By Jerry Kopel
The early worm got the bird in 2001, but NOT in 2007.
Like a fat worm safely ensconced in a ripening apple, interior designers
successfully burrowed into the law governing architects in 2001,
captained by one of the top state legislative lobbyists.
Dept. of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) had suggested no regulation in a
Sunrise report, but that was ignored by a majority of House and Senate
members. There were some qualifications: six years of
education/experience, professional liability insurance coverage, but no
disciplinary action possible unless they attempted to practice
No one was "forced" to be embedded in the architect law. An interior
designer could still be less educated and generally unregulated. The
bill was not vetoed by Gov. Bill Owens.
This year, the worm had plans to become a cobra.
SB 84 began as a mild measure and turned into a full fledged "title
protection act" with disciplinary and hearing standards (proclaimed as
"registered" but really "licensed" ) with a Sunset review in 2013.
The measure passed both houses and was vetoed by Gov. Bill Ritter as
being intrusive into architectural and engineering aptitudes. My opinion
is that interior designers belong in the Deceptive Trade Practices Act
as a "title protection " law and not under DORA. That could be
accomplished in 2008.
Ritter also swatted into oblivion (for 2007) regulation of athletic
trainers in SB 24. Owens had vetoed the same bill in 2006.
Cost was a major factor as well as actual harm being inflicted according
to DORA , whose 2005 Sunrise report indicated small rural schools felt
that they would be forced to cut their athletic programs "because they
would not be able to afford to hire a licensed athletic trainer."
Another Ritter veto tossed HB 1122 out the window. It would have
prohibited school districts with more than 1,500 enrolled students from
hiring unlicensed physical education teachers. Owens vetoed the same
measure in 2006.
Four other regulatory bills never reached Ritter's desk, all killed in
House or Senate committees: HB 1231 licensing mortuary science
practitioners; HB 1083 licensing private investigators; HB 1080 to
license art therapists who are already regulated in the grievance board
data base as unlicensed psychotherapists.
The fourth bill was one which DORA recommended regulation: Naturopathic
physicians under HB 1192.
DORA's Sunrise report noted: "Naturopathic medicine has been practiced
in the United States and Europe throughout history. Conventional
medicine and naturopathy were at one time quite similar in their use of
medicinal plants, diet therapies and hydrotherapy treatments. Only
within the last 40-50 years has conventional medicine diverged from this
Two groups, the Colorado Medical Society and the persons using diploma
mill certificates or non-accredited college courses to claim to be
naturopaths, were major opponents to regulating graduates from
accredited colleges. There are 13 states that regulate naturopaths, many
of whose graduates practice in Colorado, despite laws to to the
This was their fourth try for regulation. Eventually, they will be
regulated as are those who practice osteopathy, acupuncture and lay
midwifery, despite opposition from the Medical Society.
Several regulatory bills did pass. HB 1215, the Uniform Debt Management
Services Act, deals with regulating those aiding insolvent persons
repaying part or all of their debts. A new federal bankruptcy law,
passed by the then-Republican congress required regulation of those who
assist such bankrupts.
After 30 years in the wilderness, SB 107 restored the Landscape
Architects law and no, they don't plant grass. DORA wrote "do no
regulate" in 1995, 2002, and 2005. Former Gov. Owens vetoed the 2006
measure. Gov. Ritter signed it into law in 2007. This was a business
bill only. It neither helps nor hurts consumers.
In 2006, the legislature passed a weak mortgage broker regulation bill.
That was not the fault of the sponsors. "Registration" just happened to
be what could get by numerous lobbyists working to avoid strict
This year was different, thanks to nationwide fraud. SB 203 is a strict
licensing law for mortgage brokers going into effect Jan. 1, 2008. My
guess is the attorney general and DORA will be watching the brokers
closely to make an example of the first violator.
HB 1131 is a law to assist those on dialysis or a kidney transplant. The
technicians performing the services will need to be credentialed by a
national credentialing program. The legislature might have been
apprehensive as to the potential reduction in the number of technicians,
plus greater compensation for the remainder. Thus, the law goes into
operation Jan. 1, 2009 and will undergo a Sunset review in 2011.
Persons who maintain elevators and escalators and moving sidewalks,
among other items, now will need a statewide license under SB 123 as a
conveyance mechanic. Some are "grandfathered" in without the need by
others to take courses and be tested under the division of public
safety. Owens vetoed the bill in 2006.
As of Jan. 1, 2008. this is a "matter of statewide concern" although
local jurisdictions can add additional regulation if they so desire.
Eight Sunset reviews resulted in bills passed and signed by the
governor. Again, in contravention of the primary duty to review
regulated occupations, three of the Sunset reviews were of matters that
should be dealt with by the state auditor rather than the executive
There were three new laws of two occupations not up for Sunset review
HB 1262 took away the powers of the DORA director to approve rules
promulgated by the plumbers board. SB 137 increases the scope of work
done by plumbers and modernized disciplinary actions.
HB 1126 allowed physical therapists, subject to clearance by a licensed
veterinarian, to perform their technique on animals.
All told, there were 23 bills, of which 20 dealt with regulation of
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)