Below are measures I am sponsoring in the 2020 legislative session. To see details on any of these, you can visit the Colorado General Assembly web site at http://leg.colorado.gov/bills. The 2020 session started January 8 and bills are still being finalized and introduced – I’ll update this page throughout our session, which runs until May 6.
To see all bills I have sponsored in prior years, plus some other significant bills I have supported, visit my legislation page here.
HOUSING & HOMEOWNERS’ RIGHTS
Continue HOA Information Office & Create Alternative Dispute Resolution Process – Millions of Coloradans live in an HOA (home owners’ association). Hopefully HOAs provide useful services like maintenance of common areas and recreational amenities in exchange for monthly dues and are governed well and transparently. Sometimes they are not, leading to homeowner frustrations and concerns about lack of means of quick and inexpensive redress. Pursuant to recommendations from a non-partisan staff “sunset report” about the HOA information office, this bill aims to continue the HOA information office as a resource for homeowners and to create an adjudicative process as an alternative to having to go to court to resolve complaints like lack of access to HOA records and other violations of homeowners’ rights under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCOIA).
STATUS – pending House Business Affairs & Labor Committee hearing 4/8.
Optional Energy Efficiency Features for New Residential Construction (HB20-1155) – if you want energy- and money-saving features in a new home like electric vehicle charging ports in the garage or an electric heat-pump, it’s much cheaper and easier to have those features added when the house is being built than to have to hire a contractor years later. This bill requires home builders to offer these options to buyers while the house is being built. Buyers who aren’t interested can decline. With rapid growth expected around Colorado for decades to come, this bill aims to save home buyers money and energy.
STATUS – passed House & Senate; pending conference committee.
Requirement for Reasonableness in Charges Paid By Rural Electric Associations (HB20-1225) – REAs (aka rural electric cooperatives) provide power to hundreds of thousands of Coloradans (including in Arapahoe County) and are obligated to do so at the lowest rates consistent with reliable supply. Sometimes however other coops from which REAs obtain their power at wholesale impose high or at least questionable costs. This bill seeks to clarify that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission has jurisdiction to review complaints about theses costs, so that REAs customers’ rates are not excessively high.
STATUS – passed House & Senate; pending governor’s signature.
Require Online Availability of Judicial Opinions (HB20-1130) – opinions from the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court are the law. They interpret our statutes and our state constitution and help people understand what their rights are. So they should be publicly available and free. This bill would both put into law the existing practice of our courts of making opinions available on their web sites and require them, within a few years, to post older (pre-internet age) opinions as well. Older opinions are available through private subscription services and sometimes on web sites, but you shouldn’t have to pay to access the law, and people shouldn’t have to rely on unofficial sources either.
STATUS – passed House; pending Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Update Laws Governing Attorney General’s Office (SB20-063) – The Colorado Attorney General, elected every 4 years, is the top law enforcement official in our state and the people’s lawyer. This bill updates laws regulating how the office of the attorney operates, clarifies the responsibilities of deputies and assistants who report to the attorney general, and clarifies proper handling of settlement funds recovered by the state in legal actions.
STATUS – signed into law.
Create a New Judicial District for Arapahoe County (HB20-1026) – Colorado has a total of 22 judicial districts, and that hasn’t changed in over 50 years. Right now Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties are in the 18th judicial district, which has over 1 million residents – about 1/6 of the state’s population, far more than any other district. Effective starting 2025, this bill would place Arapahoe County in the 18th judicial district and establish a new 23rd judicial district for Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties. This would enable more efficient operation of the courts for all four counties.
STATUS – passed House & Senate; awaiting governor’s signature.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Reforming Procedures for Defendants Who Are Incompetent To Proceed – Being “competent to proceed” in the criminal justice system means that a defendant is mentally capable of realizing the charges being brought against him/her and is able to assist in his/her defense by engaging with his/her attorney. It is a violation of the U.S. Constitution to continue criminal proceedings against an “incompetent” defendant. Colorado has struggled for years to quickly evaluate defendants whose competency may be in question and to provide “restoration” (treatment) for defendants who are not competent. Presently, Colorado is under a consent decree from the federal court due to past delays in these evaluations and restorations. In this context, this bill seeks to make a variety of reforms to Colorado’s systems for addressing incompetent and potentially incompetent defendants so that our criminal justice resources are used to prosecute those who are fundamentally a threat to public safety rather than fundamentally struggling with a behavioral health condition.
STATUS – passed Senate Judiciary Committee; pending Senate floor vote.