Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – Mar. 2023
By Doris Beaver ~
Maybe its just the bitter cold, but it seems things are moving a little slow down under the Gold Dome. Hopefully, warmer days are just over the divide. Readers, please note, April’s column will cover a somewhat related bill, House Bill 23-1052, concerning modification of property tax exemption for veterans with a disability.
House Bill 23-1032:
House Bill 23-1032 concerns “Civil Remedy Provisions or Civil Rights Violations of Persons With Disabilities.” HB 1032 makes three primary clarifications about the remedies a person with a disability is entitled to under current Colorado law relating to protections against discrimination on the basis of disability for persons with disabilities.”
Colorado Revised Statutes 24-34-802 is amended by HB 1032 as follows:
- an individual with a disability, as defined in section 24-34-301 (5.6), must not by reason of the individual’s disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of services, programs, or activities provided by a public entity, as defined in section 24-34-601 (1) a place of public accommodation, as defined in section 24-34-601(1), or a state agency. As defined in section 24-37.5-102, or be subjected to discrimination by any such public entity, place of public accommodation or state agency;
- the types of monetary damages in which a person with a disability is entitled include damages for emotional distress; and
- a person with a disability is entitled to both a court order requiring compliance and either monetary damage or a statutory penalty.
Readers should also note HB 1032 also provides “an alternative to the relief authorized by Section 24-34-306(9), and a person who seeks redress under this section is not required to exhaust administrative remedies.” Notwithstanding any provision of this Articles 34 to the contrary, an individual with a disability may bring a civil suit under this section whether or not a charge has been filed under section 24-34-306.
HB 1032 is yet to have its first committee meeting.
Sponsors of House Bill 23-1032: Representative David Ortiz, D-Arapahoe, Jefferson, 866-2953. No sponsor in the Senate yet.
Senate Bill 23-036:
SB 23-036 concerns “A Change to the Application Process for the Property Tax Exemption for Veterans With a Disability..” The Fiscal Impact Analysis notes starting for property tax year 2024 for new applicants, the bill requires that an individual submit an application directly to the county tax assessor and eliminates the requirement that the DMVA determine whether an individual is a qualifying veteran with a disability. [Should save the applicant some time.] The DMVA is required to develop guidance that specifies the documentary evidence from the VA which constitutes proof of veteran with a disability status, which the bill requires accompany the application.
Under current law, an eligible veteran is required to submit an application for the exemption to the (DMVA) which reviews each application and forwards them to the county assessors who apply the property tax exemptions to individual properties. The county then reports all approved property owners to the Division of Property Taxation in the Department of Local Affairs which reviews and audits county data.
For a better understanding of how the homestead exemption in Colorado, the Fiscal Impact Analysis provides this description. Homestead exemption “exempts 50 percent of the first $200,000 of residential property owned by a qualifying senior or veteran with a service-connected disability from property taxes. For example, a $150,00 residence is taxed as if it is worth $75,000, and a $500,000 residence is taxed as if it is worth $400,000.”
Under current law, a veteran with a disability is eligible to claim the veterans with a disability homestead exemption if he or she is rated 100 percent permanently disabled by the U. S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and owned and occupied the property as their primary residence on January 1st in the year in which they apply for the exemption.
In addition, SB 036 changes the existing term “disabled veteran” to “veteran with a disability.”
Sponsors of Senate Bill 23-036: Senators Byron Pelton, R-Logan, Morgan, Phillip, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld, Yuma, 866-6360; and Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson, 866-4859. Representatives Ryan Armagost, R-Larimer and Weld, 866-2906, and David Ortiz, D-Arapahoe, Jefferson, 866-2953
Doris Beaver is a freelance journalist who writes from her home high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on senior issues, politics, ethics and environmental issues, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.. Visit her website www.dorisbeaver.com, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.