Gov. Jared Polis signed several bills into law Tuesday, including legislation to reform the state’s apprenticeship system for trade work, extend the option to support charitable organizations through tax filings, create a commission for school safety, and update requirements for sex offenders being released on parole to be placed in community corrections programs.
Here are some of the details of the bills the governor signed Tuesday afternoon in a virtual bill signing:
- Senate Bill 20-120 changes requirements for plumbing and electrician apprentices, making them easier to complete. The bill, according to its summary, requires electrician and plumbing apprentices who have been registered with their respective boards for at least six years to take a license examination at least every two or three years until the apprentice passes the examination. If an apprentice fails, they may apply for an exemption from the examination requirement and if an apprentice has a learning disability, they may request special accommodations to take the exam.
- Senate Bill 20-208 extends the time that specific voluntary contribution programs appear on state income tax returns. These contribution programs were set to expire this year and include options for taxpayers to donate to the American Red Cross of Colorado, the Western Slope Military Veterans’ Cemetery, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, the Colorado Domestic Abuse Program Fund, and the Pet Overpopulation Fund.
- Senate Bill 20-023 creates a specialized, interagency working group that will focus on school safety. Its mission is to enhance school safety through the cost-effective use of public resources. The group will be comprised of 14 members and will be required to meet at least four times each year. The group will study and implement recommendations of the 2019 Office of the State Auditor’s report regarding school safety. The bill appropriates $96,776 from the general fund to the department of public safety — $48,448 is for administrative services in the division of criminal justice and $48,328 is for school safety resource center costs. The bill repeals the working group on Sept. 1, 2022.
- Senate Bill 20-085 updates requirements for sex offenders being released on parole to be placed in community corrections programs. It clarifies that an offender sentenced under the “Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998” may be released to a community corrections program only if the offender meets certain parole requirements. They include: that the offender has successfully progressed in sex offender treatment as determined by the department of corrections and would not pose a threat to the community if released to community corrections; that there is a strong and reasonable probability that the offender would not thereafter commit a new criminal offense; and that after considering criteria established by the sex offender management board and other relevant factors, the executive director of the department of corrections finds that release to community corrections is appropriate.
- Senate Bill 20-139 authorizes local boards of county commissioners, in consultation with the county treasurer, to make loans to a governmental entity created by or located within their counties. The loans are subject to several requirements. They include: the board must adopt underwriting standards that require each proposed loan to be analyzed with respect to risks, market rates and loan terms prior to making any loan; the source of each loan must be legally available money, not otherwise encumbered or obligated, and the amount loaned must not cause the total outstanding principal balance of all such loans made to exceed 8 percent of the amount of money available at the time the loan is made; that loans must have specified repayment terms; loan recipients must pay the county interest on the loan at an initial rate that’s equal to or greater than the rate or return earned on all county financial investments; loan recipients must use loan proceeds for the sole purpose of funding public infrastructure projects within the county.
- House Bill 20-1029 flows elected county officers to receive a lower salary than the amount provided for by law. The bill expressly allows an officer in certain counties classified under specific salary categories to make an election to receive less than the amount specified in law. The officer may subsequently elect to increase or decrease his or her salary annually as long as it does not exceed the amount allowed in statute.