2016 Senate Bills

Number of bills rated

Bills supported

Bills Opposed

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OpposeSB16-001: Unlimited Mil Retirement Benefit Tax Deduction
Position: Oppose

Currently, a military retiree who is 55-64 years old may deduct up to $ 20,000 of their military retirement benefits from their federal taxable income, and a person who is 65 years old or older may deduct up to $ 24,000. Since the deduction is made from federal taxable income, and federal taxable income is used to calculate Colorado state income tax, that deduction carries over as a deduction for state income subject to tax. This bill would eliminate the limit for military income and allow a military retiree to claim a state income tax deduction for the entire amount of their military income. Instead of playing favorites for select constituents to score political points, how about reducing taxes for everyone? Oh, by the way, the fiscal note cost shows an average $ 24 million hit per year.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportSB16-008: Municipal State Highway Off-highway Vehicles
Position: Support

Under current law, an operator of an off-highway vehicle (OHV) may cross a state highway at an at-grade crossing, except within the jurisdiction of a municipality. This bill gives authority to municipalities to allow OHV operators to cross state highways within the jurisdiction of the municipality. One small step toward freedom to cross the street.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-010: Off-highway Vehicle Powersports Dealer Purchase
Position: Support

Current law requires an owner to obtain a certificate of title before selling an off-highway vehicle. This bill exempts the sale to a dealer of an off-highway vehicle that has never been titled and was sold either in a jurisdiction that does not issue titles to off-highway vehicles or in Colorado before off-highway vehicles were titled. If a dealer purchases an off-highway vehicle without a certificate of title the dealer must do some due diligence to check to see if the vehicle is stolen, etc. While we’re not super excited about all of the requirements on the dealer, overall the bill does provide a way for a property owner to sell his property to a dealer without having to first obtain a certificate of title.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-011: Terminate Use Of FASTER Fee Revenue For Transit
Position: Support

Under current law, $ 15 million per year of revenue from FASTER fees is used for transit-related projects such as bike and pedestrian lanes, and to provide grants to local governments for local transit projects. This bill repeals these requirements, so that the revenue must be used only for road safety projects. At a time when our roads are such a hot topic, and the structure and operation of FASTER is questionable, perhaps it makes sense to at least narrow the scope of priorities and prioritize spending.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportSB16-012: Time To Reconstruct Residential Improvements
Position: Support

Under current law, residential property can maintain its residential classification for up to four years after the improvement has been destroyed if, in the assessor’s judgment, the owner intends to repair or replace the structure. This bill allows residential property to maintain its property tax classification for an indefinite period of time if the county assessor determines the property owner is making a good faith effort to rebuild an improvement destroyed by a natural disaster.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-016: Modifications To The SCFD
Position: Oppose

This bill authorizes the legislature to put a question on the ballot about whether or not citizens want to continue to authorize the current tax in the Denver Metro area that goes toward “scientific and cultural facilities” such as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Zoological Gardens, the Denver Botanical Gardens, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, etc. It is not the role of government to take tax dollars in order to subsidize scientific and cultural institutions. In doing a word search for “education” in the CO Constitution, 42 instances of the word Appeared. We did not see any instance that seemed to grant the legislature authority to tax Coloradans for Museums, etc.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportSB16-017: Concealed Handgun Carry Without Permit
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, including the prohibition on the carrying of a concealed handgun on the grounds of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school. Personally, we’d like to see the push back of so-called “gun free zones” while they’re at it, but…

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-018: Motor Vehicle Impede Traffic
Position: Oppose

This removes any opportunity for law enforcement officers who are on the scene to exercise their judgment and forces a one size fits all definition to an issue, similar in its philosophical approach to mandatory sentencing or zero-tolerance policies. This also takes away from the judgment of the individual motorist as to when it is reasonable to pull over in a responsible manner according to the exigent circumstances. Codifying such minutia when law enforcement currently has full authority to enforce the existing law when 4, 5, 6, or ANY number of cars are being held up, is playing armchair traffic cop from the dome, is an insult to law enforcement, and is a waste of legislative resources.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-019: Videotape Mental Condition
Position: Support

The bill requires a court-ordered mental condition examination to be video and audio recorded. A copy of the recording must be included with the evaluator’s report. Seems like a good protection for all sides in such a situation.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeSB16-021: Recognition Of Public Lands Day
Position: Oppose

The bill designates an annual state holiday called “Public Lands Day” on the fourth Monday of March and allows observance by the public and public schools in the state. There’s what we need, more school days spent marching… The bill requires state agencies to remain open and also requires the Governor to issue a yearly proclamation calling for the celebration of Public Lands Day. The proclamations in the bill give lip service to public lands being “open and accessible” to everyone. Tell that to the many west slope residents fighting for the right to such access.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-022: Child Care Assistance Cliff Effect Pilot Program
Position: Oppose

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Cliff Effect Pilot Program was created by Senate Bill 12-022 to allow counties to modify their child care assistance programs so that families are able to phase out their participation in the program as they enter the workforce and receive higher incomes. Subsequently, Senate Bill 14-003 was enacted, which created a cash fund for the pilot program and appropriated $ 1.3 million to fund county pilot programs. Currently, 10 counties are participating in the pilot. The bill also removes the existing 10-county cap on the number of counties that may participate in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Cliff Effect Pilot Program. POL opposed the pilot program in 2012, and continues to do so now.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-023: Funding For Full-day Kindergarten
Position: Oppose

The bill states the intent of the General Assembly to increase funding for full day kindergarten (full day K) by specific dollar amounts annually from FY 2017-18 through FY 2021-22. Subject to a vote of the people, the bill refers a measure to the state ballot authorizing the state to retain and spend all additional excess revenue over the constitutionally allowed limit. Total cost is estimated at $ 384,000,000 per year.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-024: Private Student Loan Cap Act
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. The cap is imposed on loans made to students, their spouses, and to taxpayers claiming a student as a dependent. No brainer – government interfering in the free market, dictating contractual terms, price-fixing, etc.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-026: Personal Rights Of Protected Persons
Position: Support

This bill proposes that a guardian or conservator shall not restrict a protected person’s right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons, including the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, or personal mail, unless such restrictions are authorized by a court order. A court may issue an order restricting the communications, visitations, or interactions that a person may have with a protected person upon a showing of good cause by a guardian or conservator. In determining whether to issue such an order, the court shall consider certain factors. An interested person, including the protected person, who reasonably believes that a guardian or conservator has violated a court order or abused his or her discretion in restricting a protected person’s right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons may move the court to: Require the guardian or conservator to grant a person access to the protected person; Restrict, or further restrict, a person’s access to the protected person; Modify the guardian or conservator’s duties; or Remove the guardian or conservator. A guardian or conservator who knowingly isolates a protected person in violation of law or a court order is subject to removal. This seems like a bill that should be bi-partisan given that it protects the vulnerable, but for some reason it appears that partisan politics is standing in the way, and that’s a shame. POL supports good legislation regardless of who sponsors it, and so should legislators.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-027: Medicaid Option For Prescribed Drugs By Mail
Position: Support

Under current law, only a limited number of Medicaid recipients may receive maintenance medication by mail order. This bill expands the option to receive a three-month supply of maintenance medication through the mail to all Medicaid recipients. The fiscal note shows a cost savings of over a million dollars a year going forward.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-028: Community Reinvestment Act
Position: Oppose

The bill adds to the list of required information reported on the Transparency Online Project (TOP) website to include information about the number of local businesses, women, and minorities that contract with governmental entities in Colorado.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportSB16-030: Motor Vehicle Weight Violation Surcharges
Position: Support

Under current law, individuals convicted of violating motor vehicle weight limits or the terms of overweight permits must pay a variable penalty and a surcharge, depending on the level of excess weight. This bill changes the variable surcharge rate to a flat 16 percent of the penalty for all violations. This bill is projected to reduce penalty charges on commercial vehicles by $ 34,000 per year. That’s a start.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-032: Working Group For Econ Dev In Distressed Regions
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the economic development working group for highly distressed urban regions in the state. The group will identify highly distressed urban regions, and make recommendations to the General Assembly on economic development tools to improve the economic vitality of the regions, including the establishment of tax-free zones. By December 14, 2016, the group must make legislative recommendations to the General Assembly on economic development tools to help these distressed urban regions.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Free Markets
OpposeSB16-033: Public Health Notice Sick Leave
Position: Oppose

The Scarlet (fever) Notice Bill, this bill requires licensed retail food establishments that do not provide a minimum of five days paid sick leave per year for their employees to post a notice to that effect in full public view. The penalty for failing to post the notice ranges from a written warning for the first violation to a fine between $ 250 and $ 1,000 for a fifth or subsequent violation within a 24 month period. Using the force of government to try to “shame” employers and scare off customers if they don’t provide benefits legislators want seems rather, well, sick.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-036: Surety Reqmnt For Appealing Tax Bills Claimed Due
Position: Support

This bill changes the circumstances under which a taxpayer is required to set aside money when filing a notice of appeal of a tax decision with a court. The bill repeals the requirement that the taxpayer set aside money for all appeals to a district court, except in cases of a frivolous tax claim submission as determined by the Department of Revenue. Rather than setting aside money before a tax case is heard, a taxpayer does not have to set aside money unless he or she appeals a district court decision to an appellate court or to the Colorado Supreme Court, in which case the money must be set aside no later than 14 days after the district court ruling.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-041: Data On Law Enforcement Marijuana Activities
Position: Support

4/1/16 Update: Not Rated This bill initially supported Limited Government by eliminating the requirements that the division of criminal justice shall report on costs related to legalized retail marijuana, including the requirement that marijuana-initiated contacts with law enforcement be broken down by judicial district, race and ethnicity. However, on the Senate floor the bill was amended to mandate a study of the feasibility of collecting data regarding marijuana-initiated contacts by law enforcement as well as a description of efforts being made by local law enforcement to establish consistent definitions and any proposals for a system of reporting such data to the division, resulting in a bill that produces negligible improvement in limited government.

Previous rating: Support

Current law requires the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety to gather data and undertake or contract for a study of law enforcement activity and costs related to the legalization of retail marijuana for two specified 2-year periods. This bill eliminates the requirements that the division shall report on costs related to legalized retail marijuana, including the requirement that marijuana-initiated contacts with law enforcement be broken down by judicial district, race and ethnicity. This bill modestly reduces government.

OpposeSB16-043: Student Loans Consumer Protections
Position: Oppose

This bill establishes requirements for private educational lenders (lenders) and covered educational institutions (institutions) related to student loans. The bill requires lenders to disclose certain information to a borrower both at the time of application or solicitation, and at the time the borrower is contractually obligated to repay the loan. The bill prohibits lenders from charging a fee to a borrower for early repayment or prepayment of a private education loan and stipulates that the borrower has 30 days after the application is approved to accept the loan, during which the lender cannot change the rates or terms of the loan. The borrower has three business days after the loan contract is signed to cancel the loan without penalty. More government intervention in private contracts and free markets.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-045: Add To Financial Literary Standards For Schools
Position: Oppose

This bill requires that the state board include academic standards for the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the financing of higher education or other career-related postsecondary education, and for retirement planning. So the state would mandate everyone be indoctrinated in student loan debt, because, we just assume that we need to keep inflating that student debt bubble. How about getting the basics of critical thinking, math and literacy down so that we don’t have such ridiculous remediation rates for those who do go to college?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-047: No Detention For Juveniles Who Are Truant
Position: Support

The bill prohibits a juvenile detention facility from receiving or providing care for a juvenile who violates a court order to attend school unless the juvenile is also adjudicated for a delinquent act and remains under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for committing the delinquent act. No jail for skipping school? Ok.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-048: Require Notice From Federal Agencies
Position: Support

This bill requires that certain federal regulatory agencies inform municipal and local law enforcement at least 24 hours in advance of any specialized operation that will take place in its jurisdiction. Federal regulatory agencies are barred from using specialized units to conduct operations in the state without first providing this advance notice, which must include a court order authorizing the operation. There are a lot of federal regulatory agencies that are exempt.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
SupportSB16-049: Maintenance Bill Request Files By Leg Legal Serv
Position: Support

Under current law, the Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS) is required to keep, maintain, and protect the confidentiality of files on bills prepared for members of the General Assembly. The bill allows OLLS to transfer the files to the state archives or another entity in the Department of Personnel and Administration for storage, and clarifies that: OLLS is still the official custodian of the bill files; OLLS has the right of reasonable access to bill files and controls access to those files by the public; and the Committee on Legal Services may develop policies regarding the bill files. This is pretty mundane administrative stuff so far. But, the bill also removes exiting language requiring OLLS to draft bills and store bill files at the request of the Governor. This is the part that is most interesting to us. While the Colorado state constitution does grant the Governor the power to “… require information in writing from the officers of the executive department upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices…”, there is no provision in Article IV of the constitution for the Governor to actually propose legislation. All legislative power is granted to the general assembly and directly to the people of the state via initiative and referendum in Article V. However, CRS 2-3-504(a), CRS 2-3-504(e), and CRS 2-3-505 (1) all speak to OLLS’s job to create legislation at the request of the Governor. This bill would strike 2 of those 3 references to the OLLS drafting legislation for the Governor. We’ve requested clarification as to whether this was the actual intent, and if so, if the bill needs to be amended to strike the third reference. If the answers are yes and yes, then POL will be a support based on the principle of Limited Government because of the idea that the bill removes the potential of the Executive Branch encroaching upon the powers of the Legislative Branch by directly initiating legislation.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-050: Retailer Hold Harmless For Assigned Location Code
Position: Support

If a business properly files for a sales tax licenses, and the Department of Revenue assigns an incorrect location code to the business, causing them to collect the incorrect tax rate, then this bill would prevent the state from assessing penalties for any under-collection due to the state’s error. This is common sense bi-partisan legislation that protects businesses from bureaucratic errors.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportSB16-053: Limited Self-distribution By Spirits Manufacturers
Position: Support

Colorado’s liquor laws are based on a three-tier system, separating manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. From 2012 – 2014, the Liquor Enforcement Division within the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) determined that Colorado law provided that wine or spirits manufacturers did not need to obtain a separate wholesaler’s license to sell their product directly to retailers. Beginning in 2014, DOR changed its mind and required spirits manufacturers to obtain a wholesale license to self-distribute spirits. This bill allows a spirits manufacturer to annually sell up to 9,000 liters of each spirit of its own manufacture to retailers without a separate wholesaler’s license.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
OpposeSB16-054: Local Government Minimum Wage
Position: Oppose

Current law prevents local governments from establishing minimum wages within their jurisdiction. This bill repeals this provision and allows local governments to establish minimum wages through their governing body, an initiative, or referendum. Feel the Bern of a coerced minimum wage, devastating a locale near you.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-057: Mobile Home Owners Leasing Space Mobile Home Parks
Position: Oppose

This bill grants new powers to the division of housing within the department of local affairs in connection with mobile home parks, including collecting economic and demographic data annually including vacancy and rental survey data, demographic data about home owners within mobile home parks, income levels, ages, and racial and ethnic identities. Requires the provision of “educational opportunities” concerning the formation of homeowner associations and resident-owned communities, creates programs established by the state for the “maintenance, development, and success of mobile home parks.” The bill also requires the management of a mobile home park to adopt written rules and regulations concerning all homeowners’ use and occupancy of the premises. The bill further specifies what rules are reasonable. In short, a massive nanny state intrusion into the mobile home market.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-058: CO Farm To Consumer Sales
Position: Support

The bill amends the “Colorado Cottage Foods Act,” which allows homemade food producers to sell certain food products directly to consumers. Current law divides the types of products that may be sold by producers into two tiers and specifies the foods that comprise each tier. The bill eliminates the tiered system and the State Board of Health’s authority to make rules governing the production of tier two foods. The bill expands the type of foods that may be sold by producers under the Cottage Foods Act to include other non-potentially hazardous foods and encourages, rather than mandates, a producer to take a food safety course. The bill allows homemade food producers with annual sales of up to $ 50,000, rather than $ 10,000 per eligible food product, to be covered by the act. The bill also creates 2 exemptions from federal inspection for producers who slaughter no more than 20,000 poultry per calendar year, but does require that the department of agriculture license and inspect producers operating under this exemption.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-059: Authority Of Local Govs Promote Afford Housing
Position: Oppose

In 2000, the town of Telluride lost a case at the Colorado Supreme Court because they had enacted an ordinance that violated the state’s constitutional prohibition on rent control. The Court literally suggested that while the ordinance was unconstitutional as a violation of the rent control statute, that the legislature could pass a law amending the rent control statute to permit local ordinances to effectively create rent control without calling it rent control. The bill’s title even refers to this “newspeak”, citing “… certain alternatives outside the traditional understanding of rent control…” This bill would essentially allow municipalities to hold developers hostage to their demands for “affordable housing”, requiring them to provide certain numbers of affordable housing units, impose deed restrictions, payment of fees, or turning over chunks of their land as ransom for allowing them to actually build and create.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-064: Death Penalty Jury Decision
Position: Oppose

This bill changes sentencing rules in eligibility and selection of the death penalty in class 1 felony cases. Rather than a unanimous vote, the bill requires that only eleven jurors agree in order to select the death penalty as a sentence. In the event that fewer than eleven jurors agree on a sentence, the jury must be discharged and the defendant sentenced to life in prison. Lowering the bar for the ultimate act of government coercion? No thanks.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-067: Broadband Personal Property Tax Exemption
Position: Oppose

We’ll just let the “legislative declaration” (introduction in the bill) speak for itself: “The general assembly hereby finds and declares that broadband service should be made widely available to all citizens of the state and that this is in the public interest and a matter of statewide concern. The general assembly also recognizes that broadband deployment is capital intensive and a key economic driver and workforce development tool, which creates additional tax revenue through economic development at the local level. Now, therefore, the intended purpose of this property tax exemption is to encourage and maximize capital investment in the construction of the infrastructure to provide such service throughout the entire state.” Declaring something to be “in the public interest” and a “matter of statewide concern” is all it takes to legitimize statism and cronyism. Because without government, who will build the broadband?!

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-069: Community Paramedicine Regulation
Position: Oppose

Under current law, community paramedics and community paramedicine agencies are not subject to regulation by any state agency. Cue the regulation! This bill authorizes the executive director of the Colorado department of public health and environment to adopt rules for the endorsement of emergency medical service providers as community paramedics. It also authorizes the department to issue licenses and authorizes the state board of health to promulgate rules concerning the minimum standards for operating a community paramedicine agency. Additionally, it authorizes a licensed ambulance service, fire department, or fire protection district to establish a community outreach and health education program in its community.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-071: Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act 2015
Position: Oppose

This bill repeals what’s left of an older version of this law and reenacts the “Uniform Athlete Agents Act” (UAAA). An athlete agent is a person who contracts with student athletes to represent them for purposes of securing a professional sports services contract or endorsement contract or who advises the athlete in financial, business, or career management issues or manages those issues on the athlete’s behalf. The bill creates a registration program for athlete agents in the office of the Secretary of State (SOS). Athlete agents must register with the SOS every two years. The bill establishes requirements for registration and renewal, specifies circumstances in which an application may be declined, and identifies cases in which a registration may be suspended or revoked. The bill also lists requirements for contracts between athletes and agents, and specifies prohibited conduct by an agent and the criminal penalties and civil remedies for a violation. Because no one should enter into a private contract unless the government is involved for your protection!

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Free Markets
OpposeSB16-075: DNA Collection Misdemeanor Vulnerable Persons
Position: Oppose

Here we go again. Under current law, an offender convicted of a misdemeanor involving unlawful sexual conduct must provide a DNA sample for inclusion in the Colorado bureau of investigation’s DNA database. This bill would require collection of a DNA sample from a person convicted of any of the following misdemeanors: third degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, theft, criminal mischief, child abuse, violation of a protection order, solicitation of a prostitute, and harassment. Should the government be able to collect your DNA and put it in a database “just in case” you might commit a crime in the future? Some DA’s think so. Just like when similar bills were run in 2015 and 2013, POL’s answer is still NO.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-077: Employment First For Persons With Disabilities
Position: Oppose

The bill requires the heads of several state government departments to develop an employment first policy that increases competitive integrated employment, as defined in the bill, for persons with disabilities. This is a massive expansion of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-078: Assisted Living Facilitator Competency Requirement
Position: Oppose

The bill requires that the administrator of assisted living facilities complete 30 credits of continuing competency every two years. The operator of a facility must maintain records on its premises as proof that the competency requirements have been met. The Department of Public Health and Environment is required to promulgate rules concerning these competency requirements. More continuing education requirements, because we all know how effective those are…

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-079: Align Secondary and Postsecondary CTE Initiatives
Position: Oppose

The bill directs the commissioner of education to ensure that the department of education aligns the postsecondary and workforce readiness programs and initiatives that it implements with the model plans of study created by the community college system. The bill requires the department, in collaboration with the community college system, to create and make available informational materials that explain the alignment of the state academic standards, the state high school graduation guidelines, and the postsecondary and workforce initiatives and programs that the department implements with the model plans of study and the career pathways. Basically, this is a continuation of prior bills that POL opposed that relate to the state’s desire to centrally plan our economy because it knows best what jobs are going to be in demand, which jobs will pay the best, etc.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Free Markets
OpposeSB16-080: Marijuana Grows Enclosed Space Requirements
Position: Oppose

Under current law, if a person is growing adult-use marijuana in a residence and a person under 21 years of age lives at the residence, the grow site must be in an enclosed and locked space. If no one under 21 years of age lives in the residence but a person under 21 years of age enters the residence, the person growing the marijuana must ensure access to the grow site is reasonably restricted while the person under 21 years of age is staying at the residence. Persons growing medical marijuana are exempted from these requirements. This bill removes the exemption for persons growing medical marijuana. The existing statute violates individual liberty, personal responsibility, and property rights by telling people how they should grow their herbs on their private property. This bill expands such violations even further.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
OpposeSB16-081: Rural Economic Emergency Assistance Grant Program
Position: Oppose

The bill creates the rural economic emergency assistance grant program within the department of local affairs 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, that have a significant, quantifiable impact on jobs within the rural community. The bill also creates the rural economic emergency assistance grant fund, to be administered by the executive director of the department, for implementation of the program and into which $ 2 million is transferred from the unclaimed property trust fund for the 2016-17 state fiscal year. Someone must be feeling guilty about killing all those jobs…

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-096: Creation Of The Pay Equity Commission
Position: Oppose

This bill reestablishes the pay equity commission within the Colorado department of labor and employment. The commission is charged with educating employers in the state about issues or practices that may contribute to pay inequities, working with business groups and educational institutions to develop and maintain an inventory of best practices for encouraging equal pay, and developing a program recognizing employers who pursue pay equity practices, among other tasks. Educating employers about pay equity, so-called ‘best practices’ for businesses, and establishing a program to reward those who conform to government “suggestions” is not the role of government. As we’ve said before, if these self-appointed arbiters of employment ‘best practices’ feel they should be able to tell others how to run a business, we suggest they leave the legislature and go employ a mass of minions where they can implement their own ‘best-practices’ terms on their own dime instead of violating the principles of good governance by using government to force their ideas on others.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-101: School Board Ethics Commission
Position: Oppose

The bill establishes a code of ethics for members of governing boards of local education providers. This includes individuals elected to serve on school district boards, and individuals who serve on the governing board of a charter school or a Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The bill also creates the School Board Ethics Commission. The commission is given authority to receive, review, and investigate complaints related to the ethical conduct of school board members, including the conduct of board meetings under the state’s open meeting laws, standards of conduct under the State Administrative Organization Act and the standards established in this bill, and any other provisions of law related to ethical codes, rules, or standards for school board members. The commission may hold hearings, compel testimony, issue findings of fact and conclusions of law, and impose sanctions. The commission is required to adopt necessary rules to carry out its designated functions. Another expansion of government. Oh, by the way, the bill creates this new 5 person “oversight” commission that will be appointed by the majority will of one political party – what could possibly go wrong?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-102: Repeal Certain Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentences
Position: Support

Under current law, a person convicted of certain types of second degree assault and convicted of violating bail bond conditions must be sentenced to a mandatory term of incarceration. This bill removes the mandatory term of incarceration requirement in those circumstances. They say justice is blind, but it shouldn’t be deaf and dumb to the facts and circumstances of a given case as well.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-103: Canadian DV Protection Order Enforcement
Position: Oppose

This bill slipped through the cracks, languishing overlooked on our internal report from a while ago. It requires law enforcement officers to enforce Canadian domestic violence protection orders and to inform protected individuals of local victim services and allows courts to enforce a Canadian domestic violence protection order if it identifies a protected individual and a respondent, is valid and in effect, was issued by a court with jurisdiction over the parties, and was issued after the respondent was given reasonable notice. It also allows an individual to register a Canadian domestic violence protection order in the state by presenting a copy of the order to courts. Finally, when making a good faith effort to comply with the requirements under the bill, state agencies, law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts are immune from civil and criminal liability for an act or omission related to the enforcement of Canadian domestic violence protection orders. We think that the U.S. and Colorado Courts are capable of handling these situations without a law requiring that Colorado law enforcement enforce foreign orders.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
OpposeSB16-104: Incentives To Build Number Of Rural Teachers
Position: Oppose

The bill creates several methods to facilitate the recruitment and retention of teachers in rural school districts of Colorado. This includes: Establishing one or more rural education centers housed in institutions of higher education in rural districts, providing stipends to offset tuition costs to student teachers, who are in approved educator preparation programs and who agree to student teach in a rural district, establishing teacher cadet programs in identified rural districts to identify and support high school students interested in pursuing teaching careers in rural districts; and providing funds to offset costs for a teacher in a rural district who is pursuing either becoming a national board certified teacher or becoming qualified as a concurrent enrollment teacher in his or her rural district.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-107: Regulation Of Voter Registration Drive Circulators
Position: Support

This bill requires circulators working on voter registration drives to fulfill mandatory training requirements, as specified by rule of the secretary of state and provided by the voter registration drive organizer, prior to circulating voter registration applications, and inform persons of alternative means of registration when the deadline for timely submitting the application form through the voter registration drive prior to any election has passed. This bill also requires voter registration drive organizers to keep records evidencing the training completed by its circulators and to make those records available to the secretary of state. Voter registration ultimately deals with a legitimate government function, so this bill stays within the proper scope of government.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportSB16-113: Repeal Large Ammo Magazine Ban
Position: Support

This bill repeals statutory provisions prohibiting the possession of the erroneously and arbitrarily so-called “large” capacity ammunition magazines as well as the requirement that each of those “large” magazines that is manufactured in Colorado on or after July 1, 2013, include a permanent stamp or marking indicating that the magazine was manufactured or assembled after July 1, 2013.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-114: Employee-earned Paid Sick Leave
Position: Oppose

This bill requires that all employers in Colorado provide paid sick leave to each employee at least one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 72 hours per 12-month period if the employer has more than 10 employees, or at least one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per 12-month period if the employer has fewer than 10 employees. The bill applies to all statutorily-defined employees, which includes any person, including a migratory laborer, performing labor or services for the benefit of an employer in which the employee is subject to an employer’s control and direction. I believe we may have asserted once or twice over the last 5+ years that it is not the role of government to dictate terms of employment in private industry.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-116: Private Company Accurate Criminal History Data
Position: Support

This bill says that you can’t knowingly fail to remove sealed criminal justice records from your database after receiving a copy of a court order that seals those criminal justice records. The bill requires that whenever a court enters an order sealing criminal justice records, the court must provide to the petitioner a set of standard written instructions developed by the judicial department containing contact information for each private custodian of criminal justice records and explaining the process for providing notice of the sealing of criminal justice records to private custodians of those records.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
SupportSB16-117: Limit State Agency Authority To Impose Fines
Position: Support

This bill limits the authority of state agencies to impose discretionary fines. Specifically, the bill prohibits any state agency from imposing a discretionary fine of $ 1,000 or more unless the agency provides written notice of the violation of the law or rule and the offender fails to correct the violation on or before the 20th business day after receipt of the written notice. The bill caps discretionary fines as follows: for an individual, ten percent of the taxable income reported on his or her last state income tax return; for a business, ten percent of the operating revenue reported on its income statement for the last fiscal year; and for a political subdivision of the state, ten percent of its tax revenue for the last fiscal year. This bill would save almost $ 4,000,000 in fines.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-118: Screening To Identify Prenatal Substance Exposure
Position: Oppose

This bill requires the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to identify a screening questionnaire for determining if a child has had prenatal substance exposure to alcohol, over-the-counter and prescription medication, or controlled substances. The CDPHE must post the screening questionnaire on its website. The bill specifies several agencies, programs, and entities that are required to use the screening questionnaire, including nurse home visitors during an initial visit to a family, juvenile justice facilities during the first instance of intake when a parent or guardian is available, county departments of human services when a child enters the child welfare system, and early childhood providers, schools, and school districts when developing individualized family service plans and individualized education programs. Birthing facilities and health care providers are also encouraged to use the screening questionnaire. Caregivers and clinicians must have policies and procedures to determine at what point information from the screening questionnaire triggers an individual’s or an entity’s duty to report child abuse or neglect as a mandatory reporter.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-123: Free Access To High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
Position: Support

This bill prohibits the department of transportation or the high-performance transportation enterprise from requiring a vehicle owner to use a switchable transponder or other device in order to travel in a high occupancy vehicle on either a high occupancy vehicle lane or a high occupancy toll lane on a toll-free basis.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-125: Credit Union Governance
Position: Support

This bill authorizes the board of directors of a credit union to appoint an audit committee in lieu of the election or appointment of a supervisory committee. It also authorizes the credit union to reasonably compensate an officer, director, or committee member for his or her service to the credit union. This provides the board, which is most intimately involved with the day-to-day operations of the company, more opportunity to determine the best way to execute its fiduciary responsibility.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
SupportSB16-126: State Bank Meeting Frequency
Position: Support

The bill changes the current statutory requirement for a state bank board of directors to meet at least quarterly from at least monthly unless the banking board directs that meetings be held on a more frequent basis. This bill modestly reduces the existing regulatory burden particularly on smaller community banks.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-127: Repeal Medical Clean Claims Task Force
Position: Support

In 2010, the general assembly passed the “Medical Clean Claims Transparency and Uniformity Act” (Act). The purpose of the Act was to require the executive director of the department of health care policy and financing to establish a task force of industry and government representatives to develop a standardized set of payment rules and claim edits to be used by payers and health care providers in Colorado. This bill repeals that Act.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-129: Neutral Oversight Of Oil And Gas Activities
Position: Oppose

This bill substitutes the word “administer” for the word “foster” in the legislative declaration of the “Oil and Gas Conservation Act”, saying that it is in the public interest for the state to “Administer the responsible, balanced development, production, and utilization of the natural resources of oil and gas in the state of Colorado…” Essentially, this bill angles to increase the scope of regulatory authority over private industry. Is it the role of government to protect property rights? Yes. Is it the role to government to administer some broad agenda of state-defined responsibility, balance, production, and utilization? Not so much.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-130: Methods To Collect Consumer Use Tax
Position: Support

The “consumer use tax” is a complement to sales tax, and it’s supposed to be due on the purchases of goods where the retailer did not charge sales tax. For example, any time consumers make an internet purchase and the out-of-state retailer does not charge sales tax, the purchaser is supposed to pay the equivalent amount of sales tax as “consumer use tax” directly to the department of revenue to ‘even the tax playing field’ with local retailers. Nevermind that the selling retailer is paying their own taxes locally, or that Colorado companies have the same ‘advantage’ when selling out of state. You’ll note this year that the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) has added a use tax line to the 2015 individual income tax return form in an effort to make self-reporting of use tax more ‘convenient’ for consumers. This bill specifies that after this year, the DOR is not allowed to add a use tax reporting line to the individual income tax return form for any reason. The bill also prohibits the DOR from auditing any taxpayer for any amount he or she reported on the use tax lines included in the 2015 individual income tax return form. This internet tax was one of the “dirty dozen” that POL opposed a few years ago. This bill would hamstring its implementation.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportSB16-132: BAC Test Results Not Public Information
Position: Support

This bill states that the database compiled by the department of public health and environment (department) containing the results of tests of persons’ blood alcohol content and drug content, and all records and data thereof, are not public information. The bill specifies that the department shall disclose the results of such a test only to the individual who is the subject of the test (or to his or her legal representative) or a named interested party in a civil or criminal action in which the test results are directly related (or to his or her legal representative).

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-136: Broadband Deployment
Position: Oppose

This bill, thankfully already killed in committee, was a massive intrusion into the market. While we didn’t get to the rating for this prior to committee, we still want to comment on it because it is one of many that will be coming our way in the name of “Broadband” for “Unserved Areas”. Consider for a moment those pesky “dead zones” in cell phone coverage – remember those? While there are still some areas with poor coverage, the gaps tend to close when you allow producers to meet the demands of a free market. And it happens in that magical win-win scenario where you decide what good coverage is worth to you, and producers innovate ways to make it happen profitably. Now consider those markets where the government “helps” – you know, health care, college, etc., because it’s a right! The resultant drop in quality and increase in cost are inevitable. Just wait until government “helps” everyone get broadband! Just say no to government subsidies and corporate cronyism.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-140: Motor Vehicle Dealer Certificate Of Title
Position: Support

Under current law, a motor vehicle dealer has 30 days to facilitate the delivery of the certificate of title to a vehicle sold by the dealer. Until the certificate of title is delivered, the dealer issues a temporary registration number plate so that the purchaser may legally drive the vehicle. The bill provides that a day during which the dealer is awaiting information or action from another person does not count against the 30-day deadline. The dealer may issue a second temporary registration number plate if the dealer has taken every reasonable action necessary to facilitate the delivery of the certificate of title. Taking a step to minimize the inconvenience created by government regulations is a step in the right direction.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-141: Machine-readable Identification Information Retail
Position: Support

This bill prohibits a merchant from reading, collecting, or decoding machine-readable information from a driver’s license or identification card or storing this information after the sale is consummated. A violation is a class 1 misdemeanor and a deceptive trade practice. This allows the state attorney general or a district attorney to seek civil penalties for a violation. The bill exempts peace officers, state agencies, or local government agency if acting within the course and scope of official duties, and businesses acting as required by state or federal law, or a business preventing fraud or other criminal activity when an individual returns an item or requests a refund or an exchange if the business entity only reads the individual’s name, address, and date of birth.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
SupportSB16-143: Reduce Distiller Wholesaler Liquor Licensing Fees
Position: Support

This bill reduces annual liquor license fees for manufacturers licensed as distillers or rectifiers from $ 1,050 to $ 300, and reduces annual liquor license fees for wholesalers from $ 1,050 to $ 550.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-146: Modernize Statutes Sexually Transmitted Infections
Position: Oppose

Both the title and official bill summary of this bill are misleading. While certain updates to the current statutes on STI’s could be a good thing, this bill spans 45 pages and includes several changes to existing law that oppose the principles of liberty. Here are just a few provisions:
1. The bill requires health care providers and persons and labs who perform STI tests to report the results of those tests to the State Board of Health. The bill grants the State Board of Health additional rulemaking authority on reporting requirements. Those reports must include the name, date of birth, address, gender, and phone number of the infected individual. Because government agencies need every detail of your personal life, and like, always do such a great job of keeping information confidential!
2. The bill states that, “every person who is confined, detained, or imprisoned in a state, county, or city hospital; an institution for persons with a mental illness; a home for dependent children; a correctional facility; or any other… shall be examined for and, if diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, referred for treatment”. While the bill later says that consent must be obtained, it then contains a large list of exceptions stating when consent need not be obtained, which include when you’re selected for a seroprevalence survey and for individuals sentenced to the custody of the department of corrections or committed to the mental health institute that is located in Pueblo.
3. The bill authorizes the executive director or the local director to issue an order to require someone to be examined and tested, receive counseling on treatment, and cease desist from certain conduct if they determine that they pose a threat to the public health.
4. The bill makes it a duty of the executive director, health officers, and local directors to provide public information, risk reduction education, voluntary testing, counseling, materials for school use, professional education for health care providers, and other programs.
5. The bill gives the state department and local public health agencies authority to “inspect and have access to medical and laboratory records relevant to their investigation.”
6. There appears to be a mistake on page 9 of the bill that exempts certain research projects from the reporting requirements of section 25-4-405, but that section does not pertain to reporting requirements. It actually contains a provision that the state shall examine and test people detained in prisons, hospitals, institutions for mental illness, and a few other places for STI’s and treat them. So we don’t even know which reporting requirements research projects are supposed to be exempt from.
And that only takes us through page 22 of the bill. This bill obliterates the principles of individual liberty and limited government. Apparently it’s not enough that the state already has statutory authority to detain and examine individuals suspected of having an STI, isolate individuals with STI’s, and require persons with STI’s to report for treatment to a qualified physician until cured, or that existing statute requires that “All persons who are confined, detained, or imprisoned in any state, county, or city hospital or institution for persons with mental illness, any home for dependent children, any reformatory or prison, or any private or charitable institution where any person may be confined, detained, or imprisoned by order of court in this state shall be examined for and, if infected, treated for sexually transmitted infections by the health authorities having jurisdiction.” Maybe a “war on STI’s” will finally make them go away. Maybe we should ask those waging the war on poverty and the war on drugs for tips.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-147: Suicide Prevention Through Zero Suicide Model
Position: Oppose

This bill establishes the Colorado zero suicide model (Colorado model) within the Office of Suicide Prevention of the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The bill encourages the office, CDPHE, the Office of Behavioral Health within the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to work together to improve suicide prevention training programs for health care personnel and to provide professional development resources and training opportunities. The bill also encourages the office and CDPHE to request and analyze existing data in order to better understand suicide and how to prevent it. It requires the office to include a summary of its activities under the model in a report submitted to the Office of Behavioral Health and annually to the General Assembly. Making a legislative declaration encouraging various entities to collaborate is not the role of government. Is suicide a big deal? Absolutely. Having been personally affected by it multiple times, we are not downplaying the issue. However, government is not the most effective means of addressing every problem. There are some very good private outreach programs and other ways to address this issue, but it is not the role of government to solve all of the painful challenges of life, nor is government the most effective means of doing so.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-151: Right To Hunt Wildlife
Position: Support

This bill modifies the legislative declaration in Colorado wildlife law to clarify that Coloradans will always have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife and establishes that these are the primary methods of controlling and managing wildlife.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-154: Tax Credits For Nonpublic Education
Position: Support

The bill establishes a private school tuition income tax credit for income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2017, that allows any taxpayer to claim a credit when the taxpayer enrolls a dependent qualified child in a private school or the taxpayer provides a scholarship to a qualified child for enrollment in a private school and the private school issues the taxpayer a credit certificate for either enrolling a dependent qualified child in the private school or providing a scholarship to a qualified child for enrollment in the private school. This is being done in other parts of the country with successful results. Let the money follow the student. Some people will respond, “I don’t want my tax money to go to a private school!” Just for comparison sake (since so many people think that without government there would be no roads!), consider this – how do you think we pay for and build roads? The government collects tax money, bids out a project, private companies compete for it, the government selects a company for a job, gives them the money, and they do the job. There is even accountability built into the contracts. Why should the approach to schools be so different, only allowing a government monopoly (public schools) to provide a product that has consistently resulted in a sub-par product due to lack of competition?

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-157: Don’t Implement Clean Power Plan Until Stay Lifted
Position: Support

This is the only bill in this week’s report that supports any of our principles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a bunch of rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired, electric generating units under the Clean Air Act. Known as the Clean Power Plan, these rules require the state to submit an implementation plan for compliance. On February 9, 2016, the United States Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the EPA’s rules (they said ‘hold on there…’). This bill requires the state to suspend work on the Clean Power Plan and state implementation plan until the stay is lifted. The bill also requires that the state implementation plan be subject to legislative review. Why plow ahead with a massive expansion of government rules and regulations when the whole fiasco is in legal doubt? Many states have sued the EPA on this (hence the ‘stay’) – perhaps Colorado should join them instead of cow-towing to an over-reaching federal agency of questionable constitutional character?

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
OpposeSB16-159: Music Therapist Title Protection
Position: Oppose

This bill makes the use of the title “certified music therapist” or “music therapist” a deceptive trade practice in the course of a person’s business, vocation, or occupation if the person using the title does not hold and maintain the MT-BC credential administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists or is designated as a registered music therapist by the National Music Therapy Registry. Certification can be a valuable tool, however it doesn’t necessarily need to be regulated by the government. All the government has done here is pick winners and losers in business by selecting which organizations get to control credentials. Remember when POL opposed the bill to regulate music therapists in the first place? This is the follow up to bad legislation – more bad legislation. It never ends.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-160: State Police Power Jurisdiction On Federal Lands
Position: Support

This bill clarifies that the state possesses the jurisdictional right to take action on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or U.S. Forrest Service (USFS) lands where the federal government has not reserved exclusive jurisdiction. Action can be taken by the state on its own behalf or on the behalf of a political subdivision such as a local government when conditions adversely affect or pose a clear imminent danger to the life, public health, and safety of residents. Our only concern wit the bill is that it states, “except that, in the case of any conflict between the jurisdictional right asserted in subsection (2) and any federal activity respecting the lands specified in this section, the federal activity controls.” The problem is, we do not see anywhere in the bill where “federal activity” is defined. In fact, no where in the entire Colorado Revised Statutes is “federal activity” defined.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
OpposeSB16-161: Regulate Athletic Trainers
Position: Oppose

It’s baaaaack. This bill requires athletic trainers to obtain a registration from the director of the division of professions and occupations in order to practice athletic training in Colorado. This bill reinstates the regulation of athletic trainers that the legislature (gasp!) allowed to expire in July of 2015. The state of Colorado did not appear to grind to a halt due to rogue athletic trainers between July 2015 and today, although we’re sure that someone will come to testify about a bad situation (not to minimize bad situations) that the government could have prevented if only they would regulate more. And once government accepts that premise (spoiler alert: it has) the regulations will never end! This bill restores the “Athletic Trainer Practice Act”, as it existed on June 30, 2015, with a few additional bonus regulations.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-172: Electronic Notices In County Property Tax Disputes
Position: Support

Under current law, a county board of equalization must mail notices of hearings and decisions to the petitioner’s who dispute property tax valuations made by the county assessor. This bill allows a board of county commissioners to pass ordinances allowing for notices of hearings for the abatement and refund of taxes, notices of hearings for petitions for appeal, and decisions related to these hearings to be emailed or faxed to the petitioner or the petitioner’s agent. Making life a little easier for everyone involved.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-173: Golf Car Crossing State Highway Local Authority
Position: Support

Why did the golf cart cross the road? Because the beneficent legislature said it could! Under current law, a local authority may authorize the use of golf cars on local roads but not on state highways. This bill allows a local authority to authorize a person driving a golf car on a local road to cross a state highway at an at-grade crossing in order to continue traveling on the local road. One small putt for freedom, one giant drive for golf carts.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
OpposeSB16-175: E-15 Gasoline Income Tax Credit For Retail Dealers
Position: Oppose

This bill creates an income tax credit for retail dealers selling E-15 gasoline, gas with 15-50% ethanol content. The bill still states that, “E-15 gasoline as an alternative fuel option is an investment that is needed in this state.” The bill also says, “The ability to incentivize private sector fuel providers in the state to invest in necessary equipment, and to buy, store, and dispense these alternative fuels is necessary.” Let that sink in. They are saying that the free market will not support this, so you, dear taxpayer, shall be forced to do so. And they have the gall to say that this will provide more consumer choice for alternative fuels. Never mind that this product clearly can’t make it to market without government coercing people to subsidize it with their tax dollars. They decree, therefore they shall subsidize (off of your backs). We call this picking winners and losers using the tax system, also known as… crony corporatism.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-176: No Governor Authority Over Firearms in Emergencies
Position: Support

You may not know this, but in Colorado, the Governor has the power to suspend the sale, dispensing, or transportation of firearms, explosives, or combustibles during a state of a disaster emergency. A disaster emergency is defined as the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural cause or cause of human origin. Since 2012, there have been 49 declarations and extensions of declarations of disaster emergencies related to wildfires, floods, and weather. This bill eliminates the power of the governor to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of firearms during a state of disaster emergency. Ensuring that people can acquire a firearm to protect themselves and their loved ones if a disaster occurs and law and order break down? Great idea!
        This bill has been run several times. In fact, I (Rich) happened to be at the capitol with my son back around 2010 I think it was. This was when I was first getting involved in politics/policy. The kids had a snow day, the snow melted off quickly, and I was at the capitol with my son, who was about 14 at the time. My son is a highly competitive shooter in various shotgun competitions (trap, skeet, sporting clays). He had shot in 4H since he was 9 or 10, and competed for Colorado 4H at nationals at age 14. This bill was being heard in the Senate kill committee. We happened to stop by and listen in, not even knowing that bill was coming up. The more I listened, the more upset I got that the bill was obviously going to be killed. I got up to testify about 4H shooting, how this bill would make us outlaws, how a time of emergency is the time when I absolutely was not going to be deprived of my right to defend me and my family, etc. The legislators who were going to kill it didn’t even bother to look up. I commented that my 10 year-old son had better manners than them— at least he knew to look at someone when being spoken to. Well, that got their attention. Then one of those legislators had the nerve to say, ‘What are you so concerned about this for? If we want to declare martial law, you’ll lose ALL your rights anyway.’ True story. Welcome to the Colorado state legislature. Folks, if you don’t get off the couch and fight for your freedom, there are far too many people who will take it away, all in the name of taking care of you.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
NotRatedSB16-183: Clarify Portion of 911 Call Subject To PUC Regulation
Position: NotRated

Update 5/2: Not Rated Previously, this bill had clarified the portion of 911 calls subject to PUC regulation in order to guard against ever-expanding mission creep by regulatory agencies such as the PUC. The bill has since been altered beyond recognition with a “strike-below” amendment. It now creates a legislative interim committee in order to study 911 oversight, outage reporting, reliability, and whether current funding is sufficient for providing existing service as well as transitioning to “next-generation 911 service.” Since 911 services provides access to taxpayer funded government resources (police, fire, etc.), this is an area of legitimate oversight by the legislature. While we fear for the amount of proposed legislation that will inevitably spring from this committee and the massive scope of their charge, we have changed our rating to a No Rate with respect to this bill’s relationship to our principles.

Previous Position: Support

In 2014, the legislature ran a bill (HB14-1329) that clearly indicated an intent to prohibit the regulation of voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) service and internet-protocol-enabled service (IP-enabled service) and also clearly reflected the intent to codify the practice of not regulating VoIP and IP-enabled services as well as to prohibit the regulation of those technologies, and to remove them from the PUC’s authority. This bill clarifies that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in the Department of Regulatory Agencies has no regulatory authority over the originating service providers of basic emergency service. The bill defines basic emergency service as the aggregation and transport of a 911 call by a basic emergency service provider (BESP) to a public safety answering point (PSAP), such as a 911 call center, regardless of the technology used to provide the service in order to split the process into that which the PUC can and cannot regulate. This would help strengthen a firewall against the ever-expanding mission creep by regulatory agencies such as the PUC.

SupportSB16-184: Market-based Interest Rates On Judgments
Position: Support

When judgments are won in civil litigation, the time value of money should be properly accounted for to reimburse a plaintiff for their opportunity cost and inflation. The current rate of postjudgment interest is 2% over the Kansas City discount rate with a floor of 8%. These rates were set in 1975 when inflation was at 9.1%. Today, inflation is hovering just above 0%. This bill eliminates the minimum of 8% and ties the interest rate on judgments for personal injury damages to the current rate of postjudgment interest.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportSB16-185: Consumer Finance Charges Inflation Adjustment
Position: Support

Current law sets maximum rates of interest for various loans and consumer credit sales. The rates are tiered based on the amount of the loan. These tiered loan amount levels were initially created in 1971 and updated in the year 2000. The law creates different interest rate caps based on loan amounts of $ 0-$ 1,000 then $ 1,001-$ 3,000 and then $ 3,001+. This bill would adjust those tier amounts for inflation and going forward adjust the amounts annually by January 1. Bottom line: the current tier levels lock in more severe interest rate caps for lenders every year that there is positive inflation. This bill would change the application of these interest rate caps to amounts that would continuously reflect the law’s original intent, pulling back some of the government mandated, free market violating price-fixing that this law enforces.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-186: Small-scale Issue Committees
Position: Support

Currently, under the state Fair Campaign Practices Act, a person or a group of persons must register as an issue committee within 10 days of accepting contributions or making expenditures in excess of $ 200 to support or oppose a ballot issue. In March of 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the case of Coalition for Secular Government v. Williams ruled that disclosure requirements under current law are burdensome for small-scale issue committees. This bill would reduce some of the reporting requirements for “small-scale issue committees.”

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportSB16-190: Improve County Admin Public Assistance Programs
Position: Support

The bill establishes performance standards to improve the administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Department of Human Services (DHS) and counties must work to exceed federal performance measures and must establish a formula for distributing federal monetary bonuses or sanctions associated with SNAP administration to the counties.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-193: Safe2Tell Provide Free Materials And Training
Position: Oppose

Under current law, the safe2tell program provides awareness and education materials to all participating schools and school districts. The bill requires safe2tell to provide the materials to all preschool, elementary, and secondary schools in the state at no cost to the schools. The bill also requires safe2tell to provide the materials to the Boys & Girls Clubs and 4-H extension offices in Colorado at no charge. The bill requires safe2tell to develop training curriculum and teaching materials for a train the trainer program and annually organize, host, and conduct trainings in all geographic regions of the state and provide related materials to persons who attend the training at no charge. While well intentioned, safe2tell substitutes government for personal responsibility. Instead of relying on parents, teachers, and mentors to encourage kids to report potential threats to student safety to a trusted adult, safe2tell forces taxpayers to subsidize a program so that the government can do so. This bill continues to expand upon that philosophy.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-194: Regional Transportation Development Projects
Position: Oppose

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is an important concept to understand, and the implications of its use are far-reaching and long-ranging. To generalize and simplify for the sake of brevity, the concept of TIF goes something like this: Say you have a region of the state, defined by whatever boundaries you decide (a county, neighborhood, transportation corridor, business zoned area, etc.). Once you’ve identified the area, assume that the level of state sales tax collected from all of the businesses in that area in the most recent year would continue to stay at that level forever. Say you calculate the sales tax from all of the businesses in the area to be $ 100,000. You just identified the base state sales tax revenue amount for that area. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) means that any/all future state sales tax revenue that exceeds this base amount will be claimed and used by the defined area to pay off whatever money they borrow to fund a project. The assumption is that the project benefits the area and is the direct cause of any/all increase in collected sales tax in that area. In the case of this bill, the additional tax collections would go towards transportation projects. So when an area defines project, and borrows to fund that project, using TIF they will repay that debt with the future tax income that exceeds the current base.

Keep a few things in mind: State sales tax revenue over the past 31 years has increased at an average rate of 4.4% per year, without any improvement projects at all. If you have a TIF project in a particular area, that normal average annual increase will be consumed by the TIF. In financial lingo, you’re securitizing a future income stream—creating an upfront lump sum of money from investors by promising to pay them back the money, with interest, using your projected future income. That future income is promised to someone. Once you’ve drained that well, it’s dry, never to be used in the future. What will happen to the other functions of government in that area funded by the current sales tax revenue, which is now fixed? What happens if the sales tax in that area does not grow, is affected by a recession, or otherwise underperforms and can’t repay the debt? TIF’s are essentially mortgages on an area’s future tax revenue. Do you really think that the rest of the government services/costs will remain fixed? By locking down future revenue streams, the only source of additional income becomes new taxes. The growing use of TIF for all sorts of funding could become detrimental to the state’s long term financial future. It doesn’t take a Nostradamus to anticipate that as more and more future revenue is pledged, it becomes a path to tax increases down the road to backfill other shortfalls.


Given that conceptual framework, this bill does several things. It allows for the creation of Regional Transportation Development Corridors for the purpose of proposing transportation projects to be funded through TIFs. The project has to meet various criteria such as arguing that the area is ‘underdeveloped’ due to a lack of infrastructure, how the infrastructure project would increase development, and how much tax money they project to flow into the area due to the completed project. The bill would also allow for the creation of “enterprises” that are outside of TABOR, although it does not specify how these enterprises would collect their TABOR exempt “fees” since they don’t have the power to “tax” (recall the hospital provider “fee” and the push by some who want the state to keep that money outside of the calculation for a TABOR refund). So imagine that several large regions of the state fund their projects using these TIFs, and then eventually run into shortfalls in other areas, coming to the conclusion that the sales tax must be increased, the increase in the state sales tax is passed, and voila, you’ve just funded projects in some areas of the state off of the backs of others in the rest of the state. There are many other scenarios as well, but you can see the complexity of the issues involved.

Final question – why is it that complex, weighty bills like this one are introduced late, late, late, in the session? One would think that the more impactful and complicated a bill, the more time you would need to completely understand and debate it.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-196: Inclusive Higher Education Pilot Program
Position: Oppose

This bill creates a program for inclusive higher education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The bill requires the department of higher education (department), the institutions participating in the pilot program, JFK Partners (a program of the university of Colorado medical school), and “IN!” (a stakeholder group supporting inclusive higher education), to work together to develop the programs. The bill specifies the minimum requirements for each inclusive higher education program, including the development of programming for students that allows a student to take two on-campus undergraduate courses each semester in the student’s chosen area of interest, and a course specific to inclusive higher education and to earn a certificate from the institution at the completion of the program. In addition, the inclusive higher education pilot programs shall integrate students socially and academically to the greatest extent possible, and shall be outcome-focused in preparing the student for gainful employment in the community. The bill states that this law will allow “… these students to have all of the rights, responsibilities, privileges, benefits, and outcomes that result from a college experience…” Creating new rights and driving up higher education costs one mandate at a time. Feel the Bern…

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
NotRatedSB16-197: Liquor-licensed Drugstores Multiple Licenses
Position: NotRated

Update: Not Rated

Previous Position:Oppose

Straight from one of our interns: “This is the most regulatory bill I have seen. Mergers and buyouts [of a liquor-licensed drugstore seeking to obtain an additional liquor-licensed drugstore] are only permitted if each store sells for at least $ 350,000, the store can’t be within 2,500 feet of another liquor retailer, stores can’t buy liquor with credit—they have to pay on delivery, liquor stores have to stock their own shelves (wholesalers/manufacturers can’t do it for them), and liquor stores can only sell non-alcoholic items (snacks, sodas, tobacco, lotto tickets) if the revenue from these items constitutes less than 20% of all sales. Stores aren’t allowed to have sales that sell the liquor for less than they paid for it, can’t hire anybody under 21 to stock shelves, or do any other retail work (although it later says 18 year olds can fill kegs under supervision), and too many more regulations. The government is WAY too involved in this. This bill won’t allow a liquor store to sell clothing related to alcohol. Meaning I can buy a Guinness shirt at Target (which can’t sell alcohol w/out a permit), but not at a liquor store. THEY’RE REGULATING CLOTHING. This bill kicks in January 1, 2017, and then repeals much of what it does 10 years later, in 2027. Why not just skip ahead to 2027 and get rid of all the regulation?” Well done, college intern, please move to the head of the legislature.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-202: Increasing Access Effective Substance Use Serv
Position: Oppose

The state contracts with managed service organizations (MSOs) to provide substance use treatment for designated regions of the state. This bill requires each MSO to assess the sufficiency of substance use disorder services for various populations in its geographic region, and to prepare a community action plan to address the most critical service gaps by March 1, 2017. Each community action plan must outline the MSO’s plan for using this funding to provide substance use treatment in critical areas. $ 6,000,000/year, but hey, it’s some of that new pot tax money. We must have missed that part of the constitution that says that the role of the state government is to fund and provide substance abuse treatment.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeSB16-206: Ban Sale Manufacture Possession Powdered Alcohol
Position: Oppose

It’s baaack. Last year’s “Ban” on powdered alcohol, that sponsors insisted wasn’t a ban, got so much pushback that they amended it to be a bill to regulate powdered alcohol like, well, alcohol. Apparently that wasn’t enough to appease some of the special interests, so we’re back to a ban. The bill prohibits the use, possession, sale, purchase, transfer, or manufacture of powdered alcohol. The bill also specifies that a person who violates the prohibition commits a class 2 misdemeanor. Here’s an idea – how about a ban on statist coercion upon free people by state legislatures?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeSB16-212: 12-month Eligibility Child Care Assistance Prog
Position: Oppose

Department of Human Services provides subsidies to families meeting income and eligibility requirements to offset the cost of child care. Under current law, counties must immediately notify a family if their income exceeds the allowable level, must continue the payments for 90 additional days, and are strongly encouraged to provide 6 months of continuing child care (including the mandated 90 days). This bill requires the county to continue providing the child care subsidy until the next twelve-month redetermination period in addition to maintaining the current approach, while still keeping the minimums provided by existing statute. In other words, the benefit payment periods will be extended. The fiscal note states that the bill “extends period for which childcare assistance must be provided and will result in families using child care assistance for longer periods of time.” It also says that “assuming the total funding for childcare assistance remains the same, this may result in a smaller number of families receiving assistance.” So this bill is step one. Step two – guess who will back next year looking for additional funding…?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government