2017 House Bills

Number of bills analyzed

Bills supported

Bills Opposed

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OpposeHB 17−1001: Employee Leave Attend Child’s Academic Activities
Position: Oppose

This bill resurrects the 2009 “Parental Involvement in K-12 Education Act”, which superseded contracts between employers and employees to allow an employee to leave work for the purpose of attending school activities for or with their child. The act expired in 2015, and notably at that time the world did not grind to a halt. This bill reinstates that act, with a few additions. The bill mandates that school districts and institute charter schools include information about the act in district-wide or school-wide communications sent to parents and the community at large, and post information about the act on their website. The Colorado state advisory council for parent involvement in education must also provide information about the act “to the extent possible within existing resources.” This time around, the bill is written so that the act continues indefinitely if adopted. This is basically the reengrossed (amended) version of the same bill that was killed last year in committee.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1002: Child Care Expenses Income Tax Credit Extension
Position: Oppose

Under CRS 39-22-119, if a Colorado resident claims a credit for child care expenses on their federal tax return, then they get a corresponding credit on their Colorado tax return. If someone didn’t file a federal tax return or, based on their federal taxes owed weren’t eligible for the federal credit, then they didn’t get the corresponding state tax credit. Pursuant to legislation passed in 2014 (HB14-1072 Income Tax Credit For Child Care Expenses), for 2014-2016, a residential individual who has a federal adjusted gross income of $ 25,000 or less may claim a refundable state income tax credit for child care expenses regardless of whether they filed a federal tax return or were eligible for the federal credit. A refundable tax credit means that even if you haven’t paid any state income taxes at all, you can still receive a check from the state, which of course collected taxes from other Coloradans to provide the money for this check. The tax credit is equal to 25% of eligible child care expenses that the individual incurred during the taxable year, up to a maximum amount of $ 500 for a single dependent or $ 1,000 for 2 or more dependents. Again, this additional existing tax credit is for those who do not qualify for the similar federal child care credit expenses on their federal tax return or don’t file a federal return. If someone qualifies for the similar federal child care credit expenses on their federal tax return, they will continue to receive the state credit from the state of Colorado even without this bill. This bill extends this additional tax credit for 3 more income tax years.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 17−1005: Modernize Laws Relating to Office of State Auditor
Position: Support

Per the bill summary, “This bill updates various statutes pertaining to the office of the state auditor (OSA). Currently, the legislative audit committee (LAC) has the discretion to direct the state auditor to conduct a performance audit of any public highway authority, except that the LAC may not do so in any year during which the interim transportation legislation review committee (TLRC) meets. However, the TLRC is required to meet every year. Consequently, the bill repeals this timing limitation so that such a performance audit can be requested at any time. The executive director of the department of revenue (DOR) is currently required to account monthly to the state treasurer regarding working capital retained by DOR and to provide copies of this accounting to the governor and the state auditor. Because DOR does not retain working capital, the bill repeals this obsolete provision.” This bill also removes the requirement to provide the state auditor copies of daily receipts for money transmitted from the executive director of DOR to the state auditor (duplicate copies are already kept). There are some statutes from 1881 for registering county bonds that are obsolete, so the bill repeals those registration and recording fee requirements. The bill also repeals an obsolete provision relating to an audit of the estimated actual operating costs of the enhanced emissions inspections program contractor, which was done in 2001.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1006: Correct Statutory Citation in Rule Without Hearing
Position: Support

Under current law, if an executive branch agency rule contains a citation to statute and the general assembly later relocates the statute in a way that renders the rule’s citation to the statute inaccurate, in order to update the statutory citation the agency must conduct a rule-making hearing. This bill would allow agencies to skip the hearing for this type of technical correction and just correct the statutory citations in the code of Colorado regulations without notice, comment, or a hearing by submitting to the secretary of state a specific, written determination by the attorney general.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1007: Tax Benefit Employer Collegeinvest Contribution
Position: Oppose

This bill would allow an employer to claim a deduction for any amount that the employer contributes to an employee’s college trust account or savings account. This deduction may be claimed even if the contribution has already been deducted from the employer’s federal taxable income. Since the employer will likely write off the contribution on their federal tax return, and the net federal income is what is used as a starting point for Colorado state income tax, the employer get’s a double-dip by getting to deduct it again at the state level. It would essentially be deducted twice from reported taxable state income. It is not the role of government to “…provide an additional tax incentive for employers to help their employees save for college by contributing to the employees’ college trust savings account or savings accounts administered by collegeinvest.” Using tax policy to push social/political agendas (and even specifying which programs to push the money into) distorts free markets and is how we end up with housing bubbles, college loan bubbles, etc.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1009: Restore Nonessential Articles Tax Exemptions
Position: Support

Before March 1, 2010, state law exempted from state sales and use taxes all articles given to purchasers of food, meal, or beverage items that sellers furnish to their customers along with their meal without adding a separate charge. But today, get dinner to go, and the seller tosses in some plastic utensils and napkins (but doesn’t charge you for it), and they now have to TAX you for those items. This was one of the results of the so-called ‘dirty-dozen’ tax increases passed in 2010, HB10-1194. This bill would reinstate the exemptions from state sales and use taxes for these items effective January 1, 2018 so you don’t have to pay tax on these free items you didn’t pay for.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1016: Exclude Value Mineral Resources Tax Increment Financing Division
Position: Support

The bill permits the governing body of a municipality, as applicable, to provide in an urban renewal plan that the valuation attributable to the extraction of mineral resources located within the urban renewal area is not subject to the division of taxes between base and incremental revenues that accompanies the tax increment financing of urban renewal projects. In such circumstances, the taxes levied on the valuation will be distributed to the public bodies as if the urban renewal plan was not in effect. We’re not big fans of TIF’s, but allowing a municipality to be a little more conservative by excluding mineral taxes from the TIF calculations seems like a good idea.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1018: Extend Voter Approval Window for RTA Regional Transportation Authority Mill Levy
Position: Oppose

Current law authorizes a regional transportation authority to seek a mill levy of up to 5 mills on all taxable property within its territory, but the authorization is scheduled to repeal on January 1, 2019. This bill would extend the authorization until January 1, 2029. Looks like maybe someone wants to extend their ability to raise some taxes…?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 17−1021: Wage Theft Transparency Act
Position: Not Rated

The bill was amended heavily and now focuses only on an actual notice of citation or assessment and makes the treatment of wage law violations consistent with other similar company violations, so POL now views the bill as a No Rate.

Previous rating: Oppose. This bill “clarifies that information obtained by the division that relates to a finding by the division of a violation of wage laws is not confidential and shall be released to the public or for use in a court proceeding, unless the director of the division makes a determination that the information includes specific information that is a trade secret.” This bill says that any reported information that relates to a wage law violation is a public record and SHALL be publicly available via CORA process, removing any decision by the director, with the sole exception if the information would reveal a trade secret. So this bill would make employer information publicly available and could target employers for harsher treatment specifically for wage law violations. This same bill died last year in the Senate.

OpposeHB 17−1022: Teaching Competent History In Public Schools
Position: Oppose

This bill is almost the exact same bill as the reengrossed (amended) version of last year’s HB16-1036, with just a few very minor tweaks. Current law under CRS 22-1-104 already mandates that public schools instruct on the history and civil government of the United States and Colorado, including “… the history, culture, and contributions of minorities, including, but not limited to, the American Indians, the Hispanic Americans, and the African Americans…” This bill adds Asian Americans to the list of specified groups and also creates a “History, Culture and Civil Government Commission” to make recommendations that will “…seek to further the discovery, interpretation, and learning of the history, culture, and civil government of the United States and Colorado, including the contributions of American Indians, Hispanic Americans, African American, and Asian Americans” to the state board of education so that when the state board performs the scheduled review of education standards in 2018 (and every 6 years) those standards and programs “reflect the history, culture, and civil government of the United States and Colorado” including the contributions and influence of the aforementioned groups. Current law requires school districts to convene community forums to discuss the content standards in history and civil government at least once every 10 years. This bill requires the forums to be held at least every 2 years “… in an effort to increase civic participation among young people.” The bill also specifies that the legislature intends for the educational objectives specified in the bill to be funded through the state education fund, unlike last year’s bill which contained an appropriation. This bill goes against the principle of Equal Protection/Rule of Law by mandating funding for the state’s policy of singling out groups to receive preferential treatment (elevation in the education system) by the state.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 17−1032: First Responder Peer Support Testimony Privilege
Position: Support

First responder team members include law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical providers, and rescue unit members. Under current law, a first responder peer support team member and a first responder are not required to testify in court about communication that occurred during peer support sessions without the consent of the person who received the support. This current statute applies similarly to communications between doctors/patients, attorneys/clients, clergy/parishioners, husbands/wives, counselors/patients, etc. This bill removes the requirement that the covered communication only applies to an individual peer support meeting. In addition, current law says that first responder team members may be required to testify without consent under current law if the communication indicates actual or suspected child abuse. This bill extends this exception to include information regarding actual or suspected crimes against at-risk persons.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
SupportHB 17−1034: Medical Marijuana License Issues
Position: Support

Under the retail marijuana code, a licensee can move his or her business anywhere in Colorado upon approval of the state and local jurisdiction. Currently, a medical marijuana licensee may only move his or her location within the city or county where the business is licensed upon approval of the local and state licensing authority. This bill allows a medical marijuana licensee to move his or her business anywhere in Colorado upon approval of the state and local jurisdiction to conform just like other marijuana businesses.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1036: Concealed Carry in Public Schools
Position: Support

Under current law, it is a class 6 felony for a person with a concealed carry permit to bring a weapon onto the property of a public elementary, junior high, or high school unless the person is a security officer employed by the school. There is also an exception that allows handguns in one’s vehicle on school property, as long as one leaves the handgun in a locked compartment and locks the vehicle. This bill would allow a person with a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed handgun on the property of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school. Those gun free zone laws don’t stop school shootings, but a lawfully armed and trained citizen might. As we stated when this bill was run as HB16-1204 last year: “No more fish-in-a-barrel, target rich environments.”

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1037: Deadly Force Against an Intruder at a Business
Position: Support

2 years ago, our report stated, “POL has supported this legislation in the past and does again this year. Anyone watch the HBO Documentary on the massacre at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in 2013? Heard of Charlie Hebdo this week? You are your own first responder.” Last year we added, “You can fill in your own updated events for this year. You are still your own first responder.” Not much more we can say this year.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
OpposeHB 17−1041: Inform Students and Parents of Education Leading to Jobs
Position: Oppose

This bill would require a school district, board of cooperative services, or charter school that provides concurrent enrollment to provide a notice to students and parents twice each year (instead of once per year as is currently the case) that explains the number of credits and types of credentials a student may earn through concurrent enrollment and the types of jobs that are available to persons who hold those types of credentials. The bill requires the postsecondary and work force readiness statewide coordinator to provide information to local education providers concerning the types of jobs that require the certificates that are available through concurrent enrollment and the availability of those jobs around the state. If a student chooses to follow a career pathway created by the state work force development council, the bill requires a student’s individual career and academic plan (ICAP) to include the student’s progress in completing the courses and other learning experiences outlined in the pathway. In assisting a student and his or her parent in creating the ICAP, the public school must explain to the student and parent the various career pathways and the types of certificates and jobs to which the pathways lead and discuss the skills and educational opportunities available through military enlistment. Central planning career pathways is not the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1042: Increasing Funding for Full-day Kindergarten
Position: Oppose

Under existing law, the ‘Public School Finance Act of 1994’ funds kindergarten students as half-day pupils plus the supplemental kindergarten enrollment, which is an additional .08 of a full-day pupil. The bill increases the supplemental kindergarten enrollment for the 2017-18 budget year and each budget year thereafter to .16 of a full-day pupil. Fiscal note of $ 42 million the first year, $ 48 million the next.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1043: Continue Funding Fraud Investigators Unit
Position: Oppose

In 2014, HB14-1057 increased a uniform commercial code filing fee charged by the secretary of state by $ 1, which was projected to raise an additional $ 100k/year to allow the Department of Public Safety to hire additional staff and conduct additional operations. That additional fee was scheduled to go away in 2018. This bill extends the fee for another year. Is there any plan to actually allow the additional fee to go away, to reduce the expenses of the department? If not, is this a legitimate fee increase that should be codified permanently in statute?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 17−1050: Annual In-service Training for County Sheriffs
Position: Support

Under current law, each person elected or appointed to the office of sheriff is required to undergo at least 20 hours of in-service training each year. But sheriffs are peace officers and peace officers have to have 24 hours of annual training as peace officers. There seems to be some confusion – do sheriffs have to take 24 hours as peace officers + 20 additional hours as sheriffs for a total of 44 hours? This bill requires each sheriff to undergo 24 hours total annually like all other peace officers and that’s it, which would lesson any duplicity. For a small department of 1 sheriff and two officers, that’s a big difference. We contacted some folks for clarification on this and will monitor the bill accordingly to make sure the confusion gets cleared up.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 17−1053: Warrant or Order for Electronic Communications
Position: Not Rated

There appear to be some things that support our principles in this bill. One is that the bill requires a determination of “probable cause” prior to issuing a warrant for the search of electronic communications rather than just “reasonable suspicion.” Another is that the bill outlines a process by which the subject of the warrant/order will (eventually) be notified of the search. However, we do have concerns about the lack of protections for disclosure of confidential information or intellectual property (IP) that are not found to be criminal (either through the information not leading to criminal charges or being found not guilty – years later). This is a long and comprehensive bill. There are just a lot of unknowns in this bill that we won’t really be able to sort out until we listen in on the committee hearing, so we will continue to follow it.

SupportHB 17−1056: Criminal Sentencing Community Service Veterans Organizations
Position: Support

Under current law, only an organization that is exempt from taxation under section 501 (c)(3) of the federal internal revenue code may accept services offered through a program of community or useful public service operated by a county court, probation department, county sheriff, or other local governmental entity in connection with sentencing for specified misdemeanors. Veterans’ service organizations may be organized under other provisions of the tax code such as section 501 (c)(4) or 501 (c)(19). This bill would expand the criteria for organizations that may accept community or useful public service assignments to include veterans’ service organizations organized under 501 (c)(4) or 501 (c)(19) of the tax code, and specifies that the court or other entity making the assignment retains discretion to determine which organizations may be included in its program of community or useful public service. Increasing legitimate opportunities for the application of ‘community service’ sentencing seems to make sense.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1057: Interstate Physical Therapy Licensure Compact
Position: Oppose

Thanks to our friends specializing in health care issues at the Independence Institute for sharing their research on this. This bill would enact the ‘Interstate Physical Therapy Licensure Compact Act,’ which allows physical therapists and physical therapist assistants licensed or certified in a compact member state to obtain a license or certificate to practice physical therapy in Colorado, but would do so by creating a multi-state organization of which Colorado would be a member. It’s already straightforward for physical therapists to practice in multiple states. Most states recognize other states’ licenses. If Colorado is concerned about interstate licensing all it has to do is pass legislation saying it will accept any state license. And that wouldn’t require any payments for the maintenance of yet another governmental administrative structure. By creating this compact, a participating state’s “executive, legislative, and judicial branches” shall “enforce this compact and take all actions necessary and appropriate to effectuate the Compact’s purposes and intent. A rule created by the compact will be in force unless a state legislature passes a law abrogating it within four years of its passage. The state cannot withdraw until 6 months after they pass legislation for withdrawal. The state will owe dues, but the dues haven’t been set yet. The Compact can assess whatever fees it needs to cover its budget. If a PT is practicing in a state that is part of the compact, and that state goes after the person, the person is banned from practicing in all of the compact states. This is kind of like joining the EU – you lose sovereignty and you get a bunch of regulation you can’t control.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1063: Reduce Business Personal Property Taxes
Position: Support

Under current law, if a business has less than $ 7,300 of personal property that would be listed on a single personal property schedule, then the personal property is exempt from the property tax and the business is not required to submit a schedule to the county assessor. With respect to this exemption, the bill changes the exemption from $ 7,300 to $ 50,000, adjusted for inflation in the future. For public utilities that are assessed statewide, the same increase in exemption would apply. Continuously taxing businesses on personal property and forcing them to list a schedule year after year after year is not a good way to “create jobs.” This exemption has been increased slightly in the recent past, why not increase it more?

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1065: Clarify Requirements Formation Metropolitan District
Position: Support

Under existing law, no land area that is 40 acres or more used primarily and zoned for agricultural uses may be included in any park and recreation district without the written consent of the landowners. This bill makes any metropolitan district providing parks or recreational facilities and programs subject to this limitation. The bill also clarifies that only those signatures obtained after the approval by a county or municipality of the service plan of a proposed special district may be considered by the district court in determining whether the required number of taxpaying electors of such district have signed the petition for organization.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1068: Prevailing Wages for CDOT Public-Private Initiatives
Position: Oppose

This bill specifies that the state department of transportation may consider proposal for a public-private initiative only if the proposal includes labor costs for construction that use no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area set by the United States department of labor as directed by the federal “Davis-Bacon Act”. This bill meddles with a bidding process, and forces higher project costs based on federal law. So this bill restrains free markets, sticks Colorado taxpayers with higher spending, and puts the state under federal guidelines over ‘local’ wages. Because the state cares enough to spend the very best of your tax money.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
SupportHB 17−1071: Refund Monetary Amounts after Vacated Conviction
Position: Support

This bill creates a process to issue refunds to a person who paid court-ordered fines, fees, costs, surcharges, restitution, interest, or other monetary amounts for a criminal if: the conviction is vacated after post-conviction proceedings or overturned on appeal and the conviction is dismissed, or the person is acquitted after a new trial. If a person paid court-ordered restitution and interest related to the criminal conviction, the restitution order must have been reversed on appeal or the amount of the restitution lowered in order to be eligible for a refund. The person seeking a refund must file the motion within one year of becoming eligible for the refund and must prove that the amounts in question were paid and that he/she is eligible for a refund. If the court finds that the conditions for a refund are met, it is required to issue an order directing the State Court Administrator to issue a refund within 28 days.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1072: Human Trafficking Sexual Servitude
Position: Support

This bill adds purchasing another person for the purpose of coercing him or her to engage in commercial sexual activity to the definition of human trafficking for sexual servitude. It also adds this element to the definition of human trafficking of a minor. The bill also adds human trafficking for sexual servitude to the definition of “unlawful sexual behavior.” Under current law, only human trafficking of a minor is included in that definition. Any person convicted of an offense that constitutes unlawful sexual behavior is required to register on the sex offender registry. Protecting human life from violation by other persons is absolutely the proper role of government.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1079: Continue Fees Wholesale Food Manufacture & Storage
Position: Oppose

This bill continues a regulatory program on wholesale food manufacturing and storage that is currently set to expire on July 1, 2017. The bill also restructures the program’s fees to create an application fee of $ 100 on certain businesses in addition to a registration fee, and adjusts the cost of the registration fees assessed. The new fee schedule would increase fees by 21% overall, collecting an additional $ 84,000 from businesses. In addition, the bill removes the repeal date for the existing regulations and fees which was scheduled for July of 2017 (the repeal of which would have saved Colorado businesses $ 397,000 per year in fees).

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1080: Requirements Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers
Position: Oppose

The bill clarifies the requirements under which durable medical equipment suppliers must do business in Colorado. Instead of issuing one license per provider, the bill would require each of the supplier’s physical locations providing services in Colorado to be licensed by the Colorado secretary of state, and attest that each of these physical locations are within 100 miles of any Colorado-resident Medicare beneficiary or Medicaid recipient being served by the supplier in Colorado. This bill doubles down on HB14-1369 “Durable Medical Equipment Supplier License”, which was passed in 2014. Back then, POL said, “The absurdity really hits you when the bill literally says, ‘It is not the intent of the general assembly to set up a barrier to trade in the durable medical equipment industry by licensing these suppliers…’ but then the bill goes on to do just that!”

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1082: Building Excellent Schools Act Technology Grants
Position: Oppose

This bill redefines capital funding and would re-prioritize the redistribution of school funding.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 17−1084: Hotel Wine Alcohol Sales
Position: Support

Currently, hotel restaurants can’t sell a bottle of wine like a free-standing restaurant might. This bill creates a “wine-expanded permit” that allows a hotel with a valid hotel-restaurant liquor license to sell sealed containers of wine for consumption on or off the premises subject to certain limitations. A similar bill was killed last year, but we’ll see.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 17−1087: Office Of Public Guardianship Pilot Program
Position: Oppose

This bill would create a pilot program in the Judicial Department to provide legal guardianship services for incapacitated and indigent adults in the 2nd, 7th, and 16th judicial districts. The bill creates a five-member Public Guardianship Commission that will appoint a director to establish, develop, and administer the Office of Public Guardianship. Beginning October 31, 2018, the Office must provide the list of services specified by the bill. The Director of the office must deliver a report to the General Assembly by January of 2021 describing the unmet need for services, costs, benefits, efficiencies, obstacles, and other analysis. And that need will be great. The pilot program is scheduled to repeal on June 30, 2021 unless the General Assembly decides that it’s been successful and continues it. Let’s look back to 2012, when a task force created by SB12-078 recommended further study of this issue. Of course the recommendation of that task force was to do something. This is the pilot project for that something. Does anyone have ANY doubt whatsoever what the official results of this pilot project will be come 2021? Success. Such great success as has never been seen before. The only shortfall of this successful success will be that it was not big enough! The recommendation will be not only to extend, but to expand this success statewide so that all the other states will see and want to follow our success with their own successful success. This country will be so successful that we’ll get tired of succeeding… ok, you get the point. Seriously, this is a tried and true process for expanding government. Study commission -> pilot project -> expansion -> permanence.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1089: Parent Choice In Low-performing School Districts
Position: Support

This bill requires chronically low performing school districts (CLPs) to create a parent choice account for each enrolled student and deposit into each account annually the per-pupil amount of the state share of total program and the per-pupil amount of categorical program funding that the district receives. CLP districts may also deposit the per-pupil amount of the local share of total program funding. If a CLP district chooses not to deposit the per-pupil local share, it may not collect property tax for that school year, and the state will not backfill the lost revenue. A parent can withdraw money from his or her student’s account only to purchase qualifying educational services for their child if the parent decides not to keep the student enrolled in a school within the CLP district. This bill would allow parents of children in failing schools an alternative choice and create a market pressure for failing schools to improve.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1090: Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit Extension
Position: Oppose

This bill extends and expands the crony corporatist ‘Advanced Industry’ tax credit for 5 additional years. The total maximum amount of credits allowed per calendar year is increased to $ 1.5 million, and the definition of “qualified small business” is expanded to include companies that have annual revenues of less than $ 5 million or that have been actively operating and generating revenue for less than 5 years. Due to the “Advanced Industries Acceleration Act” passed in 2013, all Colorado taxpayers are being forced by the state to be “venture capitalists.” Except that unlike real free market venture capitalists, we only get to FUND companies with our state-collected taxes—we don’t get any shares, dividends, ownership, or any of the upside of our “investment,” and the corporation does not have any of that pesky downside risk associated with having to make good on the money we give them. Heads they win, tails we lose. This is more Corporate Cronyism, with the cronies and politicians who support them picking winners in business at taxpayer expense. When supporters blather on about how giving your tax money risk free to favored corporations will help create jobs and raise tax revenue, please direct them to attend one of our POL training classes to get the full scoop.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1091: Tax Credit Employer-assisted Housing Projects
Position: Oppose

This bill would allow a taxpayer making a donation to an employer-assisted housing project located in a rural area a credit against the taxpayer’s state income tax obligations. The bill specifies procedures by which a not-for-profit entity that is a sponsor of an employer-assisted housing project (sponsor) applies to either the Colorado housing and finance authority or a municipality or county finance authority for an award of a tax credit allowed under the bill. The bill also specifies procedures governing an agency’s review of the application and the process by which the agency, if it approves the application, reserves tax credits for donations to the employer-assisted housing project. The amount of the tax credits reserved must be 50% of the approved amount of the donation or the actual donation, whichever is less. For employer-assisted housing projects, the bill allows a sponsor to aggregate a number of donations from multiple employers into a single source of funds for use in assisting eligible employees to secure housing near their workplaces. The tax credits awarded may be divided among the donors of the individual donations as determined by the sponsor. Using tax policy to advance social/political agendas and intervene in free markets is not the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 17−1092: Retail Establishment and Performing Rights
Position: Not Rated

Update 2/21: This bill received a strike-below amendment in committee. This bill seeks to address the problem of powerful national performing rights societies (PRS) using the force of government to coerce small businesses into contracts. PRS act as middle-men between artists and the businesses that wish to use their songs. Because it would be impossible for artists to contract individually with every small business that wants to use their songs, artists have performing rights societies arbitrate the rights to these songs and collect royalties for them. Currently, small businesses that want to make sure they’re in compliance with laws regarding song ownership are having trouble finding out the songs to which PRS have the rights. You can’t respect someone’s property rights if they refuse to tell you which songs are their property. We don’t think government should dictate businesses contracts. However, we also don’t think that organizations should be able to use government’s protection of property rights as a weapon to coerce smaller businesses into unfavorable contracts. We’re not certain whether this legislation is the remedy for this situation or not, but it does seek to address a legitimate problem. After the strike below, multiple discussions with lawmakers, and significant changes to the bill, we are moving to a No Rate on this bill.

Previous rating: Oppose. This bill would change state laws governing contracts between a performing rights society (PRS – and I’m not talking Paul Reed Smith) and proprietors of retail venues that perform or broadcast music for public enjoyment (proprietors). The bill would require a PRS to annually publish online a schedule of royalties collected from proprietors in Colorado, as well as a list of all musical works for which they hold a license. The bill specifies what the disclosures they must include and requires the PRS to file the website addresses with the Secretary of State’s Office, which must publish the links on its website and charge a fee for each filing. Not completing the two required filings is a deceptive trade practice under this bill. The bill would also prohibit a PRS from entering into a contract with a proprietor that requires the proprietor to pay licensing fees based on both when the music is publicly performed and when it is performed by a person who already holds a license to perform the work (e.g. a band, disc jockey, etc.), expand the scope of existing laws governing these contracts to cover contract investigations and negotiations, and clarify that certain provisions apply to representatives of performing rights societies. If a PRS enters into a contract without meeting the bill’s provisions, this bill makes the contract void. We’re sure the bill has “Good Intentions” but it’s not the role of government to dictate contract terms in a free market.

SupportHB 17−1097: Repeal Ammunition Magazine Prohibition
Position: Support

This bill repeals the prohibition on the sale, transfer, and possession of “large-capacity” ammunition magazines, and it also repeals the requirement that a magazine manufactured in Colorado have a permanent stamp or marking indicating it was produced after July 1, 2013.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 17−1098: Damages For Loss Of Use Of Rental Motor Vehicles
Position: Oppose

This bill limits the damages that a vehicle rental company can recover for the loss of use of the vehicle to the actual lost profits suffered by the company due to the loss of use of the vehicle. Dictating the terms of private contracts is not supporting a free market.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 17−1101: Division Of Youth Corrections Monetary Incentives Award Program
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Youth Corrections Monetary Incentives Award Program in the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) of the Department of Human Services. The program provides monetary awards for juveniles committed to DYC facilities demonstrating academic, social, or psychological progress. A juvenile may use the money earned only for educational purposes, independent living expenses, restitution, or other approved expenses. The DYC must credit and hold in trust any money awarded to a juvenile in the program. If the juvenile does not have an account, DYC must establish one for him or her.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 17−1105: Vehicle Titling And Registration Inspection Requirements
Position: Support

Currently, the Department of Revenue is authorized by law to require vehicle-related entities specified by rule to verify information concerning a vehicle through the physical inspection of the vehicle. Vehicles that have never been registered in Colorado must obtain a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification, which entails a physical inspection of the VIN. These verifications can be obtained at emissions inspection stations, as well as some motor vehicle dealerships, county clerks offices, and law enforcement agencies. A $ 20 fee is typically assessed for this verification and is retained by the entity that collects the fee. This bill would specify that the Department of Revenue may not require a physical VIN verifications as a condition for vehicle registration or certificate of title issuance if the applicant for a new vehicle registration or title: presents a copy of the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin, presents a purchase receipt from the dealer or out-of-state seller that indicates the applicant purchased the vehicle as new, or has the vehicle currently registered in another Colorado county at the time of application. This would simplify the vehicle registration/titling process and reduce the time people spend dealing with government.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1106: Extend Early Childhood Leadership Commission
Position: Oppose

This bill expands the scope and size of the early childhood leadership commission in the department of human services by adding the consideration of the families of pregnant women and children to the duties of the commission, increasing the committee membership from 20 members to 25 members, allowing general fund appropriations for the commission, and extending the repeal date and sunset review of the commission from 2018 to 2023 (as if it will actually sunset). The purpose of the commission is to assist in coordinating services and supports for pregnant women and young children from birth to eight years of age and their families to improve the delivery of those services and improve the educational, health, emotional and mental health, child welfare, and employment outcomes for these children and their families. While these are wonderful services, it is not the role of government to coordinate them.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 17−1112: Immunity Unauthorized Practice of Profession
Position: Support

This bill would make an individual who makes a voluntary disclosure of the unauthorized practice of a profession to the Department of Regulatory Agencies immune from any civil and administrative penalties associated with the unauthorized practice disclosed if the individual meets specified criteria. Criteria include that the individual initiates the contact with the department, makes the disclosure in the attempt to determine whether a particular act constitutes the unauthorized practice of a profession, has not previously been found to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of a profession, is licensed/registered/otherwise authorized to practice a profession regulated by the department, and the unauthorized practice is in a field related to the practice related to the field for which the individual is licensed/registered/otherwise authorized to practice. This bill would make individuals less likely to get burned by current government overregulation when they’re just trying to do the right thing.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1114: State Treasurer’s Authority to Access PERA Public Employees’ Retirement Association Information
Position: Support

The bill authorizes the State Treasurer to review all records or information within the custody and control of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) upon request. The State Treasurer is responsible for any reasonable costs, beyond minor expenses, associated with providing the records

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1115: Direct Primary Health Care Services
Position: Support

This bill would allow for some private contracting between patients and doctors without having to be regulated as insurance.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 17−1116: Continue Low-Income Household Energy Assistance
Position: Oppose

This bill would indefinitely extend authorization for up to $ 13 million of Tier 2 Severance Tax Operational Fund moneys for low-income energy-assistance programs. Under current law, funding for these programs is set to expire after FY 2018-19.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1119: Payment of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Position: Oppose

Colorado law mandates that employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance on their employees to cover them in the event they are injured on the job. This bill creates the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund and an appointed board to oversee it. If an employer does not obey the law by enrolling his employees in a workers’ comp insurance plan and an employee gets injured, then this board would pursue action to force the employer to pay benefits to that worker. If the employer comes up short on payment, then the board would determine and make payments to the injured person out of this newly created fund. In other words, this is a new backup workers comp insurance program that is run and funded by the state. The fund will be populated with penalties, fines & fees, “gifts, grants and donations” (although none have been identified as of yet…), and possible future appropriations (i.e. your tax dollars).  Should the state start getting into every business line as a backstop for when people or companies don’t follow the law? Colorado mandates auto liability insurance – should the state also have a “Colorado Uninsured Motorist Act” and step in to provide these same services and coverages for claims on uninsured motorists? In addition to an expansion of government, such policies create a moral hazard. Similar to ‘too big to fail’ policies, when government provides a backstop, there is less incentive for the private sector to take responsibility for risk. Moral hazard means the market looks at the situation and rationally says, “the government will take care of it, so I don’t need to.” Also, collecting fines, fees, and seeking appropriations to fund legal suits and bestow insurance payouts with zero accountability, no market discipline of pricing/profit/loss, and no downside risk creates an asymmetric risk – government has 0% risk and taxpayers/employers have 100%. And if things don’t work out, just increase your fees because you’re the government and you don’t have to operate in a free market—you have taxpayers and employers to bail you out.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1121: Patient Safety Act
Position: Oppose

This bill would require applicants for initial licensure or certification, and current licensees and certificate holders to submit to a fingerprint-based criminal history record check for podiatrists, dentists/dental hygienists, medical doctors, physicians assistants, anesthesiologists, nurses, certified nurse aides, optometrists, and veterinarians. The bill also requires an employer of a certified nurse aide (CNA) to report whenever a CNA is terminated from employment or resigns in lieu of termination within 30 days after the termination or resignation. The bill also repeals the current ‘Nurse Licensure Compact’ and adopts the ‘Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact’.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1123: Extend On-Premises Retail Alcohol Beverages Sales Hours
Position: Support

Current law prohibits a person licensed to sell alcohol beverages for on-premises consumption (ex: bars, clubs etc.) from serving alcohol beverages between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. This bill would allow a local government the ability to decide to extend the hours during which alcohol beverages may be sold for on-premises consumption at establishments within the local government’s jurisdiction. POL supported a similar bill in 2014, HB14-1132. This bill allows the potential for some reduced regulation.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1124: Local Government Liable Fracking Ban Oil and Gas Moratorium
Position: Support

This bill would specify that a local government that bans hydraulic fracturing of an oil and gas well is liable to the mineral interest owner for the value of the mineral interest and that a local government that enacts a moratorium on oil and gas activities shall compensate oil and gas operators, mineral lessees, and royalty owners for all costs, damages, and losses of fair market value associated with the moratorium. A local government that executes a “taking” from individuals, either through possession or through the denial of the legal use of one’s property, cannot constitutionally do so without just reason and compensation. Property rights are not a local control issue. The fundamental role of the state is to protect individuals’ rights to life, liberty and property. Those rights cannot be voted away by a local tyranny of the majority.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
OpposeHB 17−1127: Exempt Feminine Hygiene Products from Sales Tax
Position: Oppose

This bill would create a state sales tax exemption for all sales, storage, and use of feminine hygiene products. This legislation exhibits the state picking winners/losers in the tax code based on a socio-economic political agenda. This is tax politics, not tax policy.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1132: Judicial Disqualification in Civil Actions
Position: Support

This bill codifies the right to file a motion to disqualify a judge if the judge is interested in the action or prejudiced, has been counsel for any of the parties, is or has been a material witness in the case, or is related or connected with any party or a party’s attorney in a way that would render it improper for the judge to sit on the trial/appeal/other proceeding. If the judge who is the subject of the motion does not immediately grant the motion, the issue is referred to another judge. The other judge is directed to reassign cases when a motion is made in good faith and is legally sufficient and is authorized to deny a motion that is not filed in a timely manner. This bill would help ensure that the law is applied equally to each individual and that rights are not abrogated due to personal bias.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 17−1135: Portability Background Checks Child Care Workers
Position: Support

This bill allows a child care worker in licensed child care facilities to undergo a single records check of the state child abuse and neglect database if he or she works at multiple facilities or is transferred between facilities that are wholly owned, operated, and controlled by a common ownership group or school district. Under current law, child care workers must undergo this child abuse and neglect records check for each licensed facility in which they work, so this bill would reduce some redundant regulation.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1138: Hate Crime Reporting by Law Enforcement
Position: Oppose

Current law requires every law enforcement agency in the state to submit information about crimes, arrests, and stolen and recovered property to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). CBI receives this information through the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which allows law enforcement agencies to indicate whether or not a crime had a “bias” motivation. This bill would require DPS to include information about bias-motivated crimes in its annual report to the General Assembly and “determine whether or not each law enforcement agency is accurately reporting hate crimes.” This bill affirms and perpetuates the notion that it’s the role of government to punish crimes with alleged “bias” motivations more harshly in order to (somehow?) give certain groups of people greater “protection” under the law than others. All citizens should be protected equally by the law.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 17−1141: Equal Protection from Fed Employee Personal Attack
Position: Support

This bill makes it illegal for a federal employee to deprive a range allotment owner of any property right related to that allotment, including a denial of due process or a physical or regulatory taking without just compensation. A violation is an unclassified felony, punishable by a fine of up to $ 500,000, imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both. An owner who suffers a loss as a result of the person’s actions also has a private (civil) right of action and is entitled to recover damages.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
SupportHB 17−1145: Amateur Winemaker Tastings Contests & Judgings
Position: Support

Under current law, amateur brewers may participate in organized events, such as contests, tastings, or judgings, held at licensed premises, as long as portions do not exceed six ounces and are not sold, offered for sale, or made available for consumption by the general public. This bill allows amateur winemakers to likewise participate in organized events, provided the same portion and sale requirements are met. What’s sauce for the brewer is sauce for the vintner! It’s crazy that existing regulations force us to have laws like this in order to allow simple amateur brewing/winemaking contests, but this is the world we live in. This bill does expand individual liberty and nominally decrease government.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1146: Parents’ Rights Related to Minors
Position: Support

This bill would allow employees who are qualified to dispense drugs per school district policy to dispense over-the-counter medications to a student if the student’s parent or legal guardian provided the school district with written general authorization to do so during a specified academic year. The bill grants criminal and civil immunity to such school employees if they acted with written authorization from the student’s parent or legal guardian. The same authority and immunity is granted to child care providers, including employees or relatives in non-licensed facilities, provided the person dispensing the over-the-counter medication has written general authority from the child’s parent or legal guardian for a specific time period. The bill would also allow a parent or legal guardian to opt out of the collection and storage by a local education provider of any type of data related to his or her child.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1154: Creation of a Sister-State Relationship Program
Position: Oppose

This bill would require the Colorado Office of Economic Development to establish and maintain an international sister-state relationship program. As we stated in 2016, “This is not the role of state government.”

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1156: Prohibits Conversion Therapy Mental Health Provider
Position: Oppose

This idea has been floated the past two years, and some of our comments still apply… Does the legislature, in its infinite wisdom, know better than anyone else in the state what medical treatments psychiatrists and mental health providers should offer? Well, certainly they know more than you Luddites who cling to those anachronistic vestiges of parenthood, anyway. This bill would make it illegal for parents and/or persons under 18 to decide whether or not a minor will receive counseling that seeks to influence their “sexual orientation or gender identity.”

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1159: Remedies for Forcible Entry and Detainer
Position: Support

This bill would make it a crime to lock or change the locks on a property for the purpose of preventing the rightful owner from getting inside, a crime to re-enter property that the owner has lawfully reclaimed possession of, and a crime to forcibly enter and take up occupancy in a dwelling without permission from the owner. The bill also deals with issues associated with the process of recovering one’s property, including specifying how the property owner must respect the property rights of the defendant.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
SupportHB 17−1161: TIF Transparency
Position: Support

This bill would require urban renewal authorities (URAs) to prepare a public report no later than 90 days after the end of the first fiscal year in which an urban renewal plan using tax increment financing (TIF) has been authorized, and each year thereafter. The report must include information on TIF revenue collected in the previous year, the taxing entities affected, how revenues were spent, projected TIF revenues for the upcoming year, and progress made on urban renewal projects. The report must also include an independent audit of the URA’s financial status by a certified public accountant. If the audit identifies that TIF revenue has been used for unauthorized purposes, the URA is liable for the repayment of those tax revenues to the taxing entities. This bill helps create accountability for tax increment financing, a somewhat questionable financial practice to begin with in that it mortgages a community’s future for someone’s gain today.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 17−1162: Outstanding Judgments and Drivers’ Licenses
Position: Not Rated

Update 4/3: As originally written, this bill would have provided municipal courts with the option of withholding a driver’s state income tax refund in order to satisfy certain outstanding judgments. But since only those making a certain minimum amount of income pay state income tax, this penalty would have only been applicable to those people, removing any realistic enforcement of a properly adjudicated penalty on others. The bill had a “strike-below” amendment in committee, which means that the entire bill was basically replaced with something else which still fits the bill title. The new bill completely removed the income tax withholding idea, and deals with “driving under restraint for an outstanding judgment”, making it a 3 point offense and removing the mandatory denial of issuing or renewing a driver license.

Previous rating: Oppose. Under current law, an individual who is cited for certain traffic infractions must either pay the penalty assessment or appear in court for a hearing. If the individual does not pay the infraction or appears for a hearing, the court must issue a judgment against the individual. An individual who has an outstanding judgment may have his/her driver’s license canceled, may not receive a new driver’s license, and may not renew a current driver’s license. This bill would repeal these penalties and instead provide municipal courts with the option of withholding a driver’s state income tax refund in order to satisfy the outstanding judgment. This violates the principle of equal protection of law, because only those making a certain minimum amount of income pay state income tax and therefore this penalty will only be applicable to those people, and it removes any realistic enforcement of a properly adjudicated penalty on others.

OpposeHB 17−1163: Candidate Petition Filing Deadlines & Signatures
Position: Oppose

This bill would extend the amount of time that elections officials may review candidate petitions by reducing the amount of time that candidates may circulate such petitions. The bill also increases the number of signers needed to qualify petitions for candidates for certain partisan public offices. The change in the number of signatures required in order to petition onto a ballot could potentially make it more difficult for minor party or unaffiliated candidates to petition onto the general election ballot than for a major party candidate to petition onto their respective primary ballots. For a state House or Senate race, this bill would require major party candidates to gather the lesser of either 1,000 signatures or 30% of the number of votes cast in the last primary election in order to petition onto their party’s primary ballot (if there was no primary held, then they’d have to get 30% of the voters in the last general election). For minor party candidates (who don’t hold primaries), this bill would require them to gather the lesser of either 1,000 signatures or 30% of the number of voters in the last general election. Since Colorado is about 1/3 R, 1/3 D, 1/3 other, then a R or D primary will have a maximum of 1/3 of the votes that could be cast in a general election (although the upcoming new rules for primaries will muddle this). That means that R’s and D’s potentially wouldn’t need to get nearly as many signatures as a minor party candidate would in order to get onto a ballot. The decidedly disproportionate effect this would have on minor party or unaffiliated petitioners makes this bill oppose the principle of equal protection of law. After talking to one of the bill sponsors it appears that wasn’t necessarily the intent of the bill, so we will be watching to see if it is amended. If amended in order to treat the candidates more equitably, then we will likely move to a No Rate.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 17−1167: Existing Businesses in Business Improvement Dist
Position: Support

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a type of special district created within a municipality. Once created, businesses in the BID can vote to tax themselves and use this revenue to collectively manage and finance services such as marketing, maintenance, and economic development. Municipalities have oversight authority over BIDs via the requirement that a municipality approve each BID’s operating plan and budget on an annual basis. Under current law, the “service area” of a BID can include up to 50% undeveloped area. BIDs were not intended for the purpose of funding expenses related to development of raw land or blighted areas, as the taxes they impose endure long after the costs associated with development have been covered. This bill would restrict the service area of a BID to locations that already have existing businesses. There are already other mechanisms for developers to utilize to help defray the costs of development. Allowing them to pile BID financing on top of other mechanisms such as municipal districts and URA’s may be easy money for developers, but it’s the taxpayers who foot the bill long after the developers are gone. Just say no to corporate welfare.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1173: Health Care Providers & Carriers Contracts
Position: Oppose

The bill would require a contract between a health insurance carrier and a health provider to include a provision that prohibits a carrier from taking an adverse action against the provider due to a provider’s disagreement with a carrier’s decision on the provision of health care services. The bill also requires the contract to contain provisions that prohibit a carrier from: taking adverse actions for communicating with public officials on health care issues, filing complaints or reporting to public officials about conduct by a carrier that might negatively affect patient care, providing information in a forum concerning the required contract provisions, reporting alleged carrier violations, or participating in an investigation of an alleged violation. While there should arguably be some protections for “whistleblowers”, forcing specific terms into private contracts is not the best way to accomplish that goal.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1175: Domestic Violence Awareness Barbers Cosmetologists
Position: Oppose

This bill would require barbers, hairstylists, cosmetologists, estheticians, and nail technicians, to take a one-time training course for one hour on domestic violence and sexual assault awareness in order to renew their license. As of January 2017, there are approximately 57,000 professionals registered under the Barbers and Cosmetologists Act. This bill imposes yet another licensure requirement on people who just want to cut your hair or do your nails. They shouldn’t be required by the state for a permission slip to do so in the first place, much less be subjected to additional “training” that has nothing to do with cutting your hair or doing your nails.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 17−1176: PERA Public Employees’ Retirement Association Retirees Employed by Rural School Districts
Position: Not Rated

Current law allows a service retiree of any division of the public employees’ retirement association (PERA) to work for a PERA employer for limited periods of time and to receive a salary without a reduction in benefits. This bill would allow rural districts experiencing “critical shortages” of teachers, cooks, school bus drivers etc. to hire these retirees indefinitely without any reduction in their benefits. No problem. However, we run into an issue of conflicting principles with this bill because it only allows rural school districts to do this. Should retirees working in non-rural districts be subject to more restrictions than those working in rural districts? The fact that this bill applies only to some teaching districts moves it from supporting our principles to a “no rate” for us.

OpposeHB 17−1182: Charter School & District Student Revenue True Up
Position: Oppose

This bill would force charter schools and school districts to transfer money back and forth within a school year based upon changes in enrollment due to transfers during the year – but not ALL transfers, of course. Reading the bill, there are 3 scenarios for reimbursement transfers: charter schools to non-charter schools in-District, non-charter schools to charter schools in-District, and charter schools to non-charter schools of a different district. It seems that the payments are somewhat asymmetric. 1) For in-district transfers, a positive net difference of flows would go from charter schools to non-charter schools, but not the other way around. It’s a one-way street. 2) For out of district transfers, only transfers from charter schools to out of district non-charter schools are covered, with no reciprocation or even any netting out of transfers in the opposite direction. This seems to be a bit one-sided. Someone’s hating on charter schools to the benefit of non-charter schools – does that indicate they must be doing something right? Shouldn’t all public schools be funded fairly?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 17−1184: Modern Technology in Public Schools
Position: Oppose

This bill would require the DOE to create and maintain a resource bank for school districts and charter school with materials for computer science courses and programs, and require the State Board of Education to add skills relating to the use of technology when they revise or re-adopt academic content standards for preschool through 12th grade. Ok, so far. In addition, this bill would create a grant program (here we go) in the Department of Education for teachers who want to receive additional education and training to help them provide computer science education in public schools. Naturally, the state board can give priority to grant applications that would benefit teachers in a school district that serves a high number of minority students, serves a high-poverty student population, or serves students in rural areas. The Fiscal Note estimates that this bill would cost the state over $ 550,000 per year the next two years and ongoing expenditures in subsequent years. And who knows where it will go once a successful grant giveaway (the giveaway, not the results) is promoted (see: Accelerated Industries grant program). The legislative declaration in the bill states that, “Many students do not have access to technology and computer science training, which results in a lack of gender and ethnic diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.” So, of course the answer is to create a grant program for a little redistributive government intervention. NOT the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1185: Reports of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
Position: Support

This bill would add employees/officials of county health, human or social services departments to the list of people required to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect. While we don’t support telling private citizens or employees what to do, the role of state government is to protect life, liberty, and property. Requiring county employees in these departments to say something if they know or suspect child abuse or neglect furthers the state’s proper function in protecting the lives of children. We do have a concern as to whether this legal mandate could encourage “over-reporting” as people act out of a fear of missing something, but this law is in effect for over a dozen other professions now and placing government employees under the same standards seems reasonable.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
OpposeHB 17−1186: Health Coverage Prescription and Contraceptives Supply
Position: Oppose

This bill would require health insurance plans that are mandated to cover contraceptives to provide reimbursement to providers or dispensing entities for 3-month supplies of a prescription contraceptive the first time it is dispensed to a covered person, for 12-month supplies for future refills of the same prescription, and also that insurance plans pay for vaginal contraceptive rings that are intended to last for three months. Once again, the government is mandating (more) terms in private contracts and telling businesses the services they are required to provide. Because apparently we can’t get enough bipartisan support for driving up the health care costs for all in order to provide free stuff for some.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1187: Change Excess State Revenues Cap Growth Factor
Position: Oppose

We would like to start out by saying that we had excellent discussion with one of this bill’s sponsors, Representative Dan Thurlow, about this bill. Rep. Thurlow made his case for this bill, and we had a couple of good conversations about it this past week. At POL, our mission is to focus the conversation on the proper role of government at the state level and how to best go about that role. While we weren’t able to come to agreement on the policy in this bill, we appreciate the opportunity to have that conversation and believe that such conversations benefit everyone.

Why Some Want To Change The TABOR Cap Calculation

We’ll start by paraphrasing the arguments made for this bill in order to help give context to the reader suddenly tossed into the middle of this issue. Proponents of the bill assert that that there are contradictions and problems with the budgeting process due to TABOR. An example given to us was that if legislators implement a new government program funded by fees (which they can do because fees are supposedly not taxes, so they are not subject to a vote of the people under TABOR), then the amount of money raised by the fees would increase the state’s revenue and would force an increase in the TABOR refund (IF we’re in a surplus position, as we are right now). Another argument made was that when the economy is strong, the state should save and invest the additional revenue (rather than refunding it). The final argument that was made was that once there is more/enough money, then the legislature will be able to make better decisions about how to best allocate that money. While we’re at it, we’ll throw in a couple of other assertions we’ve heard from other folks who want to change TABOR: TABOR refunds are meager/meaningless, and we simply need more money to [insert your own pet policy here].

What Is The Current Cap Calculation?

POL’s response to these arguments is that while, yes, there are some conflicting drivers in the state revenue/budgeting process that can be a challenge, changing/raising the revenue cap does not address those challenges but simply covers them up with the band-aid of increased revenues. If you’re bad at budgeting and hit a $ 100,000 lottery, your budget problems may go away for now but eventually they will catch up with you… just on a grander scale.

The TABOR cap instituted by Referendum C is the limit on the increase in the amount of revenue the state can keep each year. To help explain how the current TABOR cap is calculated, let’s break down TABOR in a very simplified way. The state collects taxes. Each year, the amount of taxes collected usually goes up because we have more people, inflation, and increased productivity amongst other factors. TABOR starts its calculation by asking, “How much should government grow each year?” TABOR answers, “Well, if we have 2% more people in population to govern, then it should grow just enough to govern those additional people. And, if inflation goes up 2% then the cost of government will go up 2%, so it should go up that much too. So TABOR should allow for government growth of population + inflation. In this example, 2% + 2% = 4%.”

What are those number projected by the state to be the next few years?

Projected 2019 = 4.7%

Projected 2018 = 4.6%

Projected 2017 = 3.1%

What were those numbers in prior years?

2016 = 4.4%

2015 = 4.3%

2014 = 3.3%

2013 = 5.4%

2012 = 2.0%

2011 = 1.2%

This is how much TABOR currently allows state government to “grow” every year.

So, when the state collects amounts in taxes that EXCEEDS those growth rates above, then the state must either give it back or ask permission to keep it. The state can refund the money in several ways. One way would be to give everyone a refund check. Other ways include various tax credits. Another way to give the excess money back, or keep from collecting too big of an increase, would be to reduce the tax rate (keep that in mind for later).

By the way, TABOR only applies to about 43% of the total budget. The rest of the budget is NOT limited by TABOR and consists of things like “enterprise” revenues (remember how some want to make hospital provider fees an “enterprise”?), federal funding, fees, Certificates of Participation (COPs), many districts that have permanently ‘de-Bruced”, etc. ].

How Would This Change the TABOR Calculation?

This bill proposes to ask the people to vote (which TABOR requires) to change the calculation of the Referendum C cap. Essentially, instead of using population growth + inflation to set the cap, this bill proposes using the five year rolling average of the people’s personal income as the cap.

Currently: Growth is limited to the rate of population growth + inflation

Proposal: Growth is limited to the rate of your income growth

So instead of tying the growth of government to the growth in the number of people being governed (and using the government) plus accounting for inflation, this bill says that the more money you make, the more government deserves to grow… simply because you made more. Your hard work, your improved efficiency, your risk-taking with your own personal capital that you turned into production, your working overtime, your second job, your raise, your promotion, your investment in education to get a better job, your personal success—that should be only the limiting factor on how much government should be allowed to grow. I call it the “pack-mule” limit. The only limit on how much government can grow is based on how much money the beasts of burden (taxpayers) can produce for it. That’s no limit at all.

The Very Point of TABOR and its Success

As for the example given in our opening segment “Why Some Want To Change The TABOR Calculation”, which revealed that adding a new government program funded by fees over here would require refunding an equal amount to the taxpayer (or, alternatively, cutting a government program over there): that is the very point of TABOR. Once the state has hit the limit to the amount of INCREASE in revenue TABOR allows based on population growth + inflation, then anything else is excess, and either something else must be trimmed to make room for a new program, or maybe the new program should wait.

The Denver Post made several noteworthy comments in their recent editorial supporting the weakening of TABOR. 1) They admitted that TABOR has made Colorado state government more efficient, 2) They admitted that Colorado state government has still managed to grow “substantially”, even with TABOR in place, and 3) They admit that after the first two years of implementation, there are projected to be no tax refunds for the foreseeable future under this new calculation. In other words, the new cap would be no cap at all.

The Post also stated that, “That growth occurred despite lawmakers reducing taxes three times. In 2001, the state’s sales tax was reduced from 3 percent to 2.9 percent. In 1999 and 2000, income tax was reduced from 5 percent to 4.75 percent and 4.63 percent, respectively.” Now that you know how TABOR works, you should be able to see through that statement. Tax RATES were reduced in order to limit the growth of tax dollar collections by the state to stay within the TABOR cap. The taxes collected were not reduced. Tax rates were cut. These were reduced to stay within the TABOR limits on growth.

POL believes that a government growth rate of 1.2%-5.4% per year, as we’ve experienced this decade, should be sufficient and that basing a growth limit on the number of people the government is here to serve plus an allowance for inflation makes sense. We also believe that changing the TABOR cap calculation to be no cap at all, but rather a vehicle for simply taking a piece of every gain that we work so hard to get is based on a premise of government entitlement. We are not pack mules. The government is here to serve the people, not the other way around.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1188: Concerning Bias-Motivated Harassment
Position: Oppose

Under current law, you get a class 3 misdemeanor if you commit harassment. However, if you commit harassment because of someone’s race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin, you get a class 1 (more serious) misdemeanor. What changed between those two circumstances? Nothing except your alleged motivation as determined by the state. This bill would add committing harassment because of someone’s disability or sexual orientation to the class of crimes that result in a class 1 misdemeanor. At Principles of Liberty, we believe that all citizens are equal in their inherent worth as individuals and in the eyes of the law. Likewise, we believe that crime is crime, regardless of the motivation that spurs its commission. If the penalty for harassment isn’t tough enough, perhaps we should make it tougher. But it should be made the same for everyone who commits the crime of harassment, thereby protecting every harassment victim equally, rather than creating special classes of citizens worthy of “extra” protection. Whether someone harasses your able-bodied mom or your gay or disabled brother, all victims deserve equal protection under the law.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 17−1191: Demographic Notes for Certain Legislative Bills
Position: Oppose

This bill would allow certain members of house and senate leadership to each request a minimum of 5 “demographic notes” from the legislative services office outlining the potential disparate effects of a legislative measure on various populations. Populations may be identified by race, gender, disability, age, geography, income, etc. This bill might appear innocuous at first glance—of course legislators should be considering the impact of their legislation on Colorado citizens. However, legislators should always be considering the impact of legislation and applying the rule of law equally for all Colorado citizens, not trying to control outcomes based on certain demographics.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 17−1192: Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council
Position: Oppose

This bill scraps the Farm-to-School Coordination Task Force and transfers certain duties of that task force with the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council, which is located in the Department of Agriculture. The duties of the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council are expanded to include additional collaboration, coordination, and outreach with schools, farmers, food producers, state and federal agencies, and consumers, and research and data collection on Food Systems and food access. This incredibly vital government role (yes, for those who are unsure, this is sarcasm) is necessary because, as the bill says, no state in the country is “… meeting national goals for the amount of fruits and vegetables that Americans should be eating.” (Note – these quotes are actually taken directly from the bill and unfortunately are not sarcasm.) We all know that the role of government is to get us to eat our fruits and vegetables! Not only will this government program make us all healthier, it “… will create jobs, stimulate statewide economic development, and circulate money from local food sales within local communities,” “protect the natural environment,” and “provide greater food security for all Coloradans.” We didn’t realize that such nirvana was simply one bill away. Naturally, the bill would increase costs in the Department of Agriculture by up to $ 176,509 next year and even in more the following year.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1195: Create State Sales Tax Exemption for Diapers
Position: Oppose

Tax exemptions for bodily functions are popular this session. This bill would create a state sales tax exemption for disposable diapers (but not cloth or washable diapers), and specifies that local taxing jurisdictions may choose to adopt the same exemption. It is not the role of government to pick winners and losers or to try to gin up votes through a cafeteria style ad hoc redistributionist tax policy.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 17−1196: Credit Hours Required for Barbers Cosmetologists
Position: Support

This bill would reduce the number of hours required to get a cosmetology license from 1,800 to 1,500 and add an alternative option of taking 50 credits of approved classes instead. The bill would also give barbers the option to take 50 credits instead of the 1,500 credit hours currently required for licensure. This would marginally reduce the licensure requirements for cosmetologists and give cosmetologists and barbers more options. A small step, but a positive step nonetheless. If you ever want to see an example of just how absurd the regulatory state is, check out Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, and read through some of the countless (well, over 100 anyway) occupations you can’t practice without approval from the state.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1206: Eligibility CO Road & Community Safety Act
Position: Oppose

Currently, a person who is illegally present in the United States may obtain a driver’s license or identification card if certain requirements are met. One of the requirements is that the person must present a taxpayer identification card. This bill would allow a social security number to also meet this requirement, and for licenses or identification cards to be renewed and reissued if lost… even if you’re (still) in the U.S.A. in violation of the law. As we said in 2015 when SB15-066 was run, “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.” The principles we applied then still apply today.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 17−1210: School Discipline for Preschool Through 2nd Grade
Position: Oppose

This bill would prohibit schools from expelling students in preschool through second grade in all but a few circumstances, and limit the length of suspensions. It would also require school districts to adopt prevention and early intervention strategies to reduce the need for early childhood and early elementary grade suspensions and expulsions. The bill expands the expelled and at-risk student services grant program to include services for preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary grade students and their families. This bill dictates and limits how local school districts are allowed to handle behavior/disciple under the direction of local school boards, improperly centralizing these decisions at the state level.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1211: Educators Professional Development Discipline Strategies
Position: Oppose

According to this bill, expelling kids isn’t the best method of discipline because it may cause kids to hate school and later make bad choices that lead to jail, so we need to create a grant program to help (some) schools learn more about “culturally responsive” methods of discipline. Naturally, big brother (i.e. the state) will determine who gets the grants based on factors like the disciplinary methods the school is currently using and the demographic of the applicant school. Hmm. It’s the role of parents to help their kids make good life choices from childhood until adulthood. It’s not the responsibility of the state to create a grant program to teach schools “culturally responsive” methods of discipline under the assumption that schools are responsible for the future life choices of students.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 17−1213: Transfers of Auto Titles upon Death
Position: Support

Under current law, the Department of Revenue (DOR) provides a beneficiary designation form that allows the owner or joint owners of a vehicle to arrange for the transfer of the vehicle’s title to a named beneficiary upon the owner’s or owners’ death. This bill assigns the responsibility of providing beneficiary designation forms to the Division of Motor Vehicles within the Department of Revenue (DOR), rather than DOR itself. The bill also clarifies that a personal representative of the estate of a deceased vehicle owner, a successor, or a person acting on behalf of the successor, are not liable for obtaining a new vehicle title or for transferring the vehicle title if they have no knowledge of a valid beneficiary designation form. This bill seems to simplify some vehicle title transfers and make it easier for the personal representative to deal with this issue upon the death of the vehicle owner. It follows on the heels of last year’s HB16-1051, which POL rated as supporting the principles of Property Rights and Limited Government. This bill incrementally reduces government and clarifies that the state doesn’t expect telepathy out of executors.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1214: Encourage Employee Ownership of Existing Small Business
Position: Oppose

For starters, this bill identifies a “problem.” The “problem” is that “Many small business owners in both urban and rural areas of the state do not have a succession plan for their retirement, and as these business owners retire, there will be, nationally, approximately ten trillion dollars in assets up for sale.” We’ll ignore conflating national data with the so-called problem in Colorado in order to make it seem impossibly huge – TEN TRILLION DOLLARS. So just what is the problem with small business owners selling their business when they retire? That seems like one of many perfectly plausible exit strategies for a business owner. The bill goes on to state that “employee ownership is one successful solution to this problem because it allows small business owners to strategize an exit that keeps the business and jobs in in the community and keeps the business owner’s legacy intact.” So if the owner sells to another owner, it’s assumed the new owner is buying the business to close it down or move it? And since when is it the role of the state to keep a business owner’s legacy intact? We think a successful business owner is competent enough to explore his options for an exit strategy all by his successful self and doesn’t need the state to push one particular exit strategy on him.

The bill goes on to highlight the bill sponsors’ opinions on the benefits of companies that are “… employee-owned and democratically managed”, such as “…an enhanced tax base” for the community, “…add value to the communities it serves”, employees who are “…invested in their place of employment and get to enjoy the fruits of their labor”, and “…have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur without all of the risk.” Stop and think about the inherent conflict between these last two statements. First of all, doesn’t someone who works for agreed upon wages and benefits already get to enjoy the fruits of his labor? The wages and benefits ARE the fruits of his labor. If the job isn’t fruitful enough, then he is free to find another one that is, or increase his value to the firm to earn more fruit. Yet this bill seems to imply that only owners get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Not only that, the bill then asserts that this program will help employees get some of that fruit WITHOUT ALL OF THE RISK that the original crazy business owners took to start the company. Workers unite! Socialize the businesses! The state can help you grab that fruit without all that risk!

We’re not done yet. To “encourage” the aforementioned employee ownership of companies, the bill would establish a state government loan program, giving “flexible and favorable terms” to incentivize employee ownership. The bill would pay a Colorado non-profit organization (of course, because for-profits are bad!) that supports and promotes the employee-owned business model to educate staff at the state Office of Economic Development (OED) on the forms and merits of employee ownership so that the state OED can then go out and promote employee-owned business ownership either on its own, or by paying a non-profit group to do that for them. In addition, the OED would establish a loan program to help business transition to an employee-owned business with loans of up to $ 10,000. The OED could either run the loan program or pay an employee-owned non-profit organization to do it for them. The bill states that the loans can only be used for, “… technical assistance or for transition purposes and may not be used to pay off other debt, for general operating expenses, or for capital expenditures.” Of course, the fungibility of money and use of undefined terms (technical assistance, transition purposes) makes such a “restriction” pretty toothless. The bill says that if a non-profit is used to do the loan program, then the OED can give the money to the non-profit as a grant to make the loans with (so what happens if the loans aren’t repaid to the non-profit ?) The bill kick-starts the program with $ 200,000. This is NOT the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1215: Mental Health Support for Peace Officers
Position: Oppose

This bill “encourages” sheriffs to institute policies to have mental health professionals provide on-scene response services to help deputy sheriffs handle people dealing with mental health issues and provide counseling services to officers. The bill creates a grant program to fund these objectives although it doesn’t make any appropriations—for now. Sheriffs are elected officials accountable to their constituents, and we’re confident that as elected officials they are motivated to do what’s best for their officers and constituents. We’re also confident that the people can either support those efforts or find a new sheriff in town, all without the state having to create new grant programs.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1216: Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force
Position: Support

This bill would create a Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force for the purpose of studying sales and use tax simplification between the state and local governments, especially between the state and home rule jurisdictions. As much as we generally dislike task forces, blue ribbon panels, stakeholder groups and the like, this one is probably necessary. The current taxation of businesses across the state is complicated with competing rules on timing, audits, rules, exceptions, etc., making it very difficult for employers to comply with state and local sales/use tax code. This bill would start the process of trying to figure out the challenges and simplify the process. Why it has to create this task force for a period of 3 years, we’re not sure – maybe they’re just setting the bar low in hopes you won’t actually expect them to get something done in the near future.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1219: Extend Colorado Water Conservation Board Fallowing And Leasing Pilot Program
Position: Support

The Colorado water conservation board administers a program to allow the practice of fallowing agricultural irrigation land and leasing the associated water rights for temporary municipal, agricultural, environmental, industrial, or recreational use. Under the current program, up to 10 pilot projects, each for a duration up to 10 years, may be authorized. This bill would extend the program and expand it to 15 projects. Water rights are very complicated. There are various rules/laws with respect to use (use it or lose it), speculation (illegal), etc. The original bill, HB13-1248, was passed 62-0-3 in the House and 34-1 in the Senate. The program appears to allow a farmer/rancher to fallow his field and temporarily lease his associated waters rights for that field while he does so. Here’s where knowledge of water law comes into play. There are rules that are basically “use it or lose it” with respect to water, and there are laws against “speculating” in water rights. In other words, there are various restrictions on how you can/must use your water rights, some of which might force a farmer/rancher to continue to plant his field, even if its not the best thing for him or his land, just so that he won’t lose his water rights. This program seems to be a step toward allowing farmers/ranchers to pursue best practices without running afoul of water law issues as a result. While the bill is limited in scope, it does not appear to favor any one group over another.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
Not RatedHB 17−1222: Create Family Caregiver Support Fund Tax Check-off
Position: Not Rated

Update 4/3: We previously rated this bill as opposing Limited Government. However, as an astute legislator pointed out to us, Principles of Liberty historically has not rated tax check off bills (too easy – we’d always evaluate as opposing limited government). While we don’t like the fact that tax check offs are essentially the state acting as a fundraiser for select organizations, this bill is not materially different from other tax check off bills this year or in prior years that we did not rate. We take pride in applying our principles consistently and in a uniform way, so we are moving this bill to a No Rate. If we decide to start rating tax check off bills, we will do so in a future year and in a consistent way. Thanks for the dialogue, Representative!

Previous rating: Oppose. This bill would create a donation checkoff line on your Colorado tax return for the Easter Seals of Colorado— certainly a fine private organization doing good work. But, as we’ve reported in the past for similar bills, we still have not found any provision in the state constitution demanding that the state become the fundraiser in chief for any particular non-profits.

SupportHB 17−1223: OSA Office of the State Auditor Fraud Hotline
Position: Support

This bill would require the State Auditor to establish and administer a “fraud hotline” consisting of a telephone number, fax number, email address, mailing address, or internet-based form that people can use to report an allegation of fraud committed by a state employee or an individual acting under a contract with a state agency. The bill outlines confidentiality requirements for the State Auditor and those administering the hotline, and prohibits disclosing the identity or personal information of people who report fraud using the hotline unless an individual gives them explicit permission to do so. The bill also specifies requirements for how reports will be handled. This bill is a step in the right direction for transparency and accountability in government.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 17−1224: Misbranded Adulterated Counterfeit Drugs Penalty
Position: Not Rated

This bill was amended in order to remove the incorporation of direct reference to federal law into Colorado statute, which was the basis for our analysis that the bill opposed the proper balance of state vs. federal powers. Since the basis for our objection was addressed, POL has moved from concluding that the bill opposed the principle of state vs federal powers to a No Rate.

Previous rating: Oppose. This bill would incorporate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act into state law, make it a crime to possess, sell, dispense, give, receive, or administer an adulterated or misbranded drug or device or a counterfeit drug (as defined in federal law), and add a $ 1,000-$ 10,000 fine in addition to any other penalties that can be imposed under existing state pharmacy laws and the newly incorporated federal law. Why should Colorado incorporate federal statutes wholesale into state law? If the state requires a law to protect rights of its citizens, it should add the necessary laws into existing state statute rather than incorporating references to federal statutes that could later be modified in a way that’s not good for Colorado citizens. There’s a reason we have both a state and a federal government—the federalist system is instrumental in safeguarding the liberty of citizens.

OpposeHB 17−1227: Electric Demand-side Management Program Extension
Position: Oppose

To promote “demand-side management”, in 2007 the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) was required to establish goals for Colorado investor-owned electric utilities to achieve a 5 percent megawatt reduction (relative to 2006 levels) by 2018 in the utility’s retail system peak demand, and in retail energy sales, a 5% reduction measured in megawatt-hours. This bill extends these demand-side management programs to 2028. The bill also requires the PUC to set new goals for demand-side management programs implemented between 2019 and 2028 consisting of a 5 percent reduction in peak demand and energy sales relative to 2018 levels. The PUC then has the discretion to establish interim goals, or to revise goals. So what is “demand-side management”? It’s when ratepayers pay Xcel to lecture them on using less electricity. Those little reports you get each month showing how much better your neighbors are because they use less power than you is part of the consumer shaming approach of “behavioral demand side management” that the state is requiring of utilities. Because the role of government is to control market behavior (NOT).

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1228: Licensing Exemptions Related to Pet Animal Facilities
Position: Support

The House Finance Committee unanimously adopted a “strike below” to this bill, which basically means they deleted everything below the bill title (although in this case, they updated the bill title too!) and rewrote the bill. As amended, this bill would now exempt people watching 3 or fewer pets at their house from the onerous licensing laws regarding pet care that currently make it illegal for you to so much as watch the neighbor’s dog at your house without a license. Yes, this is real life. The new approach taken by this bill is a drastically different from the original approach (which involved more licensure), and it follows the approach SB17-110 “Accessibility of Exempt Family Child Care” took earlier this session with respect to child care licensure. We stated that SB17-110 supported the principles of personal responsibility, free markets, and limited government. HB17-1228 now frees up the market for home-based pet sitters, making a dent in what is currently an outright prohibition on pet sitting at your home without a license. We trust that you will successfully choose a good pet sitter in spite of this crazy amount of unlicensed liberty 😉

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government

Previous rating: Oppose. Nobody cares about your pets more than the government! This bill would force online platforms that organize services for your pet like dog walking, pet sitting, etc. to get a permit from the state. Bet you can’t guess what comes next… fees, regulations (must carry insurance, you can’t care for more than 3 pets at a time, and pet sitters who want to make their services available via the online platform have to be at least 18!), and naturally we expect all this to result in increased costs for you to use these platforms. Apparently the government doesn’t trust you to choose a capable, trustworthy pet sitter for yourself, and it doesn’t trust pet sitters to do their jobs properly without detailed directions from the government. We have personally used these types of platforms to find sitters for our pets successfully. We managed to successfully read the reviews on each service provider, meet them in person, and decide for ourselves whether we were confident in their ability to care for our pets without the state’s help. Creating a licensing system for these companies just makes it harder for them to operate, and makes their services more expensive for consumers.

OpposeHB 17−1230: Protect CO Residents from Federal Government Overreach
Position: Oppose

This is a textbook example of why you can’t trust a bill title. This looks like a political bill for the purpose of neutering immigration law. If it weren’t for the provisions on immigration status in this bill, POL would say that the concept of the bill –to protect individual rights– is reasonable. The problem is that this bill conflates identifiers like “race”, “ethnicity”, “national origin”, and “religious affiliation” with “immigration status”. Remember those puzzles in grade school where you had to pick which item was out of place in a group of items? In this case, it’s “immigration status” – a legal designation identifying whether you’re acting in accordance with the law or breaking the law. That’s very different from the other items listed in the bill!

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 17−1232: Public Utilities Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicles
Position: Oppose

The first words of this bill are, “The General Assembly finds and declares that; Widespread adoption of alternative fuel vehicles is necessary to diversify the transportation fuel mix, improve national security, and protect air quality…” and it goes downhill from there. Here’s the kicker, and if you haven’t been reading legislation and Colorado revised statutes for years, it would be easy to miss: statute currently says that “Electric and natural gas public utilities may provide the services described in this subsection (2) as unregulated services and these unregulated services may not be subsidized by the regulated services of the electric or natural gas public utility.” This bill would change that to read, “Electric and natural gas public utilities may provide the services described in this subsection (2) as unregulated services or regulated services.” What changed? 1) Lumping both unregulated and regulated into the section for generating electricity for alternative fuel vehicles, and 2) allowing the utility’s regulated services to subsidize the unregulated services. Plain English? Charge all electricity customers to subsidize the cost to build the infrastructure for the electricity generation for alternative fuel cars whether you use them or not, and lock in a tidy profit to boot.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1234: Beef Country of Origin Retail Placard
Position: Oppose

This bill would require retailers to display a sign indicating whether the beef they’re selling was produced in the USA or in some other country. At POL we love us some beef born in the U.S.A., but it’s not the role of government to require retailers to post signs identifying where their beef was born and raised. If consumers want to know, the pressures of the free market will ensure that retailers make that information available to consumers in an effort to gain a competitive advantage — without the help of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1235: Financial Relief Defray Individual Health Plan Costs
Position: Oppose

Obviously the solution to the higher costs created by government regulation of health care is a little bit of government redistribution, right? This bill would create a program to provide financial assistance to individuals and their families who spend more than 15% of their household income on individual health insurance premiums and who earn up to 500% of the federal poverty line. This “financial relief” will come directly from the General Fund, i.e. straight out of the wallets of the citizens of Colorado. If you want to help out your neighbor, we think that’s great. In fact, we voluntarily choose to help out our neighbors ourselves! But helping your neighbor of your own volition and using the state to take money from everyone in the state to give to your neighbors are two different things. The first is charity, the second is using the force of government to take and redistribute other people’s money.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 17−1236: HCPF Annual Report On Hospital Expenditures
Position: Oppose

This bill would require the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), in consultation with the Hospital Provider Fee Oversight and Advisory Board, to prepare an annual report detailing the cost of uncompensated care provided by general hospitals in Colorado. The kicker is that it requires hospitals to submit audited financial statements to the state.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1242: New Transportation Infrastructure Funding Revenue
Position: Oppose

This bill requires that a ballot question to be submitted to the voters of the state at the November 2017 statewide election. The ballot question would seek approval for the state to increase the rate of the state sales and use tax for 20 years beginning in 2018 from 2.9% to 3.52%. Yes, that’s a 21% increase in state sales tax. Current Colorado state sales/use tax in Colorado is 2.90%. Local sales/use taxes bring that up to about 7.44% on average across the state. This bill would push that average up to 8.06%. If the voters approve the tax rate increase, the new revenue generated is to be allocated for transportation infrastructure funding purposes, but the definition of transportation infrastructure is in the eye of the beholder. The bill directs funds to several specified projects, including: $ 300 million annually to the state highway fund for use by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), 70% of the remaining revenue after the first $ 300mm goes to counties and municipalities, and 30% of that remaining revenue goes to “pedestrian and active transportation projects for transportation infrastructure that is designed for users of nonmotorized mobility-enhancing equipment.” I’m sorry, what’s that? NOT roads & bridges you say? Yeah. Over $ 100 million specifically set aside NOT to go toward roads and bridges.

If Colorado reprioritized its budget to simply allocate 2% more of its budget toward roads, that would be almost $ 600 million per year for the roads. Do you think there might be 2% of wasteful spending that Colorado could wring out of its budget? Do you think that if every department was told to cut their budget by 2%, they should be able to do it? If you wanted to set aside 2% of your family budget to save for a fun vacation next year, do you think you’d be able to find that money somewhere?

Legislators who say they just want to pass this initiative to “let the people decide” are taking a lame cop-out for political cover. They either support the idea of a tax increase so they might get the chance to take more of your hard earned money and use it to “give” you stuff they think is important because they can’t comprehend the concept of making cuts somewhere else to stay within the current (ample) budget, or they don’t.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1246: STEMI Task Force Recommendations Heart Attack Care
Position: Oppose

Hospitals that meet certain criteria can receive accreditation as a “STEMI receiving center” from the American College of Cardiology Accreditation Services. STEMI stands for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, more commonly known as a heart attack. This bill would require all hospitals with this accreditation to report their heart attack data to a national database, and to submit the quarterly reports they receive back from the database to the Colorado Department of Public Health. Hospitals recognized as STEMI referral centers but without “official” accreditation are merely encouraged to report their heart attack data to the national database and provide database reports to the department. This bill is similar to HB16-1357, which died in the Senate last year and which POL rated the same way.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1247: Patient Choice Health Care Provider
Position: Oppose

This bill is another attempt to pass last year’s failed bill HB16-1361 Patient Choice in Pharmacy, which Principles of Liberty rated as opposing the principle of Free Markets. This bill would specify terms of coverage for health benefit plans by prohibiting companies from imposing co-payments, fees, or other cost-sharing requirements unless they apply those charges to everyone. It would also prohibit imposing other conditions that would restrict a covered person’s ability to choose a provider. As we stated last year, dictating these terms inhibit a firm’s abilities to price its products/services in the manner best suited to the market and its business model in that market. The bill also prohibits a health benefit plan from denying a provider chosen by the covered person “the right to participate in any of its provider network contracts in this state.” Once again, a free market is based upon property rights—not any sort of an asserted right of participation. A “right to participate” is a claim upon others forcing them to associate, which is the opposite of a free market. A free market only exists where there is a voluntary exchange between mutually willing parties; it does not exist where one party is forced by law to contract with the other. Naturally, the bill also provides carve outs and exceptions, making this not just an intervention in the free market, but an inconsistent intervention to boot.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 17−1253: Protect Seniors From Financial Abuse
Position: Oppose

This bill would require sales representatives, investment advisers, and people in similar positions (labeled “qualified individuals” by the bill) to notify the Commissioner of Securities if they believe that financial exploitation of what we will refer to as “at-risk” adults may be taking place. The bill would also grant these qualified individuals the authority to notify other people “reasonably associated” with the at-risk adult (provided they’re not the person doing the exploiting) that they believe financial exploitation is taking place. The bill authorizes broker dealers and investment advisors to delay a disbursement from an account if they suspect it may result in the financial exploitation of an at-risk adult, provided they follow certain procedures established in the bill. Finally, the bill grants qualified individuals immunity from civil and administrative liability for all of the activities required and authorized in the bill. That’s a lot to require from investment advisors in an industry that’s already highly regulated with respect to what they can and can’t do. Adding “mind-reader” and “forensic accountant” to the list seems a little over the top.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1256: Oil and Gas Facilities Distance From School Property
Position: Oppose

Currently, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission requires oil and gas production facilities and wells to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools and other high occupancy buildings. Production facilities are defined to include everything from oil and gas exploration equipment to wells and oil storage equipment. This bill would specify that the distance between schools and oil and gas production facilities must be calculated from the school’s nearest property line—not just from the nearest school building to the drilling area.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1259: Independent Expenditure Committees & Candidates
Position: Oppose

This bill would make an independent expenditure committee established, financed, or maintained by a candidate or candidate committee subject to the contribution limits and restrictions that are imposed on candidate committees. More campaign finance limits restricting speech.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1260: Contribution Limits for County Offices
Position: Oppose

Current law regulating campaign finance does not set limits on contributions to candidates for county offices like county commissioner, county clerk and recorder, sheriff, coroner, treasurer, assessor, and surveyor. This bill establishes contribution limits and disclosure requirements for candidates running for county office. It caps contributions at $ 1,250 from any one person, $ 12,500 from a small donor committee, and $ 22,125 from a political party. More campaign finance limits restricting speech.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1261: Disclaimers Large Electioneering Communications
Position: Oppose

This bill would require any person expending $ 1,000 or more per year on electioneering communications or regular biennial school electioneering to state in the communication the name of the person making the communication in accordance with current independent expenditure communication requirements. “Electioneering communications” are defined in the Colorado State Constitution as communications unambiguously referring to a candidate that are broadcasted, printed, mailed, distributed or delivered to an audience that includes members of the electorate within 30 days of the primary election and 60 days of the general election. This bill would expand this time frame to include communications that are broadcast, printed, mailed, delivered, or distributed at any point between the primary and general election. More campaign finance limits restricting speech.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1262: Expand Disclosure Electioneering Communications
Position: Oppose

“Electioneering communications” are defined in the Colorado State Constitution as communications unambiguously referring to a candidate that are broadcasted, printed, mailed, distributed or delivered to an audience that includes members of the electorate within 30 days of the primary election and 60 days of the general election. This bill would expand the definition of “electioneering communications” in the Colorado ‘Fair Campaign Practices Act’ to change the timeframe from communications distributed within 30 days of primary elections and 60 days of general elections to communications distributed anytime between the primary and general elections. More campaign finance limits restricting speech.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1265: PERA Judicial Division Total Employer Contribution
Position: Oppose

POL rated SB17-113 as a bill that supports the principle of fiscal responsibility. That bill would have capped current employer (the tax-payer funded state of Colorado) contributions to their (very high) levels after the completion of a multi-year increase, which is scheduled to stop ramping up in 2018. This bill would do the opposite for the Judicial Division of PERA, and would continue increasing the percentage of employer contributions for the Judicial Division for five more years. This bill does pretty much the opposite of what SB17-113 would have done for the Judicial Division of PERA.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 17−1266: Seal Misdemeanor Marijuana Conviction Records
Position: Support

This bill would allow people who were convicted of misdemeanors for the use or possession of marijuana to petition for the sealing of those criminal records if their behavior would not have been a criminal offense if it had occurred on or after December 10, 2012 (the day Proposition 64 took effect in Colorado). Under this bill, the court would order the record sealed after the petitioner establishes the offense is eligible to be sealed and pays the appropriate filing fees. If someone was convicted of breaking the law prior to 2012, and has paid their penalty(ies), then why should that conviction continue to follow them today, when that crime is no longer a crime?

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1273: Real Estate Dev Demonstrate Water Conservation
Position: Oppose

Currently, an applicant for a development permit must submit estimated water supply requirements for the proposed development to the local government where the development is to be located. This is done through a report prepared by a registered professional engineer or water supply expert. Current statute makes it clear that the local government has “sole discretion” to determine “that the applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposed water supply will be adequate.” Current law makes it optional for the developer to incorporate “water conservation” and “water demand management” measures in their report to the local government. This bill would require that applications for real estate development permits simply MUST include water conservation and demand management measures designed to reduce water needs in order for their water supply to be considered “adequate”.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Free Markets
Not RatedHB 17−1274: Veterinary Pharmaceutical Compounding Animal Patient
Position: Not Rated

Previous rating: Oppose. This bill marginally broadens the definition of “animal patient,” and outlines the conditions under which veterinarians can administer or dispense a compounded drug to a food animal, favorable points. (Veterinarians are currently authorized to administer these drugs to companion animals.) However, the bill also incorporates the federal “Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994” into state statute. As we stated in our evaluation of another bill, HB17-1224 earlier this year, “Why should Colorado incorporate federal statutes wholesale into state law? If the state requires a law to protect rights of its citizens, it should add the necessary laws into existing state statute rather than incorporating references to federal statutes that could later be modified in a way that’s not good for Colorado citizens. There’s a reason we have both a state and a federal government—the federalist system is instrumental in safeguarding the liberty of citizens.” HB17-1224 was amended to remove the direct incorporation of federal statute, and POL’s analysis changed to a No Rate since the basis for the bill’s opposition to the proper balance of State vs. Federal Powers was addressed. We plan to follow this bill to see if similar changes are made during the legislative process.

OpposeHB 17−1282: Rural Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program
Position: Oppose

This bill would create an educational loan repayment program in order to “provide financial incentives to licensed veterinarians to practice veterinary medicine in veterinary shortage areas of the state.” In order to be eligible, vets must be willing to serve for at least four years in a rural area of the state that’s experiencing a vet shortage, and the bill emphasizes the importance of an applicant’s willingness to participate in food animal veterinary medicine. The bill would establish a five-member council to identify and designate the shortage areas that will participate in the program, prioritize these vet shortage areas, and determine the eligibility of program applicants. Participants are eligible for up to $ 70,000. How do you feel about your tax dollars being used to pay off vets’ loans?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1284: Data System Check For Employees Serving At-Risk Adults
Position: Oppose

This bill would require certain employers at facilities or programs that serve at-risk adults to request a Colorado Adult Protective Services (CAPS) check prior to hiring employees who will provide direct care to at-risk adults (and charge them a fee to do so). The CAPS check verifies whether a person is “substantiated” in a case of mistreatment of an at-risk adult. Who gets to make the finding on whether or not you’ve mistreated an at-risk adult? The Department of Human Services. So this isn’t a conviction on your criminal record where you’ve gone through the legal system and been convicted of a crime (with the opportunity to face a jury of your peers), but a black mark on your name put there by an administrative court. Oh but don’t worry, you can appeal your ruling. And agencies are always super Just (#EPA). Can someone tell us why the existing criminal justice system is not the appropriate vehicle for handling crimes like elder abuse? This bill establishes a state-level program within the Department of Human Services for a check of the CAPS data system. The department is authorized to assess a fee for each CAPS check sufficient to cover certain expenses.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1286: State Employee Health Carrier Requirements
Position: Oppose

While we believe that a party to a contract (the state included) has a right to negotiate a contract with insurers, extorting insurance carriers who want to do group health insurance business for state employees lies outside the proper scope of negotiations. This bill would demand that any carrier that wants a shot at doing group health business with the state must also participate in the individual market through the health insurance exchange, provide health plans in at least two counties in a geographic rating area with the highest premiums in the individual market (and those plans are required to have certain provisions), participate in and bid upon medicaid or childrens’ basic health insurance plans, and participate in other plans as defined by director of Health Care Policy and Financing. So in order to do business with us here, you must go do business with us there, and there, and there too, under favorable non-free market conditions. Making you a deal you can’t refuse…

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1289: State Engineer Rules Historical Consumptive Use
Position: Support

This bill directs the state engineer to provide property owners with an alternative method for calculating their historical consumptive water use that takes local conditions into account. The use of this alternative method is voluntary and carries no presumptive weight in water proceedings. This alternative method gives property owners another option for calculating their water rights and may streamline water proceedings. We’ll follow closely.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
OpposeHB 17−1290: Colorado Secure Savings Plan
Position: Oppose

The summary on this bill contains 18 bullet points and 9 (albeit, short) paragraphs, so we’ll let you thank your lucky stars that we’re going to summarize the concept for you in one paragraph. After educating us that “[t]he median white family with retirement savings has over three times as much saved as the median African-American or median Hispanic family” and “[e]xperts on retirement recommend that the best way to increase retirement savings is to offer a workplace savings plan to all workers and enroll them automatically with the right to opt out”, this bill declares that “America’s retirement system has unraveled” and comes up with a mandatory “solution” to save us all. The bill would establish the “Colorado Secure Savings Plan” –a retirement savings plan in the form of an automatic enrollment payroll deduction individual retirement account that private employers of a certain size would be forced to offer to their private-sector employees. The bill would establish a state board to oversee the plan and mandate all the rules. This idea was floated last year by HB16-1403. One of our interns last year pretty much summed up this idea when he said: “Because [government-run retirement programs] are working out so well.” This is an absolutely absurd idea.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1293: Local Government Officials On Nonprofit Boards
Position: Oppose

This bill specifies that it is neither a conflict of interest nor a breach of fiduciary duty or the public trust for a local government official to serve on the board of directors of a nonprofit entity and to vote on matters that may pertain to or benefit the nonprofit entity. This bill over-rides existing statutes for the benefit of nonprofits. Existing statutes say it is a conflict of interest to:

24-18-109(2) (b) Perform an official act directly and substantially affecting to its economic benefit a business or other undertaking in which he either has a substantial financial interest or is engaged as counsel, consultant, representative, or agent; or

24-18-109 (3) (a) A member of the governing body of a local government who has a personal or private interest in any matter proposed or pending before the governing body shall disclose such interest to the governing body and shall not vote thereon and shall refrain from attempting to influence the decisions of the other members of the governing body in voting on the matter.

But this bill makes it ok to do something if it’s nonprofit

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1295: Repeal Governors Office of Marijuana Coordination
Position: Support

The Colorado legislature created the Governor’s Office of Marijuana Coordination in 2014 in order to coordinate the executive branch’s response to the legalization of retail marijuana, i.e. to oversee the implementation of Amendment 64. This bill repeals the office of marijuana coordination on July 1, 2017. It’s not often that we get to see any part of government say “our work here is done!”

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1296: Assignment Of State-owned Vehicles
Position: Support

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1299: Transportation Legislation Review Committee on Electric Utility Energy Storage
Position: Oppose

This bill would require the Transportation Legislation Review Committee (TLRC) to conduct a hearing during the 2017 interim on the potential economic and social benefits and costs of requiring the public utilities commission to determine the appropriate targets, if any, for the amount of viable and cost-effective energy storage systems (e.g., batteries, heat sinks, pumped storage hydroelectric systems) that an electric utility subject to Colorado’s renewable energy standard should incorporate into its electric resource acquisition plans. Our favorite quotes are, “… to further investigate the economic and social benefits and costs of…”, and “… economic and social benefits and costs of requiring the public utilities commission to determine the appropriate targets…” with respect to Colorado’s renewable energy standards.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1300: Apprentice Utilization in Public Projects
Position: Oppose

This bill would require contractors hired by the state to complete public projects to use apprentices enrolled in an apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor as 25% of their workforce while completing public projects. After completing the project, contractors must submit an affidavit stating that the contractor has satisfied the apprenticeship requirements. If the contractor does not comply, the government has the right to keep the statutorily permissible withheld percentage of the contract price “as liquidated damages.” Seriously, someone thinks it’s a good idea for the state to force private companies to do this? Wow.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1304: Adoptee Present In-state Exception
Position: Support

Under current law, for a child to be adopted the child must be present in the state of Colorado at the time the petition for adoption is filed. This bill allows an adoption petition to be filed for a child located out of state if the child has been under a Colorado court’s jurisdiction for at least six months. Making it easier to unite kids with loving families? Everybody wins!

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1305: Limits on Job Applicant Criminal History Inquiries
Position: Oppose

In case you’re not already tired of legislators telling you how to run your business…this bill would prohibit employers with four or more employees from advertising that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position, placing a statement in an employment application that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position, or making an inquiry about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application. “Ban the box.” Employers are exempt from these restrictions if the law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a particular crime from being employed in a particular job or the employer is participating in a program to encourage employment of people with criminal histories. We understand and sympathize that there are people who have paid their dues for a crime who want an opportunity to get back on track and would be good hires. We understand that once employers have interviewed candidates with criminal records, some of them might get comfortable with hiring those candidates. We get it. But the answer is not to use the force of the state to mandate what an employer can or cannot do. Violating the rights of an employer to help others is not the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1307: FAMLI Insurance Program Wage Replacement
Position: Oppose

The bill would create the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) to provide partial wage-replacement benefits to people who takes leave from work to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition or who is unable to work. Because the state really should run a new mandated benefit program that you will fund!!! Every employee in the state (that means you) will pay a premium into this program determined by the director of the division by rule. The premium will be based on a percentage of your yearly wages. We expect that massive amounts of cash would be paid out of this program, seeing as how benefits could be up to $ 1000 per week. Naturally, the program is established as an enterprise, so it’s exempt from TABOR. Employers are required to notify employees of the program in writing any time they hear of someone experiencing a “qualifying event,” subject to all sorts of requirements that basically boil down to treating the employee like nothing ever happened if they choose to take this leave, and strangely you’re still eligible for this leave money via one employer even if you’re able to continue working a second job elsewhere while receiving FAMLI leave benefits. We must be nearing the end of session (thank God), the fringe bills are hitting the desk.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1308: Individualized Conditions of Parole
Position: Support

The bill would make certain mandatory conditions of parole subject to the discretion of the state board of parole and parole officers. Under this bill, the State Parole Board is no longer required to fix the manner and time of payment of restitution as a condition of every parole, a parolee is required to notify his community parole officer prior to a change of residence rather than obtaining his knowledge and consent prior to moving, the requirement that every parolee submit to urinalysis or other drug tests is removed, the requirement that every parolee obtain the permission of his community parole officer prior to having contact with another inmate/parolee/probationer/person with a prior criminal history is removed, and the board is no longer required to direct every parolee to submit to and pay for random chemical testing to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1309: Documentary Fee to Fund Affordable Housing
Position: Oppose

When at first a redistributionist scheme doesn’t succeed… try, try again. This bill is similar to SB17-085 “Increase Documentary Fee & Fund Attainable Housing”, which died in the Senate earlier this session. This bill would create the “Statewide Affordable Housing Investment Fund.” Money for the fund will come from the bill’s proposal to double the 1 cent fee per $ 100 of the total amount paid by the purchaser in a real property transaction. Money in the fund would be used to facilitate the construction or rehabilitation of “affordable housing” units and to provide financial assistance to any nonprofit entity and political subdivision that makes loans to help households finance, purchase, or rehabilitate residential units. Of course, a portion of this money must go to counties with 175,000 or fewer residents. Just like we said in our analysis of SB17-085, “This bill waylays one group of citizens in order to redistribute their money to another group of citizens. We’re not sure how this even qualifies as a fee rather than a tax, since money is being collected on one function and spent on a completely different function.”

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1310: Residential Landlord Application Screening Fee
Position: Oppose

This bill would tell landlords what application/screening fees they can charge potential tenants. Under the bill, landlords can only charge applicants fees that cover the precise costs of a personal reference check, a credit report, or a screening report. The bill requires landlords to provide applicants with receipts itemizing the expenses they incurred (via paper, if requested) and to return to applicants any money the landlord didn’t end up using for the aforementioned purposes. Landlords that violate any of these provisions are liable for two times the amount of the application screening fee, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees. Talk about making things more difficult for business owners! Renters have a choice regarding where they apply to rent, and business owners should be able to winnow down applicants however they’d like.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1311: Seller’s Disclosure Estimated Future Property Tax
Position: Oppose

This bill would require sellers of newly constructed residential properties to provide an estimate of future property taxes to buyers. Beginning January 1, 2018, the seller must use the residential assessment rate from the prior year, the sale price of the property, and mills from the previous year unless the seller knows that they will change to estimate future property taxes. Do I want an estimate of how much property tax I’ll be paying if I purchase a new home? Yes. Is it the role of government to force sellers to provide that? No.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1312: Residential Lease Copy and Rent Receipt
Position: Oppose

The legislature seems to have it out for landlords this year. This bill would create two new requirements for landlords. First, it mandates that they must provide tenants with a copy of the executed rental agreement within seven days of it being signed if there is a written rental agreement in place. Second, the bill would require landlords to provide tenants with receipts upon receiving any type of payment (rent, etc.) via cash or money order. Either of these documents can be provided electronically, unless a tenant requests a paper copy. It’s smart to make sure you get a copy of your rental agreement and receipts showing you’ve paid your rent. It’s not the role of Big Brother to impose mandates to make sure you get them.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1313: Civil Forfeiture Reform
Position: Support

When the state takes your property, it’s kind of a big deal. This bill would require law enforcement and other agents of the state to report seizures through which they received proceeds from a forfeiture, how they are using those proceeds, and other information relating to the seizure on a form provided by the Department of Local Affairs. The department must create a searchable database on its website that includes the information contained in these reports, and a summary report of the information. The department will also submit a report to the governor, the attorney general, and the judiciary committees within the state legislature on seizure and forfeiture activity in the state. The bill also prohibits seizing agencies from receiving forfeiture proceeds from the federal government unless the aggregate net equity value of the property and currency seized in the case is in excess of $ 50,000 and the federal government commences a forfeiture proceeding that relates to a filed criminal case.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1314: Colorado Right to Rest Act
Position: Oppose

This is a slightly amended version of last year’s HB16-1191, “Bill of Rights for Persons Who Are Homeless.” This bill creates the “Colorado Right to Rest Act”, which establishes ‘rights’ for persons experiencing homelessness, including, but not limited to, the ‘right’ to use and move freely in public spaces, to rest in public spaces, to eat or accept food in any public space where food is not prohibited, to occupy a legally parked vehicle, and to have a reasonable expectation of privacy on one’s property. Principles of Liberty supports the equal protection of the law for ALL citizens, including citizens that are homeless. The legislative declaration of this bill focuses on a special class of citizens (the homeless) who already possess the same right to the equal protection of the law afforded to all citizens. As we state in our definition of the principle of Equal Protection/Rule of Law: “It is not the role of government to create a special group or class of citizens for protection or punishment, special treatment or penalties.” In addition, this bill attempts to create specific “rights”, including what are essentially a new type of property rights for individuals with respect to public spaces. The bill creates a “right to a reasonable expectation of privacy on one’s personal property in public spaces”, but the problem here is you’re not on your property… you’re on public property. Sure you may have a property right in your cell phone, but a right to privacy “on” your blanket in the park? The role of the state government is to protect individual rights, not to create/grant them. For a more complete discussion on “rights”, be sure to attend a POL training class in the fall!

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 17−1318: Division of Insurance Annual Report Pharmaceutical Costs Data
Position: Oppose

This bill would require health insurers to submit to the Commissioner of Insurance information regarding pharmaceuticals covered under individual and group health insurance plans in prior years.  Carriers must the total pharmaceutical costs, the net cost of pharmaceuticals, a list of the drug classes of the 10 most-dispensed pharmaceuticals with the highest aggregate cost. Because government is so great at reducing costs and improving quality that it must get (farther) into the pharmaceutical business right away.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1320: Age of Consent Outpatient Psychotherapy for Minors
Position: Oppose

This bill would lower the age of consent for a minor to seek and obtain outpatient psychotherapy services from a licensed mental health professional from 15 years of age and older to 10 years of age and older. This would allow kids 10 years of age or older to receive outpatient psychotherapy services without the consent of a parent. Mental health professionals would be immune from civil or criminal liability for providing these outpatient psychotherapy services unless they act negligently or outside the scope of their practice. This bill asserts the authority of the state over the authority of parents, undermining their authority and their responsibility for their children.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1321: Parks and Wildlife Financial Sustainability
Position: Oppose

This bill basically increases fees and license costs by 50%. From the latest JBC Appropriations Reports for Fiscal Year 2016-2017, the State Park Revenues from Licenses, Fees, Passes, and Permits was $ 19,844,081 in 2013-2014 and $ 22,369,227 in 2014-2015. Increasing fees by 50% would obviously raise those numbers by over $ 10,000,000. Wildlife Revenues from fishing and hunting licenses accounted for over $ 40,000,000 in 2013-2014 and over $ 43,000,000 in 2014-2015. Again, increasing those licenses and fees by 50% would raise those numbers by over $ 20,000,000. Those are pretty large increases.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 17−1322: Domestic Violence Reports by Medical Professionals
Position: Support

Current law requires any licensed physician, physician assistant, or anesthesiologist assistant (called “licensees” in the bill) who attends or treats certain injuries, including injuries resulting from domestic violence, to report the injury at once to the police of the city, town, city and county, or the sheriff. This law would prohibit reporting injuries that occur or are suspected of occurring from domestic violence if the following conditions are met: 1) the victim of the injury is at least 18 years of age and indicates his or her preference that the injury not be reported, 2) the injury is not an injury that the licensee is otherwise required to report, 3) the licensee has no reason to believe that the injury involves a criminal act other than domestic violence, and 4) the licensee has referred the victim to a victim’s advocate. The licensee must document the victim’s request in the victim’s medical record. We don’t support mandatory reporting requirements in general, and domestic violence is one example of the unintended consequences they can impact. Due to the current mandatory reporting requirements, some people injured by domestic violence will not seek the medical care they need due to fear that their injuries will be reported and there could be consequences that would negatively impact their ability to deal with their situation in the way that they think is best. An adult should have autonomy in how they live their life, and should be able to assert if they don’t want their injuries reported to “authorities”.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1324: Educational Opportunity Tax Incentives
Position: Oppose

This one is a recycled redistributionist stunner – class warfare policy at its finest. The bill starts out by saying: “In order to better serve the purpose of increasing access to higher education by reducing the cost of higher education for students for whom cost is a significant barrier, it is necessary, appropriate, and in the best interest of all Coloradans to increase the amount of the deductions for lower-, middle-, and upper middle-income taxpayers and reduce the amount of the deductions for high-income taxpayers in the manner specified in this act.” This bill is very similar to HB15-1347, which was run two years ago. This bill would take the existing deductibility for the CollegeInvest savings program in Colorado and make it highly progressive, increasing deductions for “poorer” people and reducing deductions for “richer” people. Make less than $ 100,000 a year? DOUBLE your deduction! Make $ 200,000-$ 500,000 a year? Then you must cut that deduction by 50%. Make over $ 500,000 a year? Then you must cut that deduction by 75%. Legislators talk about wanting to help people succeed, but God forbid you actually do, because if you become successful then you go from being showered with enabling policies funded with other peoples’ money to being hunted down and plundered to fund enabling policies for other people. Here’s an idea – how about doing NEITHER of those?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 17−1326: Justice Reinvestment Crime Prevention Initiative
Position: Oppose

This bill starts off somewhat innocuously by changing the length of time that a parolee serves for technical parole violations. Fine. The significantly larger element of the bill would create the Justice Reinvestment Crime Prevention Initiative in the Department of Local Affairs (division). The division would be tasked with developing the initiative to expand small business lending in Aurora and Colorado Springs. The division must issue a request for participation from one or more nondepository community development financial institution loan funds to participate in the small business lending program. The division must also develop the initiative to implement a grant program for programs, projects, or direct services aimed at reducing crime in these communities. The grant program may fund academic improvement programs, community-based services, community engagement programs, programs increasing safety and usability of common outdoor-spaces, technical assistance related to data collection/ analysis/evaluation, and administrative costs of the foundation. Only nonprofits, schools, units of local government, or a private contractor hired to provide technical assistance are eligible to receive grants. In short, this bill proposes to use taxpayer funds to run a bunch of programs specifically in Aurora and Colorado Springs that would supposedly prevent crime by giving people other things to do on our dime.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1328: Require Candidates to Disclose Income Tax Returns
Position: Oppose

The bill would require candidates for president and vice president of the United States to file their federal income tax return forms for the last 5 completed tax years with the Colorado Secretary of State. If either one of these candidates fail to file their returns, neither of their names will be printed on the official ballot. The Secretary of State is required to publish the candidates tax returns on his website within 7 days of the time they are filed. To be honest, a candidate’s taxes are none of your business. They submit tax returns and have the opportunity to be audited by the IRS like everyone else. Forcing them to publish their personal affairs so the public can criticize them from the comfort of an armchair is not an appropriate function of the state legislature.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1331: Protect Colorado Constitutional Rights
Position: Support

This bill would prohibit a state agency or agency of a state political subdivision from helping a federal agency or agency of another state to arrest a Colorado citizen for committing an act that is an enumerated right in the Colorado constitution, or helping them to violate a Colorado citizen’s Colorado constitutional rights. Key elements here are “Colorado citizens” and “Colorado constitutional rights.”

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
SupportHB 17−1333: Seal Criminal Records of Marijuana Offenses
Position: Support

This bill would allow persons who were convicted of criminal offenses for the use, cultivation, or possession of marijuana to petition for the sealing of criminal records relating to such convictions if their behavior would not have been illegal if it had occurred on or after December 10, 2012 (the day Proposition 64 took effect in Colorado). Under this bill, the court would order the record sealed after the petitioner establishes by a preponderance of evidence that the offense is eligible to be sealed and pays the appropriate filing fees. This bill would apply to “… a petty offense, misdemeanor offense, or felony offense for the use, cultivation or possession of marijuana, which offense would not have been a criminal offense if the act had occurred on or after December 10, 2012.” HB17-1266, a bill run earlier this session that we stated supported individual liberty and limited government, applied to “… a misdemeanor offense for the use or possession of marijuana that would not have been a criminal act if he offense occurred on or after December 10, 2012…” Yes, HB17-1333 is more broad than HB17-1266. Does this change the fundamental principles at play? No. As we pointed out in our analysis of HB17-1266: If someone was convicted of breaking the law prior to 2012, and has paid their penalty(ies), then why should that conviction continue to follow them today, when that crime is no longer a crime?

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1334: Registration Process Servers
Position: Oppose

“Process servers” are individuals who serve legal papers in lawsuits, criminal proceedings, or administrative proceedings. This bill creates a licensure system for process servers, requiring them to meet specified requirements and register with the state in order to legally provide their services. The bill empowers the director of the Division of Professions and Occupations to create a host of procedures and rules, and take disciplinary action against registrants or applicants who violate any of the rules. More government, more regulations/fees/fines/penalties/etc., more problems.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1335: Liquor Licensee Wine Sales
Position: Support

This bill would permit liquor licensees like manufacturers, wineries, taverns, clubs, lodging and entertainment facilities and others to allow customers to take home one sealed container of wine (as long as it’s not more than 750 ml) from the licensed premises. Undoubtedly liquor stores will pitch a fit about this, but we say… free market on, wine loving friends!

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1337: Liquor License Renewal Application Fees
Position: Oppose

Under current law, liquor license applicants pay a one-time license application fee but are not assessed yearly renewal fees. This bill would allow the Department of Revenue (DOR) to establish a renewal application fee for each liquor license issued by the state. Not only would this bill grant the DOR the authority to assess a new fee, but it imposes no limitations on the amount of the new fee, and doesn’t impose limitations on the existing initial fee for a liquor license. While the Fiscal Note assumes that the initial license application fee will be reduced by the DOR and that the renewal fee will only be $ 175 per year, we all know that when it comes to government and fees, fees invariably grow.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1339: Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Act
Position: Oppose

You can tell it’s getting close to the end of the legislative session. Now is the time you’ll see some complicated bills run that few people in legislature would have the financial expertise to really even evaluate if given several weeks to review. This would be one of those bills.

Here’s the gist of the bill: Because the state is forcing utilities to shut down out-of-favor energy generation plants (think coal, etc.), 1) the state should help the utilities pay for those shutdowns/replacements by helping them get the best financing deals possible by backing some bonds issued by the utilities using what are typically called “special purpose entities” (SPE’s in the investment world, which were used extensively by Enron to hide debt and make the company look better on paper than it actually was before its implosion) and allowing the utilities to bill all customers extra charges to help pay back the costs of those bonds, and 2) the state should give money (“wage support”) and training to people who lose jobs at the shuttered plants, people who worked in places that supplied the fuel for those shuttered plants, people who transported those fuels to those shuttered plants, give money to local governments that will see tax revenue go down where the plants are shut down, and give money to local governments that will see tax revenue go down where the fuel was supplied for those shuttered plants. Is this the state’s way of saying, “Oopsie”, and then making everyone pay for the consequences of their enviro-meddling-policies?

There are a number of comments we could make on the bill’s provisions. For example, these SPE’s will require, “A state pledge that constitutes an enforceable promise to guarantee the payment of principal and interest on securitized investor-owned electric utility ratepayer-backed bonds as those amounts become legally due and owing.” (page 5, lines 2-6). Yet later in the bill, it states that the bonds are not debt or a pledge on the taxing power of the state (page 28, lines 4-15). Which is it? You’ll have to dig very deep in the weeds to get an answer to that one. The bill also effectively prevents the PUC from making any future changes to the charges that the utilities would assess ratepayers. The bill also sets up an “authority” to administer the payouts to the people and governments. The 7 person board would be appointed by the governor. The authority must consult with the local people that it’s going to pay off to see how much they should pay. The charges a utility gets to include when getting the financing authorized are pretty endless and are even retroactive to before the passage of this law. The charges to customers to help pay these bonds are “nonbypassable”, meaning you can not get out of the charge – all current and future customers will pay it. The bill goes on for 43 pages. We read it. Every line. This is why we get the big ($ 0) bucks.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1344: Innovative Teacher Preparation Pilot Programs
Position: Oppose

Central planning alert. This bill would create the Innovative Teacher Preparation Program in the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). This “umbrella” program in the CDE is required to collect, analyze, and disseminate data about teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher education (which will require the creation of a data collection system), and to operate and evaluate pilot projects regarding teacher preparation and support. By the 2018-19 school year, the department must create a teacher residency pilot project, a paraprofessional residency pilot project, and a teacher induction pilot project. Part of the “success” of these programs will be if the “cultural competence” of teachers in the program improves and the “levels of diversity” amongst teaching faculty at institutions participating in the program increases. Page 13 of the bill literally says one of the goals of the pilot program is to ensure the diversity of the teaching faculty matches the diversity of the student body at a particular school. As usual, all this will be funded with gifts, grants, and donations (if there are any), and… appropriations.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1345: Retail Marijuana Sales Tax Rate
Position: Oppose

Under current law, the retail marijuana sales tax rate is scheduled to decrease on July 1, 2017 from 10% to 8%. This bill would eliminate the reduction and keeps the tax rate at 10% and would increase state revenue by about $ 20 million a year going forward.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1351: Study Inpatient Substance Use Disorder Treatment
Position: Oppose

This bill directs the state departments of Health Care Policy and Financing and Human Services to write a report justifying expanding Medicaid to cover substance abuse treatment. POL crystal ball says… if this bill passes, look for a bill making that very proposal next year, and for us to put out a rating just like this one. The classic argument for these types of bills is that every $ X dollars of prevents saves $ Y on the cure. This argument assumes the premise that the state should be spending money on $ Y on curing people in the first place. At POL, we encourage people to challenge premises.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1352: Regulate Student Education Loan Services
Position: Oppose

The legislative declaration at the beginning of the bill states that (voluntarily entered) student loan debt is at a crisis level, is a hindrance to those poor borrowers (and their co-signers), and that the state should promote access to federal repayment and forgiveness programs. You know that pretty much anything after that is going to stink, as far as legislation goes. This bill would require entities that contract with the federal government to service student education loans to obtain a license from the Department of Higher Education (DHE). The bill identifies some exempt entities, such as loan originators and lenders who are already licensed under current law. The DHE must adopt rules for the new license requirement and begin licensing entities no later than September 1, 2018.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1355: County Block Grant Money to Child Care Quality Programs
Position: Oppose

This bill would allow counties to use TANF funds, which is block grant money from the federal government (no, that is NOT “free money”, that’s simply our federal tax money as opposed to our state tax money) to go to “child care quality improvement activities” as defined in the federal “Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014.” This federal act defines these activities to include things like “providing training and outreach on engaging parents and families in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways to expand their knowledge, skills, and capacity to become meaningful partners in supporting their children’s positive development”, “provide, to the maximum extent practicable, financial incentives and other supports designed to expand the full diversity of child care options and help child care providers improve the quality of services”, and “Improving the supply and quality of child care programs and services for infants and toddlers”. If you think all this sounds like a great idea, we encourage you to attend one of our training classes! Enabling the federal government to advance agendas like the centralization of child rearing in the hands of government by accepting these moneys and funneling them to federal-government-approved purposes is not the proper role of state government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1356: Treat Economic Development Income Tax Credits Differently
Position: Oppose

In 2013 POL rated HB13-1265 as opposing the principles of Free Markets and Limited Government because it advances a policy of the state taking taxpayer money and doling it out for “economic development” in the very same section of statute that this bill proposes to expand. Earlier this year, we rated SB17-280 as working against the principles of Free Markets and Limited Government because it perpetuates the entire branch of state government that runs these types of corporate welfare programs. This bill expands the ways that the state can continue to get more of your hard earned dollars into the hands of corporate benefactors in the name of economic development. So where you think that this analysis will lead…? We do try to be consistent. This bill would authorize the Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC) to allow certain businesses to treat specific income tax credits as transferable income tax credits and/or extend the length of time that the credits can be taken.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1357: Extend Colorado Department Labor Employment Worker Outreach Recruitment Key Grant Program
Position: Oppose

In 2015, HB15-1276 created a grant program called the “WORK program” to seek out, recruit, and encourage people (using your tax dollars) to enroll in training programs for “skilled workers.” The program was appropriated $ 10 million over three years in order to give grants to organizations that offer workplace training skills. Through this program, the state partners with business to decide where money should be “invested”, because without the economic genius of a state bureaucracy assisted by corporate cronies always looking for a handout or taxpayer funded job training for their particular business, a free market couldn’t possibly work, right? This bill would give the state an extra year to accept applications for the grant program, since it hasn’t managed to spend all $ 10 million of those dollars yet. To date, approximately $ 6 million has been awarded to 16 grantees. This bill would also remove the cap on the amount of money appropriated to the WORK program that may be expended in a given fiscal year.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 17−1358: Disclose Amounts Payable to Real Estate Brokers
Position: Oppose

Time to take a break from telling landlords what to do and pick on someone else! This bill tells real estate brokers what they must do, and exactly how they must do it. This bill would require that before the closing of a real estate transaction that includes a broker’s services, the amount of any fee, commission, or other charge paid to a broker be set forth in writing and accounted for in a contract or contemporaneous document furnished to all parties. Personal responsibility pro tip: we suggest any time you’re contracting for services you make sure the terms of payment are in writing. Under the bill, the required disclosures must include the identity of the parties paying compensation to a broker and the amounts payable by each party. The bill would also require that whenever a broker advertises his or her services in connection with a specific property, the broker must disclose his or her fees, or the basis for calculating the fees. So now we’re telling people how to advertise. The cherry on top of this sundae: the Real Estate Commission in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) may adopt rules and forms to implement the bill.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1364: Authority Local Government Master Plan Include Water Plan Goal
Position: Oppose

This bill would require a local government master plan to include water conservation policies determined by the county, which the bill specifies may include goals set forth in the state water plan. The bill then authorizes local governments to make plans to meet the goals specified in the state water plan a condition for development approvals. Counties required to adopt a master plan that include a water supply element must adopt water conservation policies by December 31, 2018.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 17−1365: Liquor-Licensed Drugstores Electronic Benefit Transfers
Position: Support

Under current law, establishments that are licensed to sell beer, wine, or spirits are prohibited from having an ATM in which individuals enrolled in public assistance programs may obtain cash benefits through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program. This bill exempts liquor-licensed drugstores from this prohibition. From a practical perspective, as the state moves toward allowing more places (like grocery stores) to sell alcohol, this restriction needs to be revisited. On a principled basis, can/should the state control where people spend these benefits by restricting the location of the ATMs?

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
OpposeHB 17−1366: Measurable Goals Deadlines Colorado Climate Action Plan
Position: Oppose

House Bill 13-1293 directed the Governor to establish at least a part-time position with the term “climate change” in the title in order to assess climate change issues within the state. We evaluated that proposition as opposing the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility but it was passed in 2013 when one party held majorities in both legislative chambers plus the governor’s office. Colorado’s “climate change risk management specialist” is located in the Colorado Water Conservation Board in the Department of Natural Resources. This bill would require the climate change risk management specialist to include measurable goals in the state climate action plan that are at least as ambitious as the goals established by the Governor’s Executive Order D 004 08, that will either reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions or increase Colorado’s adaptive capability to respond to climate change. The bill would also require the annual climate report to the general assembly to include an analysis of the progress made in meeting these goals and deadlines specified in the plan. Because Colorado must suffer its “fair share” of economic hari-kari so we can look upon the rest of the world with an enviro moral smugness that can only be truly appreciated in the Republic of Boulder…

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1372: Oil Gas Operators Disclose Pipe Location Development Plans
Position: Oppose

This bill would require that an oil and gas operator give electronic notice of the location of each subsurface oil and gas facility to the COGCC, and to each local government within whose jurisdiction a subsurface oil and gas facility is located. The COGCC is required to post the information on its website in a searchable database that allows local governments and the public to locate subsurface oil and gas facilities. The bill would also allow a local government to request a good-faith estimate of the number of wells the operator intends to drill in the next five years within the local government’s jurisdiction and a map showing the location of existing well sites and production facilities, approved well sites or sites for which an application is pending, and sites the operator has identified for development on its current drilling schedule but for which it hasn’t yet submitted an application for COGCC approval.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1373: General Fund Transfers for CO Colorado Energy Office Cash Funds
Position: Oppose

In 2012, House Bill 12-1315 created both the Clean and Renewable Energy Fund and the Innovative Energy Fund. $ 3.1 million in funding for these accounts is scheduled to cease this year (woohoo!). These funds provide things like electric vehicle grant funding for public infrastructure and STEM energy education initiatives. To hear our thoughts on government using taxpayer dollars to try to “guide” the market or push socio-political agendas via “education,” attend one of our training classes this fall! This bill would transfer $ 3.1 million from the General Fund to two these two funds for Fiscal Year 2017-18: $ 1.6 million to the Clean and Renewable Energy Fund and $ 1.5 million the Innovative Energy Fund.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 17−1374: Colorado Heroes Hunting & Fishing Act
Position: Oppose

This bill would grant veterans of the armed forces a free lifetime small game hunting and fishing license, or any big game license the veteran qualifies for under rules of the parks and wildlife commission if the veteran has been a resident of Colorado for at least the previous 2 years, served in the armed forces for at least 2 years, and was separated under honorable conditions. Every year we go through the same thing – political favoritism for a group of people who want it the least, because they served and sacrificed for the ideals of equality and freedom and a respect for the equal application of the rule of law for everyone.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law