Colorado Bills to Watch, March 6, 2020
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sponsor: John Cooke, Susan Beckman
Summary: Bill gives active members of the National Guard a free eagle annual pass for entrance into state parks.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Sponsor: Don Coram; Kerry Donovan; Jeni Ardnt; Marc Catlin
Summary: The bill requires the Colorado 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.
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 abandonment of conservation easements, which occurs when the holder of an easement no longer fulfills its stewardship obligations with respect to the easement.
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.”