STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
SENATE COMMITTEE ON STATE, VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS
|Referred to the Committee of the Whole
Referred to the Committee of the Whole
Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only
Senator Williams, Chair, called the meeting to order.
01:34 PM -- Senate Bill 09-150
Senator Heath, prime sponsor, presented Senate Bill 09-150 concerning the priority of a purchase-money lien for a motor vehicle. He said that Senate Bill 09-150 will address problems with the declaration of bankruptcy prior to the filing of liens on automobiles. He noted that Senate Bill 09-150 will address these problems, and protect sellers of automobiles. He noted that, under current law, liens become effective on the date on which a car is sold, rather than on the date on which the lien was filed.
The following persons testified on Senate Bill 09-150:
01:37 PM -- Tom Helmers, representing CU Direct Connect, said that his organization perfects the liens on 40 percent of car sales in Colorado. He said that the filing of bankruptcy prior to the filing of liens on automobiles places unnecessary costs on the industry.
01:40 PM -- Mark Robby, representing the Credit Union Association of Colorado, said that Senate Bill 09-150 will make the process of selling a car much more equitable.
| 01:42:27 PM
|Moved that Senate Bill 09-150 be referred to the Committee of the Whole, and with a recommendation that it be placed on the consent calendar. The motion passed on a 4-0-1 roll call vote.
Final YES: 4 NO: 0 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
01:45 PM -- Senate Bill 09-028
Senator Harvey, prime sponsor, said that Senate Bill 09-028, will permit the increase of fees by the Division of Real Estate on realtors of no more than 20 percent per year. He said that he has been contacted by many realtors in regard to the issue. He said that the Division of Real Estate increased license fees dramatically in the last year, and that he believes that the General Assembly should authorize any increases in fees of this magnitude. He said that divisions of state government should be compelled to defend such fee increases before the General Assembly.
The following persons testified in regard to Senate Bill 09-028:
01:49 PM -- Erin Toll, representing the Division of Real Estate, opposed Senate Bill 09-028 and said that in a real estate downturn it is critical to maintain aggressive enforcement. She noted that the Division of Real Estate is a cash-funded agency and that the ability of the division to set its fees should be retained. She said that the division's efforts regarding mortgage fraud are working. She said that fines that are collected will eventually result in the reduction of fee levels. She noted that the fees allow the division to forgo the receipt of general funds. She commented on the process by which the fees are set within the Department of Regulatory Agencies. She noted that, at the peak of registration, the state had approximately 50,000 real estate brokers, and that this number has dropped to 46,000 licensees at present.
02:01 PM -- Pres Montoya, Greeley, representing himself, said that he is a member of the Colorado Real Estate Commission and that he opposes Senate Bill 09-028. He said that Senate Bill 09-028 will prevent the division from effectively enforcing the laws of the state to prevent real estate fraud. He said that Greeley has been severely affected by foreclosures, and that the fees are not a burden on the industry.
02:08 PM -- Amy Dorsey, representing the Colorado Association of Realtors, said that her organization represents more than 26,000 of the state's realtors. She supported Senate Bill 09-028. She said that the division protects the integrity of real estate transactions. However, she noted that sufficient notice of the fee increase was not given to realtors. She said that the licensing fee has fluctuated over the last few decades. She believes that a cap on the fees is appropriate.
02:23 PM -- Ms. Toll responded that the licensing fees have stayed the same from 2002 to 2006, while the number of realtors licensed in the state increased by 9,000. She said that there was minimal enforcement activity regarding realtors prior to 2007. She said that the division has decreased operating costs as far as is possible.
02:29 PM -- Neel Levy, representing the Colorado Association of Real Estate Appraisers, supported Senate Bill 09-028. He said that the fee hike is a burden on realtors in the current recession. He said that he is grateful for the enhanced enforcement activities at the Division of Real Estate.
02:34 PM -- Kim Henzfeldt, Aurora, representing himself, said that the fee increase is excessive, and that the agency is operating in a difficult environment.
02:38 PM -- J.M. Fay, Denver, representing herself, supported the fee increase. She testified that the fees are relatively low in her opinion and she opposed Senate Bill 09-028.
| 02:50:00 PM
|Moved that Senate Bill 09-028 be referred to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on a 3-2-0 roll call vote.
Final YES: 3 NO: 2 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
02:51 PM -- Senate Bill 09-023
Senator Schultheis, prime sponsor, presented Senate Bill 09-023, concerning the verification of job eligibility status of new employees. He said that there is growing concern with unemployment in Colorado. He said that filling out the E-Verify form for verification of employment status is simple. He noted that Senate Bill 09-023 imposes additional requirements on employers beginning in January 2010, and that new requirements will be phased in by employer size. He commented on the fines in Senate Bill 09-023, and said that he said that he believes the E-Verify system is working well.
The following persons testified in regard to Senate Bill 09-023:
03:08 PM -- Trudy Haines, Fort Collins, representing herself, supported Senate Bill 09-023. She said that the State of Colorado should enforce current law and that illegal immigrants are a burden on the state's infrastructure. She said that employment violations by illegal immigrants hurt the state's minorities and the unemployed.
03:12 PM -- Stan Weeks, representing the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, said that the federal program is working well. He commented on the requirements of the federal E-verify program. He said that the state has not imposed a single fine for violations of Colorado law in this regard.
03:15 PM -- Glen Colton, Fort Collins, representing himself, reiterated that the federal program is working well and is simple to use. He said that the program is effective at reducing the number of illegal workers in the state and would save the state significant resources.
03:18 PM -- Christa Huff, Castle Rock, representing herself, commented on damage to her property that was inflicted by an illegal immigrant. She said that she was accused of attempting to kill this man and was arrested. Later, the charge was dropped. She said that this man would not have been on her property if the use of the E-Verify system was required.
03:22 PM -- Frosty Wooldridge, Louisville, representing himself, spoke of crimes that have been committed by illegal immigrants in Colorado in recent years. He spoke of the burden of illegal immigrants on Colorado taxpayers. He said that these persons cost the state $20 million annually for incarceration.
03:26 PM -- John Brick, Wray, representing himself, spoke of his past work in the construction industry and said that many jobs are being taken by illegal immigrants. He said that the state should punish unscrupulous workers and employers.
03:29 PM -- David Rupert, Arvada, representing himself, commented on a recent experience he had while re-roofing his house. He said that he paid more to have the work performed by a company that could verify the status of its workers. He said that the taxpayers subsidize illegal workers and that the issue of illegal immigration is a national security issue. He said that the State of Colorado should not bear the burden of illegal immigration.
03:32 PM -- Jim Neubecker, Fort Collins, representing himself, reiterated the problem of unemployment in Colorado and the impact of illegal immigration on the level of unemployment in the state. He said that the State of Colorado must address unscrupulous contractors.
03:35 PM -- Herbert Johnson, Evergreen, representing himself, commented on his past military service, and said that the United States is threatened by illegal immigration. He said that there are as many as 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States and he reiterated that the E-Verify system is working well.
03:39 PM -- Julie Gonzales, representing the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said that she has concerns with the economic costs of Senate Bill 09-023 and believes that it will lead to litigation. She supported Senate Bill 09-023.
03:41 PM -- Erin Yourtz, representing the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition, supported Senate Bill 09-023 and said that the E-Verify system is not functioning well and results in unjust firings. She commented on the costs of using the database to businesses and administration of the program. She commented further on the risk of employer misuse of the E-Verify system.
03:47 PM -- Tony Gagliardi, representing the National Federation of Independent Business, opposed Senate Bill 09-023. He said that he believes that illegal immigration must be dealt with, but that the revocation of a business license is too extreme a remedy.
03:50 PM -- Larry Hudson, representing the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, said that state immigration legislation upsets a careful balance in this policy area which is determined at the federal level. He said state involvement creates inconsistency in policy among the states. He said that it is clear at the federal level that the E-Verify program is voluntary.
03:53 PM -- Marcel Pitton, representing the Brown Palace Hotel, opposed Senate Bill 09-023 and said that it is too vague.
03:54 PM -- Christine O'Donnell, representing the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, said that lodging operators in her industry go great lengths to hire legally. She said that Senate Bill 09-023 will be disruptive to the industry.
03:59 PM -- Lacee Artist, representing the Colorado Restaurant Association, opposed Senate Bill 09-023.
Senator Williams laid Senate Bill 09-023 over to the next meeting of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee for action only.