2015 House Bills
HB15-1001: Early Childhood Educator Development ScholarshipsOppose
Position: Oppose

More tax money (don’t buy the “gifts, grants and donations canard - those of you who have been to POL training have seen how that works…) for the department of human services to fund the personal education of early childhood education professionals, enabling them to obtain a post-secondary credential in childhood education. Paying for someone else’s credentials is YOUR responsibility since it’s for the children? No, it’s not.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1002: Modifications To Economic Gardening Pilot ProjectOppose
Position: Oppose

In 2013, legislature established the economic gardening pilot project in the office of economic development. This bill extends and expands the program, increases fees, and requires additional appropriations from the general fund.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1003: Funding for Safe Routes to School ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires the department of transportation to award grants under the “safe routes to school” program using state moneys of at least $3 million. Because if it’s “for the children”, then using taxpayer funds for bike paths is a great idea. The department must award between 20% and 30% of the state grant money for non-infrastructure grants to support education, encouragement, and enforcement programs like bike rodeos, crossing guard programs, and public awareness campaigns. You just can’t make this stuff up. Look, I like to bike and partake of the occasional triathlon, but I feel guilty for occasionally using these taxpayer-funded paths. I suppose I should take some sort of sick solace in knowing that I’m funding a disproportionate share of such largesse through my tax payments to the state of Colorado.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1005: Veterans Free Admission State ParksOppose
Position: Oppose

2015 is shaping up to be the year of the ingratiation of veterans. A number of bills singling out veterans for special treatment because of their service are coming over the desk this year. A veteran in one of our POL classes was pretty clear that his service was unconditional and that he chose to serve our country to fight for the principles it was founded on, which includes the equal application of the rule of law to everyone, not for special treatments.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1007: Local Government Retail Marijuana TaxesOppose
Position: Oppose

Currently, any county or municipality that allows the sale of retail marijuana is authorized to levy the standard county or municipal sales tax on the sale of retail marijuana in addition to the state retail marijuana sales tax and the state retail marijuana excise tax. This bill would allow even more additional taxes to be targeted specifically at this industry.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1008: Ag Land Destroyed By Natural CausesSupport
Position: Support

This bill provides that agricultural land destroyed by a natural cause on or after January 1, 2012, will retain its agricultural classification for a rehabilitation period consisting of the year of destruction and the next four property tax years. During the rehabilitation period, the bill specifies that the owner must make progress toward restoring agricultural use or, in the case of forestland, must comply with an approved forest management plan. This bill gives property owners some protections from having their land reclassified into a higher tax bracket capriciously.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
HB15-1009: Repeal Large Ammo Magazine BanSupport
Position: Support

This bill would repeal recent legislation passed to limit magazine capacities for firearms. POL opposed that legislation when run, and supports this legislation to repeal.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
HB15-1014: Biennial Registration Seasonal Farm Motor VehiclesSupport
Position: Support

This bill sets a 24-month registration interval for seasonal farm motor vehicles. The owner pays the same taxes and fees per year as a person who registers a vehicle annually. A small break from regulation. We’ll take it.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1018: Protecting Seniors From Elder AbuseOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill expands the list created in recent legislation (which POL opposed) to include more people who are required by law to report “abuse” or “exploitation” of people over 70. Now included are accountants, financial planners, insurance agents, postal workers, and bus drivers. Pretty soon we’ll ALL be breaking this law in some way unbeknownst to us.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1019: Victims Of Human Trafficking And ProstitutionSupport
Position: Support

This bill creates an affirmative defense to prostitution by a minor if the minor is a victim of human trafficking for the purpose of the offense.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
HB15-1020: Funding For Full-day KindergartenOppose
Position: Oppose

A cool $236,000,000 to fund more full-day kindergarten. We aren’t convinced that the fiscal note has even covered all of the additional consequences of such largesse with respect to breakfasts, lunches, additional services, etc. And this comes from the same legislator who opined this summer that you and your well-intentioned friends, family and neighbors require the benevolent guidance of the state because you’re just not capable of preparing kids for the rigors of kindergarten these days (bless your hearts). Cradle to grave.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1024: Increasing Number Of CO Preschool Program StudentsOppose
Position: Oppose

More cradle to grave, with this one reaching down to pre-school.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1027: In-state Tuition American Indian Tribes Ties to COOppose
Position: Oppose

Let’s just quote ourselves from last year on this one, “This bill would allow Native American students who live outside of Colorado to pay in-state college tuition if they are members of an American Indian tribe that has historical ties to Colorado. Estimated cost to Colorado taxpayers is over $5 million per year. Why let a little thing like non-residence get in the way of in-state tuition?” This year, they’ve managed to whittle the fiscal note down to about $3,000,000, but the principles remain the same.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1028: Repeal Merchant LicensingSupport
Position: Support

We will let you read the bill yourself…   “In Colorado Revised Statutes, repeal article 51 of title 12.”   Brevity is the soul of wit.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1029: Health Care Delivery Via Telemedicine StatewideOppose
Position: Oppose

We think we understand the thought behind this bill, which would be to mitigate the cost of Colorado’s health exchange to citizens. But the bill mandates services and prices to the industry. This bill requires all health benefit plans in Colorado to provide beneficiaries with telemedicine options when telemedicine is considered an equal standard of care. Health insurance carriers must reimburse providers for telemedicine services on the same basis of in-person care for the diagnosis, treatment, or consultation of care. Payments from carriers must include reasonable compensation for the transmission cost of telemedicine care. More unintended consequences of government run health care system.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1030: Employment Services For Veterans Pilot ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

2015 is shaping up to be the year of the ingratiation of veterans. A number of bills singling out veterans for special treatment because of their service are coming over the desk this year. A veteran in one of our POL classes was pretty clear that his service was unconditional and that he chose to serve our country to fight for the principles it was founded on, which includes the equal application of the rule of law to everyone, not for special treatments.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1031: Ban Use Sale Possession of Powdered AlcoholOppose/NotRated
Previous Position: Oppose

Here we go – powdered alcohol drinks should be banned because… it’s for the children. Banning new products/markets as soon as they are conceived, whether they are a good free market idea or not, because you can think of ways a product might be misused, is classic nanny state government regulation.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government

Update 4/27/15: This was an interesting bill in many respects. As the bill title, and the actual wording in the original bill suggests, this was a ban on powdered alcohol. Despite the spin that some legislators put on this, it was a ban, pure and simple. If anyone would like a copy of the original bill to read for yourself, I’ll be happy to send it to you. The ban was voted on and passed out of the House. It went to the Senate, where it passed out of committee on a 3-2 vote and went to the Senate floor. A funny thing happened on the Senate floor – a strike-below was offered changing the bill from a ban to a bill that regulates powdered alcohol like regular alcohol. That bill then passed. Because of the complete change of the bill, it had to go back to the House for approval, which it received, and has now been signed into law.

Here is how POL is treating this bill: The votes on the initial bill rated as “Oppose” by POL will stand for the House committee and House final floor vote, as well as the Senate committee vote on the bill to ban. Once the bill was emended to be a ‘regulate like alcohol’ bill, our position on that new bill became “Not Rated”. This is because, while we’re generally not going to support bills that propose regulation, we recognize that putting a new product into a consistent, existing regulatory scheme is a pretty common-sense, defensible position. So from that point on, any votes on that bill to regulate like alcohol are not scored, because we did not take a position on that new bill.

One final note about this bill and its final disposition – the way in which it was passed into law is very arguably unconstitutional because the strike-below amendment to regulate like other alcohol clearly does not fit under the bill title of banning powdered alcohol. There has been some ‘winking & nodding’ going on to let this slide in order to come to a common sense resolution to the issue, since no one challenged it. At the end of the day we doubt that anyone will challenge the new law.
HB15-1033: Strategic Planning Group On AgingOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill would establish a “multi-disciplinary private and public sector stakeholders’ group to develop a comprehensive strategic action plan on aging in Colorado through the year 2030. The group shall provide to the governor and general assembly comprehensive data on and specific recommendations regarding private and public options for addressing this demographic shift for the state to consider.” Just chew on that fine sentence for a few minutes… all those ‘90’s business catch-phrases, the private/public sector cooperation, the ubiquitous nod to all of the “stakeholders”… doesn’t it just make you just want to embrace MORE government? No? Then welcome to POL, my friend, because it doesn’t work for us either. This would be the “grave” portion of that “cradle-to-grave” thing that we abhor. This is NOT the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1037: Religious Freedom Student Groups Higher EdSupport
Position: Support

This bill prohibits a state institution of higher education from denying a religious student group a benefit that the institution provides to a nonreligious student group solely because the religious student group requires its leaders to adhere to the group's sincerely held religious beliefs or standards of conduct.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1039: Prescription Give-back For InstitutionsSupport
Position: Support

Current law restricts the use of donated medications, medical supplies, and medical devices by a nonprofit entity to purposes related to aiding the victims of a disaster. The bill removes this restriction. In addition, the bill removes the requirement that a medication dispensed or donated must bear an expiration date that is 6 months later than the date the drug was donated, instead only requiring that the drug be unexpired. The bill also prohibits the resale of donated materials.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1040: Modify HOA Management Licensing RequirementsSupport
Position: Support

This bill reduces the licensing requirements put into place by law in 2013. Overall, the total number of CAMs that will be licensed is expected to decrease from 1,250 under current law to 125 under the bill.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1045: Veterans Entrance Fee State ParksOppose
Position: Oppose

(Ibid. from HB15-1030) 2015 is shaping up to be the year of the ingratiation of veterans. A number of bills singling out veterans for special treatment because of their service are coming over the desk this year. A veteran in one of our POL classes was pretty clear that his service was unconditional and that he chose to serve our country to fight for the principles it was founded on, which includes the equal application of the rule of law to everyone, not for special treatments.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1047: Internet Sweepstakes Cafes Simulated GamblingOppose
Position: Oppose

This is a renewed fight from last year. POL was somewhat torn last year, but after reflection, and after reading this bill, we think that this is just overkill by “law and order” types who push the fear that without government regulation and oversight, blood will run in the streets. Don’t buy it.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1049: Deadly Force Against Intruders in BusinessesSupport
Position: Support

POL has supported this legislation in the past and does again this year. Anyone watch the HBO Documentary on the massacre at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in 2013? Heard of Charlie Hebdo this week? You are your own first responder.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
HB15-1050: Repeal Gun Transfer Background Check Rqmnt & FeeSupport
Position: Support

POL opposed that legislation when run, and supports this legislation to repeal. This would repeal a costly and ineffective infringement on individual liberty and property rights.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
HB15-1053: Ages at Which Children Must Attend SchoolSupport
Position: Support

Here’s something new – instead of the push for ever expanding cradle-to-grave mandated supervision by the state, a bill that would reduce government compulsion and return some personal responsibility and choice back to parents and families. Novel.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1054: Off-Highway Vehicle Roadway RegistrationOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows a person may operate an off-highway vehicle (OHV) on a county road under certain conditions. A person must register the vehicle with the Department of Revenue (DOR) and obtain a certificate of title. Once registered with the DOR and having paid the associated license plate and title fees, as well as a new, one-time $10 Off-Highway Vehicle registration fee, the person may operate the vehicle on county roads as approved by the Board of County Commissioners. This bill also extends the requirement in current law that OHVs purchased through a dealer or auctioneer get a certificate of title, to include all OHVs, except those used for agriculture. The bill requires that all OHVs must have a title issued by the DOR by July 1, 2016. Counties already have the ability to deal with this issue, and creating FASTER-lite is not necessary. We spoke to some folks on the western slope who felt like this was too much. In addition, there is a large fiscal note from this expansion of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1055: Participation In State Employee Assistance ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill appears to have slipped through the cracks – we had it rated before this, but it did not make it onto an earlier report. Current law states that the dependents of a state employee are not eligible to participate in an employee assistance program. This bill would allow the participation of a state employee's dependent or any other person who is not a state employee in an employee assistance program if such participation is “necessary to provide effective counseling and assistance to a state employee.” So state employees get a BOGO, while the rest of us private sector stiffs get to pay full freight for family counseling? Don’t think so.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1057: Process for Statewide Initiative to be Placed on BallotSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, the legislative council of the general assembly is required to prepare a fiscal impact statement for each initiative in the ballot information booklet (blue book). The bill requires the director to prepare an initial fiscal impact statement for each initiative submitted to the title. The director is required to consider the proponents' fiscal impact estimate. The abstract from the initial fiscal impact statement must be printed at the beginning of an initiative petition section that is circulated for signatures and the fiscal impact summary must be printed on each succeeding section page. The bill also requires the designated representatives of the initiative proponents to appear at all review and comment meetings. If either designated representative fails to appear at a review and comment meeting, the initiative is considered withdrawn, but the proponents are permitted to resubmit the initiative for another review and comment meeting.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1059: Denver Health & Hospital Authority BoardOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill increases the membership of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority Board from nine to eleven members. The bill also creates a new process for removing a board member from the board. Under current law, if a member is found unfit for the position, the member may be removed by the Denver City Council with the Mayor’s approval, pursuant to city ordinance for specific failures of duty. Under this bill, a member may be removed from the board by a unanimous vote of the board (excluding the member to be removed) and with approval from the Mayor of Denver. Any member removed from the board by a unanimous vote does not have the ability to appeal the board's decision. POL is concerned that this could have a chilling effect on a board member’s ability to speak out against the majority.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1062: Increase Penalties For Animal FightingOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill mandates new, much higher minimum penalties that match the current maximums. The new mandated minimum fine would be $1,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for a second offense. There have been a total of two convictions for the crime of animal fighting in the past 3 years, neither of which included a fine, which up to this point has been at the discretion of the court (you know, that body that oversees the proceedings of a case). This bill is a waste of taxpayer money, and to what end…?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
HB15-1065: Regulatory Reform Act of 2015Support
Position: Support

This bill was run last year with bi-partisan sponsors. This year, there doesn’t appear to any bi-partisanship on the prime sponsors. Businesses, and especially small businesses that don’t have massive legal and administrative resources to keep up with the expanding rule by regulatory fiat, may not necessarily know when new rules have been created by various regulatory state departments. This bill says that for the first minor violation of a new rule (less than a year old) by a business of 100 or fewer employees, a state agency is required to issue a written warning and engage the business in educational outreach as to the methods of complying with the new rule instead of levying fines. Our only complaint on this bill is that it’s only for businesses of less than 100 people.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1066: Repeal Health Benefit ExchangeSupport
Position: Support

This bill would repeal the Colorado health Care Exchange. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1067: Continuing Professional Development PsychologistsOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires licensed psychologists to complete at least 40 hours of continuing professional development and education during each two-year license renewal cycle in order to maintain their professional license. The State Board of Psychologist Examiners in the Department of Regulatory Agencies is required to adopt rules establishing the continuing professional development program and the bill specifies certain requirements that the program must meet. The state board is allowed to audit up to five percent of licensed psychologist during each renewal cycle to check compliance with the continuing professional development requirement. More state regulation.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1068: Motor Vehicle Impeding TrafficOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill would define a person to be, “… impeding traffic if at least 4 motor vehicles are following immediately behind and the person is traveling at least 5 miles per hour below the speed limit.” I suppose that local sheriffs and other law enforcement can’t make such an enormous decisions on their own, so the legislature must step in to pick these nits, er, write these laws?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1072: Interactive Electronic HarassmentOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill modifies this existing statute on harassment to include harassment that occurs through an interactive electronic medium. It also broadens the language to include both direct and indirect communications and language directed toward a person through the various communication methods in the statute. Some of the language in here is very broad and open to interpretation. More over-protection from every conceivable angle.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1076: Prohibit Discrimination Labor Union ParticipationSupport
Position: Support

This bill prohibits an employer from requiring employee membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment, or from requiring employees to pay dues, fees, or other assessments to a labor organization, charity, or other third party. A free market means the freedom to associate, contract, unionize or not, as you see fit. Freedom of association may have even been mentioned in that 1st Amendment we’ve heard about.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
HB15-1077: Modify Late Vehicle Registration FeeSupport
Position: Support

This bill essentially repeals the FASTER late fees, setting them back to where they were before. Now we’re back on the right track (pun intended).

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1078: Reporting Missing Youth In State's Legal CustodySupport
Position: Support

This bill requires missing youth within the legal custody of the state Department of Human Services or county department of human or social services be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and to law enforcement immediately, but no later than 24 hours after the disappearance is identified. Goodness knows that that if YOU lose your kid, there’d be some ‘splaining to do – the government should be as responsible.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
HB15-1079: Teen Pregnancy Dropout Prevention Program FundingOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill extends the repeal date of the Teen Pregnancy and Dropout Prevention program within the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) from September 1, 2016, to September 1, 2020. The bill also allows General Fund moneys to be appropriated in support of the program's costs.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1080: School Participation In Breakfast After The BellSupport
Position: Support

Current law requires that school districts provide a free breakfast to all students in a public school if the school has 80 percent or more students who are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch under the school lunch program. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, current law expands the program to include schools with 70 percent or more students who are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch. This bill removes that lower 70 percent trigger and returns the requirement to 80. And it would save taxpayers $10,000,000 a year.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1083: Patient Contribution Rehabilitation ServicesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill prohibits insurance companies from classifying office visits for physical rehabilitation services provided by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or chiropractor as a specialty service. In addition, the copayment cannot be more than 50 percent of the payment amount that the provider is paid by the insurance carrier for the visit. More legislature-mandated benefits and pricing demands by government on private business.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1085: Publish County Fiscal Information On-lineSupport
Position: Support

This bill would allow counties to print reports online instead in print. We see these sorts of bills every year, but a dying print media refuses to release their clutch on this cash cow. Let it go… let it go…

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1086: CBI Produce Certificates For Gun TransfereesSupport
Position: Support

This bill requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to provide certificates for persons transferring certain weapons when required by federal law. Under the bill, if a prospective transferee requests a certificate, the CBI must, within five days, produce the certificate or provide a written explanation for a denial. The CBI is not permitted to retain copies of issued certificates unless the model or serial number of the weapon is redacted from the certificate. If the CBI denies a certificate, the prospective transferee may seek judicial review of the denial in lieu of or subsequent to any second review by the director of the CBI. The bill also gives a method for someone who has been denied to challenge the denial, putting the burden of proof on the CBI. Any of you gun folks ever had your paperwork held up indefinitely on an NFA item for no apparent reason? This would help address one part of that situation.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1087: Alcohol And Substance Abuse Medical Detox CentersOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the alcohol and substance abuse medical detox centers pilot program in the unit that administers behavioral health programs and services, including those related to mental health and substance abuse, within the department of human services.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1088: Interagency Farm-to-school Grant ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Interagency Farm-to-School Grant Program within the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to award grants to farmers, ranchers, and food processing facilities to be used for investments related to food safety, and for costs associated with food sales to schools. The bill directs the Interagency Farm-to-School Coordination Task Force to issue guidelines for grant applications and a timeline for the distribution of grant funds. Senate Bill 10-081 created a 13-member task force, which is charged with increasing the use of local farm and ranch products in school food service programs. Not the role of government to use taxpayer money to dole out as grants to support centralized economic planning.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1091: Policies On Juvenile Shackling In CourtOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires each judicial district to develop and implement a policy regarding juvenile shackling. The policy must be developed with input from the judicial department, law enforcement agencies, public defenders' offices, and district attorneys' offices and must consider research, legal precedent, and recognized best practices regarding shackling juveniles. The bill specifically states that while judicial districts may consider security needs, “…THOSE NEEDS SHALL NOT PREEMPT THE COURT'S ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY TO TREAT EACH JUVENILE IN A REHABILITATIVE FASHION CONSISTENT WITH THE GOALS OF THIS TITLE.” We think that the security of the court should not take a back seat to someone’s feelings getting hurt.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
HB15-1093: Exceptions Efficient Plumbing Fixture RequirementsSupport
Position: Support

This bill repeals a 2014 prohibition on low-efficiency plumbing fixture as well as a reporting requirement for plumbing fixture manufacturers. The bill includes an exception to a current requirement that state agencies install water-efficient fixtures in new construction or renovation for instances when the installation of water-efficient plumbing devices are found to be detrimental to public health and safety.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1095: Common Int Exempt Small Limited Expense CommunitySupport
Position: Support

The 1992 enactment of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) contains an exemption for pre-1992 HOAs from certain provisions of the act based on the number of units in the HOA. A similar exemption applies to post-1992 HOAs based on a $300 limit on common expense liability in the HOA's recorded declaration. This bill allows a similar exemption for an HOA created before the 1992 enactment of the CCIOA to be exempt from certain provisions of CCIOA if the HOA's annual assessments do not exceed a statutory threshold of $300.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1097: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Comm & ScreeningOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill extends the automatic repeal date for the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) commission until June 30, 2020. The FASD commission was originally created in the executive branch as a temporary commission. More government oversight.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1098: Red Light CameraNot Rated
Position: Not Rated

POL rated this bill in its original form as “Support”. The bill has been significantly amended to now require that localities vote whether to retain these intrusions upon individual liberty. POL has moved to a “No Rating” position due to conflicting principles. While we agree with the pushback on this form of government over-reach, we disagree that the state’s responsibility to protect the rights of the individual should potentially be trumped by a localized tyranny of the majority. We are actually very close to an “Opposed” rating, but at this point will move to a “Not Rated”.

Previous Position: Support

This bill prohibits the use of an automated vehicle identification system, including photo radar and red light cameras, by state and local governments for the purposes of enforcing traffic laws or issuing citations for the violation of traffic laws. The bill also repeals the authorization that the Colorado Department of Public Safety use an automated vehicle identification system to detect speed violations in a highway maintenance, repair, or construction zone.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
HB15-1100: Sales Tax Revenue To Older Coloradans Cash FundOppose
Position: Oppose

More redistribution. How many special classes of people can you come up with that are pushed as “exceptions” in need of forced redistribution of our property by the state. If you can’t come up with 10 in 30 seconds, you’re not trying hard enough.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1103: Concerning Peace Officer Status for Certain Department of Revenue EmployeesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill would give peace officer authority to criminal tax enforcement special agents and motor vehicle criminal investigators in the department of revenue. Not only does the bill give these powers to these special employees of the department of revenue, but it even states that this authority includes the enforcement of all laws of the state of Colorado. Finally, it states the said employees MAY be certified by the P.O.S.T Board. 

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1104: Educator Expenses State Income Tax DeductionOppose
Position: Oppose

Here’s another one of those special classes now.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1108: Protections Collection And Release Student DataSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, school districts must obtain the written consent of parents before the school district can require participation in a survey, assessment, analysis, or evaluation intended to reveal information concerning the student or the student's parents' political affiliations, mental and psychological conditions, sexual behavior and attitudes, or other social or cultural information about the family. This bill further defines this provision by stating that at least 85 percent of the student's parents or guardians provide the written consent as well as codifying additional safeguards for data.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1111: Maternal Mortality Prevention ActOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the Colorado maternal mortality review committee for the purpose of reviewing maternal mortality cases that occur in Colorado, identifying the causes of maternal mortality, and developing recommendations to prevent further maternal mortalities, including recommending legislation, etc. Also allows for more government access to medical records. More well-intentioned expansion of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1114: Prohibit State Aid To NDAA InvestigationsSupport
Position: Support

This bill prohibits state agencies, political subdivisions of the state, and their employees, as well as members of the Colorado National Guard, from assisting any of the armed forces of the United States in the enforcement of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). Specifically, this prohibition applies to assistance in enforcing Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA. The bill requires the criminal prosecution of any individual who violates the prohibition, pursuant to any applicable provisions of the "Colorado Criminal Code", including, but not limited to, provisions that prohibit assault, battery, kidnapping, and homicide.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
HB15-1118: Hydroelectric PowerSupport
Position: Support

This bill amends the definition of renewable energy resources that can be used to meet the state's renewable energy standard (RES) to include hydroelectricity and pumped hydroelectricity. This small allowance could be a tiny bit help for meeting the onerous mandates imposed in the war on rural Colorado.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1119: Local Government Fracking Ban Liable RoyaltiesSupport
Position: Support

This bill provides for the compensation of a royalty owner when a local ordinance, resolution, or other policy prohibits the practice of hydraulic fracturing to recover oil and gas within a local government's jurisdiction. The local government is liable to the royalty owner for the value of royalties not received due to the prohibition.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1120: Tony Grampsas Statewide Membership Org Grant ProgOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the statewide membership organization grant program for statewide membership organizations that operate as umbrella administrative organizations for smaller youth services organizations throughout the state. The statewide organizations must be comprised of eligible member organizations that collectively serve children and youth, a minimum of 60% of whom qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch, and provide services to a minimum of 25 counties, 30% of which must be considered rural.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1124: Rural School Districts Waiver Statute And RulesSupport
Position: Support

This bill permits a rural school district to request an automatic waiver from the same state statutes and State Board of Education (BOE) rules as are waived under current law for charter schools. Beginning with the 2015-2016 academic year, a rural school district may also request a state waiver from the requirement to administer the school readiness assessment to kindergarten students.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1126: Overseas Fed Civilian Employee Tax Filing StatusOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows a full-time Colorado resident living outside the United States for civilian employment by the United States government to file as a nonresident on his or her Colorado income tax return. If a spouse accompanies the individual he or she may also elect treatment as a nonresident individual as well. What about us NGE’s? (Non-Government Employees). Tax free for me, but not for thee…? The benes keep piling up for the special interests.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1127: No Liability For Permitting Concealed CarrySupport
Position: Support

A bi-partisan bill that establishes immunity from certain civil actions for owners and operators of businesses open to the public who adopt a policy allowing persons to carry a concealed handgun on the premises. A claim of civil liability brought against such a business owner or operator is barred in any case where the policy of allowing concealed handguns is the alleged cause of damages.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
HB15-1129: CO Disaster Prediction & Decision Support SystemsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires two divisions of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to develop decision-support systems to predict certain disasters: 1) The Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) is required to contract for the development of the Colorado Wildland Fire Prediction and Decision Support System. The capabilities of this system must include prediction of wildland fire conditions and aviation weather hazards that affect the state aerial firefighting operations, and 2) The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) is required to contract for the development of the Colorado Flood Prediction and Decision Support System. This system must improve current flood prediction capabilities in the DHSEM. The DFPC and DHSEM must contract with a nonprofit or tax-exempt Colorado-based research organization with expertise in atmospheric science and certain related qualifications. Both contracts are exempt from the State Procurement Code and must be entered into by December 1, 2015.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1131: Release Critical Incident Information JuvenileSupport
Position: Support

It appears that there’s been some reticence on the part of certain state agencies to give information to legislators that’s relevant to oversight. The legislative response? Pass a law to REQUIRE cooperation. This bill requires the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC), and any other agency with relevant information to release, upon request, certain information about incidents occurring in DYC facilities. Requests may concern information about specific incidents or aggregate information about multiple events over a given period of time. The DHS must redact any personally identifying information in these reports. Information that must be released includes the type of incident or a summary of the types of incidents that occurred, a summary of whether the number and types of incidents are increasing or decreasing in frequency and severity, on average how many of the youths involved in such incidents are repeat offenders and the average length of detainment, and a summary of responses to incidents by the facility involved. Those reports could make for some interesting reading!

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1132: Residential Energy Efficiency Tax CreditOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates an income tax credit for qualified improvements that increase the energy efficiency of residential property. The tax credit is based on the level of energy savings achieved. Because making your own rational economic decision without government meddling is SO selfish.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1133: Continue Colorado pay Equity CommissionOppose
Position: Oppose

Extending and authoring an increase in the Colorado pay equity commission, instead of letting it fade away on 7/1/15 like originally passed. This would extend the commission indefinitely. Continuing government intervention into the free markets, trumping sound economic policy with a social agenda.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1134: New Diesel Motor Vehicles Emissions TestingSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, heavy-duty diesel vehicles are exempt from emissions inspection and testing until their fourth model year. The bill extends the exemption to the sixth model year if the vehicle's gross weight is at least 26,000 pounds and the vehicle is a 2014 model year or newer. A reduction in regulation.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1137: Requests For Multiple Booking Photographs Support
Position: Support

This bill allows a person requesting copies of one or more booking photographs to sign one required statement for all booking photographs requested for a period of up to one year. This will reduce some workload for everyone.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1138: Concealed Carry Permits Substitute for Background ChecksSupport
Position: Support

This bill allows a person who holds a valid concealed handgun permit and provides a valid identification card to transfer a firearm at a Colorado gun show without an additional background check. The CBI is required to develop and provide a permit template to each sheriff's office for use. Each sheriff's office is required to ensure that permits issued on or after January 1, 2016, conform with the template. The bill also clarifies that if a sheriff revokes a permit, he or she is required to confiscate the permit from the permit holder.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1140: Same Day Voter Registration With Photo IDSupport
Position: Support

In connection with current procedures permitting an elector to register to vote on or immediately prior to election day, the bill requires that the elector provide one of several enumerated forms of photo identification. If passed, the bill will be submitted to a vote of the registered electors of the state of Colorado at the next biennial regular general election for their approval or rejection under the referendum powers of the state constitution.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1141: Hospital Provider Fee Patient Billing StatementsSupport
Position: Support

A hospital provider fee was established under House Bill 09-1293, which authorized the Department of Health Care Policy to seek federal approval to collect a fee from hospitals and use this revenue to obtain federal matching funds for the state's Medicaid program. Under current law, a hospital is prohibited from including this information on its billing statements. This bill requires that a hospital include the amount of the hospital provider fee as a separate line item on its billing statement. Normally we don’t like requiring a company to do something, but this is government mandated fees, so we think we should be able to see their impacts on our bills.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1143: Tax Incentive For Home Health CareOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates a five-year income tax credit for a percentage of the costs incurred by a qualifying senior for durable medical equipment, telehealth equipment, home modifications, or home health care services in each income tax year, subject to a maximum amount, in order to assist the qualifying senior with seeking health care in his or her home.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1144: Prohibit Plastic Microbeads Personal Care ProductsOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill prohibits the production, manufacture, or acceptance for sale of personal care products, including over-the-counter drugs, that contain synthetic plastic microbeads. The prohibition is through January 1, 2020. The penalty for each violation may be from $1,000 to $10,000.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1146: Colorado Student Leaders InstituteOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Colorado Student Leaders Institute, a summer residential education program for high school students. Students accepted to the institute attend without cost. The institute combines courses, lectures, and seminars, with enrichment classes in music, art, and theater. The institute will operate for 4 weeks each summer on the campus of an institution of higher education. The board is required to ensure that at least 50 percent of participating students are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch, or would be the first generation in their immediate family to attend an institution of higher education. Is this the role of government? If we have to explain this one to you, you need to attend a POL training session.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1147: Require License To Practice Genetic CounselingOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill enacts the "Genetic Counselor Licensure Act". As of June 1, 2016, a person cannot practice genetic counseling without being licensed by the director of the division of professions and occupations in the department of regulatory agencies. Because only government can oversee, regulate, and keep you safe.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1152: Concealed Carry without PermitSupport
Position: Support

This bill allows a person who legally possesses a handgun under state and federal law to carry a concealed handgun in Colorado. A person who carries a concealed handgun under the authority created in the bill has the same carrying rights and is subject to the same limitations that apply to a person who holds a permit to carry a concealed handgun under current law.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1154: No Credit Card Fee On Tax Portion Of SaleOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill prohibits the collection of an interchange fee, defined as a fee established by a payment card network for the purpose of compensating the issuer of a credit or debit card for its involvement in an electronic payment transaction, on the portion of the total price that represents taxes imposed by the state or a local government. Dictating what banks can/cannot charge.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1157: Working Group For Econ Dev In Distressed RegionsOppose
Position: Oppose

Why is it that government-types insist on a central planning approach to the economy? Oh yeah, because they are from the government and they are here to help. This bill would create the economic development working group for “highly distressed” rural and urban regions of the state. I’m feeling highly distressed right now – does that count? The working group would discuss and evaluate economic development efforts in various regions, identify best practices, discuss and evaluate the possibility of creating tax-free zones or other economic development tools for the regions, and make detailed legislative recommendations to the general assembly in order to quickly improve the economic vitality of those regions. OMG, I can’t wait to see what genius they exhibit. Here’s an idea – how about if instead of getting into legislature to become the central-planning economic proletariat, they all get OUT of the legislature and put their genius to work actually creating a business, producing something, and employing people – risking their OWN dime for capital instead of just using taxpayer funds to tell everyone else how they should be doing it!

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1158: Sales & Use Tax Refund For Data CentersOppose
Position: Oppose

For those of you who have been to POL training, you’ll be distressed (sorry, still have that last bill in mind) to know that the “Advanced Industries Acceleration” legacy lives on – because industry simply could not advance without crony corporatism! The growing army of mindless corporate crony zombies mumble “jobs… jobs… jobs…” as they continue to rob the janitor in the Four Corners and the teacher on the Eastern Plains of their hard earned money in order to satisfy the insatiable special tax-break demands of the front range “advanced industry” people. This B-grade horror flick to die.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law

Update 4/27/15: This bill was originally a selective tax refund, choosing winners and losers, favoring a specific business/industry, etc. - a classic example of government intervention into free markets via tax policy. The bill has been completely re-written. It has now been throttled way back to say that the committee will study the issue between now and next year, seeking recommendations. POL appreciates this change. However, the problem with the bill as it stands now is that it is still biased toward building a case for the state to intervene into free markets via tax policy. While we applaud efforts by several legislators to reign this bill in, we continue to oppose the bill. There may be legislators who vote for the bill because they were successful in taking a bad bill and making it not as bad, and potentially even doing some good next year if the committee decides that a crony approach to tax-breaks is bad policy. But we’re not holding our breath, and if this were the initial bill that had been proposed, we would have opposed it as well. This is consistent with how we have treated similar “study” bills in the past. We try to continue to be consistent and not be moved off of our principles via an “Overton Window” approach to policy."
HB15-1161: Public Accommodation First Amendment RightsSupport
Position: Support

This bill is a big one and should receive serious discussion. The bill says that the state may not compel involuntary speech, involuntary acts of artistic expression, or involuntary acts of religious expression by a person when such speech, acts of artistic expression, or acts of religious expression would lead to that person directly or indirectly participating in, directly or indirectly supporting, or endorsing or impliedly (I honestly did not know that you could use the word imply as an adjective) endorsing an ideology, ceremony, creed, behavior, or practice with which the person does not agree. That sentence is the essence of the bill, but there is a lot packed in there. Should the government be able to FORCE you to proactively do something against your personal beliefs? Your religious beliefs? Your ideological beliefs? Whether it’s baking a cake, arranging flowers, or anything else, does government have the moral authority to force you to do something for someone else? Do you violate someone’s rights by refusing them your service or product? For POL training attendees, remember what your own definition of a right is. Are you protected by the first amendment of the constitution to exercise your speech, exercise your religion, and associate as you choose – unless of course government decides that you can’t? Are people free to control what they produce with their own bodies as long as they are not violating the rights of someone else? Opponents of this bill will charge that this bill would “codify discrimination,” as if only government can be the arbiter of proper association. Have you ever wondered just what “Public Accommodation” means? You can find the definition in Title 42 U.S. Code Chapter 126, Subchapter III, Section 12182. Did you notice that this is what’s commonly referred to as the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act? Why is this ADA definition used for so many things that are not ADA-related? Why must a bar owner bow down to the behavioral code of the government because his property fits the ADA definition of “public accommodation” for people with disabilities? And exactly what’s public about it anyway? Does he not own his own property? There are a lot of issues packed into this bill, with significant ramifications, not all of which are politically correct. But then freedom has never been, and never will be, politically correct.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1163: Contingent Repeal Hlth Ins Laws Aligning With ACASupport
Position: Support

In 2013, the general assembly enacted House Bill 13-1266 to align state health insurance laws with the requirements of Obamacare. The bill adds an automatic repeal to multiple provisions in the state health insurance laws that is triggered if the comparable federal law requirement under Obamacare is repealed by congress and approved by the president. Yes, that’s quite the long shot, but we can dream, can’t we?

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1165: Schools Use of American Indian MascotsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Subcommittee for the Consideration of the Use of American Indian Mascots by Public Schools in the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The subcommittee is required to meet at least every two months to evaluate the use of American Indian mascots by public schools and public institutions of higher education, and approve or disapprove of such uses. The American Indian Mascot Fund is created in the State Treasury to give grants to schools that have to get new uniforms, etc. due to the commission disallowing their current mascot. The state constitution delegates the execution of education to the local districts. We think that the local community leaders should be capable of making appropriate decisions such as the school mascot without a new government program to enforce its version of political correctness.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1168: Concealed Carry Handguns on School PropertySupport
Position: Support

With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, and high school grounds. Under current law, it is a class 6 felony for a person with a concealed carry permit to bring a weapon onto the property of a public school. This bill removes this limitation. For those who understand the equivalence of a “gun free zone” to defenseless “fish in a barrel”, this bill will make perfect sense.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1169: Photo ID For Same Day Voter RegistrationSupport
Position: Support

In connection with current procedures permitting an elector to register to vote on or immediately prior to or on election day, the bill requires that the elector provide a form of identification that includes a photograph of the elector.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1170: Increasing Postsecondary And Workforce ReadinessOppose
Position: Oppose

The central planners are back. This bill creates a position called the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness statewide coordinator, or PWR coordinator. The PWR coordinator is required to assist local education providers to coordinate PWR programs and initiatives for students, develop and implement initiatives to increase PWR through specialized, industry-based curricula, apprenticeship programs, and internships, implement concurrent enrollment agreements with institutions of higher education, engage students with the manufacturing career pathway, and develop partnerships with business, industry, unions, and institutions of higher education to create educational and training programs for students. The Colorado state constitution does require that the state provide for basic education. How about we get that right before moving on to planning our entire workforce for the state. There’s this thing called the free market, and it’s actually pretty effective if you will allow it to operate.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1171: State Freedom Of Conscience Protection ActSupport
Position: Support

This bill prohibits state and local governments in Colorado from directly or indirectly constraining the exercise of religion, except in cases involving a compelling governmental interest. State and local governments, including individual public officials in their official capacity, must use the least restrictive means of furthering any such compelling governmental interest. Individuals whose exercise of religion is burdened, or likely to be burdened, may assert a violation of the bill as a new claim or as a defense in court. This law directly mirrors federal legislation that was passed in 1993. Why, you might ask, if the law exists federally, is it being run at the state level? The courts have for reason ruled that this federal law can’t be applied to state law, so a little more than half of the states have enacted this legislation at the state level.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
HB15-1172: Repeal Punitive Damages Employment DiscriminationSupport
Position: Support

Under federal law, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees, a plaintiff who proves his or her employer has engaged in intentional discrimination may receive an award of compensatory and punitive damages. In the 2013 legislative session, the general assembly enacted legislation enabling plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases filed under state law, which applies to all employers regardless of size and which permits certain employment discrimination claims not currently allowed under federal law, to seek an award of compensatory and punitive damages. This bill repeals the ability of a plaintiff filing an employment discrimination claim under state law to obtain a punitive damage award. We opposed this law in 2013, and we support this repeal of some of that law now.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1173: Winter Driving I-70 Tread Depth & Tire ChainsOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires all noncommercial motor vehicles driving on Interstate 70 between Dotsero (milepost 133) and Morrison (milepost 259) between November 1 and May 15 to have tires with any form of the mountain-snowflake symbol or "mud and snow" lettering (i.e., M/S and M+S) on the side wall of the tire and a tread depth of one-eighth of an inch, or carry tire chains or an equivalent traction control device (i.e. cable chains). CDOT is required to notify the public of the bill's requirements through temporary, electronic, or permanent signs; the CDOT travel website; social media; and other appropriate means. Because you can’t handle driving in the mountains without big brother.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1174: Information Protections Domestic Violence VictimsSupport
Position: Support

The bill extends the protections related to confidentiality of personal information on the internet that are currently in place for law enforcement officials and their immediate family to participants in the address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This bill extends a program to protect the rights of individuals from law enforcement officials to everyday citizens. This is a good execution of the role of government.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1175: Prohibit Conversion TherapyOppose
Position: Oppose

Does the legislature, in its infinite wisdom, know better than anyone else in the state what medical treatments psychiatrists and mental health providers should offer? Well, certainly they know more than you Luddites who cling to those anachronistic vestiges of parenthood, anyway. This bill would make it illegal for parents and/or persons under 18 to make this determination on their own. And, as one of our analysts pointed out, it only applies to outlawing “conversion therapy” going one way but not the other… that doesn’t sound equal or fair.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1176: Department Of Labor And Employment Audit AuthoritySupport
Position: Support

This bill limits the authority of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, when conducting employment verification audits, employment classification audits, and wage theft audits, to the statutory requirements specific to each of those audits. In other words, an audit of one thing can’t be used as a n excuse for a “fishing trip”, looking for whatever else they can find.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1177: Rural Economic Development Initiative Grant ProgOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the rural economic development initiative grant program for the purpose of growing the economies of distressed rural counties. The bill requires the Colorado office of economic development to determine which distressed rural counties are eligible for. Local governments and private employers in up to 30 rural counties may apply for grants that attract new jobs or encourage private capital investment. The rent-seekers have heard the cries of the war on rural Colorado, and now they are turning their rent-seeking away from the front range and toward the country. It doesn’t matter where you redistribute, stealing from some to give to others is wrong and is not the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1180: Sales & Use Tax Refund Med & Clean TechnologyOppose
Position: Oppose

Here we go again, but instead of “advanced industries,” it’s “clean technology.” Crony corporatism, corporate cronyism, I say tomayto, and you say tomahto. A rose by any other name…

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1181: Colorado Is Honoring Our Military Tax ExemptionOppose
Position: Oppose

The fiscal note is still not up for this one yet, but regardless, POL is opposed on this bill. Like the other “special” tax bills this year, this carves out a small class of people (military) who, frankly, already have the option to not pay Colorado state income tax by declaring any other state that doesn’t have income tax as their home state. If they value that economic choice over their ability to register and vote locally in Colorado, then that’s their decision to make. I wish I had that decision to make. Given the choice, I’d take that tradeoff. I could still work hard to educate and influence my neighbors and local Colorado voters as a volunteer, through my donations, etc. and save 4.63% of my income at the same time. Sign me up! It’d be like getting paid for doing POL! The idea that this bill would somehow “starve the beast” of Colorado government sounds enticing, but given the state legislature’s ability, backed by the courts, to create new “taxes” by calling them “fees”, increase other licensing & registration costs upon citizens, reallocate fungible dollars in the state budget from Peter to pay Paul, leaving the most needy/desperate/heartwrenching to clamor for more tax funds (I’m sure it will be for the children!), and the potential for eating into TABOR refunds, we don’t see that playing out well. If there is any bi-partisan support, as is rumored, then you have to ask if both parties are now singing kumbaya on the idea of “starving the beast” of Colorado government, or is there something else going on here? This is a creative argument by a smart guy with good intentions, but this isn’t our first rodeo, and we’ve seen way too many “unintended consequences” play out in legislation to think that supporting this bill is a good idea. We do look forward to his next idea, though.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1186: Services For Children With AutismOppose
Position: Oppose

$20 million a year, half from the feds (because it’s free money, right?) and half from the state.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1190: Assistance To Public Schools For Career PathwaysOppose
Position: Oppose

They simply cannot quench the desire for central economic planning. Does no one have a grasp of economic policy and the role of government? Given that today’s high school AP Economic courses are based on Paul Krugman’s textbook (we called it the book of the devil in my house, LOL!), then maybe not. This bill requires that the State Work Force Development Council in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment collaborate with the Colorado Department of Education in order to provide technical assistance to schools regarding government programs and legal requirements relating to career and workforce opportunities, identify local industry and workforce needs and any available resources to meet those needs, including apprenticeships and internships, develop new tools and resources that assist public schools to partner with industry, facilitate and promote opportunities for industry to engage in middle and high school classrooms, and identify best practices for effective implementation of career pathways and career-ready skills for middle and high school students. Because they are doing such a phenomenal job of basic education, with college remediation rates of under 100% (think about it…), that this is the next logical step.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1192: Entertainment Dist Expand Licensed Premises TypesSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, premises licensed under the "Colorado Liquor Code" as a tavern, hotel and restaurant, brew pub, retail gaming tavern, or vintner's restaurant may attach to a common consumption area within an entertainment district established by a local government. A common consumption area may be created as a common area within an entertainment district. Attached licensed premises may serve alcohol and the customers may consume alcohol within the common consumption area. This bill expands the types of licensed premises that may be included in an entertainment district. Expanding free markets is moving in the right direction.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
HB15-1194: Authorize General Fund Dollars For LARC ServicesOppose
Position: Oppose

This is classic. A textbook case. First, slam down a law when you have all of the majorities, say that it won’t cost taxpayers a dime because you’ll fund it with “gifts, grants and donations”, then watch the original source of funding go to zero because the donors now say that it’s YOUR turn to pay dear taxpayer, because they’ve done their fair share, and voila, a new entitlement is born – expensive Cadillac birth control for you to fund, for people that you will never know, because that’s the role of government – taking money from some people to pay for other peoples’ expensive forms of birth control. The pill just isn’t good enough these days. Oh and by the way, the profit margin on this stuff is MUCH higher, so the corporations that the government buys from will love you for it. Another day, another corporate crony zombie feasting on your dime.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1199: Student & Teacher Data Privacy & Security ActSupport
Position: Support

This is a comprehensive bill with many details. The bill creates the "Student and Teacher Data Privacy and Security Act". Among many things, the bill classifies types of student and teacher data that may be collected by an education institution or state agency, what can be done with data, prohibits predictive modeling, prohibits video recording with certain exceptions, and requires districts to destroy and remove from student databases certain education records associated with a student within 5 years of the student's graduation or withdrawal from the institution (except that education institutions shall retain adequate records to demonstrate that a student has completed graduation requirements).

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
HB15-1200: Highly Effective Teachers & Low-performing SchoolsOppose
Position: Oppose

This program will provide grants to local education providers to enable them to offer monetary incentives for highly effective teachers who choose to teach in low-performing elementary, middle, or junior high schools. Funding of $4,000,000 would go toward enticing “highly effective teachers” to teach at “Low-performing schools”. Does this mean that school principals are not an important part of the school success equation? We think that they are, and as a former high school teacher, I can attest to the impact of a good administrator vs. a not-so-good administrator. So while we can’t allow parents to have school choice and send their kids to high performing schools (a collection of teachers, administrators, etc.), apparently we can throw more taxpayer money at low-performing schools, potentially raiding high-performing schools of their good teachers and sending them to low-performing schools. More taxpayer expense + degraded teaching staffs in good schools + throwing good teachers into questionable teaching environments = recipe for continued lowering of product quality across the board. Here’s a crazy idea – instead of paying good teachers to abandon their good schools to go to low-performing schools, why don’t we allow parents and students to choose which schools they can attend?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1201: BOCES & Centralized Operating Services GrantsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates a grant program in the Colorado Department of Education to enable Boards of Cooperative Educational Services to provide centralized operating services to rural school districts and charter schools. The grant program intends to reduce operating overhead costs for eligible school districts and charter schools that use the BOCES to deliver operating services. The fiscal note says that the cost will be $10,000,000, yet this is supposed to reduce operating costs for participating school districts. Seems like rural school districts should be able to attempt the same thing under their own local control, with the cost savings directly benefitting themselves, and without redistributing $10,000,000 of additional taxpayer funds.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1202: Alcohol Beverage License ReissuanceSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, any liquor licensee whose license has expired for more than 90 days must apply for a new license and the licensee cannot sell alcohol until the new license is issued. This bill allows the local and/or state liquor licensing authority to reissue a liquor license after it has been expired more than 90 days but less than 180 days. The licensee must pay fees and fines, but after submitting the application and paying the late fee and fine, the licensee may continue to operate until final action is taken on the license. This is the advantage over the current situation. When applying for a new license, nothing can be served until after approval.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1204: Distillery Pub Alcohol Beverage LicenseSupport
Position: Support

This bill creates the distillery pub license, which is a new alcohol license that will allow a spirituous liquor producer to operate a pub that serves alcoholic beverages, including spirituous liquors that the producer ferments and distills, for consumption on the licensed premises. The bill expands the definition of entertainment district to include distillery pubs. The government is willing to allow new business? Well alright!

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
HB15-1206: Sales & Use Tax Refund For Recycling EquipmentOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates a refund for sales and use taxes paid on machinery and equipment used for recycling or reprocessing of waste products between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2019. More special tax breaks for targeted winners. How about this - why don’t we split the economy in Colorado into 100 named industry categories, let every legislator pick one of those industries, and then together they can each give their selected pet industry some tax relief. Oh wait, that would be an across the board tax cut. What fun would that be, if we can’t gain the undying gratitude of political contributors to fund those campaigns?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1207: Allow Driving With One EarphoneSupport
Position: Support

Current law prohibits the use of earphones when driving. The bill exempts from the definition of "earphones" a headset that covers only one ear and that is used with a hand-held telephone.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1215: In-state Tuition Dependents Of Military MembersOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill permits in-state tuition status to the dependents of active duty members of the armed forces of the United States who spent time in elementary or secondary school in Colorado. Because everyone who has ever lived in Colorado at some point should be granted in state tuition forever, right? At the rate we continue to carve out special groups for in-state tuition treatment, our schools will have a problem showing any diversity in their student bodies, as they’ll all technically be from Colorado!

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1216: Admissibility of Expert OpinionsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill restricts the use of expert testimony in Colorado courts. While we’re sure that there are situations that can drag out a trial, we disagree with the idea of restricting a defense’s opportunity to make its case.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
HB15-1219: EZ Investment Tax Credit For Renewable EnergyOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows a taxpayer who places a renewable energy project in an enterprise zone and receives certification to claim an Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credit for the project an option to receive a refund of the credit. More crony corporatism via the tax code, favoring of course, “renewable energy” investments.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1221: Employee Leave Attend Child's Academic ActivitiesOppose
Position: Oppose

Current law allows a non-supervisory employee who works for an employer with at least 50 employees to take unpaid leave for the purpose of attending parent-teacher conferences or other specific academic activities. This bill expands the definition of academic activities and makes the school activities of preschoolers eligible for parent leave. This bill also makes the law permanent. The bill requires that all school districts and institute charter schools make parents and the community at large aware of the availability of parent leave through website postings, and other communication channels. Rather than expanding this intrusion into the employment market and creating more work for schools districts to grant people these additional “rights”, we should be repealing these types of government mandates on employers.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1226: Retail Food Establishment FeesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill removes the annual license fees for these retail food establishments from statute and requires the state board of health to establish the fees by rule instead. The legislations states that the current process,“… does not allow for regular, necessary increases to address rising costs due to inflation, population growth, or growth in the retail food establishment industry.” Well now, that IS a problem – the government can’t raise taxes, er fees, whenever and however it likes? We all know that only the state can keep our food safe, and it has to be able to easily increase fees every year. Not.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1227: Tax Credit For Employers That Pay Student LoansOppose
Position: Oppose

This is arguably the worst bill of the bunch this week. The bill creates an income tax credit for employers doing business in Colorado who hire and retain new employees for a 12-month period and during that period make direct payments to pay off the employee’s student loan. This is called “cost-shifting”, and it is shifting the costs of someone’s student loan repayments from THEM (you know, the person who took out the loan, promising to repay it) to YOU (dear taxpayer, because you can afford it!) through the tax code. The people who run these bills continue to call themselves “small businessmen”, etc. No, they are “wealth redistributionists” and “big government corporate cronies”.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1228: Special Fuel Tax On Liquefied Petroleum GasSupport
Position: Support

There is currently a special fuel excise tax that is paid on fuels that are used for motor vehicles on the highway. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is used, in a limited amount (5%), for this purpose. However, the majority of LPG use (95%) is NOT used for vehicles on highways. Unfortunately, it is still being taxed as if it were. This bill limits the imposition of the tax so that in most instances it is only levied when LPG is placed in a motor vehicle's fuel tank, which is currently defined as a "use", instead of when the fuel is acquired, sold, offered for sale, or used for any purpose whatsoever. If the tax is supposed to apply only 5% of the time, then let’s only apply it 5% of the time, shall we?

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1229: Retaliation Against A ProsecutorOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates a new class 4 felony offense for the crime of retaliation against a prosecutor. The bill defines retaliation as threatening or committing an act of harassment, harm, or injury to a person or property in retaliation against a prosecutor acting in his or her professional capacity. Under the bill, the crime may be charged for threats or acts committed against the prosecutor, or other persons with a close relationship to, residing in the same household as, or related to the prosecutor. Now, we’re all for law enforcement, and have some in our families. But we’re of the opinion that violating someone’s rights is a crime, regardless of who that someone is. Under the law, there are not supposed to be some who are more equal than others. The argument that bad guys need more deterrent from harassing DA’s et al than your standard harassers, comes from the same family of thinking that “No Gun” signs deter gun-toting criminals. A felony for harassing a DA? Gee, that couldn’t possibly be abused. If you had sat at the capitol listening to a DA actually state that he would love to have everyone’s DNA at birth, you would be sufficiently freaked out to oppose this bill. (He didn’t hear me say that, did he…?)

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1230: Innovative Industries Workforce Development ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Innovative Industries Workforce Development Program in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, cooperatively administered by the Colorado Workforce Development Council and the Division of Employment and Training. The program reimburses employers with high-level internships and apprenticeships in an “innovative” industry for up to $5,000 in expenses per intern. An employer may be reimbursed for up to 10 interns. The CWDC provides technical assistance, promotes the program, and prioritizes applications if there are more internships than available funding. Taxpayer cost is over $600,000/year. So you, dear taxpayer, get to foot the bill for someone else’s interns. This is part of the bi-partisan race to the bottom of government meddling in the free market. But hey, it’s “innovative”, so it must be a great idea, right?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1231: Enhanced Unemployment Compensation BenefitsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill extends unemployment benefits. Under this bill, the Division of Unemployment Insurance will extend job training programs and pay enhanced benefits to eligible claimants enrolled in job training for three fiscal years, starting in FY 2015-16. Supposedly they’ll end at that point. Yeah, right, just like they were supposed to end before. Up to $4 million may be expended for the program, including benefit payments, in any fiscal year, with up to $12 million in expenditures obligated by the division over the three fiscal years. Because everyone knows that the quickest way to end unemployment is to extend unemployment benefits, right?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1233: Respite Care Study Task ForceOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the respite care task force to study the dynamics of supply and demand with regard to respite care services in Colorado. The bill intends to authorize a study to determine the current state of respite care in Colorado, including access to care and funding of respite care services, and to increase the availability of affordable respite care throughout Colorado. Because the government can provide every solution to everyone at no cost to anyone and that’s its job, right?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1234: Income Tax Deduction For Leasing Out Ag AssetOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates an income tax deduction for leasing an agricultural asset to a beginning farmer or rancher that satisfies certain qualifications. Because the role of government is to try to help guide the markets by incentivizing selected activities, right? Goodness knows these things can’t be left to the free market, now can they, who would build the roads, er, farm the land?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1235: Retirement Security Task ForceOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Colorado retirement security task force to study, assess, and report on the factors that affect Coloradans' ability to save for a financially secure retirement and on the feasibility of creating a retirement savings plan for private sector employees. The task force is required to submit 2 reports to the general assembly regarding the factors that affect Coloradans' ability to save for a financially secure retirement and on the feasibility of creating a retirement savings plan for private sector employees. Because social security is so awesome, we should see if we can duplicate the program at the state level, right? (Wrong).

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1236: Tax Credit For Improving Energy EfficiencyOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates income tax credits for owners of new or existing multi-family home and affordable housing projects if the owner makes energy efficiency improvements that result in a certain reduction in energy consumption, achieves LEED or green globes certification for the construction or renovation or meets enterprise green community energy efficiency standards. Because the government should be picking winners and losers, pushing politically correct socio-political agendas through the tax code. NOT.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1237: Prepay Postage For Mail BallotsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires that postage prepaid return envelopes be sent to eligible electors for any mail ballot election, including independent mail ballot elections held by a local government and municipal mail ballot elections. Not only should people not have the inconvenience of having to go to a polling place to vote, but they shouldn’t have to pay the price of a stamp to mail it in either, because that’s voter suppression!

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1238: Tax Credit Preceptors Oppose
Position: Oppose

This bill grants a tax credit of $1,000 - $1,500 to a “preceptor”, a doctor, dentist, PT, nurse, PA, or pharmacist who provides a one month long period of mentoring, oversight, training or instruction to a grad student. This bill states that this is an “initial step” and that the legislature hopes to “… expand the scope of this section in future years…” This is more government intervention into the markets in an attempt to create a socio-political outcome, and they tell us in the bill that this is just a start. Part of the problem with health care today is that there is no free market, only government intervention, regulation, mandates, etc.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1239: Exempt Denver Health & Hosp Postemployment CompOppose
Position: Oppose

Under current law, governmental units are generally prohibited from providing postemployment compensation to government-supported officials or employees after their employment has been terminated. The bill removes the Denver Health and Hospital Authority from the definition of a governmental unit and, as a result, removes this restriction. I wonder who will soon be the recipient of a taxpayer-funded golden parachute? We had written this bill up before, but somehow it did not make it on to prior reports.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1240: Reduce Student Contacts With Law EnforcementOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill would “encourage” all school districts to negotiate and enter into a memorandum of understanding with each municipal law enforcement agency and each sheriff's department to minimize students' contacts with law enforcement agencies and courts as disciplinary responses to school incidents. I suppose that school districts, which are constitutionally empowered to oversee education locally, need the state legislature to provide proper encouragement, or else whatever would they do if left to their own devices?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1242: Patient Caregiver Designation Hospital RequirementSupport
Position: Support

This bill requires hospitals to give patients or their legal guardian the opportunity to designate a caregiver. A caregiver is defined as a person designated by a patient to provide aftercare to them once they’ve checked out of the hospital and are back at home. The bill allows the hospital to consult with the patient regarding the capabilities and limitations of the caregiver, provide a discharge plan to the patient, and provide the caregiver with instructions and training concerning the aftercare of the patient. This appears to empower patient choice and control with respect to his/her own care.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
HB15-1244: Cork & Carry Wine From Liquor-licensed ClubSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, customers of certain establishments licensed under the "Colorado Liquor Code" to serve alcohol beverages for on-premises consumption are permitted to reseal and remove from the licensed premises a bottle of wine that was purchased at and partially consumed on the licensed premises. This provision currently applies to licensed beer, wine, or spirits manufacturers; limited wineries; beer and wine licensees; hotels and restaurants; taverns; brew pubs; and vintner's restaurants. The bill grants permission for members of licensed clubs to do the same.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1250: Performance Based Regulation of Investor Owned UtilitiesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill declares that certain factors other than just purely economic ones deserve to be considered in establishing the rates and policies of investor-owned public utilities. Because, you know, those free market concepts of price signaling (a measure of supply/demand), profit (a measure of value produced), etc. are so incomplete. What the statists prefer to force businesses to consider are those all-important intangibles such as long-term economic sustainability (because businesses don’t understand that economic sustainability requires more than just profit), efficiency (because government is soooo efficient, and business needs the wise regulation of government on how to be efficient), the resiliency and diversity of energy generation resources (clearly much more important than those silly economic factors), environmental factors including water consumption and carbon emissions, etc. I guess investor-owned will soon mean never having to say you’re sorry for making a profit, which of course, will be the end of any investor wanting to own any company in this industry.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1257: Elim Penalty To Increase Compliance Cigarette SaleOppose
Position: Oppose

Cities and counties receive 27 percent of state cigarette tax revenue. This revenue is distributed based on where the cigarette sales occurred. To receive their share of state cigarette tax revenue among these governments, cities and counties currently cannot impose any taxes or fees on the selling of cigarettes. Currently, no local jurisdictions have fees, licenses, or taxes on the selling of cigarettes. This bill would remove that restriction, allowing local governments to raise fees and taxes in addition to their share of the state tax. Fees would be much easier to install, as taxes would require a vote due to that pesky TABOR Amendment. But it’s all for your own good. Because it’s the role of government to tax the hell out anything that it deems to be bad for you. Not.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1258: FAMLI Insurance Program Wage ReplacementOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program in a brand new division called the “division of family and medical leave insurance” within the department of labor and employment. This is basically a proposal for a state run insurance program to provide wage-replacement benefits to people who take off from work to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition, or even just for being really sick themselves. Each employee in the state would have to pay a premium determined by the state. This program is established as an enterprise, and so premiums paid into the fund are not considered state revenues for purposes of that pesky TABOR Amendment. So no tax, no voter approval required. Just a mandated “insurance premium.” To qualify for the plan, you just have to have worked for 680 hours in the past year. To qualify as an employer you only have to employ 1 person for 20 weeks either in the current year or in the prior year. Yeah, the state should absolutely start up its own insurance plan for family leave and force everyone into it. What could possibly go wrong?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1264: Homeless Persons Bill of RightsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the "Colorado Right to Rest Act", which creates new rights for persons experiencing homelessness, including, but not limited to, the right to use and move freely in public spaces without discrimination, to rest in public spaces without discrimination, to eat or accept food in any public space where food is not prohibited, to occupy a legally parked vehicle, and to have a reasonable expectation of privacy of one's property. A person whose rights have been violated may seek enforcement in a civil action, and a court may award relief and damages as appropriate. The state creating/granting new “rights”, what could possibly go wrong there?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1267: Medical Marijuana Conditions of ProbationSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, a person on probation is not permitted to possess or use medical marijuana. This bill makes an exception to probation conditions to allow a person on probation to possess and use medical marijuana, unless the person is convicted of an offense related to medical marijuana.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1268: Creates CO9to25 Youth Development CouncilOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill is the most vague bill we’ve seen in a while. This bill creates the CO9To25 Youth Development Council in the Department of Human Services. The council will develop and implement a comprehensive system of youth and young adult development services. The council will also identify best practices for prevention, intervention, and treatment services related to youths and young adults ages 9 to 25. There you have it: a comprehensive system, based on best practices, of youth and young adult development services. Clear enough for you? Because parents are so passé these days, it takes a state to develop youth and young adults.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1270: Pathways In Technology Early College High SchoolsOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill authorizes the operation of a limited number of new schools called “pathways in technology early college high schools,” or p-tech schools, for short. A p-tech school enrolls students in grades 9 through 14 in an educational program that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The p-tech school combines high school and college-level course work with workplace educational experiences. A student who graduates from a p-tech school is expected to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in applied science. While we agree that not everyone should be heading off to college – for some that’s a waste of time, money, and a mismatch of talent – and that trade skills can provide outstanding opportunities for people, extending the state run educational system in a centrally planned approach to decide who should be doing what (with the input of rent-seekers, I mean business, of course) is not the answer.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1271: Funding Mobile Learning Labs thru Existing Industry TrainingOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill authorizes the Colorado Existing Industry Training Program to fund mobile learning labs. The state administers the Colorado Existing Industry Training Program, which gives taxpayer subsidized training for the employees of Colorado employers. Yes, your tax money is funding the training of employees for select corporations in the state. The program has operated at its current budget level of $2.7 million since 2003. This bill would allow for this training to include the creation and use of “mobile learning labs”. Mobile learning labs are trailers or stand-alone vehicles equipped to provide training on the site of an educational facility, employer, or other remote location. A typical mobile learning lab is estimated to cost at least $400,000 for the purchase of the vehicle and equipment, with annual operating costs of approximately $100,000. While the bill states that the money for said mobile learning labs would come from your taxpayer money that they’re already burning, er, “investing”, we would oppose any expansion in the delivery of such a crony corporatist program. Instead of setting the hook deeper with this bad program, why not work to eliminate it, let companies train their employees on their own dime, and allow you to keep your money in your own pocket?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1274: Creation Of Career Pathways For StudentsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill directs the state work force development council to coordinate multiple agencies and industries in the design of industry-driven career pathways for critical occupations in growing industries. The state council will work with partners through the “talent pipeline” work group (yes, that’s a real government entity) to define critical occupations and growing industries. Statists gonna state. Because central planning – it works. See China. Oh wait, China’s centrally planned economy resulted in the starvation of tens of millions of people and now they’re rising on the strength of very limited experimentation with capitalism. Hmmm…

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1276: Matching Grant Program for Skilled Worker Training ProgramsOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the "Skilled Worker Outreach, Recruitment, and Key Training Act", or the "WORK Act", because if you can make a cool acronym with it, then you’re halfway home. This establishes a matching grant program in the department of labor and employment to award grants to organizations that offer skilled worker training. An 11-member grant review committee reviews and makes recommendations to the executive directors of the departments of labor and employment and higher education and the director of the office of economic development, who jointly determine the recipients and amounts of the grant awards. Initial cost = $10,000,000. The bill says that it is important that the state seek out, recruit, and encourage people to enroll in training programs, and your tax dollars are just the ticket to push that along. The state is to partner with business to decide where the money should be “invested”, because without the economic genius of a state bureaucracy, assisted by corporate cronies always looking for a handout or taxpayer funded job training for their particular business, a free market couldn’t possibly work.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1278: Agricultural Water Rights for MarijuanaSupport
Position: Support

This bill specifies that using a water right that has been decreed for agricultural irrigation purposes for the cultivation of marijuana at a retail or medical marijuana cultivation facility is not a change of a water right if the use of the water is required for the cultivation of marijuana as contemplated or required by the facility's license. In other words, if the water right is for agricultural use, then that applies to marijuana cultivation.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
HB15-1281: Congenital Heart Defect Screening via Pulse OximetryOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires all newborns born in a birthing center to be screened for congenital health defects using pulse oximetry prior to the infant leaving the health facility. Because without the state to pass laws mandating proper medical care/procedures, those silly doctors delivering hundreds of babies would just have no clue as to the best practices for the health of their patients.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1285: Body Cameras for Law Enforcement Grant ProgramNot Rated
Position: Not Rated

It is a little bit unusual or us to comment on a bill that we are not rating, but we thought that this one needed some explanation. Our analysts were evenly split on this, with an equal number opposing as supporting. There’s your first clue of potential conflicting principles. The bill creates the Body-Worn Camera Grant Program in the Division of Criminal Justice within the Department of Public Safety. The grants are to fund the purchase of body-worn cameras and training for law enforcement officers in their use. The bill also establishes a study group within the DPS to identify policies and best practices concerning body-worn cameras and make recommendations to the General Assembly. While we like the idea of creating good policy around the complex issue of body-cameras for police, we’re less excited about the creation of a grant program for the state to fund winners/losers in state funding for local law enforcement. We also have concerns about the requirement to “…consider racial, cultural, income, and geographic diversity when appointing members to the policy study group.” Good topic, not a good approach.
HB15-1286: Court Authority to Require Prosecution in Police Misconduct CasesNot Rated
Previous Position: Support

Under current law, a person may file an affidavit with a court having jurisdiction over an alleged offense that a prosecuting attorney refuses to prosecute, asking the court to require prosecution of the alleged offense. The court may require prosecution if it finds the decision not to prosecute was arbitrary or capricious and without reasonable excuse. This bill would apply the same concept to situations involving alleged police misconduct resulting in serious bodily injury or death. The bill allows the court to require prosecution if the court finds that the decision not to prosecute was an abuse of discretion. Our only question, still unanswered at this point, is whether there is a different standard of proof for this new application with respect to the police. We have reached out to the bill sponsor, Rep. Kagan, but have not yet heard back from him. This bill is a tentative support and could end up as a support or as a not rated pending that response.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law

Update 4/27/15: As noted in our initial report on this bill, our support was a tentative “Support” upon receiving an explanation as to whether there were different standards being applied to police vs. civilians. We reached out to the bill sponsor and received no response. Listening to debate on this bill, the major focal point of debate was this very issue. The question being debated was, are there differing standards between the civil side, where the standard is “arbitrary or capricious and without reasonable excuse”, vs. the police side where it’s an “abuse of discretion.” Is one standard higher/lower than the other? Is that equal application of law? The debate was contentious and inconclusive. Absent a clear conclusion on this issue, we are changing our tentative “Support” to a “Not Rated”.
HB15-1289: Criminal Charges for Violation of Unlawful OrderSupport
Position: Support

This bill requires that if a person is charged with a crime based on violating an unlawful order, the court is to dismiss the charges and order the law enforcement agency that filed the charges to reimburse the defendant for his or her attorney's fees and costs. The bill clarifies that the term "unlawful order" means an order that violates a person's constitutional or statutory rights. We see a few possible implications here. This might give a little room for principled LEO’s and others to show restraint under questionable orders, instead of just toeing the “I was just following orders” line. It might also give citizens some recourse for doing what was right in the face of over-exuberant law enforcement. The testimony on this bill should be interesting.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1290: Police Interference with Lawful Recording of PoliceSupport
Position: Support

This bill creates a private civil right of action against the employer of a peace officer who interferes with, destroys, or retaliates against a person who is lawfully recording an incident involving the peace officer, or when the peace officer intentionally seizes or otherwise obtains the recording without permission. The person who lawfully recorded the incident is entitled to receive actual damages, a civil penalty of $15,000, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The bill also clarifies that an action brought under the bill does not preclude the district attorney from charging a peace officer with tampering with physical evidence or any other crime.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1291: Use of Chokehold by PoliceOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill prohibits a peace officer from using a chokehold, defined as wrapping an arm around or gripping the neck in a manner that limits or cuts off either the flow of air by compressing the windpipe or the flow of blood through the carotid arteries on each side of the neck. Violations are punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor. While it is understandable that this has become a big issue in the media lately, and rightly so, this seems to be a bit of overreach on the part of the legislature. We don’t expect to see the legislature writing every single rule in the book for LEO policy. Oversight? Yes. Micro-management because of an incident in the news? No. The use of deadly force is already covered in Colorado statute. The judicial system has all the ability it need to prosecute anyone, law enforcement or not, who uses deadly force illegally.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1298: Warning Signs in Marijuana Businesses for Pregnant WomenOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires the Department of Revenue to promulgate rules requiring licensed medical marijuana centers and retail marijuana stores to display signs warning pregnant women about the potential risks caused by marijuana. The rules will include specific language developed in consultation with the Department of Public Health and Environment that must be included on the sign. The centers and stores are responsible for the costs of the signs. The bill also prohibits centers and stores from knowingly advertising to pregnant woman. We’re sorry, but if you think that government mandated warning signs at pot shops are going to be a difference maker, then you probably believe in gun-free zones. And then forcing private businesses to pay for this is just doubling down on statism.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1300: Prohibition on Local Minimum Wage LawsOppose
Position: Oppose

Here is some economically illiterate policy straight out of the class warfare playbook, coming to a locale near you. This bill permits local government to enact laws establishing a minimum wage within its jurisdiction. Before you starting mumbling “local control… local control…” read the state constitution. There is one single function of government that is specifically delegated locally for implementation in our constitution – education. The role of the state is to protect the rights of the individual to his life, liberty and property, against other individuals who would violate those rights, as well as against over-reaching government. Minimum wage laws are an immoral use of government force against businesses that increase unemployment and absolutely crushes the poor. They are anti-free market in the most fundamental sense. Free markets have demonstrably lifted hundreds of millions people out of poverty, and centrally planned economies have consistently resulted in poverty and death for hundreds of millions of people. Anyone who believes that minimum wage laws are good economic policy has either not seriously considered the policy, has blindly latched onto it as part of a political ideology, or cynically wants to play the class warfare card in the game of politics. This is just the beginning of the new war on economic freedom.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1301: Credit for Tobacco Products Shipped out of StateSupport
Position: Support

Tobacco products are subject to an excise tax equal to 40 percent of the manufacturers list price of tobacco products. Examples of tobacco products include cigars, chewing tobacco, and loose tobacco used for roll-your-own cigarettes. The tobacco products tax is imposed at the time that the distributer brings tobacco products into the state. When a distributor sells tobacco products to an out-of-state retailer, returns tobacco products to the manufacturer, or destroys tobacco products, they can claim a credit for Colorado excise taxes that have already been paid. There is not a similar provision when a distributor sells tobacco products directly to an out-of-state consumer. This bill creates a credit against tobacco excise tax equal to Colorado excise taxes paid on tobacco products other than cigarettes sold by a distributor to an out-of-state consumer. Basically this would reduce a layer of “sin” tax and by reducing a layer of tax enable Colorado retailers to better compete at the retail level in other states.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1302: Continuing Education Requirements for Assisted Living FacilitiesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires an operator of an assisted living facility to ensure that the administrator of the facility completes 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years. The operator must maintain records on the premises of the facility as proof of the fulfillment of the educational requirements. The department of public health and environment is required to promulgate rules concerning the educational requirements. Because regulation. It’s what government does.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1306: Business Opportunity StudyOppose
Position: Oppose

How they allowed this short title to be used for this bill, I’ll never know. Who could be against “business opportunity?” This bill actually directs the state to pay $1,300,000 for a study to look for “disparity” in the Colorado procurement process (you know, when the state buys stuff). I thought that since government regulates everything and makes sure that everyone is treated equally (or better), then the idea of a study to see how bad the government is treating “underutilitzed” businesses should be pretty short, right? Does it not seem insanely hypocritical that the same people who think that government should be there to tell everyone how they must treat each other, want to spend $1,300,000 of your money to investigate itself for allegedly not doing what they say only government is capable of mandating? Get out the duct tape… The study is to include recommendations to fix said disparities as identified by the study. In case you’re wondering, “underutilized businesses” is defined in Colorado Revised Statute 24-49.5-105 as a business owned by one or more persons of the following groups: “(a) African American, (b) Hispanic American, including but not limited to all persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race, (c) Asian American, including but not limited to persons whose origins are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Samoa, the United States territories of the Pacific, or the Northern Mariana Islands; and subcontinent Asian American, including but not limited to persons whose origins are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, or Nepal, (d) Native American, including but not limited to persons who are American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Hawaiians of Polynesian descent, or (e) Women, including women of any group specified in paragraphs (a) to (d) of this subsection.” Yes, that is Colorado law. Thank you, legislature. This is a very expensive fishing trip, funded by you, for the political gain of legislators in their class warfare strategy of divide and conquer.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1307: Definition Change in Colo Job Creation & Main Street Revital ActOppose
Position: Oppose

The "Colorado Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act" was a bad bill (opposed by POL at the time) using your tax dollars to pay for private businesses to renovate their property. Calling it “job creation” and “revitalization” instead of “plunder” and “redistribution” made it much easier to pass. Throw in “Main Street” and you have apple pie Americana statist legislation. This bill amends the definition of the term "qualified commercial structure" as the term is used in the "Colorado Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act", making it a little more broad and easy to apply, because, hey, every business should have a piece of that taxpayer funded apple pie.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1312: DNA Sample Collection from Certain OffendersOppose
Position: Oppose

Here we go again. The bill would require collection of a DNA sample from a person convicted of third degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, theft, criminal mischief, child abuse, violation of a protection order, or harassment (various misdemeanors). Because law enforcement should be able to use the barrel of a gun to collect your DNA “just in case”.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
HB15-1314: Income Tax Credit for Charitable ContributionsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows an individual taxpayer to claim an income tax credit for a contribution of money, securities, or property to an eligible endowment or institutional fund that is equal to 25% of the contribution, up to $25,000. An "eligible endowment or institutional fund" means an endowment fund or an institutional fund that belongs to a Colorado charitable organization and that is managed in accordance with the "Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act". More use of tax policy to push specific agendas that legislators deem good for us (or their friends). Instead of picking winners and losers in the tax deduction game, how about just letting us keep more of our own money to use, or donate, as we see fit?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1316: Simplify Taxicab Certification by PUCSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, a taxicab service applicant must establish that there is a “public need” for the taxicab service and anyone (like a competitor) may oppose an application if they present sufficient evidence to overcome the presumption of public need. Under this bill, the PUC is no longer required to consider the so-called “public need”, only whether the applicant is operationally and financially fit to provide the taxicab service. If the PUC finds that an applicant is fit to provide the proposed taxicab service, it must issue the applicant an authorizing certificate to perform taxicab service. Let’s allow a free market to decide the issue of “public need”, not entrenched rent-seekers who want to keep competition away.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1317: Pay for Success ContractsOppose
Position: Oppose

From the bill summary, “Pay for success contracts leverage private sector resources to implement social services programs that are likely, but not guaranteed, to generate subsequent direct or indirect reductions in government spending for other programs.” So if we use the magic words, like “leverage” and pay for private companies to do social work that may or may not result in reductions from government programs that should or should not even exist, that makes it a good idea, right? The “program-eligible interventions” that this bill advocates for are defined as “services provided in order to improve the lives and living conditions of individuals by increasing economic opportunity and the likelihood of healthy futures and promoting child and youth development.” This would be more toward the “cradle” end of that “cradle-to-grave” government oversight we mentioned in a prior bill. No.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1320: Appropriation for Agricultural Business DevelopmentOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Agricultural Development and Investment Partnership Program to be administered in the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The program includes proof-of-concept and feasibility study grants, early-stage capital and business expansion grants, reimbursement of market development and promotion expenses, and funding for broad-based market promotion activities of the CDA. Appropriations are $500,000 for each fiscal year until 2020. That’s right, more of your money going to other people. How many times have you heard “proof-of-concept and feasibility study grants, early-stage capital and business expansion grants, reimbursement of market development and promotion expenses, and funding for broad-based market promotion activities” in these bill summaries? The trough has no end to it.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1326: Prohibit Accreditation Status in Awarding High School DiplomaOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill prohibits the Colorado commission on higher education and institutions of higher education from considering the accreditation status of the school district or the state charter school institute from which a student graduates in making admissions decisions and in awarding financial assistance, grants, and scholarships, including the college opportunity fund stipend. The reality is that a 4.0 in an academically rigorous school is much different than in a school at the bottom of the heap. Trying to protect low-performing schools from the realities of turning out a poor product (unprepared students) sounds like an idea that only a job-protectionist could appreciate.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
HB15-1328: Background Checks for Persons Working with Youth Sports OrgsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill has been run before. It requires all employees and volunteers of youth sports organizations who work directly with youths five or more days per month to have a criminal history record check. This requirement also applies to employees and volunteers who accompany the youth sports organization on any trip that includes an overnight stay. The bill specifies offenses that disqualify a person from working or volunteering for a youth sports organization. After the initial background check, employees or volunteers at youth sports organizations must have a background check conducted every two years. More nanny-state over-regulation. Youth organizations already go to great lengths to protect their brand. They’ll go to great lengths to protect the kids in their care as well as protect themselves from liability for lax oversight. If you think that government regulation is more compelling than wanting to stay in business and out of bankruptcy or jail, then you’ve probably never run a business before.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1330: Include Social Cost of Carbon on Fiscal Notes for Elec. Generation BillsOppose
Position: Oppose

Stop the state, I want to get off. This bill requires legislative council to include the “social cost” of carbon in the fiscal note for an electricity generation measure. The “social cost” of carbon consists of an estimate of the increase or decrease in carbon emissions that results from the measure, and a monetization of the change in carbon emissions. Maybe we should require a calculation of the “social cost” of the CO2 that legislators produce when arguing for absurd legislation, not to mention the true cost of bad policy for Coloradans.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1331: Minimum Salary Increase for Overtime Exempt EmployeesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill limits the discretion of the director of the division of labor in creating an exemption to Colorado's regulatory overtime requirements for employees that are administrative, executive, supervisor, or professional. The bill sets a minimum salary requirement for the director to apply the exemption equaling three times the Colorado minimum wage. Because the Colorado state minimum wage automatically adjusts for inflation under the Colorado constitution, by linking the minimum salary for the exemption to apply to minimum wage, that salary will also adjust with inflation. Because even though many of these legislators call themselves “small business” people, they really don’t know much about small business, and simply can’t resist using the force of government to tell small business what to do.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1332: Income Tax Credit for Distributed Energy Resource SystemsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows any qualified taxpayer a one-time refundable income tax credit against the taxes due in an amount equal to the lesser of 30% of the taxpayer's total cost or $50,000 for purchasing and installing the equipment necessary to generate electricity using hydroelectricity, wind, or biomass resources. More government use of tax code to promote a socio-political agenda.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1335: Fiscal Notes for Interim CommitteesSupport
Position: Support

Under current law, fiscal notes are prepared for all bills introduced in the legislature, including interim committee bills. This bill requires that a fiscal note be prepared for all bills considered by interim committees, before the committee votes on recommendations to the Legislative Council. Looking at the price tag before taking that goodie to the checkout counter – hey, why didn’t we think of that?

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1336: Grant Program for Veterans Seeking New EmploymentOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows work force centers selected by the department of labor and employment to participate in a grant program to develop and expand programs to provide work force development-related services for veterans and their spouses. Comes with an appropriation of $500,000, but don’t worry, if they get it through, it will grow.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1338: Wireless Service Discounts for Federal TANF ParticipantsOppose
Position: Oppose

Under federal law, low-income households meeting certain eligibility criteria may receive discounts on the purchase of either wireline telephone service or wireless telephone service under the federal lifeline program. This bill creates a program to provide state support for the purchase of a discounted wireless telephone or discounted wireless service to low-income families receiving cash assistance under the federal temporary assistance for needy families program, administered in Colorado through the Colorado works program. From ObamaPhones to ColoradoPhones. Who says we’re in fly-over country?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1342: Private Sector Employees Inspect Personnel FilesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows a current or former employee to make a written request to inspect or request copies of his or her personnel file from his or her private-sector employer. The employer must comply within 30 days of the request. Of course, the state of Colorado, state political subdivisions, and financial institutions are exempt from this requirement. Regulations for thee, and not for me! Legislature dictating to private business, gee that’s (not) a new one…

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1345: Traffic Exemptions for Three Wheel Low Speed Motorcycle RidersSupport
Position: Support

Hey, a bill that reduces a tiny bit of regulation, which we can support. Currently, the driver and passenger of a motorcycle are required to wear eye protection and, if either are under 18, a helmet. The driver is also required to obtain a motorcycle endorsement for the driver's license. This bill creates an exemption from these requirements for a driver and passenger of a 3-wheel motorcycle if it has a top speed of 25 miles per hour, a windshield, and seat belts.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
HB15-1346: Taxation of Corporate Income in a Foreign Tax HavenOppose
Position: Oppose

Conditional on voter approval, this bill requires corporations filing a Colorado combined income tax return to add income from affiliated corporations incorporated in “tax haven” jurisdictions. The bill lists jurisdictions that are considered “tax havens” and requires the Department of Revenue to biennially report to the finance committees in the General Assembly with an update of countries that may be considered tax havens. In addition, the bill allows corporations indirectly owned by a parent C corporation to be included as part of an affiliated group of corporations. It would take $150mm a year out of these new takings and give it to education. How about making Colorado a “tax haven” by reducing the tax burden of hard working Coloradans instead of looking for more ways to soak them?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1347: Income Tax Deduction for Qualified State Tuition Plans in CollegeInvestOppose
Position: Oppose

This one is a stunner – class warfare redistributionist policy at its finest. This bill takes the existing deductibility for the CollegeInvest savings program in Colorado and makes it highly progressive. Make less than $150,000 a year? DOUBLE your deduction! Make over $500,000 a year? NO deduction for you! These legislators talk about wanting to help people succeed, but God forbid you actually do, because if you become successful then you go from being showered with enabling policies funded with other peoples’ money to being hunted down and plundered to fund enabling policies for other people. Here’s an idea – how about doing NEITHER of those?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1366: Expand Job Growth Tax Credit For Higher Ed ProjectOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill changes the job growth incentive tax credit for taxpayers who enter into a partnership with a state institution of higher education. In particular, this bill allows the credit to be refundable under certain conditions and relaxes the requirements to qualify for the credit.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1369: Fiscal Notes for Interim CommitteesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill amends the law for purposes of establishing in-state tuition at state institutions of higher education. The bill adds unaccompanied homeless youth to the list of persons who qualify. An "unaccompanied homeless youth" is defined in the bill as an individual who has not attained 22 years of age and who is either an unaccompanied youth who is a homeless child or youth or who has been verified as unaccompanied, at risk of homelessness, and self-supporting by one of four verifiers listed in the bill. This is because we need to continue to expand in-state tuition eligibility until the entire world is covered (like previous bills run for non-legal residents, Native Americans with historic ties to Colorado, and anyone else you can think of who is not an actual tax-paying resident of Colorado).

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
HB15-1373: Provisional Certification to Practice Speech-Language PathologySupport
Position: Support

Current law requires applicants seeking a certification in speech-language pathology to complete certain educational requirements, pass a national examination, and complete a clinical fellowship. This bill allows applicants who have completed the educational requirements and passed the national examination to apply for a provisional certification before completing a clinical fellowship. Wait, a bill to reduce a restriction on working? We’ll take it!

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1374: Option To Invest TABOR Refund In State ServicesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates a line on the Colorado individual income tax form that allows a taxpayer to direct the state to invest all or a portion of their TABOR sales tax refund to state services. Quit begging for money and just send us our checks.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
HB15-1375: Ladder SafetyOppose
Position: Oppose

Here’s this week’s winner! You cannot make this stuff up. This bill requires a ladder to be secured if it is used on an unstable or elevated surface. Construction workers must follow federal, state, and local laws concerning ladders (did you know you’ve been breaking federal, state, and local laws when you hang those Christmas lights?) Construction entities are encouraged to establish safety-training programs for job-site use of ladders, and insurance providers are encouraged to implement programs that lower insurance premiums for construction entities that establish training and safety programs. This bill falls somewhere in the middle, working years of that “cradle-to-grave” thing we’ve been talking about. Can you believe that there are legislators, elected to office, who actually think that using the force of government to make a law on how you use a ladder is a good idea? Next thing you know, they’ll be telling us what mittens to wear when we go outside, and what types of tires we have to put on our cars before we’re allowed to drive on the road, and… oh… wait…

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
HB15-1382: Work Force Innovation And Opportunity ActOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill changes the title of the "Colorado Work Force Investment Act" to the "Colorado Work Force Innovation and Opportunity Act" and aligns the current state statute with the federal "Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act" (Act). Pursuant to the opportunity created by the Act, the bill allows for the establishment of standing committees to address local work force area issues. Pursuant to federal requirements, the bill requires a one-stop career center that receives federal work force funds from the United States department of labor to provide veterans priority employment and training services.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1383: Modifications Low-income Housing Tax CreditOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill extends the number of years, from two to five years, in which the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) may allocate low-income housing income tax credits. In addition, the bill allows these income tax credits to be transferred to other taxpayers.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
HB15-1384: Funding Affordable HousingOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires the state treasurer to transmit one-third of the available balance in the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund to a newly created Affordable Housing Assistance Fund in the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) every July 1 for five years from FY 2015-16 through FY 2019-20. The transmitted moneys are to be used to support new or existing programs that provide rental assistance to low- or extremely-low income households statewide, and to promote the construction, acquisition, or rehabilitation of either rental housing for persons in low-or extremely-low income households or owner-occupied housing for persons in low- or moderate-income households statewide. Giving away taxpayer property in a new literal redistribution scheme.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
HB15-1388: SCORE Act For PERA Pension Obligation BondsNot Rated
Position: Not Rated

Diagram

Following is an explanation, in fairly layman’s terms, of what this bill does. Yes, this summary is long, but it is a complicated 35-page bill with MASSIVE implications for the state over decades to come concerning BILLIONS of dollars. This is simplified. If you have any questions about this bill, you can contact Rich Bratten directly on his cell at 303-517-7397.

There are two main entities involved: the Colorado Housing Authority (“Authority” for short as used in the bill), and PERA (“Association” for short as used in the bill).

The bill goes to great pains to assert that neither the Authority nor the Association are part of the state (other than a political subdivision), a district or an agency, because those entities aren’t allowed under the Colorado constitution to take on debt.

This bill allows the Authority to issue bonds, but it says it’s not unconstitutional debt. The bill asserts that these bonds are not debt because the bill asserts that the Authority is not part of the state (other than a political subdivision), a district or an agency, plus the fact that the bond is re-paid from a special fund. Based on these facts, the assertion is that this makes the bond “not debt”.

The Authority would issue the “not debt” bond(s) and then enter into a contract with the Association (PERA). The contract with the Association would be that the Authority gives the Association the bond proceeds (say, $10 billion dollars or whatever), and that the Association would set up two special funds (one for state division employers and one for school division employers) to repay the “not debt” bond(s) with interest. That $10 billion dollars of “not debt” proceeds would shore up the PERA trust fund immediately, giving it more assets to invest, helping to accelerate PERA’s funding of their liabilities. PERA gets a hamburger today, in return for the promise to repay the Authority on Tuesday (see Wimpy, Bluto, Popeye, et al).

The special funds that the Association sets up would be separate from the PERA trust funds. These special funds may NOT be used to pay for PERA benefits, etc. They can only be used to re-pay the “not debt” and associated expenses. These special funds would be funded with the AED and SAED payments that are currently payable into PERA based on actuarial valuations. The AED’s are the Amortization Equalization Disbursement and the Special Amortization Equalization Disbursement that the actuaries calculate to be required to help PERA catch up on its funding level over the long haul.

So the Authority launders bond proceeds (“not debt”) to PERA in order to shore up the asset/liability situation for PERA. PERA repays the “not debt” with payments through special funds that the districts are required to pay into in order to fund their share of the AED and SAED. Instead of those AED and SAED payments going into the PERA trust funds, they will go instead into the “Special Funds” first, where an amount is paid out to the Authority in order to repay the “not debt” with a calculated monthly amount based on interest and principal due. (I’m not exactly clear how PERA can take those AED and SAED payments and put them into the special funds instead of the PERA Trust.) Anything left over in the special funds after paying that month’s payment of interest and principal to repay the “not debt” then gets sent on into the PERA trust fund and can’t be reclaimed after that by the Special Funds anymore. There is an undefined amount of “reasonable reserves” that’s allowed to stay in the special funds.

If there’s not enough money in the special funds to make the required payments on the “not debt”, then the bond(s) are in default. The bill specifically says that bondholders cannot go after PERA trust assets or the state to repay the bond(s).

The bill provides that if a district doesn’t pay it’s AED and/or SAED, then the Treasurer will pay that money into the special funds and then go after the district to get that money back. The Treasurer would go after that money by essentially garnishing that district’s share of state school funding. The Treasurer can also garnish the district’s property taxes and other taxes, but in this case the Treasurer is secondary to the district repaying their bonds first in that case.

The bills creates many conditions for this all to work:

Governor and Treasurer must issue their certification that this “should” help fund PERA more quickly than not doing this.

Governor and Treasurer have to approve PERA’s investment strategy for the “not debt” bond proceeds.

Attorney General has to deliver a certification that the courts have come to a non-appealable ruling that agrees with their “these bonds are not debt” argument and that this is constitutional before proceeding.

Governor & Treasurer determine how many and how much bonds can be issued and the various terms of those bonds.

Governor & Treasurer determine whether to actually issue the bonds (think they’re pushing this because they won’t?).

Governor & Treasurer determine selection of underwriters, counsel, bond insurers, etc. through some “competitive process”.

Certain conditions on the terms of the bonds (<40 years, certain % rates, etc.)

The state employer division and the school division employers are not allowed to reduce their AED or SAED contribution levels (%-age of salary levels, etc.) with certain exceptions.

The Authority can’t go after PERA or the state for any defaults, they can only go after the special funds.

No increases to PERA benefits are allowed while there are bonds outstanding.

The bill makes these statutes primary to any existing conflicting statutes or precedents.

Program ends after 2018.

Principles of Liberty Concerns: If you made it this far and followed along with the diagram, then congratulations – you now know more about this bill than the majority of those in legislature. Don’t get me wrong, there are smart people in the legislature, and a few of them are getting a handle on this bill. But here’s the reality - who in legislature is trained in finance to a level to read this 35 page bill, grasp the implications and risks, and become knowledgeable enough on this bill in the 30 minutes or so that they have to spend on this bill right now to be able to tweak, offer amendments, find out answers to complicated questions, and get real financial analysis done of the risks/rewards of this scheme, given the huge crush of legislative work they have on their plates between now and the end of session next week? It’s simply not possible.

Why are lots of complicated, potentially controversial bills dropped in the madness of the last couple of weeks of session when there’s precious little time to dig into them?

Bottom line: Legislators are elected to legislate. They are not elected to defer to the treasurer and/or the governor. They need to get a grasp of this bill, and make an informed decision on this financial structure’s merits.

This bill will affect Colorado for DECADES. This bill will affect Colorado to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars. There are risks and rewards in this bill that have not yet been fully understood by legislature, much less vetted. Relying on “the Treasurer and the Governor say it’s good” is not good legislative policy, it is handing off legislative responsibility.

In short, I would ask each legislator if they are willing to bear the responsibility of casting a vote to engage in a massive and elaborate financial structure on billions of dollars over decades of time based on their limited knowledge of that structure, simply based on “so-and-so thinks it’s a good idea”. I would suggest that proceeding on this without due diligence presents a lapse in the fiduciary responsibility that we expect of our elected representatives.

This may end up being a good scheme, or a bad scheme. I don’t know yet. I would need more information and various financial analysis, sensitivity testing, etc. But I would not want to roll the dice on a last minute scheme of such significance that I haven’t fully explored, debated or tested.

Update 5/5/15: POL maintains its “No Rating” position based on the fact that there is not enough financial analysis and information on the risks to make an informed decision on the merits of the bill. We would point out that neither do legislators. We re-iterate the idea of taking a two-pronged approach to the topic: 1) Have the Attorney General proceed with securing an un-appealable ruling from the supreme court with respect to the constitutionality of the concept. Without that assurance, the question is moot anyway. 2) Pull together some professionals to analyze the concept for its merits and its risks after this session and report back to legislature in 2016. Legislators AND financial professionals should be involved, not just legislators with an agenda and governmental policy wonks with no real experience in the fields of investment, finance, and pensions.
HB15-1389: Create New Hospital Provider Fee EnterpriseOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates a Health Care Affordability Enterprise (enterprise) within the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF). Beginning FY 2016-17, the enterprise is responsible for the collection of a new hospital provider fee that replaces the hospital provider fee assessed under current law, and for the administration of the hospital provider fee program created pursuant to House Bill 09-1239. The hospital provider fee system is a massive scam devised to charge patients a fee, use the collected money to show the feds in order to claim matching federal funds, then giving the money back to the hospitals. We maybe hearing more about this system this coming summer…

Update 5/5/15:POL maintains its “Oppose” rating on this bill for the reasons stated, as well as the obvious TABOR end-run that this bill facilitates.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility