The Title 12 Recodification Bill is Coming!

By Thomas Morris
Back in 2016, the General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 16-163, which directed the Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS) to conduct a study regarding an “organizational recodification of Title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.” As described in the legislative declaration in the act, the rationale for the recodification is that Title 12 (which regulates professions and occupations):

Lacks a coherent structure among its articles . . . ; [l]acks a true “common provisions” article resulting in the recurrence of identical or nearly identical provisions throughout the title; and . . . [i]ncludes numerous articles that do not strictly relate to the regulation of a profession or occupation and that could be more appropriately codified elsewhere in the Colorado Revised Statutes . . . .

As directed by Senate Bill 16-163, from the summer of 2016 to the fall of 2018, the OLLS conducted extensive stakeholder outreach and held 18 meetings with stakeholders. During these meetings, OLLS staff and stakeholders reviewed proposals to:

  • Relocate laws into and out of Title 12; and
  • Reorganize Title 12 through the creation of common provisions and the revision of laws regulating professions and occupations (practice acts) to accommodate the common provisions.

In 2017 and 2018, the Committee on Legal Services (COLS), which has overseen the recodification project, sponsored and the General Assembly enacted two dozen bills to relocate 36 articles and parts from Title 12 (and four provisions from Title 24) to their more appropriate titles in the Colorado Revised Statutes, including a newly created Title 44 for activities under the regulatory authority of the Department of Revenue.

As a result of these efforts, Title 12 currently contains only laws administered by the division of real estate, the division of professions and occupations (DPO), or the division of conservation within the department of regulatory agencies. The COLS has agreed to sponsor the final result of all this preparatory work—a bill to recodify all of Title 12.

The bill recodifies Title 12, as contemplated by Senate Bill 16-163, by:

  • Reorganizing and renumbering articles and parts within the title;
  • Relocating into Title 12:
    • Current statutes in article 34 of title 24 relating to the creation, powers, and duties of the DPO in administering the practice acts; and
    • A practice act regarding passenger tramways from Title 25;
  • Creating common provisions that are generally applicable to all practice acts administered by the DPO, except as otherwise specified, and modifying the various practice acts to eliminate redundancies with the common provisions; and
  • Eliminating provisions in Title 12 that are archaic or obsolete.

In keeping with the guidelines established by Senate Bill 16-163 to cause an “organizational” recodification rather than a substantive recodification, the bill’s title is:

Concerning an organizational recodification of title 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, and, in connection therewith, limiting substantive changes to those that conform similar provisions to achieve uniformity, eliminate redundancy, or allow for the consolidation of common provisions or that eliminate provisions that are archaic or obsolete.

At 1,762 bill pages, the recodified Title 12 is plenty big. But the conforming amendments necessitated by the bill add about another 160 pages to the bill, and the bill also includes, as an addendum, comparative tables that show how all sections of the Colorado Revised Statutes that are in the bill have been relocated or repealed. All in all, the bill exceeds 2,000 pages. The bill has an October 1, 2019, effective date to give affected state agencies time to make necessary adjustments to their rules and forms.

Because Title 12 in its entirety is repealed and reenacted, all of the existing sections of law in Title 12 have new section numbers. Also, because the Title 12 bill has an October 1, 2019, effective date, when it takes effect it will overwrite any bills enacted during the 2019 session that amend the existing Title 12 and have an earlier effective date. Therefore, each bill enacted during the 2019 session that amends an existing provision in Title 12, or that proposes to add a new provision to Title 12, will need to include a conforming amendment that amends the applicable updated section of Title 12 to preserve the policy changes contained in the non-recodification bill. This means the OLLS staff will likely be bringing to bill sponsors many amendments related to the Title 12 recodification.

Some OLLS staff have taken to referring to the bill as “MOAB”—the mother of all bills. MOAB will soon be filed for introduction, so check your bill calendars. The Title 12 recodification bill is coming!

Editor’s note: The Title 12 recodification bill has been introduced as House Bill 19-1172.