Title 12 Recodification Continues Apace

Editor’s note: We’re out of hiatus a week early! LegiSource has enjoyed a rest, but some things just can’t wait…

by Kate Meyer

There’s an old saying about law school that most students learn: In the first year, they scare you to death. In the second year, they work you to death. And in the third year, they bore you to death.

I’ve been thinking lately about how to adapt that adage to the Title 12 recodification project. So far, I think the saying is apt as concerns the first and second years. In 2016, the first year of the Title 12 effort, folks didn’t quite know what to expect with such a massive undertaking and exhibited a combination of curiosity and trepidation about how it would unfold. In 2017, the project got a big boost when the Committee on Legal Services approved 15 separate bills relating to the effort (perhaps leaving sponsoring legislators and staff feeling “worked to death”). It’s the third year where the similarities stop; as Title 12 now enters its crucial and exciting third year, I think those involved will be anything but bored.

Recap. The recodification of Title 12 (“Professions and Occupations”) officially commenced in 2016, with the passage of House Bill 16-163. For a refresher on that bill and a general overview of the project, click here.

During the 2017 legislative session, the General Assembly made great strides,  better positioning the Title 12 recodification effort as it enters the final phase:

  • House Bill 17-1006 authorized administrative agencies to change statutory citations contained in rules published in the Colorado Code of Regulations through a simplified process. This avoids the need for agencies to conduct formal notice-and-comment rulemakings simply to update citations that are made obsolete by recodifying Title 12 and other relocations and will save a great deal of time and expense that would otherwise result from the renumbering caused by relocation.
  • Fourteen stand-alone bills slimmed down Title 12 by relocating 21 articles that have nothing to do with professions and occupations regulated by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (“DORA”) to more appropriate locations in the Colorado Revised Statutes (“C.R.S.”). The relocated laws affect everything from cemeteries to dance halls. With these provisions out of the way (resulting in about 270 fewer pages of statutory text in Title 12!), less work remains and there is little to distract from the more substantive, nuanced, and complicated aspects of recodifying Title 12.

What’s in store now? Although much progress has been made, the real crux of the Title 12 recodification will occur in this, its third year. In particular, efforts will continue to identify more appropriate statutory locations for many current laws, and the reorganization of the remainder of Title 12 into a more coherent whole will commence. Specific activity will include:

  • Continuing the Title 12 exodus: A number of articles remain in Title 12 that will be moved (as with the 2017 session bills, in a nonsubstantive fashion) to more appropriate locations in the C.R.S., including laws about firearms dealers, background checks at gun shows, and advance parental notification of an unemancipated minor’s abortion.
  • Making recodification a two-way street: Although most of the recodification activity to date has seen Title 12 lose laws, it may actually gain some laws—DORA’s organizational statutes, laws related to passenger tramway safety, etc.—during this next phase of the project.
  • Creating a new Title 44: Other soon-to-be-orphaned Title 12 laws will be moved into a new title: Title 44, C.R.S. These laws concern areas in which the Department of Revenue has regulatory authority: Automobiles, medical and retail marijuana, alcoholic and fermented malt beverages, liquors special event permits, gaming, and racing.
  • Cleaning up what’s left: The rest of Title 12, which concerns DORA, will be divided into sections governing that department’s Real Estate Division and the Division of Professions and Occupations. Redundant provisions will be identified and combined into “common provisions” sections (i.e., single sections of general applicability that contain provisions setting forth for example, definitions or administrative procedures), which will further reduce the size of the title.

Ultimately, the Committee on Legal Services must decide by December 31, 2017, whether to approve the additional Title 12 recodification bill(s). Any bill(s) recommended will be introduced in the 2018 legislative session.

How can I be involved? The staff of the Office of Legislative Legal Services strives to make the Title 12 recodification process as inclusive, transparent, and thoughtful as possible. To that end, we will once again conduct public meetings during the interim to solicit feedback on the recodification from stakeholders and other interested persons. Meeting announcements will be posted here, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. In fact, we’ve already scheduled two discussions on the relocation of Article 6 of Title 12, which pertains to automobiles, for Friday, July 7th at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, July 11th, at 2 p.m. The meetings will be held at the Capitol in SCR 354.

Additional resources:

  • To sign up for the Title 12 mailing list, please click here.
  • The Title 12 staff will keep the Committee on Legal Services apprised of the project’s progress. You can access agendas, meeting minutes, and audio for meetings here.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Christy Chase or Tom Morris.