Yesterday, we brought you Part 1 of the 2022 Interim Committees Recap series. Today in Part 2, we’re covering the remainder of interim committees and their recommended legislation, which were considered for introduction at the Friday, October 14, Legislative Council meeting. Click here to listen to the meeting.
The Transportation Legislation Review Committee met twice. At the August 9 meeting and the September 10 meetings, the committee heard presentations:
- From public highway authorities;
- From the Colorado Department of Transportation;
- About climate reduction goals and reducing vehicle miles traveled;
- From the Colorado Motor Carriers Association;
- About driver education requirements;
- From the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
- About fleet license plates;
- From the Regional Transportation District ;
- From Bicycle Colorado and Denver Streets Partnership;
- From Toyota;
- From the Division of Motor Vehicles;
- About transportation and Senate Bill 22-180;
- From the Front Range Passenger Rail District;
- From Colorado Association of Transit Agencies; and
- About local transportation and Senate Bill 22-180.
The committee also drafted and considered ten bills, but ultimately voted to advance the following bills:
- Bill A – Registration of fleet vehicles that are part of rental vehicle fleets. The bill allows the operator of a rental vehicle fleet (fleet operator), if authorized by the Department of Revenue, to transfer license plates from one fleet vehicle to another when the fleet operator transfers or assigns the owner’s title or interest in the fleet vehicle from which the number plates are being transferred.
In addition, subject to current statutory requirements relating to the use of approved third-party providers, the department, to the extent feasible, is required to allow an owner of a rental vehicle fleet that is authorized to transfer license plates to maintain its own inventory of new number plates and to use a third-party provider to handle all or any portion of both its vehicle registration, lien, and titling needs and its number plate inventory ordering, management, and distribution needs.
- Bill B – A requirement that motor vehicle drivers move over or slow down to mitigate the risk their vehicles present to stationary vehicles on the road. The bill requires a person to move over, if possible, or slow down to a safe speed when a vehicle is on the side of the road displaying flashing hazard lights or warning lights. The current law that imposes the same requirement for a vehicle that is being chained up for winter storms is replaced with a requirement that the vehicle display flashing hazards lights or warning lights when chaining up.
- Bill C – Yielding to larger vehicles in roundabouts. The bill requires a driver to yield the right-of-way to a driver of a vehicle having a total length of at least 40 feet or a total width of at least 10 feet (large vehicle) when driving through a roundabout. The bill also requires that when 2 drivers of large vehicles approach or drive through a roundabout at the same time, the driver on the right must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the left.
A person who fails to yield commits a class A traffic infraction and is subject to a fine of $70 and an $11 surcharge.
- Bill D – Education requirements associated with the licensing of a minor to drive a motor vehicle on a roadway. For 10 years, the bill creates a refundable income tax credit for purchasing driver education and training for a minor. The amount of the credit is the amount spent on driver education and training, but cannot exceed $1,000 per student. To claim a credit, an individual must provide the Department of Revenue with a receipt for the amount paid if the department requests the receipt.
The bill replaces the current driver’s education requirements for a minor who is under 18 years of age to be issued a driver’s license with requirements that the minor:
- Complete a 30-hour driver education course, which may include an online course, approved by the department; and
- Receive at least 6 hours of behind-the-wheel driving training with a driving instructor or, for minors who live in rural areas of the state, 12 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a parent, a legal guardian, or an alternate permit supervisor.
The bill adds a requirement that a minor who is 18 to 21 years of age must successfully complete a 4-hour prequalification driver awareness program to be issued a driver’s license.
A person who has been convicted of certain violent or sexual crimes is prohibited from providing behind-the-wheel driving instruction to minors. A commercial driving school is prohibited from employing such a driving instructor to provide behind-the-wheel driving instruction to minors. Each instructor employed by a commercial driving school must obtain a fingerprint-based criminal history record check to verify that the instructor has not committed a disqualifying crime.
- Bill E – The enforcement of safety requirements for intrastate motor vehicle carriers. The bill changes the amount of civil penalties that may be levied on commercial motor carriers for failure to comply with rules for the safe operation of commercial vehicles by tying the amount of civil penalties to the amount of federal civil penalties for interstate commercial motor carriers.
The bill also authorizes the department of revenue to cancel or deny registration of a commercial motor carrier that fails to cooperate with the completion of a safety compliance review within 30 days.
Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Behavioral Health Disorders in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems
The Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Behavioral Health Disorders in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems (BHDCJS) met four times during the 2022 interim. The committee heard presentations from multiple stakeholders, behavioral and mental health advocates, and representatives from state executive departments concerning the issues facing persons with behavioral health disorders who have been in contact, in one form or another, with the criminal or juvenile justice systems.
The committee requested seven bills to be drafted. Of those, two were withdrawn prior to the September 29, 2022, meeting, and one was withdrawn at that meeting. The following four bills were recommended by the committee to the Legislative Council for consideration:
- Bill A – Concerning issues related to juvenile competency to proceed. The bill addresses issues related to a determination of juvenile competency to proceed (competency) and restoration of competency (restoration). The bill allows:
- The district attorney, defense attorney, guardian ad litem, department of human services, a competency evaluator, a restoration treatment provider, and the court, without written consent of the juvenile or further order of the court, to access competency evaluations and restoration evaluations, including all second evaluations; information and documents related to competency evaluations; the competency evaluator, for the purpose of discussing the competency evaluation; and the providers of court-ordered restoration services for the purpose of discussing such services;
- Parties to exchange names, addresses, reports, and statements of physicians or psychologists who examined or treated the juvenile for competency;
- The court or any party to raise, at any time, the issue of a need for a restoration evaluation of the juvenile’s competency; and
- A juvenile to be examined by a competency evaluator of the juvenile’s own choice and to request a second evaluation in response to a court-ordered competency evaluation or a court-ordered restoration evaluation.
If the court determines that the juvenile is incompetent to proceed and unlikely to be restored to competency in the reasonably foreseeable future, a time frame is set forth for the dismissal of charges based on the severity and type of charge.
- Bill B – Concerning ongoing funding for the Colorado 911 resource center. To provide ongoing funding for the Colorado 911 resource center, the state treasurer is required to issue a warrant, paid from the general fund, in the amount of $250,000 to the Colorado 911 resource center on July 1, 2023, and on each July 1 thereafter.
- Bill C – Concerning prior authorization exemption for medicaid coverage of medications treating serious mental illness. The bill prohibits the department of health care policy and financing from imposing prior authorization, step therapy, and fail first requirements for medicaid coverage of a prescription drug, as indicated on federally approved labels, to treat serious mental health disorders.
- Bill D – Concerning measures to regulate the use of restrictive practices on individuals in correctional facilities. The bill prohibits the use of a clinical restraint on an individual, unless:
- The use is to prevent the individual from committing imminent and serious harm to the individual’s self or another person, based on immediately present evidence and circumstances;
- All less restrictive interventions have been exhausted; and
- The clinical restraint is ordered by a licensed mental health provider.
The bill requires facilities that utilize clinical restraints to implement procedures to ensure frequent and consistent monitoring for the individual subjected to the clinical restraint and uniform documentation procedures concerning the use of the clinical restraint.
The bill limits the amount of time an individual may be subjected to a clinical restraint per each restraint episode and within a calendar year.
The bill prohibits the use of an involuntary medication on an individual, unless:
- The individual is determined to be dangerous to the individual’s self or another person and the treatment is in the individual’s medical interest;
- All less restrictive alternative interventions have been exhausted; and
- The involuntary medication is administered after exhaustion of procedural requirements that ensure a hearing, opportunity for review, and right to counsel.
The bill requires the department of corrections (department) to submit an annual report to the judiciary committees of the senate and house of representatives with data concerning the use of clinical restraints and involuntary medication in the preceding calendar year.
The bill requires the department to include specific data concerning the placement of individuals in settings with heightened restrictions in its annual administrative segregation report.
The Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee (WRARC) met three times during the interim and heard testimony from various water stakeholders in the state. On August 4, 2022, the WRARC asked requested 11 bills to be drafted to address various subject matters relating to water issues in the state. However, by the time the committee met on September 22 to select which bill drafts to advance for the consideration of the Legislative Council, nine of those requests were withdrawn. As a result, the WRARC voted to advance only the following two bills:
- Bill A – Task Force on High-altitude Water Storage creates a task force to study the feasibility of implementing water storage in the form of snow in high-altitude areas of the state (task force). The task force must submit a report to the WRARC on or before June 1, 2024, which report:
- Describes the feasibility of implementing high-altitude water storage in Colorado;
- Describes findings and recommendations regarding issues considered by the task force; and
- Describes any legislative proposals associated with the implementation of high-altitude water storage in Colorado, including identification of any state agencies that will be responsible for implementing legislative directives and identification of funding sources.
The task force is repealed, effective December 1, 2024.
- Bill B – Water Resources & Agriculture Review Committee converts the WRARC from an interim committee to a committee that may meet year-round. The bill also strikes obsolete language, removes limitations on the number of meetings and the number of field trips the WRARC may hold, and requires the WRARC to meet at least four times during each calendar year.
The Wildfire Matters Review Committee (WMRC) met five times during the 2022 interim and took one field trip. On September 28, 2022, the WMRC voted to advance the following five bills to the Legislative Council:
- Bill A – Forestry and Wildfire Mitigation Workforce. The bill directs the Colorado state forest service (state forest service) to develop educational materials for high school students relating to career opportunities in forestry and wildfire mitigation. The bill also creates the timber, forest health, and wildfire mitigation industries workforce development program, which provides partial reimbursement to timber businesses and other related entities for the costs of hiring interns. The bill also authorizes the expansion and creation of forestry programs in the community college system and at Colorado mountain college. Finally, the bill directs the state board for community colleges and occupational education to increase the number of qualified educators at certain colleges that deliver wildfire prevention and mitigation programs.
- Bill B – Wildfire Detection Technology Pilot Program. The bill requires the center of excellence for advanced technology aerial firefighting in the division of fire prevention and control (division) in the department of public safety to establish one or more remote camera technology pilot programs.
- Bill C – Timber Industry Incentives. The bill creates the timber, forest health, and wildfire mitigation industries workforce development program in the state forest service, which provides partial reimbursement to timber businesses and other related entities for the costs of hiring interns. The bill also creates an income tax credit for tax years 2023 through 2027 for timber businesses and other related businesses.
- Bill D – Updates To State Forest Service Tree Nursery. The bill requires the state forest service to make certain upgrades and improvements to its seedling tree nursery.
- Bill E – Fire Investigations. The bill directs the director of the division to report on the investigation of wildland fires in the state and creates the fire investigation fund to fund fire investigations.