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2010 Legislation

Colorado Renewable Energy Standard:


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

Prohibition on Consideration of Gender in Health Insurance Rates:


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

Medicaid Services Related to Substance Abuse:


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

Regulate Waste Grease Disposal:


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

Clean Energy Development Authority Financing:


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

Extend Petroleum Storage Tank Fund Dates:


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

Fee Exemptions for Late Vehicle Registration:


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

Adopt-A-Pet License Plates:


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

Sunset Review, Division of Insurance:


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

Sunset Review, Licensing of River Outfitters:


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

Wildlife Crossing Zones:


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

Breast Cancer Screening Insurance Guidelines:


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

New Energy Jobs Creation Act or PACE Funding Program:


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

Green Jobs Training Pilot Program:


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

Renewable Energy Generation for State Parks:


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

Inactive Status of Special Districts:


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

Valuation of New Hydroelectric Facilities:


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

Senior Protections from Financial Exploitation:


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

Colorado Seed Potato Act:


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

Cross-Boundary Energy Improvement Districts:


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

Promote Geothermal Energy Development:


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

Promote Biomass Energy Development:


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

County Elected Officials’ Salary Commission:


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

Colorado Conformity with Federal ARRA Language and Low Interest Bonds:


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

Allocation of National Forest Payments PILT and SRS:


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

Reducing Length of Regular Legislative Sessions:

SCR 10-009

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

Colorado 4-H 100th Anniversary:

SJR 10-006

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

Honoring Colorado’s Olympic Athletes:

SJR 10-012

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