CAWG: End-of-the-Session Report

A report from our lobbying firm, Capitol Focus, on the bills that CAWG was following this year.

Priority Legislation:

HB13-1006 – (Monero, Exum/Giron) – K-12 Breakfast After The Bell Nutrition Program
This bill creates the “Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program”.  The bill requires every school with 80 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced lunch to offer a free breakfast to each student enrolled in the school in FY 2014-15.  The program is expanded in 2015-16 and thereafter so that every school with 70 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced lunch is required to offer a free breakfast to each student enrolled in the school.  Schools that fall below these thresholds for two consecutive years may opt out of the program.

Schools may select the method and time to offer the breakfast, so long as it occurs after the first bell of the school day.  Qualifying schools where at least 90 percent of students take the bus to school may opt to offer breakfast on the bus rather than at school.  Schools with an existing before-the-bell breakfast program may continue to offer before-the-bell breakfast to students currently enrolled in the program, but must offer after-the-bell breakfasts to all other students.  An exemption is provided for schools in small rural school districts with fewer than 1,000 total students.  All schools are exempt from this program in the event that federal per-meal reimbursements for the school breakfast program fall below 2013 levels.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  Passed Senate third reading 4/19, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  August 7, 2013

HB13-1013 – (Sonnenberg/Baumgardner) – Protect Water Right Ownership Rights
This bill prohibits the United States from demanding that the owner of a water right assign to the United States either partial or joint ownership of the water right as a condition of granting the water right owner a right-of-way or special use permit.  In the same context, the United States is not permitted to restrict the water right owner’s ability to sell or transfer a water right.  The bill goes on to state that any such condition is void and unenforceable as against public policy.
Position:  Support
Lost on House Calendar

HB13-1019 – (Szabo/Tochtrop) – Regulatory Reform Act
This bill requires that state agencies issue written warnings for any first-time violation of a new rule by a business of 500 or fewer employees in lieu of a fine or penalty.  In addition to the written warning, state agencies are required to provide educational outreach to inform the business on how to comply with the new rule.  State agencies are also required to develop fact sheets when new rules are adopted that apply to businesses with 500 or fewer employees and make these available in hard copy or electronically.

A minor violation involves record keeping and issues that do not affect the life safety of the public or workers.  A new rule is defined as a regulatory requirement not required before its adoption, put into place by an agency less than one year prior to its enforcement by the agency, against a business with 500 or fewer employees. The definition of minor violation excludes rules related to state issued permits, licenses, or registrations, bidding on state contracts, activities required by federal law, and the enforcement activities of the Administrator of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code in the Office of the Attorney General.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Postponed Indefinitely 2/6

HB13-1034 – (Sonnenberg/Giron) – Update Wholesale Farm Product Commodity Marketing
This bill makes changes to several sections of both the Farm Products and Commodity Handler Acts.  Farm products include unprocessed fruits, vegetables, livestock, milk and honey.  Commodities include unprocessed small hard seeds or fruits such as wheat, corn, oats and barley.  Both acts govern “credit sale contracts” which are used when the sale price for farm products or commodities is not paid at the time of the transaction.  It changes the definition of credit sale contract to require that the sale price be paid at least 30 days after delivery rather than at least 60 days after delivery.

Prior to enactment of HB 1034, farm product dealers and commodity handlers must file a bond or irrevocable letter of credit with the Commissioner of Agriculture.  The bill makes the process and time lines for accepting and cancelling bonds and irrevocable letters of credit uniform.  The coverage of the bond or irrevocable letter of credit is expanded to cover credit sale contracts.  Producers or dealers protected by a letter of credit or bond are authorized to ask the Department of Agriculture to recover damages on their behalf.  The time to file an action to recover damages is reduced from 24 months to 180 days after the date of the transaction or loss.

The bill also allows commodity warehouses to issue electronic receipts and repeals a requirement that state agencies evaluate the solvency of a financial institution before accepting an irrevocable letter of credit.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  Signed by Governor 2/27
Effective:  September 1, 2013

HB13-1125 – (Sonnenberg) – Impound Livestock Veterinarian Determination
This bill changes animal cruelty statutes to require that livestock be inspected by a licensed veterinarian who certifies in writing that impoundment is necessary to preserve the life of an animal prior to a peace officer taking possession of the animal.  If an animal is impounded and found by a licensed veterinarian to be near death, or if the owner consents, the animal may be euthanized without a court order.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Postponed Indefinitely 2/18

HB13-1130 – (Sonnenberg, Fischer/Baumgardner, Todd) – Reapprove Interruptible Water Supply Agreements
Current law allows the state engineer to approve the operation of an interruptible water supply agreement (IWSA) for 3 years out of a single 10-year period.  This bill allows the state engineer to reapprove an IWSA agreement up to 2 additional times by following the process outlined in the bill.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  House adopted Conference Committee Report 5/8, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  August 7, 2013

HB13-1192 – (Labuda) – Genetically Engineered Food Labeling
This bill amends the Colorado Food and Drug Act to require that food sold in Colorado that contains more than 1 percent genetically engineered material, or was produced with genetically engineered material, be labeled to that effect.  Genetically engineered refers to organisms and biological materials that have been altered at the molecular or cellular level by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes.  The labeling requirements do not apply to the following:

  • chewing gum;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • food prescribed by a physician;
  • organic foods;
  • food sold in a restaurant;
  • processed food that is intended for immediate consumption and not packaged for retail sale; or
  • food produced under the Colorado Cottage Foods Act.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) may promulgate rules for administration and enforcement of the provisions of the bill including a testing methodology to determine the presence of genetically engineered material.
Position:  Oppose
Outcome:  House Committee on Health, Insurance & Environment Postponed Indefinitely 2/21

HB13-1269 – (Foote/Jones) – Reduce Conflict of Interest Oil and Gas Commission
The bill changes the mandate of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to ensure that the responsible, balanced development, production, and utilization of the natural resources of oil and gas in Colorado protects public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources.  The bill prohibits a newly appointed commissioner from being an employee, officer, or director of an oil and gas operator or service company while serving on the COGCC.  Finally, it redefines the term waste to exclude reduced production in the amount of oil or gas due to compliance with government regulation.
Position:  Oppose
Outcome:  Lost on Senate Calendar

HJR13-1004 – (Sonnenberg/Baumgardner) – Oppose Forest Service Water Permit Requirements
This resolution concerns the opposition to new special use permit water requirements.
Position:  Support
Outcome: Lost on Senate Calendar
  (see HR13-1009)

HR13-1009 – (Sonnenberg) – Oppose Forest Service Water Permit Requirements
This resolution concerns the opposition to new special use permit water requirements.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  House third reading passed 5/8

SB13-019 – (Fischer/ Schwartz) – Promote Water Conservation
The bill restricts a water judge from determining a water user’s historical consumptive use in Water Divisions 4, 5, or 6 based on water use reductions resulting from:

  • enrollment in a federal land conservation program;
  • participation in certain water conservation programs;
  • participation in an approved land fallowing program or to provide water for compact compliance; or
  • participation in a water banking program.

The Water Right Determination and Administration Act of 1969 created seven water divisions based on the geography of river basins in Colorado.  This bill applies to the basins listed below:

Water Division 4 — Gunnison River Basin;
Water Division 5 — Colorado River Basin; and
Water Division 6 — White River Basin.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  Senate concurred with House amendments 4/10, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  Upon Signature

SB13-068 – (Baumgardner) – Modify Late Vehicle Registration Fee
This bill reduces the fee for late vehicle registration from $25 per month (up to a cap of $100) to a flat fee of $20.  This bill also removes exemptions on late fees for vehicles that have expired temporary registration number plates, tags, or certificates.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  Senate Committee on Transportation Postponed Indefinitely 2/12

SB13-075 – (Brophy/Sonnenberg) – Promote Water Conservation Of Designated Ground Water
Prior to enactment of SB 75, for each final well permit authorizing the withdrawal of designated groundwater, the state engineer specifies the priority date, location, maximum annual withdrawal volume, maximum pumping rate, and the maximum number of acres irrigated by the well.  The bill clarifies that the specified maximums for annual withdrawal volume, pumping rate, and irrigated acreage are not to be reduced due to conservation measures undertaken by the well user.  The bill exempts water rights subject to a change in use case.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  Signed by Governor 3/15
Effective:  August 7, 2013

SB13-078 – (Giron/Sonnenberg) – Erroneously Located Water Diversion Points
The bill will allow the owners and users of water rights to correct an established, but erroneously described, point of diversion location description in a decree without having to file an application for a change in water right.  The bill clarifies the circumstances under which a water right is deemed to be diverted at its decreed location and not erroneously described.

Erroneously described points of diversion that are the result of a clerical error may be corrected by petitioning the water clerk up to 3 years after the diverter becomes aware of the mistake.  The bill also sets forth a process for correcting erroneously described points of diversion not attributable to a clerical error.
Position:  Support
Outcome:  Signed by Governor 3/22
Effective:  August 7, 2013

SB13-132 – (Grantham/Wilson) – County Assessor Determination Ag Land Property Tax
Under current law, agricultural classification for the purposes of property taxation of a parcel of land two acres or less in size with a residential improvement depends on a determination that the residential improvement is integral to agricultural operations on the property.  Beginning in tax year 2012, this bill allows the county assessor to make this determination at his or her sole discretion.
Position:  Oppose
Outcome:  Senate Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Postponed Indefinitely 2/13

SB13-252 – (Morse, Schwartz/Duran, Ferrandino) – Renewable Energy Standard Retail Wholesale Methane
This bill makes several changes to Colorado’s renewable electricity standard (RES).

Specifically, the bill expands the definition of eligible energy resources that may be used to comply with the standard to include coal mine methane and synthetic gas produced by pyrolysis of municipal solid waste.  This expansion is subject to a determination by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that the production and use of these gases to generate electricity will not result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill also increases from 10 to 20 percent the share of retail electricity sales that must be achieved from eligible energy resources by cooperative electric associations (CEAs) serving more than 100,000 meters, beginning in the year 2020.  In addition, the allowable retail rate impact for CEAs is raised from 1 percent to a maximum of 2 percent.

Generation and transmission CEAs providing wholesale electricity to CEAs in Colorado are defined in the bill as wholesale CEA’s and are also subject to this increased RES and retail rate impact rule, beginning in 2020.  Wholesale CEAs may take credit for energy generated from eligible resources by its Colorado members.  The bill specifies that if the purchase of energy generated from eligible resources by a Colorado member CEA would cause an increase in rates exceeding the 2 percent retail rate impact rule, the obligation of the wholesale CEA is reduced by the energy necessary to allow compliance by the member with the rule.  Wholesale CEAs are required to use a system of renewable energy credits to comply with the new RES.  In addition, wholesale CEAs must report annually to the PUC on standard compliance.

For CEAs serving fewer than 100,000 meters, but more than 10,000 meters, the bill adds a distributed generation requirement of 1 percent of total retail electricity sales.  For CEAs serving fewer than 10,000 meters, the bill adds a distributed generation requirement of three-quarters of one percent of total retail electricity sales.

For purposes of compliance with the 20 percent standard, the bill authorizes a 3 kilowatt-hour multiplier for solar generation.  The bill eliminates:

  • in-state preferences for wholesale distributed generation;
  • the in-state requirement for the “community-based project” 1.5 kilowatt-hour multiplier; and
  • the 1.25 kilowatt-hour multiplier for eligible energy resources beginning operation on or after January 1, 2015.

Position:  Oppose
Outcome:  Senate concurred with House amendments 5/1, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  July 1, 2013        

Monitored Legislation:

HB13-1025 – (Swalm/Jahn) – Deductible Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Under current law, workers’ compensation policies are limited to a maximum $5,000 deductible.  An employer with a $5,000 deductible is responsible for all claims less than $5,000, as well as the first $5,000 of claims above $5,000.  The bill increases the maximum amount of deductible to the amount of the workers’ compensation insurance rate split point approved by the Commissioner of Insurance in the Department of Regulatory Agencies.  The split point is the amount of each loss that an insurer may apply as the primary loss in each workers’ compensation claim when calculating an employer’s experience rating.  The experience rating is used to determine the amount the employer pays for workers’ compensation coverage.

The bill clarifies that it is a violation of the Workers’ Compensation Act for an employer or insurer to require an employee to pay for, or use any other type of insurance to pay for treatment of a workplace injury.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Signed by Governor 4/26
Effective:  July 1, 2013

HB13-1096 – (Coram/Todd) – Waste Tire Recycling Agricultural & Beneficial Use
This bill expands the types of recipients who are eligible to receive reimbursements and grants for using waste tires.  Specifically, it allows mobile processors to receive partial reimbursement from the Waste Tire Cleanup Fund, and clarifies the definition of “beneficial use” for purposes of allocating money from the Processors and End User Fund.  Under the bill, a beneficial use includes agricultural purposes, commercial or industrial purposes, improvements to land, and the sale of a tire-derived product to an end user.

Two-thirds of the Waste Tire Cleanup Fund is used to provide funding to municipalities for grants, as well as for partial reimbursements to waste tire processors and end users.  The remaining third of the fund is used for providing incentives for waste tire use in public projects.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Postponed Indefinitely 2/11

HB13-1132 – (Mitsch-Bush, Scott/Giron) – Highway Vehicle Weight Limits
The bill conforms Colorado law with federal standards for vehicle weight limits for vehicles traveling on state highways and bridges.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Signed by Governor 3/22
Effective:  Upon Signature

HB13-1142 – (Hullinghorst/Heath) – Urban and Rural Enterprise Zone Act Reforms
This bill modifies four tax credit programs under the Urban and Rural Enterprise Zone Act, beginning with tax year 2014. Specifically, the bill:

  • Limits the amount of the Enterprise Zone (EZ) Investment Tax Credit that may be claimed during any tax year to $750,000, allows credits above the limit to be carried forward for fourteen years, and allows the Economic Development Commission to waive the limit;
  • Increases the New Business Facility Employee Credit from $500 to $1,100 for each new qualified business employee;
  • Increases the Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Credit from $200 to $1,000 for each new qualified business employee; and
  • Increases the Enterprise Zone Qualified Job Training Program Investment Credit from 10 percent of the total investment to 12 percent.

In addition, the bill requires the Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and the Colorado Economic Development Commission to review the enterprise zone designations at least once every 10 years, rather than once every five years, to ensure that the existing zones continue to meet statutory criteria to qualify as an enterprise zone.  Finally, the bill also requires the Colorado Economic Development Commission to annually post information regarding certified enterprise zone investment tax credits on the web.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  House concurred with Senate amendments 5/2, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  Upon Signature

HB13-1191 – (Fischer/ Schwartz) – Nutrient Grant Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant
This bill establishes the Nutrients Grant Fund, to be administered by the Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE).  The DPHE will make grants from the fund to assist local governments that operate wastewater treatment facilities with planning, design, construction, and other improvements necessary for compliance with recently-adopted nutrient management control regulations.  Up to five percent of the fund may be expended on the DPHE’s costs to administer these grants.  The Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) must adopt rules to administer the fund, including a means of prioritizing grants to local governments least financially capable of complying with nutrient regulations.  The fund is repealed September 1, 2016.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  House concurred with Senate amendments 5/2, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  Upon Signature

HB13-1248 – (Fischer/ Schwartz) – Irrigation Water Leasing Municipal Pilot Projects
This bill establishes a procedure for the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to approve up to three pilot projects that temporarily transfer agricultural waters rights in the Lower Arkansas River basin to municipal water users.

The pilot projects generate transferable consumptive use water primarily by fallowing certain cropland for no more than three years in a ten-year period.  No pilot project is authorized to transfer more than 2,500 acre-feet of water per year, and one of the three pilot projects must involve the annual transfer of less than 1,000 acre-feet.

To administer the pilot project program, the CWCB will consult with the State Engineer’s

Office (SEO) to develop appropriate application and annual review fees, as well as guidelines for projects, including:

  • materials and analysis required of applicants, with applications to be allowed for a window of at least five years;
  • procedures for public comments from owners of water rights that may be affected by a pilot project;
  • appropriate measures to prevent injury to other water rights and to prevent the impairment of interstate water compacts;
  • requirements that projects comply with other applicable law; and
  • periodic reports to the CWCB.

Approval of a pilot project requires the CWCB to consider the recommendation of the SEO.  If a water user believes it will suffer injury due to a pilot project, that party may appeal the CWCB decision to the Division 2 Water Court within 35 days after the CWCB’s notice of decision has been mailed.

The bill is repealed July 1, 2030.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  House concurred with Senate amendments 5/6, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  Upon Signature

SB13-074 – (Hodge/Sonnenberg) – Irrigation Water Rights Historical Use Acreage
The bill creates a mechanism to determine the maximum number of acres that may be irrigated under a pre-1937 water right for decrees that did not expressly limit the acreage when issued.  The bill specifies that in such cases the number of acres that may be irrigated is limited to the maximum number of acres irrigated during the first 50 years after the original decree, unless the acreage issue has been adjudicated.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Signed by Governor 4/4
Effective:  August 7, 2013

SB13-147 – (Jahn/Gardner) – Workers’ Compensation Liability Statutory Employer
The bill clarifies the presumption that a buyer of goods is not liable for a workers’ compensation claim if a leased or subcontracted employee who is delivering goods to the buyer is injured while not on the buyer’s premises.  This presumption may be overcome by a showing that the leased or subcontracted employee was performing a job function that would normally be performed by an employee of the buyer of the goods being delivered.  This bill does not create a presumption of a statutory (direct) employer-employee relationship when an injury occurs on the buyer’s premises.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Passed House third reading 5/8, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  Upon Signature

SB13-153 – (Giron/Schafer, Vigil) – Sunset Farm-to-school Coordination Task Force
Under current law, the interagency farm-to-school coordination task force sunsets on December 31, 2013, following a sunset review performed by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).  This bill:

  • continues the task force indefinitely;
  • adds two members to the task force, increasing the membership from 13 to 15;
  • permits the addition of ex-officio members to the task force;
  • expands the focus of the task force to explore statewide data collection systems to track farm-to-school activities; and
  • modifies reporting requirements.

Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Signed by Governor 3/22
Effective:  Upon Signature

SB13-169 – (Crowder, Schwartz/Dore) – Reintroduce Black-footed Ferret Landowner Consent
The bill allows for the reintroduction of black-footed ferrets in Colorado without legislative approval if the reintroduction:

  • occurs on private land with landowner consent; and
  • is pursuant to a federal programmatic safe harbor agreement and enhancement-of-survival permit.

The permit provides immunity to landowners in cases of an “incidental take” (unintentional injury or death) that may result from implementation of conservation actions, specific land uses, and the return of the land to baseline conditions.  The permit also limits the federal government’s imposition of land, water, or resource-use restrictions or additional commitments of land, water, or finances to those contained in the original enhancement-of-survival permit.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Passed House third reading 4/29, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  August 7, 2013

SB13-174 – (Schwartz/Lebsock) – Sunset Continue Food Systems Advisory Council
The bill continues the Food Systems Advisory Council (council) indefinitely.  The size of the council is increased from 13 to 15 governor-appointed members.  The bill requires that funds in the Food Systems Advisory Council Cash Fund be continuously appropriated and that funds accepted from gifts, grants, or donations not be subject to conditions that are inconsistent with the purpose of the council or any other law of the state.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Senate concurred with House amendments 4/23, awaiting consideration by Governor
Effective:  Upon Signature

SB13-223 – (Brophy/Mitsch-Bush) – Sunset Continue Noxious Weed Advisory Committee
This bill continues the Noxious Weed Advisory Committee (committee) until September 1, 2023, and adds 2 nonvoting members which increases the size of the committee to 17.  One nonvoting member is appointed by the Department of Transportation and one by the Department of Natural Resources with approval of the Commissioner of Agriculture.  Prior to repeal, the committee will undergo a sunset review.
Position:  Monitor
Outcome:  Senate concurred with House amendments 5/1, awaiting consideration by Governor

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