The Legislative Council met November 15, 2017, to review and approve bills recommended by interim study committees during the 2017 interim. In reviewing the bills, the Legislative Council considered whether each bill fit within the recommending committee’s study charge. At the meeting, the Legislative Council approved all of the bills summarized last week in Part 1 of this two-part series.
Following are summaries of the bills recommended by the remaining 2017 interim committees. Except where noted, the Legislative Council approved all of the bills for introduction during the 2018 regular legislative session.
Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission
The Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission met four times over the interim. Kristina Mueller with the Office of Early Childhood in the Colorado Department of Human Services staffed the commission. The commission requested five bills, and at its final meeting on November 1, the committee voted to recommend four of those bills to the Legislative Council:
Bill A: Concerning alignment of early childhood quality improvement programs with the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System.
The bill amends the application and eligibility requirements for the Colorado School Readiness Quality Improvement Program and the Infant and Toddler Quality and Availability Grant Program to align with the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System, streamlining administration of the programs. The bill also removes obsolete language from the statutes, including references to early childhood and education councils that were never established.
Bill B: Concerning substitute child care providers.
The bill creates a license within the Colorado Department of Human Services for a substitute placement agency that places, facilitates, or arranges placement of substitute child care providers in licensed facilities that provide less than 24-hour care. The State Board of Human Services is directed to establish rules for substitute child care providers and substitute placement agencies. At a minimum, those rules must require the substitute child care provider to submit to a fingerprint-based criminal history records check and demonstrate that he or she has the training and certification for the license type and position in which he or she is placed.
Bill C: Concerning the extension of the repeal of the Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission.
The bill extends the commission’s repeal date by five years to July 1, 2023.
Bill D: Concerning eligibility of kindergarten students funded through early childhood at-risk enhancement positions.
If a school district chooses to use an early childhood at-risk enhancement (ECARE) position to enroll a child in the school district’s full-day kindergarten program, the child enrolled through the ECARE position must meet at least one of the eligibility requirements of the Colorado preschool program.
To review the bills recommended by the Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission and for questions concerning the legislation, please contact Brita Darling.
Legislative Oversight Committee concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System
The Legislative Oversight Committee concerning the Treatment of Person with Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System met three times over the 2017 interim. In addition to the legislative oversight committee meetings, the task force associated with this committee met five times. At its final meeting on November 1, 2017, the committee recommended four bills to the Legislative Council. The Legislative Council approved all of the bills except Bill C:
Bill A: Concerning competency to proceed for juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system.
This bill establishes a juvenile-specific definition of “competent to proceed” and “incompetent to proceed” for juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system, as well as specific definitions for “developmental disability”, “mental capacity”, and “mental disability” when used in this context. The bill clarifies the procedures for establishing incompetency, as well as for establishing the restoration of competency.
Bill B: Concerning the repeal date for the transfer of money from community corrections to the housing assistance for persons transitioning from the criminal or juvenile justice system cash fund.
In 2017, the general assembly enacted a provision requiring, at the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, the state treasurer to transfer unexpended and unencumbered money appropriated for community corrections programs to a new fund to assist persons transitioning from the criminal or juvenile justice systems. The act repealed the provision in 2018. The bill eliminates the repeal of the provision so that the transfer occurs at the end of each state fiscal year.
Bill C: Concerning measures to ease the rental application process for prospective tenants, and, in connection therewith, requiring landlords to disclose their tenant eligibility criteria before accepting rental applications or application fees.
The bill requires a landlord to provide each prospective tenant with written notice of the landlord’s tenant selection criteria and the grounds upon which a rental application may be denied before accepting an application or collecting an application fee. The notice must also state the amount of the application fee, which must be uniform for all applicants. The bill further defines a violation of these requirements as a deceptive trade practice.
Bill D: Concerning incentives to provide inmates with needed services.
The bill requires the department of corrections to institute an incentive plan to contract for more mental health professionals in difficult-to-serve geographic areas if the number of inmates who need a treatment or service in the area exceeds the number of available spaces by 20 percent.
To review the bills recommended by the Legislative Oversight Committee concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems, please visit the committee’s website. For questions concerning the legislation, please contact Jane Ritter, Jeremiah Barry, or Duane Gall.
Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee
The Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee met six times over the interim and heard from state agencies, state officials, and stakeholders representing all aspects of the substance use disorder crisis. The committee also created several task forces that met separately to address specific issues in this area. The committee requested the drafting of six bills and voted to advance all six bills to Legislative Council. Legislative Council approved all six bills:
Bill A: Concerning measures to prevent opioid misuse in Colorado.
This bill specifies several measures to address opioid misuse, including:
- Establishing the opioid and other substance use disorders study interim committee as a statutory committee to continue its work until July 1, 2020, when the committee will automatically repeal;
- Specifying that school-based health care centers may apply for grants from the school-based health center grant program to expand behavioral health services to include treatment for opioid and other substance use disorders;
- Directing the department of health care policy and financing, starting July 1, 2018, to award grants to organizations to operate a substance abuse screening, brief intervention, and referral program; and
- Directing the center for research into substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery to develop and implement continuing medical education activities to assist prescribers of pain medication in safely and effectively managing patients with chronic pain.
Bill B: Concerning clinical practice measures for safer opioid prescribing.
With regard to prescribing opioids to patients, the bill:
- Restricts the number of opioid pills that a health care practitioner (specifically, physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians), may prescribe for an initial prescription to a 7-day supply and one refill for a 7-day supply, with certain exceptions; and
- Clarifies that a health care practitioner may electronically prescribe opioids.
With regard to the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), the bill:
- Requires health care practitioners to query the PDMP before prescribing the first refill prescription for an opioid except under specified circumstances;
- Requires practitioners to indicate their specialty or practice area upon the initial query of the PDMP; and
- Requires the department of public health and environment to report to the general assembly its results from studies regarding PDMP integration methods and health care provider report cards.
Bill C: Concerning measures to address the opioid crisis in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, providing immunity for individuals who provide clean syringes through a clean syringe exchange program, creating a supervised injection facility pilot program, allowing school districts to develop policies for the supply and administration of opiate antagonists, and requiring the commission on criminal and juvenile justice to study certain topics related to sentencing for opioid-related offenses.
- Specifies that hospitals may be used as clean syringe exchange sites;
- Provides civil immunity for participants of a clean syringe exchange program;
- Creates a supervised injection facility pilot program in the city and county of Denver and provides civil and criminal immunity for the approved supervised injection facility;
- Allows school districts and nonpublic schools to develop a policy by which schools are allowed to obtain a supply of opiate antagonists and school employees are trained to administer opiate antagonists to individuals at risk of experiencing a drug overdose; and
- Requires the commission on criminal and juvenile justice to study certain topics related to sentencing for opioid-related offenses.
Bill D: Concerning modifications to the Colorado health service corps program administered by the department of public health and environment to expand the availability of behavioral health care providers in shortage areas in the state.
This bill modifies the Colorado health service corps program administered by the primary care office in the department of public health and environment as follows:
- For purposes of determining health professional shortage areas in the state, allows the primary care office, under guidance adopted by the state board of health, to use state-specific methods, rather than federal guidelines, to develop and administer state-designated health professional shortage areas;
- Allows behavioral health care providers (specifically, licensed and certified addiction counselors, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, clinical psychologists, advanced practice nurses, and physicians certified or trained in addiction medicine, pain management, or psychiatry) and candidates for licensure as behavioral health care providers to participate in the loan repayment program on the condition of committing to provide behavioral health care services in health professional shortage areas for a specified period;
- Establishes a scholarship program to help defray the education and training costs associated with obtaining certification as an addiction counselor or with progressing to a higher level of certification; and
- Adds two substance use disorder-focused members to the advisory council that reviews program applications.
Bill E: Concerning treatment for individuals with substance use disorders, and, in connection therewith, adding residential and inpatient treatment to the Colorado medical assistance program.
The bill adds residential and inpatient substance use disorder services to the Colorado medical assistance program and limits participation in the program to persons who meet nationally recognized, evidence-based level of care criteria for residential and inpatient treatment. The benefit will not take effect unless Colorado receives federal authorization and secures federal matching dollars for the benefit. If the benefit is implemented, managed care organizations shall reprioritize the use of money allocated from the state marijuana tax cash fund to assist in providing treatment, including residential and inpatient treatment, to persons who are not otherwise covered by public or private insurance.
Bill F: Concerning payment issues relating to substance use disorders.
With respect to individual and group health benefit plans, the bill:
- Requires the plans to provide coverage without prior authorization for a five-day supply of buprenorphine for a first request within a 12-month period;
- If a plan covers physical therapy, acupuncture, or chiropractic services, requires the plan to cover those services with the same dollar limits, deductible, copayments, or coinsurance provisions as those applicable to primary care services;
- Prohibits carriers from taking adverse action against a provider or from providing financial incentives or disincentives to a provider solely on the results of a patient feedback survey relating to satisfaction with pain treatment;
- Clarifies that an “urgent prior authorization request” to a carrier includes a request for authorization of medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders; and
- Prohibits carriers from requiring a covered person to undergo a step-therapy protocol using a prescription drug containing an opioid.
For both the medical assistance program and private health benefit plans, the bill permits a pharmacist who has entered into a collaborative pharmacy practice agreement with one or more physicians to administer injectable medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders and to receive an enhanced dispensing fee for the administration.
With respect to the medical assistance program, the bill requires the medical services board to authorize reimbursement for a ready-to-use version of intranasal naloxone hydrochloride without prior authorization. The bill also prohibits a requirement that a person undergo a step-therapy protocol using a prescription drug containing an opioid.
The bill requires the Colorado department of health care policy and financing and the Colorado department of human services office of behavioral health to establish rules to standardize utilization management authority timelines for the nonpharmaceutical components of medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders.
To review the bills recommended by the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee, please visit the committee’s website. For questions concerning the legislation, please contact Kristen Forrestal, Yelana Love, Christy Chase, or Brita Darling.
Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force
The Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force held four meetings during the 2017 interim. Briefings and presentations were made by the Colorado Department of Revenue, the Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties, Inc., members of the business community, the Special District Association, the Colorado Tax Auditors Coalition, the Office of the State Auditor, the Council on State Taxation, the Tax Foundation, Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board, Inc., the Statewide Internet Portal Authority, various software providers, and members of the public on a wide range of subjects, including:
- The current Colorado sales and use tax system;
- Other states’ efforts to simplify their sales and use tax system;
- Pending federal legislation impacting sales and use tax simplification;
- Work being done by various software providers; and
- Updates on the Colorado Municipal League’s standardized definitions project
At its final meeting on November 1, 2017, the legislative members of the task force unanimously recommended one bill to the Legislative Council:
Bill A: Concerning a requirement that the department of revenue issue a request for information for an electronic sales and use tax simplification system.
The bill requires the Department of Revenue (DOR) to issue a request for information regarding the potential to contract for an electronic sales and use tax simplification system. The system would be available for use by the state and local governments, at their discretion, and would provide:
- Accurate address location information;
- A single application process for sales tax licenses;
- A uniform sales and use tax remittance form;
- A single point of remittance for sales and use tax; and
- A taxability or exemption matrix.
The information provided must identify initial costs and ongoing annual costs, as well as methods for payment by different public or private entities. The DOR is required to notify the task force when it has issued the request for information. The task force is required to meet within 90 days after receiving this notification to consider information received and determine its next steps.
Water Resources Review Committee
The Water Resources Review Committee (WRRC) met eight times over the 2017 interim, including one meeting in Steamboat Springs, and toured the San Miguel river basin in southwestern Colorado. The WRRC heard presentations on a variety of water issues, including various basin-specific issues, proposed water infrastructure projects, Colorado River compact compliance, rising groundwater in the South Platte River basin, Colorado’s Water Plan, and the use of reclaimed water.
At its final hearing on October 31, 2017, the WRRC considered 11 bills, recommending five of them to the Legislative Council.
Bill A: Concerning the ability of operators of sand and gravel mines to use water incidental to sand and gravel mining operations to mitigate the impacts of mining.
Current law requires operators of sand and gravel open mines that expose groundwater to the atmosphere to obtain a well permit and either: A replacement plan approved by the ground water commission for designated groundwater; or a plan for augmentation approved by the water court or a plan of substitute supply approved by the state engineer for tributary groundwater. The bill specifies that the replacement plan or the plan of substitute supply and the permit may authorize uses of water incidental to open mining for sand and gravel, including specifically, among other things, the mitigation of impacts from mining and dewatering.
Bill B: Concerning the financing of the division of parks and wildlife’s aquatic nuisance species program, and, in connection therewith, creating an aquatic nuisance species stamp for the operation of motorboats and sailboats in waters of the state, increasing penalties related to the introduction of aquatic nuisance species into the waters of the state, and combining two separate funds related to the aquatic nuisance species program into one fund.
The main focus of the bill is to create an aquatic nuisance species stamp that motorboat and sailboat owners must purchase each year to help fund the division of parks and wildlife’s efforts to detect, prevent, control, and eradicate aquatic nuisance species. The bill also increases existing penalties and adds new penalties for violations of the laws related to the detection, prevention, control, and eradication of aquatic nuisance species.
Bill C: Concerning the allowable uses of reclaimed domestic wastewater, and, in connection therewith, allowing reclaimed domestic wastewater to be used for marijuana cultivation.
The bill codifies rules promulgated by the water quality control commission (commission) of the department of public health and environment concerning allowable uses of reclaimed domestic wastewater, which is wastewater that has been treated for subsequent reuses other than drinking water. The bill also adds marijuana cultivation as an allowable use for reclaimed domestic wastewater and authorizes the division of administration in the department of public health and environment to grant variances for uses of reclaimed domestic wastewater.
Bill D: Concerning the allowable uses of reclaimed domestic wastewater, and, in connection therewith, allowing reclaimed domestic wastewater to be used for industrial hemp cultivation.
This bill makes changes that are largely analogous to those made in Bill C, but with regard to authorizing the use of reclaimed domestic wastewater for industrial hemp cultivation.
Bill E: Concerning an expansion of the duration for which the Colorado water resources and power development authority may make a loan under the authority’s revolving loan programs.
Pursuant to the federal clean water act and the federal “Safe Water Drinking Act”, the Colorado water resources and power development authority (authority) makes loans under its water pollution control revolving fund and its drinking water revolving fund. Under state law, the duration of a water pollution control loan made by the authority must not exceed 20 years after project completion; however, the federal clean water act now allows for loans up to the lesser of 30 years or the projected useful life of the project, as determined by the state. The bill removes the 20-year limitation on water pollution control loans and authorizes the authority to make loans in compliance with the clean water act and the “Safe Water Drinking Act”.
To review the bills recommended by the Water Resources Review Committee, please visit the committee’s website. For questions concerning the legislation, please contact Jennifer Berman or Thomas Morris.