SB 17-021 establishes two programs for persons with mental illness transitioning from incarceration:
In committee, the legislation was amended to add a proposal to transfer $4 million from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund into the Division of Housing line item to implement housing assistance for individuals and provide wraparound services to mental health and substance abuse needs. Throughout Colorado, municipalities are providing significant resources to help house our citizens, and CML supports the state also taking a leadership role to house our most vulnerable citizens.
SB 17-267 is complicated legislation with many moving parts under the title "Concerning the sustainability of rural Colorado." The main focus of the bill is the willingness of some Republicans to relent on allowing the hospital provider fee (HPF) program to operate as an enterprise without saying it is illegal unless approved by voters. Currently, the fee revenue counts toward the state fiscal year revenue limit. In the next fiscal year, the hospital provider fee collections will be reduced by 50% in order to prevent a TABOR refund. Since those fees are matched by federal dollars, the impact to Colorado hospitals is doubled and rural hospitals get hit the hardest. As an apparent trade-off for this refined perspective on the HPF, the sponsors of the bill includes other significant policy elements:
While the League has supported making the HPF program into an enterprise, CML will remain neutral on the legislation for now. It is very likely that this very broad bill will change significantly if it even moves through the process. I The League does note the absence of one key element if the goal is to protect the sustainability of rural Colorado, and that is ensuring that severance tax revenues designated for rural municipalities and counties makes it back to them and not used as backfill for the state general fund. The League proposed an amendment to debruce severance tax revenues and has expressed to the sponsor concerns that severance taxes would have a large target on them if revenue exceeded the lowers the spending cap.
HB 17-1279 requires that before the executive board of a homeowners' association (HOA) in a common interest community brings suit against a developer or builder on behalf of unit owners, the board must:
After negotiations went late into the night, a deal was reached on meaningful construction defects reform related to informed consent. A small group of stakeholders – including members of the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance – and legislators met in a last attempt to find compromise on HB 17-1279. Much of the discussion centered on how much time homeowners had to vote before deciding to file suit. The original bill contained 120 days, and the compromise allows for a 90 day pause to vote. CML thanks Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul for his leadership on this important issue and testifying on behalf of CML and our members.
SB 17-214 allows an employer to participate in a voluntary firefighter cancer benefits program, as a multiple employer health trust to provide benefits to firefighters by paying contributions into the established trust. An employer participating in the trust will be exempt from the presumptive eligibility mandate for workers compensation for firefighters with certain types of cancers. The bill is similar to the firefighter heart attack benefits program created a couple of years ago with three important distinctions:
CML views the trust as an option for employers to consider, and appreciates that it is not an unfunded mandate. However, CML articulated three main issues that will proved to be disincentives to employers to participate in the trust that could be easily fixed in the bill:
SB17-301 ties the reauthorization of the Colorado Energy
Office to a series of energy related policy changes that would broaden the mission
of the agency to promote and support a so called “all of the above” Colorado
energy economy. Without legislative reauthorization, the Colorado energy office
funding expires July 1, 2017.
Specifically SB17-301 authorizes a number of statutory
changes, most notably:
Following the 2016 legislative session, it was clear the ACLU was focused on the operations of municipal courts. During the interim, CML formed a working group comprised of CML staff, municipal judges, an attorney, a court administrator, and ACLU policy staff. The purpose of the group was to identify ways the two entities can find compromise. The group has been meeting off and on since September 2016. Early on, the ACLU gave examples of individuals that were unable to bond out of jail and remained incarcerated because the municipal court met infrequently. From this discussion, language negotiations began on HB 17-1338. The bill creates a process for municipal courts to hold hearings within 48 hours or within 96 hours if the person is incarcerated on a Sunday or a holiday. The legislation also requires county jails to notify a municipal court that they have incarcerated someone on a municipal charge.
Many municipal courts already utilize video advisals and many plan to implement more technology in order to implement the bill. There is nothing in the introduced legislation that prevents the use of technology at hearings. The language in HB 17-1338 was carefully negotiated over several months. CML staff would like to thank the several municipal judges that spent their time negotiating on this important bill. Without their participation, the language in HB 17-1338 could have been much more problematic for municipal courts. CML is neutral on HB 17-1338 because the League understands the policy intent of the legislation, and worked with the ACLU to craft bill language that municipal courts can better implement.
Current law authorizes forced pooling, a process by which any interested person may apply to the COGCC for an order to pool oil and gas resources located within an identified drilling unit. After giving notice to interested parties and holding a hearing the commission can adopt an order to force owners of oil and gas resources within the unit who have not consented to the application to allow an oil and gas operator to produce the minerals within the unit without the mineral owners consent.
HB17-1336 would reform this process by:
SB 17-009 would increase the
exemption for business personal property tax (BPPT) from the current amount of $7,300
to $10,000 (amended from $21,900 in the bill as introduced) starting in the 2017 property tax year. Starting in 2019, that
threshold would be adjusted biennially for inflation.
Currently, the state offsets the impact from the BPPT exemption by way of an income tax credit for property taxes paid when the taxpayer’s property is less than $15,000. The final income tax year of the credit ends Jan. 1, 2020. Although not at issue in this proposed draft, that context informs the overall fiscal impact. This proposal will increase the already existing the out-year impact on local governments’ property tax collections.
CML opposes this bill due to the fiscal impact and also because local governments have existing authority to partially or totally exempt BPPT under TABOR.
The Coalition to Simplify Colorado
Sales Tax has worked with members the General Assembly on HB 17-1216, which would establish a legislative task force to study sales and use tax simplification between state and local governments. The task force would be composed of two members of the House of Representatives, two members of the Senate, one employee from the Colorado Department of Revenue, one representative from CML, one representative from Colorado Counties Inc., one representative from a statewide association of small businesses, one representative of a statewide chamber of commerce, one private tax practitioner, the executive director of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board, and four representatives from self-collecting home rule municipalities (based on the membership categories in the CML bylaws).
The task force would study state and local tax simplification to identify opportunities and challenges within existing fiscal frameworks to adopt innovative revenue-neutral solutions, including the feasibility of a third-party entity for state or local sales and use tax administration, return processing, and audits; making audits more uniform; utilizing certified software for tax administration and sales tax remittance; and utilizing a single tax return. The task force could seek and accept gifts, grants, or donations. The task force would have to make an annual report to Legislative Council that could make legislative and non-legislative recommendations. The task force would be subject to sunset review in three years.
SB 17-238 would amend the "Amazon Law" enacted pursuant to HB 10-1193. Under the 2010 law, remote retailers (such as retailers using internet or other business models where the retailer lacks physical presence in Colorado) who do not collect Colorado sales tax are required to do the following:
CML's opposition of SB 17-238 is based on the weakening of the 2010 law, because SB 17-238 strikes most of its provisions and replaces them with an email notification to the purchaser but does not require notification of purchases to DOR.
HB 17-1219 expands and extends the Agricultural Water Leasing Pilot Program administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Established in 2013, the pilot program demonstrates the practice of fallowing agricultural irrigation land and leasing the associated water rights for temporary municipal, agricultural, environmental, industrial, or recreational use.
The bill extends the pilot program by extending
Current law finances the state's water quality program with a mix of general fund money and fees that are paid by sources that discharge pollutants in the state's waters. HB17-1285 raises the fees and establishes goals for future adjustments of the ratio of revenue from fees and the general fund as follows:
The legislation is the result of a 3 year task force to ensure adequate funding for the Water Quality Control Division. CML was a formal participant, and has been a longtime supporter of properly funding the division but ensuring the state continues to support the program, as well. The stakeholders involved worked to ensure equity among all permit holders and create long-term stability within the fund.