March 23, 2020 Colorado

Colorado Bills to Watch, March 23, 2020

HB 1070 – Local Government Liable Fracking Ban Oil And Gas Moratorium 

Sponsor: Perry Buck

Summary: Bill requires local governments that ban or place moratoriums on drilling to pay oil and gas companies for “all costs, damages, and losses of fair market value associated with the moratorium.”

Last Major Action: 1/27/20 – House Committee on Energy & Environment- Postponed Indefinitely


HB 1087 – Parks And Wildlife Law Enforcement Statutes Cleanup

Sponsor: Perry Will; Jenny James Arndt

Summary: Bill includes many technical changes to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife code, but most notably it makes the “imposition of additional penalties regarding the unlawful taking of trophy animals permissive instead of mandatory.”

Last Major Action: 3/16/20 – Sent to the governor


HB 1126 – Local Control Approvals Oil And Gas Applications

Sponsor: Lori Saine, Perry Buck, Vicki Marble, John Cooke

Summary: Bill repeals the authority of the director of the oil and gas conservation commission to delay the final determination regarding an oil and gas permit application and amends existing law so that if a local government approves an application to drill the commission or director shall approve said application. 

Last Major Action: 3/02/20 — House Committee on Energy & Environment Postpone Indefinitely


HB 1146 – Conservation Easement Transparency

Sponsor: Patrick Neville

Summary: Bill adds red tape to Colorado’s conservation easement program, including requiring property owners to ” sign a disclosure form acknowledging certain specified consequences and risks of creating the easement on his or her land” prior to creating the easement; requiring “the commissioner of agriculture to work with local government officials to create a database of conservation easements in the state”; and whenever a conservation easement, agreement, amendment or transfer is recorded, it “requires a complete copy of the agreement, amendment, or transfer to be submitted to the commissioner of agriculture and the county tax assessor of the county in which the easement is located.”

Last Major Action: 2/10/20 – Hearings in House Rural Affairs & Agriculture Committee Postponed Indefinitely


HB 1143 – Environmental Justice And Projects Increase Environmental Fines

Sponsor: Dominique Jackson; Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez

Summary: Colorado law currently allows regulators at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to impose a penalty of $15,000 per day for an air-quality violation and $10,000 per day for a water-quality violation. This bill would raise both figures to $47,357 — the maximum allowed under federal law — beginning in 2021, and adjust it annually from there.

Last Major Action: 2/27/20 — House Committee on Finance Refer Amended to Appropriations

Relevant Public Comment: Westword, 1/20/20


HB 1191 – Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Sponsor: Barbara McLachlan; Matt Soper; Tammy Story; Don Coram

Summary: This bill creates the outdoor recreation industry office in the office of economic development. The director of the outdoor recreation industry office is designated by and reports to the director of the office of economic development. The outdoor recreation industry office serves as a central coordinator of outdoor recreation industry matters.

Last Major Action: 3/10/20 – Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Agriculture & Natural Resources


SB 03 – State Parks Improvement Appropriation

Sponsor: Leroy Garcia, Dennis Hisey, Daneya Esgar

Summary: Bill transfers $10,000,000 from the general fund to the capital construction fund to open a state park on the property surrounding Fishers Peak and to accommodate additional visitors at other state parks. 

Last Major Action: 03/09/2020- House Committee on Rural Affairs & Agriculture Refer Unamended to Finance — Introduced In House – Assigned to Rural Affairs & Agriculture + Finance + Appropriations

Relevant Public Comment: Pueblo Chieftain, 01/09/20


SB 08 – Enhance Penalties Water Quality Criminal Violations

Sponsor: Faith Winter; Dominique Jackson; Edie Hooton

Summary: This bill makes criminal pollution of state waters a class 5 felony and specifies that if 2 separate offenses occur in 2 separate occurrences during a period of 2 years, the maximum fine and imprisonment for the second offense are double the default amounts.

Last Major Action: 3/16/20 – 3/17/20 -Hearings in House Energy & Environment Committee


SB 41 – National Guard Parks And Wildlife Benefits

Sponsor: John Cooke, Susan Beckman

Summary: Bill gives active members of the National Guard a free eagle annual pass for entrance into state parks.

Last Major Action: 03/13/20 – Senate Committee on Appropriations Refer Amended – Consent Calendar to Senate Committee of the Whole


SB 69 – Disabled Veterans Free State Park Access

Sponsor: Leroy Garcia

Summary: Bill allows Colorado “residents who are veterans with disabilities will be able to obtain free access to state parks without acquiring a Colorado disabled veteran’s license plate.”

Last Major Action: 3/11/20 – Governor signed


HB 1037 – Augmentation Of Instream Flows 

Sponsor: Jeni Ardnt; Don Coram

Summary: The bill authorizes the Colorado water conservation board to augment stream flows to preserve or improve the natural environment to a reasonable degree by use of an acquired water right that has been previously quantified and changed to include augmentation use, without a further change of the water right being required.

Last Major Action: 2/28/20 – House Considered Senate Amendments – Result was to Concur – Repass 


HB 1095 – Local Governments Water Elements in Master Plans

Sponsor: Jeni Ardnt; Jeff Bridges

Summary: The bill authorizes a local government master plan to include goals specified in the state water plan and to include policies that condition development approvals on implementation of those goals.

Last Major Action: 3/13/20 – House Considered Senate Amendments – Result was to Concur – Repass

Relevant Public Comment: American Planning Association Colorado Chapter


HB 1327 – Water Diversions From Rio Grande Basin

Sponsor: Donald Valdez; Perry Will; Don Coram

Summary: This bill prohibits state agencies from approving any project that diverts water from the Rio Grande river basin for export to another basin in Colorado or to another state unless the state engineer determines, that the project will not: Increase the costs or negatively affect operation of the federal closed basin project; Adversely affect the purposes of any national wildlife refuge or federal wildlife habitat area withdrawal located in water division 3; Adversely affect the purposes of the Great Sand Dunes national park and Great Sand Dunes national preserve; or Increase the costs or negatively affect operation of any state parks, state wildlife areas, or lands administered by the state board of land commissioners located in water division 3.

Last Major Action: 03/09/2020House Committee on Rural Affairs & Agriculture Postpone Indefinitely


SB 24 – Require Public Input On Water Demand Management Program

Sponsor: Don Coram; Kerry Donovan; Jeni Ardnt; Marc Catlin

Summary: The bill requires the CSJRolorado water conservation board and the water resources review committee to involve the public and provide opportunities for public comment, using procedures similar to those used for initial adoption of the state water plan, before adopting any final or significantly amended water resources demand management program as part of the Colorado upper basin states’ drought contingency plan.

Last Major Action: 1/30/20 – Senate Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources Postpone Indefinitely


SB 135 – Conservation Easement Working Group Proposals

Sponsor: Jerry Sonnenberg; Kerry Donovan; Dylan Roberts; James Wilson

Summary: A working group was convened over the 2019 interim pursuant to House Bill 19-1264 to develop proposed statutes to address certain issues affecting the creation, valuation, tax treatment, and stewardship of conservation easements in the state. The bill implements the recommendations of the working group by: 1. modifying the method of calculating the amount of the state income tax credit that may be claimed for the donation of a conservation easement; 2. requiring the state to provide compensation for certain taxpayers who were denied state income tax credits for conservation easements donated between 2000 and 2013 if the federal internal revenue service allowed a federal income tax deduction for the same donation, 3. addressing the abandonmeHnt of conservation easements, which occurs when the holder of an easement no longer fulfills its stewardship obligations with respect to the easement. 

Last Major Action: 3/12/20 – Hearings in Senate Finance Committee

Relevant Public Comment: Journal-Advocate, 01/18/20 ; Denver Post, 02/09/20 ; Colorado Politics, 02/13/20 


SB 155 – Keep Presumption Noninjury Well On Divided Land

Sponsor: Jerry Sonnenberg; Rod Pelton

Summary: “Under current law, a well that is exempt from the state engineer’s administration and is used for domestic purposes is afforded a rebuttable presumption that the use of the well will not cause material injury to others’ vested water rights or to any other existing well. If the land on which the exempt well is located is later divided into multiple parcels, the well loses that presumption. The bill maintains the presumption of noninjury to vested water rights or other wells when the land on which the well is located is later divided and use of the well continues to meet certain requirements.”

Last Major Action: House Second Reading Laid Over to 03/30/2020 – No Amendments – 03/14/2020