Representative highlights session’s bills

Lebsock works on expanding senior tax exemption

Photo courtesy of Jordan Logan
Gov. John Hickenlooper signs HB-1114 Friday as the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Steve Lebsock (left) and Adams County Clerk & Recorder Karen Long watches. Long helped Lebsock with the language of the bill, which allows people to request that the first five digits of their social security numbers be redacted from public documents.

Last Friday, Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-District 34, took part in the signing ceremony of House Bill 14-1112 — a bill he served as the prime sponsor of.

HB 14-1112 allows people to request that the first five digits of their Social Security number be redacted from public documents.

“County clerks don’t have the authority to (redact) currently,” Lebsock said before the bill was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper. “This bill is just one step in the right direction to make sure folks do not become a victim of identity theft.”

This was just one of several items that Lebsock has been working on this legislative session.

The representative also has been working on a house concurrent resolution to expand Colorado’s Senior Homestead Exemption. Currently, the law allows a senior 65 or older who has owned his or her home for at least 10 years to claim a property tax exemption.

Lebsock said he would like the exemption to be expanded so that if a senior 75 or older can still qualify for the exemption of he or she moves into a new home for safety reasons.

“I don’t want a situation where they feel they have to stay in an unsafe home because they don’t want to lose their property tax exemption,” he said.

He gave the example of a senior who can no longer climb stairs but lives in two-story home, or a senior living in a home that is damaged in a natural disaster.

A concurrent resolution is a resolution adopted by both the Senate and the House and only needs a two-thirds yes vote from each. A concurrent resolution does not require the governor’s signature to become law. Because expanding the Homestead Exemption requires changing the state constitution, it will require voter approval during the 2014 general election, Lebsock said.

Lebsock is sponsoring the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA), which is not new legislation but is undergoing sunset review and is being updated. PACFA is a program that sets reasonable regulations on the pet industry in Colorado and protects animal health and welfare.

“Pets are very important to my constituents,” said Lebsock, adding that 60 percent of households in Colorado have either a dog or cat.

“We love our pets. We treat them like grandchildren and children. So it’s reasonable to have parameters around pet care facilities in Colorado.”

This bill is working itself through the various committees in the House.

Lebsock is also sponsoring HB 14-1129, which he said was a good government and good communications bill. With the passage of this bill, local county governments will have the ability to request information from the state and have a response within 28 days.

“The goal of this bill is to foster good communication between the state and local governments with proposed transmission lines and pipelines that go through counties,” according to Lebsocko’s newsletter that highlighted his bills.

This bill is now on the Senate side, and Lebsock said he sees it passing through there without any issues.