historically been subject to higher insurance rates due to gender discrimination.

Medicaid Services Related to Substance Abuse:

HB10-1033 This bill adds the optional services of screening, brief intervention and substance abuse referral to Medicaid. The bill depends on HB10-1284 Medical Marijuana Regulation funds to meet its costs.

Regulate Waste Grease Disposal:

HB10-1125 This amended bill requires the Department of Public Health and Environment’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission to regulate the collection, transportation, storage and disposal of grease. This applies only to trap grease (from food preparation) and yellow grease (used cooking oil). Waste grease is a valuable resource when used as a Bio Fuel.

Clean Energy Development Authority Financing:

HB10-1182 This bill expands the Colorado Clean Energy Development Authority’s (CEDA) ability to make certain types of loans and financing agreements so that it may facilitate electric power projects. The bill authorizes CEDA to make commercial loan agreements to clean energy facility projects in order to connect them to the utility transmission grid, and loan agreements may pertain to items such as step-up transformers, circuit breakers and transmission lines.

Extend Petroleum Storage Tank Fund Dates:

HB10-1185 This bill extends the repeal of the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund until July 1, 2018. There is no longer a specific payment date for the environmental response surcharge that occurs when the fund is less than $12 million.

Fee Exemptions for Late Vehicle Registration:

HB10-1212 This bill directs the Department of Revenue to make rules for waiving late fees for late motor vehicle registration. Rules could pertain to situations such as acts of God, weather delays, office closures, temporary plates or tags or certificates, medical hardships, out-of-state lienholders and information technology failures, among other things. This bill also addresses making rules that allow country clerks to reduce/waive late fees for commercial vehicle trailers in certain circumstances.

Adopt-A-Pet License Plates:

HB10-1214 This bill created the Adopt-A-Pet license plate and extends the income tax checkoff to support animal shelters. Of the related license fees, $30 will be allocated to the Pet Overpopulation Fund’s Adopt A Shelter Pet Account. This bill also adds a Western Colorado member to the Pet Overpopulation Authority’s Board of Directors and extends the pet overpopulation tax check-off.

Sunset Review, Division of Insurance:

HB10-1220 This bill involves the Division of Insurance and its regulation of property and casualty insurance. The sunset review schedule of the department is now July 1, 2017. The bail bond agent licensing’s sunset review date is now July 1, 2012. Unfair and deceptive acts or practices language has been added regarding insurance businesses. The Commissioner can make insurer self-audits and division audits of insurers public. References to medical malpractice and commercial liability insurance joint underwriting associations that no longer exist are repealed. Pinnacol Assurance provisions that are obsolete are repealed. Licensed funeral contract sellers must be examined at least every five years. This may be done by outside examiners, with billing charged to the funeral contract sellers.

Sunset Review, Licensing of River Outfitters:

HB10-1221 This bill extends and modifies the River Outfitter Licensing Program until September 1, 2019. The bill changes the qualification requirements for guides and trip leaders. The Board of Parks and Recreation must adopt a license renewal schedule that occurs at least every three years. The Board must also develop rules for notifying outfitters about personnel and training rule changes. River outfitters that operate without a license are subject to five times the annual license fee penalty. The River Outfitter Advisory Committee is recreated to review and make recommendations on regulations for river outfitters. The definition of advertising for river outfitters now includes electronic media.

Wildlife Crossing Zones:

HB10-1238 This bill lets the Colorado Department of Transportation establish wildlife crossing zones on a total of 100 miles public highways. Signs posted to notify motorists about the zones must include information about penalties for violations. Moving violation penalties in these areas may be increased and funds from these penalties will be used to repay the costs of establishing these zones.

Breast Cancer Screening Insurance Guidelines:

HB10-1252 This bill requires that insurance companies cover annual mammograms for women that are over 40 years old or at risk of breast cancer as determined by their doctor. The law applies to new or renewed policies starting January 1, 2011.

New Energy Jobs Creation Act or PACE Funding Program:

HB10-1328 This bill creates the Colorado New Energy Improvement District for administering the New Energy Improvement Program. The program addresses renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that homeowners choose for their homes. The bill addresses what the homeowner assessment amount is based on, as well as the formation of the local district. The program is funded by bonds that are paid for by special assessments on homeowners who choose to participate in the program. Bonds are exempt from all taxation and assessments in the state, are not a state debt, and are limited to $800 million for up to 20 years.

Green Jobs Training Pilot Program:

HB10-1333 This bill creates the Green Jobs Colorado Training Program. This two-year program offers job training grants to programs for wind. solar, renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. Programs must meet application requirements. The Green Jobs Colorado Advisory Council administers the program. The Council must prioritize toward programs that show likely job offers at completion and target low-income, entry-level or declining industries workers.

Renewable Energy Generation for State Parks:

HB10-1349 This bill creates the Re-energize Colorado Program. The goal of this program is to either generate or offset all of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation’s electricity consumption by 2020. The program should do this by using energy resources on its land. The bill requires the Governor’s Energy Office to conduct an analysis to decide on the best state park land for developing renewable energy. The bill also requires the Public Utilities Commission to consider projects that may create jobs and help local economies. The bill also creates the Renewable Resource Generation Development Areas Fund for public and private gifts to support the program’s activities.

Inactive Status of Special Districts:

HB10-1362 This bill creates procedures for a special district to be designated inactive or return to active status. It requires the district to notify local and state entities of its status. While the district is inactive, it may not conduct any official business, incur debt or impose a mill levy. Elections and business that relates to it changing to an active district are exempted.

Valuation of New Hydroelectric Facilities:

SB10-019 This bill addresses property taxes for new hydroelectric energy facilities. It says the taxes will be based on the income approach if energy production starts on or after January 1, 2010 and the production capacity is more than five megawatts. Actual value will be based on projected gross revenue in dollars.

Senior Protections from Financial Exploitation:

SB10-042 This bill requires a financial institution to offer a wavier to adults who are or may become at risk of financial exploitation. This waives the confidentiality of the account for investigations for financial exploitation. This does not require a financial institution to report suspected or known financial exploitation.

Colorado Seed Potato Act:

SB10-072 This bill has to do with the Colorado Seed Potato Act, which requires anyone who grows one or more acres of potatoes to use certified seed potatoes. There are some exceptions to this law. Growers must keep certain records, which are subject to random review by an independent auditor. The Commissioner of Agriculture is responsible for administration and enforcement of the act. Colorado State University is the certifying authority for Colorado. Seed potatoes that are grown outside of Colorado must be certified by that state, territory or country of origin. This bill also creates and details the duties of the Seed Potato Advisory Committee.

Cross-Boundary Energy Improvement Districts:

SB10-100 This bill lets local energy improvement districts cross county lines if county commissioners have agreed in a memorandum or intergovernmental agreement to share district costs. This bill also expands the allowed locations for energy improvements, as a community location is now included. Community solar gardens are community locations in investor owned utility areas. In non-investor owned utility areas, a community location is: entirely owned by owners of the buildings that will receive the renewable energy improvement; the place that provides the energy credit on the owner’s utility bill; and is on the property that benefits from the energy improvements. The bill also requires that local improvement districts do not limit fees or modify metering limits by utilities. Additionally, it exempts county local improvement districts from specific public notice and county treasurer debt obligations.

Promote Geothermal Energy Development:

SB10-174 This bill makes changes in regulations pertaining to geothermal energy development. It allows federal mineral lease revenues from geothermal development on federal land to be used for grants to state agencies, school districts and political subdivisions that are affected by the geothermal development and production. In cases where geothermal resources are sold or leased separately from the land, the geothermal rights-holder can reasonably access the geothermal resource. The state engineer must deny applications that would use groundwater and change its temperature if that change affects prior valid geothermal rights-holders. Geothermal facilities must be valued like solar and wind facilities for the purposes of property taxes. Counties and municipalities can designate geothermal use as an activity that is in the state’s interest. The Public Utilities Commission can give full consideration to new energy technologies for geothermal energy, at a utility’s request.

Promote Biomass Energy Development:

SB10-177 This bill defines what a biomass energy facility is. A biomass energy facility creates mechanical or electrical energy only from biomass or biosolids from wastewater treatment. The facility is also designed to provide off-site electricity. The biomass facility is valued the same as wind and solar energy facilities for property tax purposes. Starting July 1, 2013, Agricultural property tax and ownership tax exemption will be extended for forestry operations equipment.

County Elected Officials’ Salary Commission:

SB10-182 This bill changes when and how often the County Elected Officials’ Salary Commission meets and submits a report to the General Assembly. The commission must meet every two years in even numbered years. This group reviews and recommends salary adjustments for elected county officials.

Colorado Conformity with Federal ARRA Language and Low Interest Bonds:

SB10-200 This bill amends language in the Colorado Recovery and Reinvestment Finance Act of 2009 to reflect changes in the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 language relating to two types of bonds. This bill does not allow new borrowing by Colorado public entities, but it enables use of the federal bonds providing as low as zero percent interest.

Allocation of National Forest Payments PILT and SRS:

SB10-209 This bill repeals allocation waivers for national forest payments on July 1, 2011. This bill only addresses allocation of the national forest payments for federal fiscal year 2009. It waives the 25 percent minimum payment by a county to a school, allowing it to pay more than 25 percent and have that amount go towards the county’s PILT payment. This allows counties to maximize PILT payments by allocating more than 25 percent of the national forest payment to schools.

Reducing Length of Regular Legislative Sessions:

SCR 10-009 This resolution would have put a measure on the ballot asking voters to approve a reduction in the number of days that the General Assembly would meet during a regular legislative session. Currently, our session is set at 120 days, and SCR 10-009 would have called for meeting not more than 100 days over the course of 120 calendar days. The resolution did not pass, but I supported it strongly because it could have saved money and increased legislators’ contact with constituents.

Colorado 4-H 100th Anniversary:

SJR 10-006 This resolution honored the Colorado 4-H Program, which reached its 100th anniversary of operating in Colorado in 2010. SJR 10-006 said 84,600 youth and 6,500 volunteers contribute to communities and gain practical experience through 4-H. The resolution also honored 4-H for advancing curricula that help our youth develop skill expertise in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines.

Honoring Colorado’s Olympic Athletes:

SJR 10-012 This resolution honored the 21 Colorado athletes who were selected to participate in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Six of the 21 athletes (Jeremy Abbott, Gretchen Bleiler, Chris Klug, Simi Hamilton, Casey Puckett and Jake Zamansky) were from SD-5. The athletes were honored for their dedication and sacrifice, and the resolution wished them success in Vancouver.

My 2011 Legislation Summary

A list of my bills & resolutions passed this session: Senate bills:
  • SB11-203 Species Conservation Trust Fund (with Rep. Sonnenberg)
  • SB11-208 DOW-Parks Merger (with Rep. Sonnenberg)
  • SB11-028 Addition of a Judge in the 7th Judicial District (with Rep. Coram)
  • SB 11-267 2011 Forest Health Act (with Rep. Coram & Rep. Hamner)
  • SB11-090 Sunset Weather Modification Act of 1972 (with Rep. Baumgardner)
House bills:
  • HB11-1006 Regional Tourism Authority Boards (with Rep. Coram)
  • HB11-1198 PUC Recodify Motor Carrier Statutes (with Rep. Kerr)
  • HB11-1177 Healthy Rivers Check off Reauthorization (with Rep. Sonnenberg)
  • HB11-1159 License Grain Protein analyzers (with Rep. Coram)
  • HB11-1081 Liquid Petroleum Gas Vehicles Included for Incentives (with Rep. Brown)
  • HB11-1274 Water Conservation Board Construction Fund (with Rep. Sonnenberg)
  • HB11-1286 Clarify State Engineer Nontributary Rule Authority (with Rep. Sonnenberg)
  • HB11-1301 Higher Ed. Institution Efficiency (with Rep. Waller)
  • SJR11-018 Snowmass Ice Age Discovery (with Rep. Bradford)
  • HJR11-1011 National Agriculture Day (with Rep. Sonnenberg)
  • SJR11-008 4H-Day Resolution (with Rep. Todd)
  • HJR11-1008 Colorado Water Resources & Power Development Authority Water Projects (with Rep. Sonnenberg)
  • SJM11-002 Secure Rural Schools Act (with Sen. White & Rep. Wilson)
  • SJR11-044 Outdoor Day (with Rep. Jones)
To read any of these bills, or to access more information on the legislative process, click here, or type www.leg.state.co.us into your browser.  

Senate Bills

SB12-048 Local Foods, Local Jobs Act (with Rep. Coram) This bill creates the “Colorado Cottage Foods Act”, which eliminates several restrictions on home kitchens wishing to sell their goods directly to consumers. Primarily, it exempts home kitchens from inspection regulations and applies to producers of non-potentially hazardous foods, such as baked goods, jams and jellies, and dehydrated products. It also allows small egg producers to sell at local farmers markets. The act also specifies that annual net revenues from each eligible, non-potentially hazardous food product cannot exceed $5,000. SB12-133 Electronic Waste Recycling Jobs Act (with Rep. Coram) The Electronic Waste Recycling Jobs act prohibits the disposal of certain electronic devices into landfills, and requires Colorado to dispose of electronic waste through certified recycling vendors. Banned devices include computers, monitors, televisions, DVD players, and other things. The Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission, as a part of CDPHE, is responsible for promulgating rules for certification of recyclers, and other rules for implementation. This bill provides a great opportunity to reduce mining for minerals, as many precious minerals can be recycled from old electronic devices. SB12-013 Low Speed Electric Vehicles (with Rep. Jones) Before this bill, low speed electric vehicles, LSEVs, were allows to drive on roads designated with a 35 mph speed limit or less. This bill increases the bar to 40 mph, allowing LSEVs greater access to transportation in Colorado under certain circumstances which meet the criteria outlined in the bill, or with accommodations made by CDOT specific to a community. SB12-150 State Treas. to Manage State Financing (with Rep. Sonnenberg) This bill centralizes the management of several state public finance transactions that go through the State Treasurer’s Office. The State Treasurer is required to act as manager for most state agencies which are involved with any issuances of bonds, notes, or warranties of at least $1 million. The State Treasurer’s specific responsibilities include determining financing structures and terms, deciding market timing, selecting financing teams that will be in charge of issuing any financial obligations, and, among other responsibilities, maintaining an inventory of all state-owned real property used as leased or collateral property. The State Treasurer’s office is paid 2% of a financial transaction in order to compensate for the costs of performing its duties of oversight; this money goes into a fund called the State Public Financing Cash Fund. Certain entities, including higher education institutions, are not required to go through the State Treasurer’s Office to enter into financial obligations. SB12s-002 Water Projects Bill (with Sen. White, Rep. Sonnenberg, Rep. Baumgardner) Every year the General Assembly authorizes grants and loans for water projects. This Water Projects Bill allocates funding for the construction of water projects across the state, as well as for the maintenance of the state’s water infrastructure. The Water Projects Bill allocates $55 million to reservoir projects and more than $6 million to watershed protection, flood, and drought control programs, among other necessary water projects. These projects will ensure clean drinking water, assist communities faced with flood, gather new water consumption and water rights data, and rehabilitate reservoirs and recreation areas.

House Bills

HB12-1317 Parks & Wildlife Board Composition (with Rep. Sonnenberg) In 2011, both the Division of Wildlife and the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation were combined to form the Division of Parks and Wildlife, overseen by a 16-member Parks and Wildlife Board. HB12-1317 creates a Parks and Wildlife Commission that replaces this board; the commission is comprised of 11 voting members appointed by the Governor, and also the Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, both nonvoting members. The bill requires the commission to represent a diversity of geographical regions in the state, as well as certain areas of interest or knowledge. The Commission is to submit a 5-year strategic plan, as well as annual reports, by December 31, 2013 to the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. HB12-1042 Ag. Land Tax Credit (with Rep. Pace) HB12-1042 creates an income tax credit for any resident of Colorado who inherits agricultural land; the tax credit is equal to the portion of Colorado estate taxes attributable to the transfer of land. The current assessed value of the agricultural land is used to determine the credit amount. There are three requirements for the tax credit. First, it is distributed among all who inherit the land. Second, if the tax credit exceeds the total income taxes owed, excess can be refunded to the taxpayer. Third, if any agricultural land changes property class within ten years of any taxpayer receiving a tax credit for this land, the taxpayer is required to file to repay the credit, with interest, to the state. HB12-1022 Mines Water Replacement Req. (with Rep. Sonnenberg) Before HB12-1022, mine operators were not only required to replace any water lost to the amount that historically reached the stream, but also had to account for amounts of historic natural depletion to stream water due to natural evaporation or transpiration from plants, a combined process known as evapotranspiration. The bill still requires mine operators to replace water to historical levels within the mined area, but gives operators a credit for precipitation that soil lost naturally due to evapotranspiration. Sand and gravel mines are not offered this credit in water replacement requirements. HB12-1063 Military Veterans’ Cemetery Expansion at Homelake (with Rep. Ramirez) This bill extends the cemetery at the Colorado State Veterans Center in Homelake, Colorado, located in Rio Grande County, to include an adjacent part of the campus; the cemetery has been renamed the Homelake Military Veterans Cemetery. The Colorado Department of Human Services is responsible for maintenance and is authorizes to contract out for any necessary work. Reservations for burial plots are open to all veterans and family members. The Homelake Military Veterans Cemetery Fund is created, which can accept gifts, grants and donations as revenue for cemetery operations and capital improvements. HB12-1078 Exempt Drinking Water Cert. Designation (with Rep. Vigil) Before this bill was passed, drinking water treatment facilities in Colorado which impound or dispose of their own waste on-side had to apply for a certificate of designation from the county or local land use authority. Recommended by the Water Resources Review Committee during the 2011 interim, this bill eliminates this requirement for a certificate of designation for on-site waste disposal at a drinking water treatment facility. HB12-1080 Adams State College Name Change (with Rep. Vigil) This bill changes the name of Adams State College to Adams State University, and updates the role and mission of the school so as to add a limited number of graduate-level programs to their current curriculum that includes two-year transfer programs, undergraduate degrees, and a limited number of master’s level programs. HB12-1083 Continue Enviro. Ag. Program Fees (with Rep. Sonnenberg) Currently, the Environmental Agriculture program, administered by CDPHE, is responsible for permitting, inspection and oversight of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and housed commercial swine feeding operations (HCSFOs). The program is supported by the Animal Feeding Operations fund, established in 2009; 2009 legislation also increased water quality fees applicable to CAFOs and HCSFOs. These fees were scheduled to expire on July 1, 2012; HB12-1083 extends the current fee structure of water quality permits in order for the Environmental Agriculture program to continue at its current funding level. HB12-1114 Stalking Mandatory Arrest Prtctn. Order (with Rep. Hamner) This bill modifies the manner of response from law enforcement agencies and courts to charges of stalking in the state of Colorado. There are three parts to this bill: First, the bill requires courts to issue a protection order with the defendant’s knowledge stated on record when bail is fixed. Second, it requires that sentences for stalking that are incurred in connection with a violation of a court order (or a protection order) must be served consecutively. Third, the bill allows a defendant or prosecuting attorney to negotiate terms of a protection order issued for stalking. HB12-1178 Tax Refund for Lost Gas or Special Fuel (with Rep. Vigil) Currently, any distributor or transporter of gasoline or special fuel can claim a refund or credit for tax paid on gas or special fuel that is lost or destroyed by fire, lightning, flood, windstorm, explosion, accident, or other disasters. Refund is possible as long as the distributer/transporter files a claim within 7 days; HB12-1178 increases this time period to 30 days from the date of loss or destruction. HB12-1318 Controlled Maintenance Funding (with Rep. Brown) This bill codifies into law several accepted practices at the Office of the State Architect, OSA, (within the Department of Personnel and Administration) regarding determining eligibility for state controlled maintenance funding and expenditures for emergency controlled maintenance. Recommended by the Capital Development Committee, this bill requires the OSA to develop guidelines for determining the timing of eligibility for state controlled maintenance funding, and that these guidelines be annually reviewed by the CDC. Another process, through which a state department or public higher education institution can request state controlled maintenance funding, is also codified in this bill. The bill also establishes the Emergency Controlled Maintenance Account within the Capital Construction Fund, to be used by the OSA for emergency controlled maintenance, provided that the OSA submit an annual status report to the CDC showing expenditures from this account. HB12-1331 Western State College Name Change (with Rep. Brown) This bill changes the name of Western State College of Colorado to Western State Colorado University. HB12-1349 Species Conservation Trust Fund (with Rep. Baumgardner) The Department of Natural Resources submits programs intended to conserve native species that are either listed as threatened or endangered under state or federal law, are considered candidate species, or are likely to become candidate species as designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These programs are funded by the Species Conservation Trust Fund. HB12-1349 transfers money from the Operation and Maintenance Account to the Capital Account of the Species Conservation Trust Fund, and also combines the two accounts in order to allow for appropriate funding of programs.


SR12-003 Colorado Forest Energy Jobs The Colorado Forest Energy Jobs Resolution encourages active management of Colorado’s forests to address the current risk of wildfire in our forest ecosystems, in order to create both healthy forest ecosystems and an improved Colorado forest products industry. The resolution encourages increased collaboration between the Colorado State and U.S. Forest Services, as well as will the Colorado Department of Economic Development and International Trade to address areas at high risk of wildfire damage, and to apply as many financial incentives to these areas as possible, for the removal of fuels and the creation of a forest energy industry.

Senate Bills

SJR13-18 – Colorado Renewable Energy Appreciation The General Assembly recognizes the tremendous contribution renewable energy has made to Colorado. Colorado is a renewable energy leader, ranking in the top ten for both wind and solar development. These industries employ thousands of Coloradans and generate millions in property tax revenue. SB13-019 – Concerning the Promotion of Water Conservation Measures SB13-019 will provide an important tool for water rights owners in the Gunnison, Colorado, and Yampa/White River basins. The bill allows farmers, ranchers, and other diverters to conserve water five out of every ten years during drought without recorded loss to their historic consumptive use thereby protecting Coloradans’ water rights. SB13-070 – Purchase of Vehicles that Operate on Alternative Fuels for the State Motor Vehicle Fleet System The bill requires the director to purchase motor vehicles that operate on CNG or other alternative fuels, for the state’s motor vehicle fleet system if either the increased base cost of such vehicle or the increased life-cycle cost of such vehicle is not more than 10% over the cost of a comparable dedicated petroleum fuel vehicle.
  • Directs departments throughout state government to work toward converting their vehicle fleets to utilize alternative fuels.
  • Requires the state to develop a plan for putting in place the infrastructure necessary to support the use of alternative fuel vehicles in the state’s fleet.
SB13-169 Reintroduction of Black-footed Ferrets This bill, supported by the Colorado Cattleman’s Association, creates a voluntary program on private lands to reintroduce the black-footed ferret in Colorado. By introducing the black-footed ferret, landowners can naturally manage the prairie dog population. The program qualifies under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Safe Harbor to protect landowners from liability for incidental taking of ferrets. SB13-174 – Continuation of the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council In 2010, the general assembly created the Colorado food systems advisory council to foster a healthy food supply available to all Colorado residents by making recommendations to the general assembly. The council was scheduled to repeal on July 1, 2013. This bill continues the council indefinitely. SB13-175 – Wildlife Habitat Stamp Program The bill continues the wildlife habitat stamp committee and program until 2027. The parks and wildlife commission is directed to use revenues from the wildlife habitat stamp to give sufficient priority to conserve and protect winter range and vital habitats. Since 2006, the program has conserved 173,864 acres of key wildlife habitat and secured 78,693 acres of new public access.
  • The majority of funding comes from GOCO along with federal funding and donated land value.
  • Habitat stamp sales only make up 17% of overall program funding.
  • Opened more than 25 miles of new fishing access
  • Protected over 100,000 acres of big game winter range and migration corridors.
  • A few success stories from this program in Senate District 5 include:
  • Chubb Park Ranch in Chaffee County
  • Miller Ranch in Gunnison County
  • Moyer 45 Bar Ranch in Lake County.
SB13-181 – Funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects SB 181 appropriates funding from the Colorado water conservation board (CWCB) construction fund for water construction projects. The fifteen water projects will put Coloradans back to work and provide over $70 million in statewide water projects. SD5 Specific Info:
  • $500,000 for continuation of the Colorado floodplain map modernization  program.
  • $250,000 for continuation of the watershed restoration program.
  • $300,000 for restoration of the balance of the flood and drought response fund.
  • $215,000 for implementation of the Rio Grande forecasting development project.
  • $75,000 for continuation of the Colorado river basin study.
  • $250,000 for continuation of the Arkansas river decision support system.
  • $225,000 for continuation of the statewide water supply initiative.
SB13-188 – Landowner Preference Wildlife Hunting License   The Department of Natural Resources’ Landowner Preference program allocates big game hunting licenses to agricultural landowners through a system of transferable vouchers. This program encourages landowners to view wildlife as an asset through tangible benefits and allows public access to private land specified under the program. The bill replaces the current landowner preference programs for hunting licenses with a single program that does the following:
  • Allocates the number of licenses based upon the size of the land, from one license for the first 160 acres to a maximum of 19 licenses, in 600-acre increments;
  • Sets the percentage of hunting licenses in a restricted game management unit that are allocated to the program between 10% and 25%;
  • Releases unused licenses to the general public after making them available to other landowners with limits;
  • Authorizes an owner to transfer vouchers for the licenses to hunters but forbids brokering and restrictions on the vouchers that don’t concern access.
SB13-203 – Limitations on the use of certain public land for automotive service stations in order to limit government competition. This bill passed the Senate, but failed to pass the House. It would have extended the current federal prohibition on the commercialization of the interstate rest areas. It prohibited certain public entities, including the Colorado department of transportation and political subdivisions, from retailing motor fuel, not including electricity, directly to the public but allows such public entities to enter into contracts with a private entity to retail motor fuel for public use. SB13-212 – CPACE (Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy) The Colorado new energy improvement district currently arranges for financing of energy saving improvements to commercial and multi-family real estate. This bill allows owners of commercial property to utilize low interest financing and increase efficiency and value for commercial properties. SB13-214 – Best Program Oversight and Funding The bill grants the Capital Development Committee limited oversight over the building excellent schools today (BEST) program and creates reporting requirements. This bill, which is recommended by the Capital Development Committee (CDC), requires the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Board (assistance board) within the Colorado Department of Education to ensure that by June 30 of each year the balance of the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund (assistance fund) is equal to the total amount of the state share of annual lease payments for the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program. SD5 Specific Info:
  • SD5 has received $58,917,833 toward matching grants in the BEST program.
  • The notable larger projects include Lake and Salida High School replacements.
SB13-241 – Industrial Hemp Following the passing of the Amendment 64 ballot measure which specified that hemp may be grown as a crop in Colorado, this bill provides a basic regulatory framework for the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp. The passage of this bill will help position Colorado as a national leader in the hemp seed, oil, and natural foods markets. SB13-252  – Renewable Energy Standard Expands Colorado’s national clean energy leadership by increasing rural Coloradans’ access to renewable energy and promoting local distributed generation. The bill increases renewable energy standard for Tri-State and IREA from 10% to 20% by 2020. Also there is a requirement of  1% generation from local renewable resources. No utility bill can increase by more than 2% for the purposes of compliance.
  • Allows for methane capture efforts to count toward the 20% standard
  • Specifically the capture of methane gas from active and inactive coal mines
  • Facilitates local homegrown energy sources by requiring 1% distributed generation.
  • This means new, local projects such as small wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal in rural communities.
SB13-263 – Development of a master plan for the Capitol Complex A recent audit conducted by the office of the state auditor in 2012 recommended that the state complete a master plan for the capitol complex. The goal is to have a coordinated plan for decision-making to maximize the efficient use of space and land within the capitol complex. The bill requires the department of personnel to develop a comprehensive master plan for the capitol complex, with final approval from the office of state planning and budgeting and the capital development committee. SB13-272 – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Jobs Act In Colorado, valuable clean energy programs being deployed to promote renewable energy generation and reducing consumption of both electricity and natural gas through efficiency. However, our state lacks specific incentives for behind-the-meter thermal renewables such as solar thermal, geothermal and biomass technologies, which generate useful thermal energy to displace over 40% of the fossil fuel consumption used to heat and cool our buildings. The introduction of Senate Bill 13-272 was an effort to seek inclusion of these behind-the-meter renewable technologies by modifying the metric used to evaluate technologies in the gas demand side management program in order that thermal renewable technologies might qualify. In an effort to give this concept fuller consideration in the context of our state’s energy and economic development objectives, the bill was withdrawn to enable input and study from the Public Utility Commission and a number of stakeholders. SB13-273 – Incentives for the Beneficial Use of Forest Biomass The bill allows forest health projects to bond up to $50 million through the Colorado Water Resources Power Development Authority. The bill also supports the reduction of diseased timber in Colorado by encouraging forest biomass use for energy generation and material for forest industry development. This reduces wildfire risk, benefits our rural economy, and Colorado’s forest health.  

House Bills

HJR-1007  – Approval of water project revolving fund eligibility lists administered by the Colorado water resources and power development authority
  • Allocates funding for water projects in the state from the water project revolving fund.
  • Town of Red Cliff, Water management facilities including, but not limited to, treatment plant, distribution, transmission, storage
  • Town of  Hotchkiss- Project change, adding meters, interconnection, source water protection, green infrastructure
HB13-1011 – The repeal of the fee for the branch-of-service identifier on cards issued by the department of revenue The bill repeals the fee currently charged to a member of the armed services for the branch-of-service identifier on a Colorado driver’s license or state identification card. HB13-1026 – The accounting of the equipment and renovation fee assessed as a part of the western interstate commission for higher education compact Legislation was enacted in 2009 to simplify the approval process for capital construction projects initiated by a state institution of higher education if the project is funded from cash funds held by the institution. Existing statute related to the equipment and renovation fee assessed as a part of the western interstate commission for higher education compact still requires an appropriation to Colorado state university from such a fund.This bill continues that allocation of funds. HB13-1029  – Concerning the Use of Authority Verbs in the Colorado Revised Statutes The bill defines “must” to mean that a person or thing is required to meet a condition for a consequence to apply.  “Shall” means that a person has a duty.
  • This act is not intended to alter the interpretation of any statute enacted prior to the effective date of this act.
  • While this act creates definitions, the context in which they appear should still be considered
HB13-1035  – Concerning an Increase in the Number of Judges in Certain Judicial Districts This bill increases the allocation for judicial districts five and nine by one district court judge each.  This will authorize six district court judgeships for the fifth judicial district and five judgeships in the ninth judicial district. Both districts will receive one new judge in order for these districts to better meet caseload growth and performance goals and timeliness. The Judicial Department plans to assign the new judge in the Fifth Judicial District to Eagle County. SD5 Specific Info:
  • Fifth Judicial District includes Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, and Summit counties.
  • Ninth Judicial District includes Garfield, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco Counties.
HB13-1103 – Modifications to the public utility commission’s oversight of rail fixed guideway system safety The public utilities commission currently is required to provide the executive director of the department of revenue with a list of the public utilities subject to its jurisdiction. The bill exempts certain rail fixed guideway systems from inclusion on the list. The bill authorizes the commission to establish the oversight program pursuant to the new federal “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act”. HB13-1044  – Concerning the Authorization of the Use of Graywater Greywater is an important water conservation measure for residences and multi-family buildings. This bill defines “greywater” as that portion of wastewater that, before being treated or combined with other wastewater, is collected from specific fixtures for the purpose of being put to beneficial indoor and outdoor uses authorized by the water quality control commission.  Sources of graywater may include discharges from bathroom and laundry room sinks, bathtubs, showers, and laundry machines, as well as water from other sources authorized by the commission. However, It does not include wastewater from toilets, urinals, kitchen sinks, non-laundry utility sinks, and dishwashers. HB13-1105 – Architecture 2030 This is a mortgage incentive program in partnership with lenders, utilities, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO). CEO currently administers the Colorado Energy Star mortgage incentive program. This bill redefines the program and provides interest rate buy-downs to persons taking out mortgages to finance purchases of new energy efficient homes or improvements that make existing homes more energy efficient. HB13-1158 – Colorado Cottage Foods Act The bill amends the “Colorado Cottage Foods Act” to exempt home kitchen food producers from regulation under the “Farm Products Act.” This bill allows egg producers to sell up to 250 dozen whole eggs per month without holding a dealer’s license. The labels on eggs sold at a farmers’ market or similar venue must include a statement that the eggs do not come from a government-approved source and clarifies that home kitchen food producers must take a food safety course. The bill amends the “Colorado Cottage Foods Act” to clarify the food handling and safety course requirement for producers. HB13-1164 – Extension of Unwanted Horse Tax Checkoff The bill extends by 5 years the period during which state income tax return forms include a line that allows an individual taxpayer to make a voluntary contribution to the unwanted horse fund. Donations from the Unwanted Horse Fund are transferred to the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance, a registered Colorado nonprofit organization. HB13-1168 – Recognize Unincorporated Acequia Ditches Current law recognizes acequia ditch corporations, but limits that status to irrigation systems that supply irrigation water to long lots that are perpendicular to the stream or ditch to maximize the number of landowners who have access to water. The bill repeals that limitation, so that a ditch corporation may be organized as an acequia ditch even if the land served by the ditch is not divided into long lots, and also allows an unincorporated association to operate as an acequia ditch. HB13-1186 – Special District Meetings Notices & Transparency The bill requires a special district that provides domestic water or sanitary sewer services to hold a public meeting before fixing or increasing fees or other charges for its services. Notice of the meeting must be provided in a specified manner at least 10 days prior to the public meeting. Special districts are required to record a public disclosure document against all property within the district. HB13-1191 – Nutrient Grant Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant This bill established the Nutrients Grant Fund from which the Department of Public Health and Environment will award $15 million in grants to upgrade water and wastewater treatment facilities in order to meet new state water quality standards. The grants will offset about two percent of the nutrient control costs and grants will average approximately $500,000 Treatment Plants in SD5 that are eligible:
  • Vail Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Avon Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Edwards Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Snowmass Water and Sanitation District Wastewater Treatment Facility
HB13-1205 – Investment Of State Moneys By The State Treasurer The bill gives the state treasurer additional flexibility in investing state moneys by allowing the treasurer to:
  • Exchange or sell an investment at a loss of principal to the public school fund so long as the loss is offset by a gain in the fund within 12 months;
  • Invest in securities denominated in U.S. dollars, rather than only in “domestic securities”under current law; and
  • Invest in municipal bonds rated in one of the two highest ratings by a nationally recognized rating organization.
HB13-1234 – Lease-Purchase Authority for Department of Agriculture Consolidation The bill authorizes the State Treasurer to enter into lease-purchase agreements on behalf of the Department of Agriculture for a period of up to 20 years to purchase a single office building to consolidate seven of the department’s eight divisions in the Denver Metro area. HB13-1248 – Irrigation Water Leasing Municipal Pilot Projects The practice of fallowing agricultural irrigation land and leasing the associated water rights for temporary municipal use is an opportunity to prevent permanent “buy and dry” water transfers. This bill authorizes the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to approve basin pilot programs consisting of up to three projects that can utilize this tool for three years within a ten-year period. The bill allows for projects up to 2,500 acre-feet of water per year. HB13-1283 – Species Conservation Trust Fund The bill appropriates money from the species conservation trust fund for programs submitted by the Department of Natural Resources. These programs aim 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.

SB14-023 – Reduced diversions through water efficiency savings -This bill is a product of years of effort addressing incentives for agricultural water efficiency.  Last year, SB13-019 protected our headwaters by allowing water rights owners to conserve water they use five out of every ten years without it impacting their historical consumptive use. After an extensive stakeholder process, this year I introduced a bill to increase irrigation efficiency and not penalize the water rights of those making irrigation infrastructure improvements.  It will allow the “saved” water from efficiency upgrades to be put back into the stream while protecting the water rights holders and downstream users.

SB14-089 – Prohibit State Agreements in Lieu of Tax – This bill sought to protect the State of Colorado from an erosion of its tax exempt status. The bill ensures that state entities cannot obligate the state by contract to make a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to a local taxing entity. While it passed the both the House and Senate, it was vetoed by the Governor

SB14-115 – Public Comment and General Assembly Approval of the Water Plan – Senate Bill 115 establishes the state legislature’s role in developing Colorado’s new water plan, which will outline the future of our state’s most vital natural resource. When dealing with something as important as the state water plan, it is necessary that as many voices are heard as possible, including elected officials involvement along with their constituents. This bill will broaden the scope of participation in this planning process. SB14-115 seeks more input and also affirms the countless hours of effort put into the plan by Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee and stakeholders at the grassroots level to reach out to all Coloradans.

SB14-142 – Pesticide Inspection of water & waste water systems – By statute, the Colorado Department of Agriculture(CDA) was responsible for regulating and inspecting the bulk storage of all pesticides in Colorado. SB14-142 would maintain the necessarily broad definition of pesticide but specifically eliminate the requirement for the CDA to regulate pesticide storage at water treatment and waste water treatment facilities, which facilities are inspected by CDPHE;

SB14-146 – Local Input CDOT Speed Study – Over the years, many of the communities in my district have gone through a speed study to adjust the speed limit on highways in and near our towns. This bill will allow CDOT to accept local data provided by the county or municipality in order to increase collaboration, cut down on costs, and hopefully avoid unnecessary conflict between municipalities and CDOT.

SB14-171 –  New Energy District Finance Water Conservation – In 2013, SB13-212 created the Colorado new energy improvement district, administered by the Colorado Energy Office, to arrange for financing of energy saving improvements to commercial and multi-family real estate. This bill allows owners of commercial property to access low interest financing and increase efficiency and value for commercial properties. Senate Bill 171 simply includes the option to finance water efficiency improvement projects in the CPACE program. The addition of water efficiency projects and irrigation upgrades will be a voluntary option when participating in the program. This tool can improve water usage in Colorado that will help reduce the transfer agricultural water rights for municipal and industrial use, and help individuals across the state to save money with energy and water savings.

SB14-184 – Oversight of the Industrial Hemp Program – Amendment 64 specified that hemp may be legally grown as a crop in Colorado. Last year, SB13-241 created a program overseen by the Colorado Department of Agriculture for cultivation and research and development. This year, the U.S. FARM Bill allows for States like Colorado, which have authorized the cultivation of industrial hemp, to engage in research and development of the crop, either within their State Agricultural Department or within their research universities. SB14-184 allow for individuals and entities engaged in the R&D program to grow both indoors and outdoors. It also makes hemp eligible for research grant funding.

SB14-186 – Efficient School & Community Performance Contracting –  Infrastructure in rural areas is aged, costly to maintain, and energy intensive, however, Colorado’s rural areas suffer from a lack of critical mass to attract funding for energy efficiency and infrastructure improvements. This bill will allow for an aggregation or bundle of efficiency projects such as upgrades for buildings, mechanical equipment, electrical systems, lighting, water, and transportation infrastructure. That bundle will help entities gain access to financing at affordable rates. Colorado can take advantage of eager capital markets from the private sector to generate important rural jobs, improve needed energy efficiency, and reduced future operating costs through the improvements.

SB14-188 – Species Conservation Trust Fund – The Species Conservation Trust Fund (SCTF) was established to support Colorado’s long-standing participation in two interstate endangered species recovery programs that are in place to meet obligations under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Investments from the SCTF also help to reduce the likelihood of future federal ESA listings and associated regulation for other species not covered by these programs.

SB14-198 – Mineral Extraction Study Group – This bill would have legislatively created a study group comprised of stakeholders and legislators to review the status of severance tax in Colorado. It has been eight years since the severance and FML taxes have been thoroughly reviewed. Due to the significant changes in oil and gas production (commodity, quantity, geographic location) it appears to be time for an in depth assessment of rates and distribution. In the last review, the inclusion of a diverse cross section of stakeholders played a significant role in helping develop policy. They were charged with formulating recommendations for the legislative effort which proved to be extremely beneficial, and ultimately provided stakeholder support. This legislation will establish a process to evaluate oil and gas taxes and credits, and the current distribution model for the state and local governments. After a commitment from the Governor’s office and the industry to move forward together to evaluate severance tax revenues with a broad range of stakeholders, today we have postponed indefinitely SB14-198.

HB14-1008 – Forest Health Private Entity Bonding – This bill proposes to clarify the bonding authority authorized last session by SB13-273  It allowed forest health projects, such as timber mills, pellet mills and biomass facilities, to be financed through the Colorado Water Resources Power Development Authority (CWRPDA). The act helps protect communities, watersheds and reduces diseased timber in Colorado by encouraging the use of forest biomass for energy generation. The forest industry’s development is important, as it will reduce the risk of future wildfires, benefit our rural economy and improve Colorado’s forest health. This bill allows for the forest health loans authorized under SB13-273 to be provided  to public and private entities directly from the CWRPDA. This type of financing by the state has precedent in the authority granted to the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Colorado Energy Office. CWRPDA may issue loans for both permanent and construction financing.

HB14-1021 – Highway Restrictions Violations Penalties – Highway 82 over Independence Pass is the highest paved Colorado state highway and the fourth-highest paved road in Colorado.  Independence Pass is the only high mountain pass in Colorado with a 35 foot length restriction. The 35 foot length restriction was placed on Independence Pass due to the unique combination of steep grades, tight turns, narrow lanes, and lack of roadway infrastructure for emergency response and runaway vehicles. Despite 13 signs noting the length restriction (6 on Pitkin County and 7 on the Lake County side) over-length vehicles continue to use the Pass. Between 07/01/2010 and 10/01/2013 there were 86 calls for oversize vehicles on the Pitkin County side of Independence Pass (79 semis and 7 RV’s). After working with the counties and the motor carriers association, this bill increases the fines for violating the clearly marked road restrictions.

HB14-1024 – Claret Cup Cactus – Thanks to the hard work of Girl Scout Troop 2518, the kingcup cactus, more commonly known as the claret cup, was elected to become Colorado’s state cactus. Both the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society (CCSS) agree that this cactus is a worthy nominee which symbolizes the sturdiness, versatility, and beauty of this state.

HB14-1026 – Flexible Water Markets – Flexible Water Markets is a new concept that came out of a state sponsored research study. It will create a more flexible change-in-use system for water rights by allowing a water right owner to apply for a “flexible use” designation when fallowing, reducing consumptive-use cropping and non-consumptive uses, participating in water banking, or developing other alternatives to prevent the permanent dry-up of irrigated lands. The water right resulting from this change-in-use case can be flexibly applied to different uses based on the year. This bill was postponed indefinitely in order to allow for more stakeholder conversations around this flex concept. It will be brought back in this year’s interim Water Resources Review Committee.

HB14-1030 – Hydroelectric Generation Incentives – Small hydroelectric generation is an underdeveloped resource that can be a valuable asset to the irrigation community in particular. This bill aligns Colorado with the recent streamlining requirements for small hydro approvals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). HB14-1030 will ensure that project applicants can simultaneously clear federal and state review as quickly as 60 days without weakening or undermining the safety of the environment.  This new hydro construction projects could add hundreds of new jobs to Colorado’s Economy.

HB14-1060 – Allow Cities To Compensate Planning Commissioners – Currently in Colorado law, there is a prohibition on statutory cities compensating members of their planning and zoning commissions. This permissive bill allows a statutory city the authority to compensate their planning and zoning commissioners via ordinance. Local governments should be able to determine whether or not to compensate their planning and zoning commissioners. Currently home rule municipalities have the authority to compensate their planning and zoning commissioners. This bill ensures statutory cities have the same authority.

HB14-1089 – 10th Mt. Div. Charity Plate Conversion – The current license plate commemorating the 10th Mountain Division, was applied for by the Foundation in 1998, before any charitable plates existed.  Since then charitable plates such as the State Parks Foundation, Denver Bronco Charities and the Colorado Kids First plates allow for donations to be made in the charities name.  The Foundation seeks to be able to have donations by prospective license holders to support the good works of the Foundation. Currently no 10th Mountain Division charity receives any revenue from the specialty license plate.  This bill converts the plate to a “Support the 10th Mountain Division” licence plate where donations will  granted to veterans and 10th mountain Division causes.  In honor of its veterans, the bill also creates a separate military plate for 10th Mountain Division.

HB14-1096 – Underfunded Courthouse Facilities Grant Program – This bill creates a grant program to help counties with construction or remodeling projects on court facilities that have historically been underfunded at the county level. The bill creates a commission consisting of seven members that will review county grant applications and make recommendations to the State Court Administrator’s Office for funding. Grants will only be awarded to a county with limited financial resources, and only if the county has demonstrated good faith in attempting to resolve the issues before seeking a grant, has agreed to disclose pertinent financial statements for review, and does not have significant uncommitted reserves. A county’s grant application must first be reviewed and approved by the chief judge of the judicial district and the board of county commissioners.

HB14-1159 – Biogas System Components Sales & Use Tax Exemption – The bill updates a sales tax exemption for components used in the production of renewable energy, adding anaerobic digestion to the list of eligible technologies. In 2008, when the sales tax exemption was first created, anaerobic digestion was not a commonly deployed technology. Anaerobic digestion is a process by which microorganisms convert animal or food waste into methane (or biogas) that reaches the quality of natural gas when cleaned. Biogas is renewably produced, primarily using dairy waste, sewage, and compost. Producing biogas from anaerobic digestion reduces emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Biogas can be converted to compressed natural gas and used as vehicle fuel, sold into pipelines as natural gas, or combusted to generate renewable power. Encouraging anaerobic digestion provides dairies and other agricultural producers with a revenue opportunity from a former waste stream.

HB14-1174 – Sunset Continue Natural Areas Council – The bill continues indefinitely the natural areas council, which serves as an advisory council to the parks and wildlife commission, in accordance with the recommendation of the department of regulatory agencies contained in its sunset review of the council.

HB14-1222 – Clean Energy Project Private Activity Bonds – Current law allows a county to issue private activity bonds on behalf of a property owner or group of property owners who do not own an entire cooperative electric association (eligible applicant) for the purpose of constructing, expanding, or upgrading an eligible clean energy project on the eligible applicant’s property. The bill reduces the minimum amount of private activity bonds that a county may issue for an eligible applicant from $1 million to $500,000, extends the maximum repayment term for bonds from 10 years to 15 years, and allows the bonds to be correlated to the revenue stream of the project up to 75% so long as bond payments do not exceed 75% of project revenue.

HB14-1273 – Human Trafficking – In previous years, there have been several legislative efforts to address the issue of Human Trafficking. Colorado statutes 18-­‐3-­‐501, 502 and 503 were passed in 2006 to address human trafficking; however, these laws lack critical elements of the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) definition of the crime, making it difficult to successfully hold traffickers accountable and provide justice for victims. HB1273 brings the language and elements of Colorado’s human trafficking laws in line with the federal definition of human trafficking and the Uniform Code.

HB14-1280 – Agri-Tourism Liability – This legislation helps our hardworking farmers and ranchers enter into Agritourism activities on their land safely with limited liability. This bill extends similar exemptions for Agritourism as currently granted to agricultural recreation without diminishing any current agricultural recreational or agricultural liability protections.

HB14-1303 – Legislature Take Public Testimony Remote Locations – The bill vests the executive committee of the legislative council with the power and duty to consider, recommend, and establish policies regarding legislative committees taking public testimony from remote locations around the state.

HB14-1333 – CWCB Projects Bill – The bill appropriates monetary amounts from the Colorado water conservation board (CWCB) construction fund for specific projects identified in the bill.  The bill also directs the state treasurer to transfer moneys on July 1, 2014, from the CWCB construction fund to restore the unencumbered balance in specific funds to specific projects identified in the bill.

HB14-1365 – Junior Coll Officers & Ag Advises CO Mountain Coll – Currently, the “Junior College Organization Act” (act) requires a junior college board of trustees to select its officers within 10 days after an election. However, because canvass boards are allotted 17 days to certify the official abstract of votes in such elections, it may be impossible for a junior college board of trustees to comply with that deadline. To rectify this conflict, section 1 of the bill amends the act to provide a junior college board of trustees 60 days from the close of polls to select its officers. Section 2 directs the attorney general, upon request, to serve as legal adviser to Colorado mountain college.

HB14-1387 – Revision of all Capital Related Statutes – The bill makes changes to the definitions used in the department of personnel’s state buildings statutes. These definitions are then used throughout the statutes, including in the capital development committee’s statutes, the office of state planning and budgeting’s statutes, and the Colorado commission on higher education’s statutes. Current law combines state institutions of higher education and state agencies together as a “state agency”, but some tasks specified for state agencies are not applicable to state institutions of higher education, and vice versa. The bill separates state institutions of higher education from state agencies. The bill also makes conforming amendments to the department of personnel’s responsibilities, maintenance of inventories, and current practices and provisions.

SJR-004 – Water Projects Eligibility List – Concerning approval on an annual basis by the State Legislature of water project revolving fund eligibility lists administered by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to provide safe drinking water and control water pollution.

HJR-1002 – Forest Products Transport Interstate Weight Limit – In the wake of devastating wildfires in the summers of 2012 and 2013, a catastrophic flood in September of 2013, and years of pine beetle infestations, Colorado’s forests are filled with dead and dying wood that needs to be removed to restore the health of our forests. But one of the economic roadblocks faced by our forest products industries is the federal maximum weight limit imposed on interstate highways for divisible loads. Removing this roadblock will allow forest products industries to help Colorado recover from the catastrophic wildfires, floods, and pine beetle infestations by allowing them to transport these dead and dying trees more efficiently. For this reason, the members of the Colorado General Assembly have urged Congress to pass legislation creating a special exemption from the federal maximum weight limit on interstate highways for our forest product industries.

SJR-017 – Colorado’s National Hatchery Resolution – Concerning the General Assembly support of the continued operation of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery and how the General Assembly urges the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, to maintain its current mission of stocking Colorado waters for recreational fishing and the recovery of threatened and endangered species.

SCR-005 – Geographic Diversity of Constitutional Initiative Petition Signatures – The resolution  attempted to add a new requirement that a portion of petition signatures be collected from each congressional district in the state. An initiative petition that includes both state legislation, which includes statutory changes, and a constitutional amendment must meet the signature requirements for a constitutional amendment. The geographic distribution requirement will not apply to a measure that only repeals any provision from any amendment approved by voters prior to 2015.

SJR-036 – Capitol Dome Resolution – Concerning celebrating the restoration of the State Capitol Dome. The members of the Sixty-ninth General Assembly recognize the efforts of all those involved in the restoration of the State Capitol dome and celebrate its completion.

SJR-037 – Natl Correctional Officers & Employees Week – Concerning the designation of May 4-10, 2014, as “National Correctional Officers and Employees Week”. This is done to commemorate the exceptional performance of duties under the most difficult circumstances performed by correctional officers and employees and for their tireless commitment to criminal justice and public safety.

HB14-1328 – Broadband –  In today’s world, adequate broadband access in our rural and mountain communities is a critical economic driver. High speed internet access allows new businesses to move into our communities, students to connect remotely to classrooms, and hospitals to care for us. We have been working on finding ways to fund critical broadband infrastructure in our hardest to reach areas for years, and this year I intend to address this issue.  In the 21st century, our communities cannot continue to sit and wait for connectivity. This winter,  we hosted community meetings in Fairplay and Limon with broadband stakeholders, County Commissioners, and citizens from all over the state to find points of agreement on funding rural broadband infrastructure, and create funding for a broadband grant program.

Resort Region Health Insurance Rates – High insurance premiums that have been in place since the beginning of the year have had a crippling impact on working families and individuals in Geographical Health Care Rate Region 11, which includes Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle and Summit Counties, who have reported paying up to 30 percent of their incomes for the lowest-cost plans. The Division of Insurance has agreed to propose a new geographic map that will include seven metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and two non-MSA regions, providing the necessary relief to mountain communities, and ending the disparity in costs that they have been facing. If approved, the new geographic rating areas could come into effect on January 1, 2015, one year before we thought we could implement any long-term solutions, and could bring insurance premium costs down between 4 and 8 percent for the Resort Region residents.