A list of bills Pat sponsored in the 2010 legislative session:
(links to bills were updated as the bills are introduced, amended and passed, and now link to final versions)
SB 62 Categorical Education Programs
Makes technical changes to categorical education programs. Updates the terminology and references to assessments in the English Language Proficiency Act.
SB 94 Clarification of the Art in Public Places Law
Clarifies projects subject to the 1% for art requirement for state-funded capital construction projects. Part of “Creative Industries” economic development initiative endorsed by Gov. Ritter.
SB 87 Regulation of Lobbyists by the Secretary of State
Increases penalties for filing disclosures past deadlines. Increases transparency of volunteer lobbyist activities. Gives Secretary of State additional powers to enforce provisions of “Colorado Sunshine Act.”
SB 172 Continue Voluntary Check-Offs for Charitable Contributions on Income Tax Forms
Each year Colorado taxpayers are given an opportunity to make voluntary contributions to certain charitable causes when they fill out their income tax return form. Three of the oldest and/or most popular of the charitable causes on the form are set to expire after this year, so SB 172 extends their life by pushing their expiration date another 10 years. These “check-offs” generate valuable donations to a variety of worthy causes, including domestic violence, pet overpopulation and breast cancer. Rep. Dianne Primavera, the original sponsor of the breast cancer check-off legislation and a cancer survivor herself, is the House sponsor of this bill.
HB 1352 CCJJ Approved Recommendations of the Drug Policy Task Force
Implements recommendations of Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice. Reforms sentencing in drug possession cases and places emphasis on drug treatment rather than incarceration. A lot of work has gone into this bipartisan proposal – I was originally planning to introduce this bill in the Senate but now Rep. Mark Waller is out in front of the issue as the House sponsor and Sen. Shawn Mitchell and I are co-prime sponsors in the Senate. There is some serious momentum behind this bill!
SB 179 Voting Rights of Persons Involved in the Criminal Justice System
Clarifies voting eligibility of offenders in criminal justice system and restores the voting rights of persons paroled from felony convictions. Facilitates voting rights for offenders in custody that are not subject to felon disenfranchisement.
SB 189 Authorize Local Boards of Health to Approve Clean Syringe Exchange Programs
Clean syringe exchange programs are an important strategy for protecting public health. This bill allows local boards of health to approve programs to operate in their jurisdiction under an exemption from the criminal drug paraphernalia law. There is solid scientific research that demonstrates these programs, some of which have been operating in other parts of the country and around the world for over two decades, prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV and do not lead to increases in drug use or criminal activity. Colorado is way behind on this issue – time to catch up.
SB 2 Appealing Denials of Coverage by Third Party Payers
Authorizes Medicaid program to appeal insurance company denials for waiver program clients that also have private insurance. Protects taxpayers and ensures Medicaid is the “payer of last resort.”
House Bills that Pat Sponsored in the Senate:
HB 1030 Early Childhood Educator Development Scholarship Program
Creates a scholarship for those seeking an associate’s degree in early childhood education so that we have a better trained workforce in child care centers across Colorado. The program is contingent upon the receipt of federal funds for this purpose.
HB 1035 Colorado Child Care Assistance Program Eligibility Determinations
Changes the cycle for determining eligibility for child care assistance from every 6 months to every 12 months. This increases continuity in a quality child care program and helps families maintain access to child care so they can work or finish their education.
HB 1044 Licensure for Neighborhood Youth Organizations
House Speaker Terrance Carroll has introduced this bill to help Boys and Girls Clubs across Colorado and address whether they should be licensed as child care centers. The bill gives them the choice to be licensed as a child care center or a neighborhood youth organization.
HB 1055 Delinquent Taxpayers Pay Cost of Debt Collection
Rep. John Kefalas and I are working with the Dept of Revenue to shift the costs of debt collection agencies onto the delinquent taxpayers they are pursuing, rather than having this expense borne by the general fund. This saves all of us the expense of going after those who try to get away with not paying their taxes.
HB 1060 Penalty for Failure to Withhold Severance Tax
Rep. Daniel Kagan and I are working with the Dept of Revenue to improve collection of severance taxes by imposing penalties for not withholding taxes or not submitting required annual reports.
HB 1081 Money Laundering Crimes
Relocates the crime of money laundering within the criminal code to move it out of the Controlled Substances Act and instead codify it under fraud crimes. Also adds money laundering to the list of racketeering crimes in the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. Rep. Kevin Priola is the House sponsor.
HB 1083 Authorize Dept of Corrections Lease-Purchase Agreement for Day Surgical Center
Rep. Bob Gardner and I are carrying this bill for the Dept of Corrections. It will authorize the construction of a new out-patient day surgical center in Denver on the grounds of DRDC. By performing minor surgeries on DOC property we’ll avoid personnel costs and avoid risks to public safety that result from transporting prisoners to area hospitals. Once complete and paid for the new facility is projected to save over $600,000 per year.
HB 1103 Catastrophic Illness Relief Fund for Children
This bill originated from the Interim Committee on the Developmental Disability Waiting List. With so many families waiting there is a great need for emergency relief grants to families with children with high-cost medical conditions. This bill creates a grant fund and process for awarding grants to needy families, and imposes a surcharge on all health insurance policies in the state of $1 per year, which is expected to generate $2.8 million per year for this purpose. Rep. Nancy Todd has worked hard to move the bill through the House, and many families are desperately waiting for this type of emergency relief.
HB 1105 Clarify Provisions in the Colorado Probate Code Regarding Compensation
This is a rather dry and technical bill, but a committee of attorneys at the Colorado Bar Association have worked on this project for quite some time. The bill clarifies compensation issues for fiduciaries, attorneys and other professionals that are involved in the probate of estates. Rep. Ellen Roberts, an attorney who has practiced probate law, is the House sponsor of the bill.
HB 1137 “People First” Language in Colorado Statutes
Rep. Bob Gardner and I are working with the ARC of Colorado on this bill to require all Colorado statutes to use respectful language when referring to people with disabilities. Instead of saying “the disabled,” or “the mentally ill,” the laws should refer first to the person and then to their disabling condition, such as a “person with mental illness.” A small gesture perhaps, but it’s the right thing to do.
HB 1168 Make Whole Remedies to Give Injured Persons Priority Over Insurance Companies
This bill limits the ability of an insurance company to seek reimbursement for benefits paid if this would prevent an injured person from being made whole. This puts people before insurance companies and makes sure that the premiums we pay go first to protecting people, and then to repaying insurance companies. Rep. Claire Levy is the House sponsor.
HB 1171 Education-Related Reporting Requirements on Schools
Eliminates requirements on school districts to report certain data that has been found to be unnecessary, redundant, or obsolete by the Education Data Advisory Committee in the Colorado Dept of Education. Directs EDAC to study and recommend best practices for reporting student demographic data. Asks higher education institutions to report data on student remediation needs using unique student identifiers assigned by CDE. Sponsored in the House by Rep. Debbie Benefield.
HB 1201 Consent to Search During Law Enforcement Contact
Rep. Karen Middleton and I are proposing this bill to require law enforcement officers to first advise people of their right to refuse to submit to a “consent search,” which is often requested in situations in which the officer has no search warrant or other legal basis for performing the search. This ensures that people make a knowing and informed waiver of their 4th Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.
HB 1203 Permit Group Life Insurance for Business Groups of One
I’m working with Rep. Andy Kerr on this bill to simplify the life insurance laws in our state to remove the minimum number of people that are required for a group plan and permit a “business group of one” to purchase such plans. This will allow employees of small businesses that drop group life insurance to pick up the premiums on their own policies without seeing a huge jump in premiums because they are no longer in the group market. A small, technical change that will mean a lot to families in this situation.
HB 1255 Extend Sunset Date for Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
This is a routine “sunset review” bill that extends the duration of the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for another 5 years, at which time it will come up for sunset review again. I proud to be working with Rep. John Kefalas on this bill to maintain a voice in state government for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
HB 1273 Arts Education for Workforce Development
This bill by Rep. Michael Merrifield concerns one of his great passions: arts education. The bill requires every public school in the state to offer courses in the visual and performing arts, and it incorporates arts education into our system of standards and assessments so that our students can become creative innovators, develop appreciation for the arts and find new ways to connect with their school, their teachers and their community. In the Senate, Sen. Nancy Spence and I are both co-prime sponsors of the bill.
HB 1277 Expand Prison Rape Crimes to Cover Youth Corrections Facilities
Rep. Brian DelGrosso and I are sponsoring this bill to expand the scope of a prison rape bill that passed in 2000 to also cover sexual assaults against juveniles in the custody of the Division of Youth Corrections. For some reason the juvenile facilities were left out, and if you think about, young people in detention facilities are especially vulnerable.
HB 1334 Changes to Indecency Crimes
This bill will probably generate a few snickers and sophomoric jokes, but it concerns very serious matters and I’m glad to be working with Rep. Steve King to fix problems with our state laws about nudity and public indecency. Currently, the law is too harsh on those who are caught “streaking” or urinating in the alley near Coors Field after a Rockies game. Registration as a sex offender is a consequence of some of these offenses, so HB 1334 is an important fix to ensure the proper punishment for a variety of crimes involving public indecency and indecent exposure.
HB 1345 Charter School Emergency Powers
House Speaker Terrance Carroll introduced this bill to provide a mechanism in state law for the Commissioner of Education to intervene in situations where a charter school is in trouble, and he recently asked me to be the Senate sponsor of the bill. The bill spells out situations in which unsafe, unethical or illegal activities warrant such intervention and a process that should be followed. The terms of the bill have been carefully worked out by charter schools and their authorizing school districts, the Charter School Institute and charter management organizations. Let’s hope this law doesn’t have to be invoked any time soon!
HB 1359 Change of Venue in Dependency & Neglect Cases
Clarifies the process for transferring jurisdiction over child welfare cases alleging dependency and neglect from one court to another. When the parents have separated and live in different counties, these procedural matters can complicate efforts to protect the best interests of the children. Rep. Beth McCann and I are working with the Colorado Dept. of Human Services to make sure court processes work for kids and families in the child welfare system.
HB 1360 Grant Program for Parole Officers to Reduce Recidivism
Rep. Sal Pace has proposed a bill that makes changes to “technical violation” penalties for parolees and shifts resources into a recidivism reduction grant program. These grants will be used by parole officers to provide the services and supports that offenders need to successfully re-enter society after doing time in prison. The goal is to reduce recidivism by 20% by offering mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training and housing assistance to recently paroled offenders.
HB 1370 Disclosure Requirements for Ballot Issue Campaign Committees
This bill clarifies the law around registering an “issue committee” that will make expenditures for or against the passage of ballot issues. It will require any advertising by issue committees to contain a disclaimer indicating the name of the committee that paid for the message if the value of the advertising exceeds $1,000. Rep. Lois Court has been working on this bill for some time and because of my involvement in ballot issue campaigns over the years she asked me to sponsor the bill in the Senate.
HB 1395 Authorize Interlocutory Appeals in Civil Litigation
Rep. Bob Gardner and I are teaming up again to sponsor a bill requested by the Colorado Bar Association. It grants jurisdiction to the appellate courts to hear what are called “interlocutory appeals.” This procedure will ease the workload on the courts by allowing unanswered questions of law to be sent up on appeal before a case is tried in district court. It sounds complicated, but the procedure is used in federal courts and in criminal cases in our state court system. Civil procedure!
HB 1404 Independent Ethics Commission
This bill moves the Independent Ethics Commission created by Amendment 41 from the Dept of Personnel to become an independent office in the Judicial Branch. The voters intended the commission to be independent and to perform an adjudicatory role, so being located in the Judicial Branch makes sense. The Judicial Branch is the most independent and least susceptible to political pressure of the three branches of government. The bill makes a few other minor housekeeping changes to the laws creating the commission, all of which were recommended. Rep. Beth McCann is the House sponsor.
HB 1407 Range Worker Advisory Council
Rep. Daniel Kagan and I are proposing this bill to examine the employment practices and living conditions for range workers who have come to Colorado on H-2A visas. Most of these range workers are sheepherders, living in small, primitive campers in mountainous areas on the Western Slope. Rep. Kagan and I visited several sheepherders in Moffat County last summer to observe firsthand the isolation and harsh conditions in which they live and work, rarely leaving their flocks of approximately 1,000 sheep. They have a horse, a few dogs, and a lot of lonely hours in beautiful forests with few creature comforts. And they paid about $750 per month. HB 1407 creates an advisory council to review the situation and make recommendations for improving the working and living conditions for guest range workers.
HB 1410 State Employee Pay Day Shift Fund
Several years ago, during the last economic downturn, the state changed the date of the last pay day for state employees in the fiscal year. Instead of being paid on June 30, the employees were instead paid on July 1. This was a budget balancing move that created, for one year only, a fiscal year with only 11 monthly pay periods instead of twelve. From that point forward state employees have received their June salaries on July 1, so each subsequent year again had twelve monthly pay periods. It was a clever gimmick at the time. Rep. Joe Rice and I are working to gradually reverse this practice, in part so that it might once again be available for budget flexibility, but more importantly because of the impact it had on state workers that were paid on a bi-weekly basis. This bill begins the process of reversing the pay day shift and prioritizes those workers paid bi-weekly.