Jerry Kopel

By Jerry Kopel
I predict lots of sunshine along with some gorgeous sunsets for 2006. Of course, I'm referring to occupations regulated by the Dept. of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). While neither of the following bills have yet passed the House, their chances are quite good.
HB 1264 by Rep. Lynn Hefley, R-Colorado Springs and Sen. Dan Grossman, D-Denver makes uniform a portion of disciplinary actions now used in 34 different occupations.
If you are an attorney or familiar with the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, you know that except in a few instances, the "cease and desist" process is spelled out and is uniform regardless of what type of civil suit is involved.
This will now be true in regulatory proceedings. Once an attorney for someone charged with regulatory violations learns new guidelines, he or she should not worry about "trick plays" in protecting someone the next time they are hired and the second client is in a different regulated occupation.
Cease and desist orders occur when: 
(1) the activity is an imminent threat to the health and safety of the public, or
(2) the person is acting, or has acted without the required certificate allowing the action, or
(3) the person has violated any other portion of the statute.
There will now be a certain procedure for notice, a certain period of time to ask for a hearing, a routine for  DORA to act in the event of a violation, and a process for appeal.
The bill also adds "confidential letters of  concern"  which are likely to be less harsh than "letters of admonition"  presently used, but they do send a message to a person that there may be harsher steps in future violations.
HB 1196 by Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial and Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo provides the kind of consolidation that makes sense. It puts (licensed) architects, professional engineers and land surveyors under one board called the State Board for Licensure for Technical Professions.
To quote from the DORA report: 
"Permitting all three professions to sit on the same board would entail many advantages by increasing the breadth with which the board could approach various cases. Complaints against architects would receive the perspective of not just architects, but also professional land surveyors and engineers and these individuals may identify issues that are not readily apparent to the other professions."
In establishing a combined omnibus board Colorado would not be unique. At least 20 other states combine regulation of architects with at least one other profession, and of these, 12 combine regulation with engineers, land surveyors, landscape architects, interior designers and geoscientists/geologists/natural scientists."
There is one problem. The 13  member board being suggested is too large and thus impractical. A nine-member board would be much more workable for normal activities. Then, when a disciplinary action is brought against someone in a particular occupation, you could add, from a second tier, three more members from that occupation for the hearing.
Apparently the architects are willing to go along with this merger. The next Sunset review will be early, in  six years, with repeal in 2013. If the merger doesn't work, the engineers and architects and surveyors will split.
Jerrry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House 

Home  Full archive  Biographies  Colorado history  Colorado legislature  Colorado politics   Colo. & U.S. Constitutions  Ballot issues  Consumer issues  Criminal law  Gambling  Sunrise/sunset (prof. licensing)


Copyright 2015 Jerry Kopel & David Kopel