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h_jud_2016a_2016-03-08t13:34:00z0 Hearing Summary

Date: 03/08/2016



Final

BILL SUMMARY for HB16-1216



HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY


Votes: View--> Action Taken:
Adopt amendment L.001 (Attachment B). The motion p

Refer House Bill 16-1216, as amended, to the Commi
PASS

PASS







01:34 PM -- HB16-1216



The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representative McCann, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 16-1216, concerning measures to facilitate the administration of the Independent Ethics Commission. Committee members received a sheet explaining the complaint process before the Independent Ethics Commission, prepared by Colorado Ethics Watch (Attachment A). Representative McCann provided background on the function of the Independent Ethics Commission, and explained the effect of the bill. Representative McCann explained the effect of amendment L.001 (Attachment B) and provided an overview of Attachment A. Representative McCann responded to questions regarding the potential for the legislation to be premature in light of an audit of the commission just released by the Office of the State Auditor.



16HouseJud0308AttachA.pdf16HouseJud0308AttachA.pdf 16HouseJud0308AttachB.pdf16HouseJud0308AttachB.pdf



01:44 PM



Discussion ensued regarding the fiscal impact of the bill. Committee members received a letter from Mr. Matt Smith, a member of the Independent Ethics Commission (Attachment C). The following persons testified regarding HB 16-1216:



16HouseJud0308AttachC.pdf16HouseJud0308AttachC.pdf



01:49 PM --
Ms. Peg Perl, representing Colorado Ethics Watch, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Perl discussed the creation of the Independent Ethics Commission and the work of her organization with respect to the commission. Ms. Perl discussed findings of the effectiveness of the Independent Ethics Commission, and explained how the bill and amendment L.001 will improve the functioning of the commission. Ms. Perl addressed questions raised about the fiscal impact of the bill. Ms. Perl responded to questions regarding the report that found the commission to be underperforming. Discussion ensued regarding certain concerns raised about the bill, found in Attachment C.





02:01 PM



Discussion continued regarding concerns raised about HB 16-1216 in Attachment C. Discussion returned to the fiscal impact of the bill, and the hiring of in-house attorneys for the Independent Ethics Commission under the bill. Ms. Perl responded to questions regarding standing for lodging a complaint before the Independent Ethics Commission, and recourse for those who feel they are not being heard by the commission. Ms. Perl responded to questions regarding the scope of authority of the Independent Ethics Commission, and the burden of proof for the commission under current law.





02:23 PM



Ms. Perl responded to questions regarding repeal of a statutory provision by the bill concerning travel by public officials to conferences, and certain defenses against complaints that come before the Independent Ethics Commission. Ms. Perl responded to additional questions about the operation of the Independent Ethics Commission with respect to addressing ethics complaints surrounding gifts to public officials, and the promulgation of rules by the commission. Ms. Perl responded to questions regarding the impact of HB 16-1216 on the commission's scope of authority.



02:36 PM --
Ms. Suzanne Staiert, Deputy Secretary of State, testified on HB 16-1216 from a neutral position. Ms. Staiert noted some provisions in the bill that she feels would improve the functioning of the Independent Ethics Commission, and addressed earlier testimony about the cost of hiring in-house attorneys. Ms. Staiert registered objection to one provision in the bill that may expand the jurisdiction of the commission. Ms. Staiert responded to questions regarding for whom she speaks, and the fiscal impact of the bill. Ms. Staiert responded to questions concerning her regard for the Independent Ethics Commission and Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution.





02:46 PM



Ms. Staiert responded to questions regarding the impact of the creation of Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution on the ethical conduct of the General Assembly.



02:47 PM --
Mr. Russell Klein, representing the Attorney General's Office, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Klein discussed the scope of oversight of the Independent Ethics Commission, and the role of the Department of Law with respect to the commission. Mr. Klein discussed the benefits of allowing the commission to hire in-house counsel. Mr. Klein responded to questions regarding the scope of authority of the commission. Mr. Klein responded to further questions regarding the position of the Attorney General on the bill. Discussion ensued regarding the fiscal impact of the bill. Ms. Amanda Hayden, Legislative Council Staff, addressed questions regarding the fiscal impact of HB 16-1216.





03:00 PM



Discussion continued regarding the fiscal impact of HB 16-1216.



03:01 PM --
Mr. Geoff Wilson, representing the Colorado Municipal League, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Wilson discussed the important role of the Independent Ethics Commission, and addressed questions raised during earlier discussion about the scope of authority of the commission.



03:05 PM --
Mr. Bill Leone, Chair of the Independent Ethics Commission representing himself, testified in opposition to the bill. Chairman Leone explained that the bill has not been vetted by the commission, and discussed the in-house hiring of attorneys under the bill. Chairman Leone responded to questions regarding how the commission might best acquire legal representation, and the use of the services of the Attorney General's Office for counsel. Chairman Leone responded to questions regarding the scope of authority of the commission.





03:21 PM



Discussion continued regarding the commission's scope of authority. Chairman Leone concluded his testimony.



03:28 PM --
Ms. Elena Nunez, representing Common Cause, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Nunez discussed stakeholder input in creating the bill, and supported providing independent counsel for the Independent Ethics Commission. Ms. Nunez responded to a critique of hiring independent counsel for the commission.





03:33 PM



Representatives Court and McCann reviewed the effect of amendment L.001.





03:35 PM



The committee recessed.





03:37 PM



The committee returned to order.

BILL: HB16-1216
TIME: 03:34:00 PM
MOVED: Court
MOTION: Adopt amendment L.001 (Attachment B). The motion passed on a vote of 6-5.
SECONDED: Melton
VOTE
Carver
No
Court
Yes
Dore
No
Foote
Yes
Lawrence
No
Lundeen
No
Melton
Yes
Salazar
Yes
Willett
No
Lee
Yes
Kagan
Yes
YES: 6 NO: 5 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS





03:39 PM



The committee discussed additional potential amendments to HB 16-1216. Various committee members provided their positions on the bill.

BILL: HB16-1216
TIME: 03:44:45 PM
MOVED: Kagan
MOTION: Refer House Bill 16-1216, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a vote of 6-5.
SECONDED: Court
VOTE
Carver
No
Court
Yes
Dore
No
Foote
Yes
Lawrence
No
Lundeen
No
Melton
Yes
Salazar
Yes
Willett
No
Lee
Yes
Kagan
Yes
Final YES: 6 NO: 5 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS










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