Jerry Kopel

Advisory Boards to Abolish

By Jerry Kopel

Dec. 12, 2007

The legislative branch proposes and the executive branch (and sometimes the legislative branch) ignores. So another group of boards are recommended for death row in 2008 by the Dept, of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) as well as a health insurance program without a customer.
Legislators love to set up advisory boards. They don't cost much and it's another plug for re-election. In many cases, that legislator is no longer in service in the capitol building when the board is repealed .
In the 1986 legislative session, I wrote and carried HB 1101, which is now the Sunset review of advisory committees under CRS 2-3-1203, et al. Then-Sen. Steve Durham (R) was my Senate sponsor. There were several dozen of these committees, defunct or obsolete, which have now been removed from the statute books.
DORA has carried on this tradition.
(1) "The Air Quality Science Advisory Board was created in 1992 as  part of the implementation of the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990," according to DORA. The purpose was to provide advisory opinions and assessments to the Air Quality Control Commission.
Why repeal? The advisory board "has not met since before 2000." Staff  at the Dept.  of Public Health and Environment admit the advisory board is no longer necessary.
(2) The Dynamic Modeling Advisory Committee was approved in 2005 as part of the program to analyze the economic impact of tax policy bills. The advisory committee was supposed to "assist the legislative council research director in selecting a model that would consider the direct and indirect economic effects of tax policy changes."
Why repeal? The committee (which was supposed to be appointed by the research director) was never convened, probably because the research director, under statute, had the option to rely on other sources to select the appropriate model, and obviously did.
(3) In 2007, the legislature enacted the Forest Restoration Act dealing with among other items, forest restoration. An advisory panel was enacted to evaluate proposals and make recommendations to the director of the State Forest Service.
The legislature provided $1 million for grants to be awarded by the advisory panel and $1 million in projects were approved by the panel. Will the legislature appropriate additional funds? It should depend on whether the Forest Act, scheduled for repeal July 1, 2008 is continued. If not, DORA states the advisory panel should be repealed.
The Auto Theft Prevention Authority and Board statute was passed by the legislature in 2003. No state funds were to be involved, just donations (basically, they came from State Farm and Progressive Insurance companies) from which to make grants to aid law enforcement agencies in improving theft prevention programs.
DORA found Colorado was one of the top 10 states in auto theft. The estimated value of car theft in Colorado in 2005 was $156.3 million.
What are the top 10 cars stolen in Colorado in 2007?

1. Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Colt
2. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
3. Honda Accord
4. Honda Civic
5. Ford Full Size Truck (150/250/350)
6. Chevrolet Full Size C/K truck
7. Ford Explorer
8. Chevrolet Compact SUV (Blazer) 
9. Toyota Camry
10. Dodge Intrepid
Our thieves don't go after the Oldsmobile Cutlass, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Caprice, and Ford Taurus, which four made the top 10 nationally.
As of the time the DORA report was written $841,000 in donations and interest earned, was spent on grants and administrative expenses.
Statistically, value of recovered vehicles was $10 for every $1 donated, but, states DORA, "there is insufficient evidence to attribute car theft decline to the grant allocated to law enforcement agencies."
After 2004, DORA's report shows the "contributions and donations have been insignificant and insufficient to maintain and continue (the program)"..."most insurance companies have neglected, failed, or refused to make...contributions..."
There was a significant drop in auto thefts in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area for 2006 compared to 2005, from 17,773 to 13,887, plus decreases in all areas except Grand Junction.
DORA concludes without a consistent funding source or the ability to conclusively prove the decline in thefts were due to the program, the program should be repealed.
The Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement Pilot Program, (MEWA) was created in 2003 "to allow self-employed people, and small purchase insurance...and maximize affordability of coverage by using their leverage as a large group to negotiate lower individual premiums."
"Only one MEWA was formed under the pilot program and that MEWA was not able to secure health insurance coverage from a health insurance carrier."
As a result, there are zero participants in the MEWA and "MEWA did not have an effect on the insurance market in Colorado." DORA states MEWA should be repealed.
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House and was also chief sponsor of the Sunset Law of 1976 and the Sunrise Law of 1985.)

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