The bill transfers the duties, powers, and functions of the department of local affairs (DOLA) related to backcountry search and rescue, the backcountry search and rescue card (card) and the backcountry search and rescue fund (fund) to the division of parks and wildlife (division), effective January 1, 2023. On and after January 1, 2023:
- All positions of employment and appropriations for personal services in DOLA related to backcountry search and rescue and the administration of the card and fund are transferred to the division;
- The division is required to administer the card program and to process requests for reimbursement for search and rescue efforts from the fund and assumes all rights and obligations previously vested in DOLA;
- The parks and wildlife commission is required to promulgate rules establishing the price and vendor fee for the card, and the amount of the surcharges imposed on certain hunting and fishing licenses and on boats, snowmobile, and off-highway vehicle registrations that are credited to the fund; and
- The fund is continuously appropriated to the division to reimburse local governments for backcountry search and rescue efforts and to support search and rescue efforts throughout the state.
One million dollars is transferred from the general fund to the wildlife cash fund for use by the division to support backcountry search and rescue efforts. If there is any unobligated and unexpended money remaining from that transfer on January 2, 2023, the remainder is transferred to the backcountry search and rescue fund.
The bill amends current laws providing immunity from civil liability in certain circumstances to volunteer firefighters and incident management teams responding to emergencies and to volunteers providing services to nonprofit organizations to include
individuals persons, including associated legal entities, engaged in backcountry search and rescue efforts.
The bill makes a dependent of a person who died or was permanently disabled while engaged in backcountry search and rescue efforts eligible for educational benefits that are currently extended to the dependents of individuals who die or are permanently disabled while on active duty as a Colorado National Guardsman or while working as a police officer, sheriff, or other law enforcement officer or firefighter.
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)