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2007 – 2008 Senate and House Bills

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.

SB08-010: 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.