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2014 Legislation

Bill Summaries

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.


2014 Legislation

Bill Summaries

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.