DORA Quarterly E-Newsletter

 
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Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies | Winter 2016
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In this Issue


Joe Neguse, Executive Director

From Joe Neguse, DORA Executive Director

Greetings, and Happy Holidays!

As we close the books on 2016, we’re delighted to report on the many great strides made by our team members in achieving the Department of Regulatory Agencies’ strategic priority initiatives of cutting red tape, modernizing systems and protecting consumers. We’ve managed to capture some of them in a series of annual reports published by the Department, as well as our Divisions -- Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Real Estate, Securities, Civil Rights, the Public Utilities Commission, and the Office of Consumer Counsel.

While there are too many to cite here, a great example is the deployment of e-License for the Division of Real Estate, which now allows roughly 55,000 licensed real estate industry professionals across Colorado to submit their applications and renewals online instead of mailing in paper forms. I invite you to review all of our annual reports, which are posted on dora.colorado.gov.

We also are working to reach out to businesses to inform them about a tool that we hope they will start utilizing more as part of rules and regulation reviews -- a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA). Why does this matter? The Colorado Office of Policy, Research & Regulatory Reform (COPRRR), which conducts sunrise and sunset reviews, relies on citizen and business community input when an agency is proposing rule changes. These rule changes may directly affect your business--and requesting a CBA is easy! You can find out more about the rulemaking process and how to request a CBA at dora.colorado.gov/opr.

What connected all of our successes this year was a shared commitment to advance an environment and regulatory framework where both businesses and consumers are treated fairly and the economy flourishes. We plan to continue that approach as we enter a new year. As always, we very much welcome your feedback, so please email me anytime at dora_EDO@state.co.us.


Department releases series of annual reports  

DORA Annual Report 2015-2016

The Department of Regulatory Agencies released its annual report, which highlights the accomplishments of its nine divisions and offices throughout fiscal-year 2015-2016. From developments in streamlining occupational licensing for veterans to ways the Department took actions to reduce financial fraud, the report features accomplishments under three major headings: Reducing Red Tape, Supporting Economic Development, and Combating Predatory Practices. Download the annual report.

While DORA’s fiscal year report provides a snapshot of the Department’s many initiatives and activities, each Division’s individual reports provides a more in-depth look into its year of achievements. Review or download each of them:

Division of Financial Services:  Highlights include legislation and efforts to cut red tape for state chartered Credit Unions.

Division of Insurance:  Highlights include working to improve internal processes and customer service.  

Division of Professions and Occupations:  Highlights include legislation that closed loopholes in sex trafficking laws and increased efforts to improve service for its licensed professionals.

Division of Real Estate:  Highlights include bringing its e-License system on board and efforts to cut red tape for Mortgage Loan Originator applicants that saves time and money.

Division of Securities:  Highlights several key investigations and enforcement actions taken by the division and efforts to cut regulatory red tape and improve internal processes.

Office of Consumer Counsel: Highlights utility rate cases in which the office was involved and its efforts to increase consumer outreach.

Public Utilities Commission: Highlights major decisions by the Commission, such as the approval of a solar gardens development and solar-to-battery projects by Xcel Energy.

Finally, two DORA divisions released reports for the calendar year (2015), as required by state statute.

Colorado Civil Rights Division: Its 2016 report is slated to be published this month. Go to dora.colorado.gov/crd for the most current copy.

Division of Banking: Its 2016 report is slated to be published in early 2017. Go to dora.colorado.gov/dob for the most current copy.


DORA encourages businesses community to request Cost Benefit Analysis on proposed rules

COPRRR Cost Benefit Analysis

The Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform (COPRRR), part of the Office of the Executive Director at DORA, celebrated the 40th anniversary of the sunset review process with the October 15 release of its 2016 sunrise and sunset reviews.

This year, COPRRR conducted 25 sunset and sunrise reviews throughout state government including programs and boards within DORA, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and Office of the Secretary of State, and other state departments, such as Law, Public Safety, Transportation, and Revenue. Reports provide a variety of recommendations based on months of analysis, from eliminating the prohibition on Sunday sales of motor vehicles to including criminal background checks for Process Servers. The complete sunset and sunrise reports are available online at dora.colorado/opr.

COPRRR strives to be inclusive and engage as many consumers, businesses and other stakeholders into the discussion as possible, which is why the Office is expanding its efforts to encourage businesses and members of the public to utilize Colorado’s Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) tool. CBA’s are an important component of the regulatory review process, and requesting a CBA is a key mechanism for citizens and businesses to ensure that associated costs related to proposed rule or program changes (additions or eliminations) that may affect them have been fully researched and vetted by stakeholders. Request a CBA.   

For further information, or if you have questions about CBAs, please contact COPRRR at DORA_OPR_website@state.co.us.   

Landmark utility decisions to make big impact on state economy and environment 

Wind TurbinesThe Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued several major decisions this fall that will shape the state's environmental and energy future for decades to come.

In September, the PUC approved a broadly-supported settlement that will allow Xcel Energy to develop, own and operate a 600-megawatt wind facility located on Colorado's eastern plains. The proposed Rush Creek Wind Project will be one of Colorado's largest wind farms, comprised of two generation sites and a 90-mile high-voltage transmission line to tie into Xcel's electric system. In total, the project will include 300 turbines on approximately 116,000 acres in Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties.

Also, on Nov. 9, the PUC approved a comprehensive settlement resolving three major Xcel Energy cases involving electricity pricing and renewable energy, while adding appropriate safeguards for ratepayers. While the settlement expands the development of solar energy in Colorado, the Commission added protections that limit the cost impact to ratepayers, and preserve the ability of the PUC to determine in the future the fairness of proposed changes to how ratepayers will pay for the energy they use. "This decision continues the trend that Colorado is a national leader in thoughtful development of renewable energy," PUC chairman Joshua Epel said.

Finally, on Nov. 30, the PUC significantly reduced a request by Black Hills Energy to increase electric rates in southern Colorado, striking an appropriate balance between company and ratepayer interests.

For more information on these cases, see the news release announcements by the PUC.


Upcoming Meetings

  • DORA Quarterly - Calendar clip artDec. 6:  Real Estate Commission
  • Dec. 9: State Board of Registered Psychotherapists
  • Dec. 13: Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board
  • Dec. 15: Banking Board
  • Dec. 21: Plumbing Board
  • Jan. 10: Utility Consumers Board
  • Jan. 13: AES (Architect, Engineer and Surveyor) Rulemaking Hearing
  • Public Utilities Commission Hearings - Multiple dates
View the complete DORA calendar.
 
*Neat Feature* 
Google users can add an individual board or program calendar to their own Google calendar. To do this, just click on the "Google Calendar" symbol on the bottom of the calendar view on our homepage. You can also find DORA's individual meeting calendars on division homepages.     

Recent Strides ...

We strive to make doing business with us simple and to provide our customers access to helpful resources. Check out some of our recent strides below, and please send us your feedback ... we want to hear from you!
  • Supporting Economic Development
    9News' joined Tramway Safety Board inspector Larry Smith at Breckenridge Ski Resort to demonstrate how the Board inspects ski lifts each season to ensure that they are safe. The story reported that around 13 million people skied in Colorado last year, and a person averages about an estimated seven rides a day. Add parks and recreational lifts to those figures, and that comes to approximately 100 million rides on Colorado lifts each year! The story also highlighted Larry's extensive experience by noting that "...after 40 years in the business, all he has to do is touch a lift to find it's flaws. Which means, if you see Larry on a lift, you know it's a safe ride."  View the story.
     
  • Customer Service
    In a recently released report, Nerdwallet, a consumer financial assistance site, ranked the website for the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) as the third most helpful state insurance site in the nation. In its report “State insurance websites ranked from most to least helpful to consumers,” NerdWallet scoured 51 websites (which included the District of Columbia) looking for information that would be the most helpful to consumers. They also called the associated consumer helplines and emailed each insurance department/division, then graded each agency on over 20 factors. They analyzed four areas of the site: Insurance rate comparisons; complaint data; consumer assistance; and consumer education and resources.

     
  • Partnerships
    The Division of Professions and Occupations hosted a community meeting with the Colorado Consortium on Opioid Abuse regarding the state’s Policy for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids in November. The division is still accepting written comments about the state’s Opioid Policy until December 9. Email jo.donlin@state.co.us and please include “Opioid Policy Comments” in the subject line.
     
  • Education & Resources
    Senior$afe: DORA’s divisions of securities, banking and financial services offers presentations to businesses in financial industries on how to recognize the signs of senior financial fraud. Called Senior$afe, the program was featured on Colorado Public Radio. Get more information.
     
    Resources for Military Applicants: DORA helps current and transitioning military service members use military training and experience to obtain civilian licensure. 
     
    Colorado Business Roundtable Radio: DORA has partnered with Colorado Business Roundtable and its “Connect and Collaborate” radio program on KDMT “Denver’s Money Talk” 1690 AM. Tune in each month to hear agency commissioners and leaders discuss regulations, cutting red tape, and ways DORA assists businesses. Interviews are also available as podcasts. For more information, visit  http://www.cobrt.com/radio.

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