DORA Quarterly Winter 2016
In this Issue
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
View the complete DORA calendar.
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