Several legislative interim committees have been holding public meetings since the end of the last legislative session to discuss topics relevant to Colorado and to recommend legislation to the Legislative Council committee for approval for introduction in 2023. This week, we’re providing a summary of each of committee and its recommended legislation. The Legislative Council met on Friday, October 14, to review interim committee legislation proposals. Click here to listen to the meeting.
For more information about interim committees generally and how they operate, see “Interim Committees: Just the Facts, Ma’am”, posted July 21, 2017.
The Colorado Youth Advisory Council Review Committee met three times during the interim. The committee heard presentations from its student members about discipline in public schools, completing financial aid applications, increasing the number of school psychologists, substance use, educational standards, eating disorders, weight discrimination, and youth sexual health. The committee requested the drafting of three bills. The committee recommended all three bills to the Legislative Council.
- Bill A – Disordered Eating Prevention. The bill creates the Office of Disordered Eating Prevention (office) in the Department of Public Health and Environment (department). The bill requires the office and the department to:
- Create a resource bank for research and resources for treatment and services;
- Collaborate with the Office of Suicide Prevention, the Behavioral Health Administration, and organizations within the healthcare industry to close gaps in care and provide support for individuals with disordered eating transitioning out of inpatient care;
- Create outreach resources educating youth on how to seek care for disordered eating;
- Partner with the Department of Education to inform teachers, administrators, school staff, and parents on disordered eating prevention and treatment;
- Coordinate the Disordered Eating Prevention Research Grant Program; and
- Prepare written information for primary care offices and providers throughout the state.
The bill also creates the Disordered Eating Prevention Commission (commission) in the department consisting of seventeen members that have a personal connection to disordered eating prevention. The purpose of the commission is to provide leadership on disordered eating prevention in Colorado; set statewide data-driven, evidence-based, and clinically informed priorities for disordered eating prevention; serve as the advisor to the office of disordered eating prevention; provide a forum for government agencies, lawmakers, and community members to examine the current status of disordered eating prevention policies; provide a voice for youth on issues impacting youth; and provide forums for diverse perspectives and communities for support and information.
The bill further creates the Disordered Eating Prevention Research Grant Program (grant program) in the department. The purpose of the grant program is to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants to conduct research on risk factors for disordered eating, the impact disordered eating has on Colorado, or public interventions that examine and address the root causes of disordered eating.
- Bill B – Secondary School Student Substance Use. The bill creates the Secondary School Student Substance Use Committee (committee) in the Department of Education (department) to develop a practice or identify or modify an existing practice for secondary schools to implement that identifies students in need of treatment for substance use, offers a brief intervention, and refers students to substance use treatment resources. The bill requires the department to publish a report of the committee’s findings and submit the report to the superintendent of every school district and the chief administrator of every institute charter school that is a secondary school.
- Bill C – Disproportionate Discipline in Public Schools. The bill requires each school district board of education, institute charter school board, or governing board of a board of cooperative services (BOCES) to adopt a policy to address disproportionate disciplinary practices in public schools. Each school entity must develop, implement, and annually review improvement plans if the data reported to the Department of Education shows disproportionate discipline practices at the local education provider. Each provider shall provide to the parents of students enrolled in the school written notice of the improvement plan and issues identified by the local education provider. The bill requires school districts to consider certain factors before suspending or expelling a student. The bill requires school districts to document in a student’s record and compile in the Safe School report any alternative disciplinary attempts before suspending or expelling a student.
The Legislative Interim Committee on Judicial Discipline met five times during the 2022 interim to examine Colorado’s judicial discipline system, including the topics outlined in Senate Bill 22-201. The committee heard presentations from Colorado’s Judicial Department, the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, and experts in the field of judicial discipline, and the committee heard public testimony at each of its first four meetings. The committee requested the drafting of two bills and one resolution. Of those, one bill was withdrawn at the September 30, 2022, meeting and the other two pieces of legislation were recommended by the committee to the Legislative Council for its consideration.
- Bill A – Submitting to the Registered Electors of the State of Colorado an Amendment to the Colorado Constitution Concerning Judicial Discipline. The concurrent resolution amends section 23 of article VI of the Colorado Constitution as it relates to judicial discipline. The resolution clarifies the commission on judicial discipline’s (commission) duties and authority. The resolution repeals the authority of the commission and special masters to conduct formal judicial disciplinary proceedings and creates an independent adjudicative board (board) to conduct formal proceedings and hear appeals of the commission’s orders imposing informal sanctions. A panel of the board may dismiss a complaint, impose informal sanctions, or impose formal sanctions. The resolution sets the standards of review to be used by the supreme court when it reviews a panel’s decision and requires a tribunal of seven randomly selected court of appeals judges to review a panel’s decision in cases involving a Colorado supreme court justice, a staff member to a justice, or a family member of a justice, or when more than two justices have recused themselves from the proceeding. The resolution requires judicial discipline proceedings be made public at the commencement of formal proceedings. The resolution clarifies the circumstances in which the commission may release otherwise confidential information. Finally, the resolution creates a rule-making committee to propose rules for the commission. The supreme court approves or rejects each rule proposed by the rule-making committee.
- Bill B – Judicial Discipline. The bill establishes rule-making procedure for rules governing the commission on judicial discipline (commission) and judicial discipline adjudicative board (board) proceedings. The bill also clarifies who provides administrative staff support for board proceedings. The bill permits a person to submit a request for evaluation of judicial misconduct by mail or online and also permits a person to submit a confidential or anonymous request for evaluation. The bill establishes a process for the office of judicial discipline to provide complainants with information about the judicial discipline process and about the status of the complainant’s request and any subsequent investigation and disciplinary or adjudicative process. The bill requires the commission include certain information in its annual report and make the information available online. The bill repeals the statute establishing the legislative interim committee on judicial discipline because the committee is not authorized to meet after the 2022 legislative interim.
The Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning Tax Policy met four times during the interim. The committee heard presentations on severance taxes, sales and use taxation of services, national perspectives on property taxes, and collecting excise tax from delivery sellers under House Bill 20-1427. Additionally, the state auditor’s office presented tax expenditure evaluations. The committee also set the scope of tax policies to be considered by its subordinate Task Force Concerning Tax Policy to include applying state income tax to federal adjusted gross income and options for expanding sales and use tax to apply to services.
The committee requested nine bills for drafting and recommended five to the Legislative Council for introduction:
- Bill A – Repeal of Infrequently Used Tax Expenditures. The bill eliminates ten infrequently used income tax exemptions, deductions, and credits.
- Bill B – Taxation of Tobacco Products. The bill categorizes transactions involving tobacco products other than smokeless and roll-your-own tobacco products as remote retail sales rather than delivery sales and establishes a system for taxation and licensing of such sales that mirrors the current system for delivery sales.
- Bill C – Tax Credits for Low- and Middle-income Working Individuals or Families. The bill increases the state earned income tax credit to 40% of the federal credit claimed, increases the percentages of the federal credit that can be claimed for the state child tax credit depending on income level, and increases the age of an eligible child for the child tax credit from under six years old to under 18 years old.
- Bill D – Long-term Care Insurance Tax Credit. The bill increases the amount of federal taxable income that qualifies for the credit and doubles the amount of credit that may be claimed.
- Bill E – Unauthorized Insurance Premium Tax Rate. The bill increases the unauthorized insurance premium tax rate to three percent in parity with the surplus lines insurance premium tax rate.
The Pension Review Commission (commission) met twice during the interim. It heard presentations from the Fire and Police Pension Association (FPPA) and the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA). In addition, the commission heard proposals for legislation from its own Pension Review Subcommittee. The Pension Review Subcommittee itself met three times to: (1) Hear presentations regarding House Bill 22-1029 – Compensatory Direct Distribution to PERA and the Direct Distribution to PERA; (2) Discuss proposed legislation and questions to be submitted to PERA; (3) Hear from PERA regarding answers to their submitted questions; and (4) Discuss its annual reports to the General Assembly and the citizens of Colorado.
The Pension Review Commission requested that three bills be drafted and ultimately recommended one bill to the Legislative Council for introduction as follows:
- Bill A – Temporary Tax Credit for Public Service Retirees. Although the bill as originally requested and drafted increased the pension or annuity income tax deduction, the commission amended the bill in committee to create an income tax credit for public service retirees. The bill creates an income tax credit for income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2023, but prior to January 1, 2025, for a qualifying public service retiree. A “public service retiree” means a full-time Colorado resident individual who is 55 years of age or older at the end of the 2023 or 2024 income tax year and who is a retiree of a Colorado public pension plan administered pursuant to the Colorado Revised Statutes or a retiree of a public pension plan administered by a local government of the state of Colorado.
The Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force met four times during the interim. It heard presentations from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI), the Colorado Municipal League (CML), local government representatives, and private industry stakeholders. A general discussion relating to the SUTS system, the retail delivery fee, Colorado sale and use taxes, including taxes on construction materials through the building permit process, the simplification of the state sales return, and local lodging taxes with an opportunity for public comment occurred. In addition, the task force heard an overview of the Wayfair v. Lakewood complaint and sales and use tax expenditure evaluation reports from the Office of the State Auditor.
The task force requested that four bills and one resolution be drafted and ultimately recommended one bill and one resolution to the Legislative Council for introduction as follows:
- Resolution A – Uniform Sales & Use Tax on Construction Materials. Resolution A urges municipalities that locally collect their taxes to cooperate on a uniform administration of sales and use tax on construction materials, to standardize information on building permits, and to speed up the issuance of certain documentation. It also requests that the Colorado Municipal League update the task force on these efforts.
- Bill B – Electronic Sales & Use Tax Simplification System. The electronic sales and use tax simplification system (SUTS) is a one-stop portal designed to facilitate the collection and remittance of sales and use tax. For the purpose of improving the system, the bill requires the department to make certain changes to the system and permits it to make others. It also prohibits the department from imposing certain convenience fees for payments through SUTS and requires the department to promote SUTS for the purpose of increasing the awareness, participation, and compliance by retailers and local taxing jurisdictions.