2015 Senate Bills
SB15-006: Prohibit Forfeitures Without Criminal ConvictionSupport
Position: Support

We’re not sure how this one did not get onto one of our original reports. Even though the bill got heavily watered down, and then killed, we did want to acknowledge that we supported this bill, and we’re sorry that it did not get onto our earlier reports.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SB15-008: Promote Water Conservation in Land Use PlanningOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill is not just a suggestion that local governments (or “covered entities”) take yet to-be-developed training programs on water conservation “best practices” from the state, but it then extorts them by requiring the state to consider the covered entities’ participation in said training programs before awarding them any grants for their proposed water projects.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-009: Public Building Woody Biomass Energy Grant ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

Spending a million dollars a year to awards grants to public entities for using “woody biomass” as a fuel source.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-011: Pilot Prog Spinal Cord Injury Alternative MedicineOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill would extend a pilot program that POL opposed before. In addition to mandating a minimum of 100 people to be admitted into the plan, you can see the transition from “gift, grants, or donations” to “appropriations”.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-018: Repeal Late Vehicle Registration FeeSupport
Position: Support

Repeal. Late. Vehicle. Registration. Fee. (or TAX, if you will).

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-019: Health Exchange AuditSupport
Position: Support

The bill allows the state auditor to conduct a performance audit of the Colorado health benefit exchange and submit a written report to the legislative audit committee with any findings and recommendations.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-020: Schools Responsible for Child Sexual Abuse Awareness EdOppose
Position: Oppose

Massive new curriculum and reporting requirements for schools because, you know, public schools are just rocking it with their education of students (can you say college remediation rates?) and have such extra time in their day (I thought they were always testing, testing, testing and had no time for teaching…?) that they need to make this a part of the curriculum for students and add massive administrative requirements for teachers. Not. This is more proposed state mandates for school districts, when the state constitution specifically says that the school boards are to be in charge.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-021: Interstate Pest Control Compact RepealSupport
Position: Support

Repealing an entire Article of Colorado Revised Statutes? Nice. Bi-partisan, too!

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-023: Off-highway Vehicle State HighwaySupport
Position: Support

Under current law, an off-highway vehicle may cross a roadway, street, or highway if it does so in accordance with the statutory guidelines established for snowmobile roadway crossings. This bill provides clarification by simply using the same snowmobile crossing guidelines for the off-highway vehicle statutes, and further clarifies that a driver may cross a state highway when in compliance with these guidelines. Why did the ATV cross the road? Because it was legal.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
SB15-030: Prostitution Defense For Human Trafficking VictimSupport
Position: Support

This bill addresses culpability for the crime of prostitution when the person is a victim of human trafficking. Specifically, it creates an affirmative defense for state or municipal offenses committed on or after July 1, 2015, if the act was committed as a direct result of the person being a victim of human trafficking.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SB15-031: Reciprocity To Practice Occupation Or ProfessionSupport
Position: Support

Current law allows a military spouse to practice an occupation or profession during the person's first year of residence in Colorado if the person is authorized to practice in another state (and some other stipulations). This bill would expand this practice to all persons during their first year of residence in CO. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Want to encourage job creation in Colorado? Make it easier for business people to move here and set up shop.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SB15-032: Lift Restriction on Carrying of FirearmsSupport
Position: Support

We have supported in the past, and will continue to do so. The second amendment should be sufficient.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SB15-034: Reduce Finance Charge Limit For Credit CardsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill limits the finance charge allowed on a credit card issued by a Colorado lender to 12.5%. Price controls by the government because the free markets really can’t function without government interference, and you, dear consumer, are in dire need of government protection.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-036: Rural Economic Emergency Assistance Grant ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the rural economic emergency assistance grant program for the purpose of disbursing emergency-based grant funds to rural communities experiencing significant economic events, such as a plant closure or layoffs including industry-wide layoffs. Because the legislative war on rural Colorado is getting painful, and so we need to take more taxpayer money out of other people’s pockets to make up for the money we’ve been over-plundering from rural Colorado.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-040: County Auth To Levy Retail Marijuana Sales TaxOppose
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 at this industry.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-041: Local Government Regulation Amateur Radio AntennasSupport
Position: Support

The federal communications commission (FCC) currently limits the authority of local governments to regulate amateur radio communications. Any local government regulation must be based on health, safety, or aesthetic considerations, must be crafted to reasonably accommodate amateur radio communications, and must represent the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish a legitimate purpose of the local government. The bill specifies that no local government shall enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution regulating amateur radio antennas that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in the PRB-1.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
  • Property Rights
SB15-042: Mandatory Reports Of Animal AbuseOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires any person, including specified professionals and public officials, who witnesses or has knowledge of the abandonment, mistreatment, or neglect (abuse) of an animal to report the abuse to the animal's owner or law enforcement within 48 hours.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SB15-044: Reduction in Colorado’s Renewable Energy StandardSupport
Position: Support

POL decried the massive intervention into the energy markets in the War on Rural Colorado. This bill would at least knock those onerous mandated renewable energy regulations down a notch.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-045: Tax Credits For Nonpublic EducationSupport
Position: Support

Advancing choice in education is the only viable solution for the monolith of failure particularly in the poorest districts. Extorting parents by holding their children hostage in failing schools and demanding more money is a failed strategy. Let’s give people choice in how/where to educate their children.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
SB15-046: Renewable Energy Std Adjust REAs Distributed GenSupport
Position: Support

This bill makes it easier for cooperative electric associations to comply with our onerous renewable energy laws. Fighting back in the war on rural Colorado.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-047: Voluntary Opt-out Of Rules Notices To LegislatorsOppose
Position: Oppose

Under current law, the Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS) provides written notice to legislators when administrative rules adopted by state agencies are the result of legislation for which the member was a prime sponsor or cosponsor. This bill would allow for legislators to voluntarily opt out of this rules notice procedure. HEY - YOU LEGISLATED IT, YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SB15-048: Require Youth Sports Org’s to Require Background ChecksOppose
Position: Oppose

Just about every sports organization already does this because of liability and the fact that the free markets demand it. Must we have more government regulation from the nanny state because we can’t think for ourselves or take the personal responsibility of knowing who we hand our kids off to?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-050: Scholarships to Award Colorado’s Excellent ScholarsOppose
Position: Oppose

The top 3 GPA recipients from every high school graduating class (only public schools, of course) get to go to a Colorado college on our dime, because they deserve for us to fund their education. Not. Why are some people so insistent on inventing new ways to spend our money? Is this the role of the state government? No.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-054: Free Or Reduced-cost Lunch Five Days All SchoolsOppose
Position: Oppose

Box lunches for students to take home for lunch at home the next day. Seriously. Michelle would be so proud.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-059: Use Of Unmanned Aerial VehiclesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill establishes a framework for regulating the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly referred to as drones) within Colorado. The bill also clarifies that the private use of drones must comply with FAA regulations. Not a terrible idea to try to deal with this new issue, but this bill will need some work.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SB15-061: Disclosure Requirement Small Issue CommitteesSupport
Position: Support

Currently, the Fair Campaign Practices Act in the Colorado state constitution imposes a $200 threshold for issue committees; however, recent court rulings have found that this limit violates an issue committee's freedom of speech and association. This bill specifies that campaign finance disclosure and reporting requirements do not apply to issue committees until an issue committee has raised or spent in excess of $5,000. What’s the ‘right’ answer? Depends on who you talk to. But this bill could provide a lively discussion on that topic. While this bill is not necessarily a constitutionally sound approach to the issue, it could provide some movement in the right direction toward free speech.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SB15-063: Alternative Energy For Schools Grant ProgramOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill takes the existing wind for schools grant program enacted in 2007 and broadens the program to include other types of electricity generated from eligible energy resources. The 2007 program allowed for grants not to exceed $5,000 to be provided to public schools and community colleges for wind generation projects. This expanded program allows for grants not to exceed $15,000 and continues to be overseen by the Colorado energy office. If the alternative energy is cheaper, then it would stand on its own merits.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-064: Application Of State Water Law To Federal AgenciesSupport
Position: Support

This bill prohibits the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from placing conditions on special use permits, or for rights-of-way on federal land, that demand that the owner of a water right or conditional water right give up any of his rights. Further, the bill prohibits the State Engineer and division engineers in the Department of Natural Resources from cooperating with the USFS or the BLM in administering or enforcing the conditions identified above on special use permits, or for rights-of-way on federal land.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
SB15-066: Noncitizen Resident Identification DocumentsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill would expand the types of documents that may be accepted by the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) from individuals not lawfully present in Colorado when the individual is applying to receive a driver's license, instruction permit, or identification card.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SB15-068: Higher Ed Lower Debt ActOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill caps the annual interest rate that a private or nongovernmental lender may charge for a student loan at two percentage points higher than the rate charged by the federal government for an unsubsidized loan made for the same purpose. It also creates a state income tax deduction for repayment of student loans, beginning in tax year 2016. More price controls and tax incentives that will continue to inflate the student loan bubble.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-069: Repeal Job Protection Civil Rights Enforcement ActSupport
Position: Support

The bill reverses certain changes to state employment law enacted by House Bill 13-1136, which took effect January 1, 2015. Specifically, the bill repeals and reenacts provisions of state statute related to remedies for employment discrimination. POL opposed HB13-1136, and supports this rollback of some of those provisions.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SB15-070: Child Care Regulation Ten Or More Children OnlySupport
Position: Support

Current law limits state licensing, registration, and other regulation requirements to only those childcare facilities that care for 5 or more children. The bill increases that limit to 10 or more children. Reducing regulation – we like it.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-071: Pharm Substitute Interchangeable BiologicalSupport
Position: Support

This bill would allow pharmacists to substitute generic biological products in a similar manner to how they do with chemical drugs. Seems reasonable.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-078: Business Fiscal Impacts Leg Measure & Exec RulesSupport
Position: Support

This bill requires that Legislative Council Staff receive outside comments and prepare a notice of reported business fiscal impact for each bill or concurrent resolution introduced by the General Assembly, and each proposed rule-making by a department within the executive branch. An important step in pushing back on government over-reach is to quantify its impact and give voice to those impacted.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-082: County Workforce Development Prop Tax IncentivesOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill authorizes a county to establish a workforce development program to provide financial assistance to high school graduates in the county who pursue post-secondary education or training from an accredited institution of higher education or certified training program. The county can also establish a fund to accept contributions and offer a county property tax credit or rebate to a residential or commercial property owner in the county who contributes to the county workforce development fund. So the county would solicit donations, give away aide to students for post-secondary education, and give away tax credits (but only to property owners) to donors. Because there aren’t any private groups who can do this as 501c(3) organizations…? For all taxpayers, not just property owners? This is not the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-083: Certain Private Org Subject To CORA RequirementsSupport
Position: Support

The bill modifies the definition of "public records" under the "Colorado Open Records Act" to include all writings made, maintained, or kept by a private organization that receives moneys collected by the state or a political subdivision of the state at the request of a public employee or taxpayer and that involve the receipt or expenditure of money by a private organization. A similar bill was killed last year. We’ll see how it fares this year.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-085: Small Business Cottage FoodsSupport
Position: Support

This bill would expand the “Colorado Cottage Foods Act” to allow more producers freedom to operate without government regulation and interference. Bigger bake sales for everyone!

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-086: Criminal Background Checks for Firearms TransfersSupport
Position: Support

This bill removes the requirement that anyone who is not a licensed gun dealer require a criminal background check and approval of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in order to transfer a firearm to another person. It also repeals the requirement that the CBI impose a fee for conducting an instant criminal background check for the transfer of a firearm.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SB15-093: Compensate Owners Min Interests Extraction RegsSupport
Position: Support

Whenever a local government adopts or implements an ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or other form of official policy concerning mineral extraction operations that has the effect of reducing the fair market value of the owner's mineral interest by at least 60%, the bill specifies that the owner's interest is deemed to have been taken for a public use.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SB15-094: Employment Of Community College FacultyOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires that the state community college system classify all employees with teaching responsibilities as faculty. Once reclassified, all faculty employees must be treated the same, commensurate with the employee's education and experience, with respect to compensation, benefits, job security, due process, and teaching and non-teaching responsibilities. What could possibly go wrong there? The estimated cost to the state is only $97,100,000 to the state in fiscal year 2016-2017.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-095: Manufactured Home CommunitiesOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill renames the "Mobile Home Park Act" to the "Manufactured Home Community Act" and adds various functions to the Division of Housing within the Department of Local Affairs, including the requirements that the DOH 1) collect economic and demographic data on manufactured home communities, including rent and vacancy rates, and information on disputes, 2) create and administer a dispute resolution program for landlords and homeowners to resolve MHCA disputes, 3) maintain on its website a list of community-based, nonprofit agencies who mediate disputes, and 4) administer the newly created Manufactured Home Community Fund for the purposes of assisting community owners and homeowners under the MHCA. This bill advances an “affordable housing policy” and other policies, which are to be “liberally construed to accomplish the legislative intent…”

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-099: Eliminate Duties For Probation OfficersSupport
Position: Support

This bill eliminates the following functions of probation officers: performing supplemental evaluations concerning disputed issues in cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities; exercising continuing supervision over a case to ensure the terms relating to the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time are completed; making a social study and written report in all children's cases under the Colorado Children's Code; and serving as attendance officer of a school district. Probation officers do not currently perform these activities, so the bill codifies current practice.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-105: Sunset Review Respiratory Therapy Practice ActOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill implements the recommendations contained in the department of regulatory agencies' sunset review and massively expands the "Respiratory Therapy Practice Act".

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-106: Sunset Barber & Cosmetologist Act & CommitteeOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill continues the "Barber and Cosmetologist Act" and the cosmetology advisory committee until 2026. Prior to 2005, the department of regulatory agencies (DORA) required a place of business that employed barbers, cosmetologists, hairstylists, estheticians, or nail technicians to register with the division of professions and occupations within DORA. The bill reinstates this requirement. Continuing regulation, because if the state doesn’t, who knows what kind of haircut you’ll get.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-109: Mandatory Abuse Report For Adult With A DisabilityOppose
Position: Oppose

Under current law, certain persons are required to report to a law enforcement agency if the person observes or has reason to believe that a person 70 years of age or older has been abused or exploited. POL opposed that bill. This bill expands this requirement to also cover a person with a disability who is 18 years of age or older.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SB15-113: Sunset Athletic Trainers Practice ActSupport
Position: Support

Finally, a sunset that’s allowed to sunset (mostly, anyway). This bill sunsets the "Athletic Trainer Practice Act" and the registration of athletic trainers by the department's division of professions and occupations.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-114: No County Eminent Domain Open SpaceSupport
Position: Support

The bill prohibits a county government from using eminent domain (condemnation) for the acquisition of property for parks, recreation, open space, conservation, or for similar purposes. Counties are also prohibited from providing funding to any public or private party for the acquisition by condemnation of similar properties. Some pushback on eminent domain.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SB15-118: Mod Qualified State Tuition Program Tax DeductionsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill would modify tax-deductibility for 529 Plans, making the tax structure HIGHLY progressive. The bill modifies these state income tax deductions as follows: 200% of the amounts of contributions or distributions for a taxpayer whose federal adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less; 150% of the amounts of contributions or distributions for a taxpayer whose federal adjusted gross income is more than $75,000 but not more than $200,000; 100% of the amounts of contributions or distributions for a taxpayer whose federal adjusted gross income is more than $200,000 but not more than $250,000; and eliminate deductions for a taxpayer whose federal adjusted gross income is more than $250,000. Nothing like penalizing some who have taken on the personal responsibility to save, and redistributing to others.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SB15-120: Electric Grid Modernization PlansOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires all providers of retail electric service in Colorado, including municipal utilities and cooperative electric associations, to develop a grid modernization plan outlining how the provider, over a 10-year period, proposes to make measurable progress toward multiple objectives. Because companies cannot keep up their own infrastructure without the applied force of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-121: Drinking Water Fund Assistance Nonprofit EntitiesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill allows the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to use the Drinking Water Revolving Fund to provide financial assistance to private nonprofit entities for drinking water projects. The bill also expands the definition of public water systems to include systems that are owned or operated by private, nonprofit entities.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-122: Sunset Massage Parlor RegulationSupport
Position: Support

What’s this – a bill that repeals the ability of government to regulate something? Why yes, in this case, massage parlors. One small step for liberty…

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-125: Statewide Registry For Advance DirectivesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill requires the Department of Public Health and Environment to maintain a statewide registry of advance directives. The bill defines advance directives as: a declaration as to medical treatment; a medical durable power of attorney; a directive relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation; medical orders for scope of treatment form; a designated beneficiary agreement; or any legal form of these types. The bill requires the DPHE to maintain a website registry that is available to the public, keep the data safe, and require county clerks and recorders to enter recorded designated beneficiary agreements into the statewide registry created by the DPHE within 14 days of recording the document. What could go wrong?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SB15-127: Tax Incentives For Agritourism-related ActivitiesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the following two tax incentives related to agritourism: 1) an income tax credit of up to $500 to offset the cost of purchasing agritourism equipment, 2) a private advertising or marketing agency to deduct 50 percent of advertising services donated to governments with a population of less than 120,000 in tax years 2016 through 2020. More corporate welfare, but since it’s aimed at rural communities, that makes it ok, right?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SB15-132: Empowering Students In Higher Education FundingOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill specifies that the state academic standards for public schools relating to financial literacy must include knowledge and skills relating to financing higher education or other career-related postsecondary education including the evaluation of student loan programs, understanding loan repayment and the consequences of defaulting on student loans, and the requirement to pay student loan debt even if the student does not complete the educational program. The bill also appropriates general fund moneys to the department of higher education for distribution by the Colorado commission on higher education. Because paying for your own kid to go to college is not enough, you must also pay for others as well.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SB15-140: Regulation Of Home InspectorsOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the "Home Inspector Licensure Act", which requires home inspectors to obtain a license to perform home inspections in Colorado, and regulates them, because you NEED government to dictate everything in the market and protect you from everything.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-141: Income Tax Credit For Prop Taxes Paid EligibilitySupport
Position: Support

There is an income tax credit to reimburse a qualifying taxpayer for certain personal property taxes paid in Colorado. The bill increases the property cap for 2015 from $15,000 to $25,000, and the property cap for the next 4 income tax years will grow by inflation from this amount.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-174: Uniform Substitute Decision-making Docs ActMonitor
Position: Monitor

To be honest, we’re not sure what to make of this bill, but it doesn’t smell right. We could use some legal help from any of our volunteers out there. The concept of this bill is that a “substitute decision-making document” for property or for health care, which is executed outside of Colorado, is valid in Colorado if, when the document was executed, the execution complied with the law of the jurisdiction indicated in the document. What are the jurisdictional issues here? Does this mean that any law in another state becomes legally executable here? Euthanasia? Other? Since we don’t have enough legal research/opinion complete on this one, we’re rating as “monitor” until we can get our arms around it, but it doesn’t look good at this point.
SB15-175: Ammunition MagazinesSupport
Position: Support

Property rights, freedom, free markets, limited government. No brainer.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-176: Southwest Chief Rail Commission Spending AuthorityOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill gives an additional $8.91 million of your Colorado tax money to the Southwest Chief Rail Line Economic Development, Rural Tourism, and Infrastructure Repair and Maintenance Fund. Why? Because we need to continue to prop up AmTrak in Colorado. You know, that incredibly subsidized federal program that began on May 1, 1971, has never been and never will be profitable (it’s not really designed to be). But don’t worry, federal money is somehow “free”. Colorado only wants to add in another $8.91 million. Last year, only 7 legislators in the Senate had the stones to vote NO on this government boondoggle, which was a little surprising, considering that the House produced 20 NO votes last year. The over/under this year is 29. Who’s in?

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-179: US Highway 50 Economic Benefits StudyOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to conduct an economic impact and opportunity study of the 250-mile portion of the U.S. Highway 50 that runs between the junction with U.S. Highway 285 and the Kansas border. Specifically, the CDOT is directed to study the extent to which various potential safety improvements are likely to increase the efficiency, capacity, and usage of the highway. The role of government is not to promote highway usage as part of a central planning approach to the state economy. Next thing you know, they’ll want to appropriate some of that government money to promote tourism along the highway… oh wait, that’s what this study is going to be for.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SB15-180: Regulatory Reform Act 2015Support
Position: Support

Under current law, state agencies are generally authorized by the Administrative Procedures Act to initiate an enforcement action when an individual or business violates an administrative rule. This bill creates enforcement provisions that apply to small businesses following a minor violation of a new (less than 1 year old) administrative rule. In essence, instead of hammering a small business about a rule it wasn’t even aware of, a state agency must issue a written warning for a first-time minor violation during the first year of an administrative rule. Perhaps the only thing we don’t care for is that this only applies to businesses of less than 100 people. The thinking is that small business makes up the majority of business activity in Colorado, and they don’t have teams of lawyers to keep up with the administrative rule-making of the state. We’d like to see the rule expanded for ALL businesses, but given that the bill died in committee last year on a party line vote, we’re not confident the bill will go very far. Perhaps it will at least make it out of the Senate, and who knows, maybe generate some momentum before going to the House.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-185: Improve Police OperationsOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires the Colorado commission on criminal and juvenile justice to convene an advisory committee to study community policing practices and create a report regarding best practices. The bill requires each law enforcement agency to report data on stops and arrests, including race, ethnicity, gender, and incident report number, to the division of criminal justice, requires the judicial department to report data on charges, dispositions, sentences, and probation revocations, including race, ethnicity, gender, and incident report number, to the division, and requires the department of corrections to report data on parole hearings, grants of parole, and parole denials, including race, ethnicity, and gender, to the division. The division then compiles and reports the data on an annual basis. After an officer-involved shooting occurs, the peace officer's law enforcement agency shall provide the division with demographic information on the officer and individual involved within 10 days of the shooting. The division shall compile and report the data annually. The bill also creates a community policing grant program to provide funding to local law enforcement agencies in conjunction with community-based organizations for innovative community policing practices. The bill also requires the Colorado commission on criminal and juvenile justice to convene an advisory committee to study community policing practices and create a report regarding best practices. The grant program is almost buried in here, and there’s no fiscal note out yet.

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

Update 4/27/15: This bill has been changed dramatically. The initial bill was about supposed “best practices”, grants, etc. and was pretty clear that it should be opposed. The bill now only requires some reporting by law enforcement agencies and by the judicial department. Based on the bill title, there is only one section left that mentions law enforcement agencies, and it seems to be redundant with existing statute with a minimal addition to reporting. The balance of the bill is for the Judicial Department and the State Board of Parole to do some reporting. The Judicial Department is required to report on sex and race. Interestingly, the State Board of Parole would be required to include in their report ethnicity, in addition to sex and race. Race is biological and cannot be changed. Ethnicity is cultural and can change over time based on beliefs, association, adoption, and learned behavior. We don’t see 1) why the difference in reporting, 2) how most of the bill really relates to the bill title, or 3) what issue this bill is trying to address. We continue to oppose the bill as unnecessary based on limited government.
SB15-186: Yoga Teacher Training Private Occupational SchoolSupport
Position: Support

The bill exempts yoga teacher training courses, program, and schools from the provisions of the Private Occupational Education Act of 1981. You’ve probably read about the hub-bub over this bill. Looks like the government is going to “allow” some freedom. Set our yoga teachers free!

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-193: Statewide Internet Portal Authority Reports To GASupport
Position: Support

The bill consolidates the 2 reports and requires the portal authority to submit one annual report to the members of the joint technology committee, the joint budget committee, and the committees of the house of representatives and the senate that oversee business affairs. A modest proposal to streamline a tiny corner of government, but we’ll take it.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-197: Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriptive AuthoritySupport
Position: Support

This bill reduces the requirement to achieve full prescriptive authority to 1,000 practice hours. The bill also allows the role of mentor to be filled by an advanced practice nurse with prescriptive authority and loosens some of the interaction requirements during the mentorship. The bill also allows provisional prescriptive authority upon graduation and passage of a certification examination. Overall, this bill lessons what appears to be a very heavy regulatory burden.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Limited Government
SB15-200: Consumer Protections in Student Lending for Education LoansOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill places restrictions on private lenders who offer education loans. The bill prohibits a lender from providing gifts to an institution of higher education, engaging in revenue sharing in exchange for any advantage in securing loans, or imposing a fee or penalty on the borrower for early repayment or prepayment of the loan. Because the state must dictate allowable business relationships and the terms of private contracts.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-202: Exclude Water Conditioning Appliance From PlumbingSupport
Position: Support

We think that Joe the Plumber would be ok with this. This bill limits plumbing regulations by excluding from the definition of “plumbing” the design, installation, and repair of water conditioning appliances that are connected to potable water systems with a pipe that is greater than 2 inches nominal diameter. The bill also clarifies that a person does not have to be registered as a plumbing contractor in order to subcontract with a plumber as long as all of the plumbing work is performed by a licensed plumber. One small step for plumbing, one giant leap for free markets. Well, maybe not giant.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-203: Debt Management Service Providers Regulation by AGOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill increases existing regulation on debt management service providers by limiting settlement fees to no more than 15% of the amount saved as a result of the settlement, and requiring that the debtor has made all required payments on the debt to which the fees apply before the provider can receive their fees. More regulatory expansion and intervention in the free market.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-218: Police Misrepresentation DisclosureSupport
Position: Support

This bill says that when a Colorado law enforcement agency looks to hire a peace officer, the peace officer’s prior employing state or local law enforcement agency must disclose any information indicating whether the peace officer's employment history included any instances in which he knowingly made a misrepresentation in any testimony or affidavit relating to the arrest or prosecution of a person, or to a civil case pertaining to the peace officer, or to the peace officer's employment history, or during the course of any internal investigation by a law enforcement agency, which investigation is related to the peace officer's alleged criminal conduct, official misconduct, or use of excessive force. That’s a mouthful, but basically, if there are some credibility issues, the new hiring agency should be made aware of it.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SB15-219: Police Shooting TransparencySupport
Position: Support

The bill requires law enforcement agencies to develop protocols for the investigation of a peace officer-involved shooting. The law enforcement agency shall post the protocols on its web site or make it publicly available if it does not have a web site. The bill also requires a district attorney who declines to file criminal charges against a peace officer for a peace officer-involved shooting to make a report and publicly disclose the report explaining the basis for not charging the officer. The district attorney must post the report on its web site or make it publicly available if it does not have a web site.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SB15-223: Parent Opt Out of Standardized Testing Effect on Student Part. RateSupport
Position: Support

The bill allows a parent to excuse his or her child from participating in a standardized assessment required either by the state or by the local education provider. If a parent opts a child out of testing, the education provider cannot penalize the student, the student's teacher and principal, or the public school that the student attends. Further, the Colorado Department of Education cannot penalize the local education provider that enrolls the student when a parent excuses his or her child from participation in statewide or locally administered standardized assessments.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SB15-226: Education Requirements for Hunting LicenseSupport
Position: Support

Currently, most people have to obtain a hunter education certificate to be issued a license to hunt in Colorado. To get the certificate, you need to take a 10-hour hunter education course. The bill eliminates the requirement that the hunter education course consist of 10 hours of instruction. The commission may create various ways to meet the education requirement, including testing out of it or getting an apprentice certificate. A veteran may obtain a certificate without taking the course if the veteran passes a test. The bill also creates an apprentice program that allows a person who is at least 10 years of age to be issued a temporary certificate without hunter education if he or she is accompanied by a mentor who is at least 18 years of age and meets the certification requirements.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SB15-231: Regulatory Agency Demilitarization ActSupport
Position: Support

This bill requires that federal agencies provide at least 24 hours notice to county and local law enforcement agencies prior to deploying a specialized unit within that government's jurisdiction. It also prohibits a state regulatory agency from purchasing firearms, or an employee of that agency from using a firearm, for the purposes of enforcement actions. The bill clarifies that this doesn’t apply to the Colorado State Patrol, the Department of Corrections, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the Department of Public Safety, criminal investigative units within the Attorney General's Office, campus police for state institutions of higher education, and the Division of Parks and Wildlife. It’s scary that there needs to be a law for this.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SB15-252: Renewable Energy Loans to School Districts for Energy AuditOppose
Position: Oppose

Under current law, the state has a loan program that provides loans to school districts to help them pay for technical assistance, equipment, or the installation costs associated with renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This bill expands the authorized uses of this funding to include covering the costs of an energy audit for the purpose of establishing the expected energy savings from the project. This bill should be going the other way, repealing this program, not expanding it.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-259: Out Of Network Health Care Provider ChargesOppose
Position: Oppose

The bill requires health care providers who provide emergency services or out-of-network covered services at an in-network facility to submit a claim for the entire cost of the services to the covered person's health insurance carrier. It also specifies that the provider shall not collect payments from the covered person except for a deductible, copayment, or coinsurance, nor bill covered persons for the difference between what the insurance company pays and provider charges (balance billing). Instead of balance billing, the provider must submit a demand for the remaining amount of the bill to the health insurance carrier and attempt to negotiate a payment. Failure to follow these provisions by health care providers and facilities is classified as a deceptive trade practice, putting more government teeth behind the proposal. More and more intervention into the health care market. The endless spiral towards single payer continues…

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-279: Surety Reqmnt For Appealing Tax Bills Claimed DueSupport
Position: Support

Currently, a taxpayer who wishes to challenge a notice of deficiency in a tax case first goes to an administrative hearing, and then can appeal to district court. In order to appeal to district court, the taxpayer either must post a bond for two times the tax due or pay the tax to the Department of Revenue. Current law requires a taxpayer wishing to appeal a final determination of the executive director of the department of revenue or a final determination of a local government, within a specified time after filing a notice of appeal, to either set aside twice the amount of the taxes, interest, and other charges stated in the final determination by filing a surety bond in such amount with the district court, or set aside twice the amount of the taxes, interest, and other charges stated in the final determination by establishing a savings account, deposit account, or certificate of deposit for such amount at a state or national bank or a state or federal savings and loan association doing business in the state, or deposit the disputed amount with the executive director of the department of revenue. If the taxpayer chooses this option the interest accrual is tolled. The bill would make the bond or payment optional until 14 days after an adverse ruling by the district court.

This legislation supports the principles of:
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SB15-282: Jump-start Prog Econ Dev Distressed CountiesOppose
Position: Oppose

This bill provides tax benefits to approved new businesses that locate inside a rural jump-start zone and establish a relationship with a state institution of higher education, junior college, or an area vocational school. A rural jump start zone is an area within a distressed county. The business must be new to the state, hire at least five new employees, and not directly compete with the core function of a business that is already operating in the state. The bill defines a distressed county as a county with a population less than 250,000 reflecting certain indicators of economic distress, such as lower per capita income than the state average, lower gross domestic product than the statewide average, unemployment levels higher than the statewide average, a declining workforce, or a higher concentration of pupils eligible for free lunch compared to the statewide average. A new business that establishes a relationship with a state institution in a rural jump start zone will receive the following state tax benefits in addition to county and municipality incentives, an income tax credit equal to 100 percent of the income taxes imposed on the income derived from the new business activities in the tax-friendly zone, and a sales and use tax refund on the purchase of all tangible personal property acquired by the new business and used exclusively within the tax-friendly zone. In addition, new employees of the business are entitled to receive an income tax credit equal to 100 percent of their wages.

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SB15-288: Compensation Of State & County Public OfficialsNot Rated
Position: Not Rated

Under current law, the salary of legislators and the salary of certain state officials are set in statute. This bill aligns the salaries paid to State Legislators, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the State Treasurer, with the salaries paid to certain judicial branch officials. The new salary amount must be adjusted every four years to maintain the alignment. The adjustments take effect for terms beginning in January 2019.

Under current law, counties are divided into six categories for purposes of fixing the salaries of elected county officials. This bill increases the number of categories to 24. The bill continues to group the same counties that are grouped together under current law into 6 of the new categories with higher salaries than county officials receive under current law. The general assembly is specifically authorized to amend the law in the future to move counties between categories.

The Director of Research of the Legislative Council is directed to periodically adjust the salaries of elected county officials for inflation. Salary amounts must be posted on the General Assembly's web site and take effect for terms following the published adjustment.



The topic of pay for legislators and other elected officials is always a sticky subject. Pay for these positions in Colorado is low compared to other states. While the legislative session only runs 120 days, many of these legislators are quite busy year-round with standing committees, various commissions, etc. It can be a fairly heavy schedule year round. There are arguments to both sides of this one.

In the private market, talent is attracted by competitive pay. The reality is that the pay for these state jobs isn’t very competitive with private industry. The CEO, or a board of directors / senior management, or the general counsel, or the CFO of an organization with a $25 billion budget and the number of employees similar to what the state has, would command far higher compensation in the private market than what the state offers. These levels of state pay would most likely require a significant pay cut for someone in the private market to leave a similar job to take on a similar role at the state. In addition, the level of pay for a legislator is not only low, but the VERY full time nature of the job makes it impossible to do anything else during session other than work in the legislature – there’s no time or moonlighting, that’s for sure. The hours are long and the stress significant. That leaves the other 2/3’s of the year to make up for lost time. There aren’t a whole lot of seasonal careers that match up well with having to be fully dedicated to the legislature for the first 1/3 of the year. Many who are running a business or in business for themselves simply could not afford to be away from their business for 1/3 of the year. Those who are employees with good-paying jobs can’t just check out for 1/3 of a year. The median household income in Colorado is about $58,000. This number varies widely across the state. The median in Douglas County, for example, is about $102,000. The bottom line is that there are many, many talented people who would not even consider dropping out of their current position in their prime earning years to run for legislature.

On the other hand, there is the idea of the citizen-legislator as opposed to the career politician, the concept that serving in the legislature is an honor and a call to duty, which only those who are committed to serve will pursue.

POL is not rating this legislation because we can see both sides. However, we do believe it is a topic that should be considered and debated, without attacking ones motives (“You greedy so-n-so’s only want to vote yourself a raise!”) and without apology (“I’m sorry that I feel that I’m worth more than what I’m being paid, but this just isn’t worth the sacrifice.”) The problem at this juncture is that running such legislation with only days left to go in the session leaves no time for any serious consideration or debate to take place. The pay for these positions has been lagging for some time, and there should be some serious discussion about it that allows everyone to weigh in on the issue and how to approach it in a rational manner.
SB15-290: Colorado Student Leaders Institute Oppose
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the Colorado student leaders institute (institute) in the office of the lieutenant governor to operate as a pilot program through the summer of 2019. The institute is an annual, 4-week, summer residential educational program for students who are entering tenth or eleventh grade. The institute is hosted by an institution of higher education in Colorado. The institute combines courses, lectures, and seminars, with enrichment classes in music, art, and theater. The goals of the program include successfully “developing a civic voice among the states' students so that they graduate from high school as civic participants”, “help to create young leaders who are energized to find solutions for the pressing issues facing their states”, etc. This looks like the “Government is the answer to everything and we’re here to indoctrinate Colorado’s best and brightest youth into that thought process early in order to further statism” Boot Camp to us. 

This legislation opposes the principles of:
  • Limited Government