Kerr pushes pair of bills through final House votes

DENVER – A proposal to hold deadbeat drivers accountable sponsored by Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, cleared its final test in the Colorado House 44-19 Monday. Two representatives were not present for the morning votes in the House.

Kerr’s HB 1164 would require drivers to appoint their insurance companies to act as their agents in the event that an at-fault driver cannot be located. The bill creates an incentive for insurance companies to locate the deadbeat drivers.

“This policy holds at-fault drivers accountable for their actions,” Kerr said. “Without this bill, at-fault drivers and their insurance companies will continue to be able to evade responsibility for their actions by simply disappearing, even when they have a liability policy in force, leaving injured people without the ability to be reimbursed for their damages.”

Kerr introduced the bill to put an end to at-fault drivers’ attempts to avoid their financial responsibility to accident victim. In many such cases the injured victim, doctors and the trauma centers – and often the state – are left holding the bag for damages and medical bills, according to proponents of the bill, which is sponsored in the Senate by Lois Tochtrop, D-Adams County.

Also Monday Kerr’s HB 1267, which would make leasing solar panels more affordable for homeowners, moved to the Senate after a final 50-13 House vote.

“By working to streamline government, grow business and protect the environment, this bill is a smart choice for Colorado. Homeowners will benefit from the affordability of leasing solar panels, the solar industry will benefit from an increase in business, and Colorado will benefit from an increase in green energy usage,” Kerr said.

HB 1267 will bring more solar panel installation jobs to Colorado.

By leasing, homeowners avoid the expensive up-front costs of purchasing solar panels and offers the benefit of clean energy. Homeowners who sell their house can assign the lease to the new owners.

Under current law, homeowners who purchase solar panels are exempt from the property taxes on them, but those who lease panels are not. Kerr said his bill would “create a level playing field by treating leased and owned panels the same.”

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, is carrying the bill in the Senate.

Earlier this month, a plan to trim the “fat” from state government failed to muster enough votes to make it out of committee and its sponsor, state Sen. Mike Kopp R-Lakewood-South Jeffco, said the bill, which had bipartisan support, died because of “hyper-partisan” politics.

Kopp’s Senate Bill 165, dubbed a “Blueprint for a Leaner Government”, would have sought out and identified “redundancies and waste” in state government, Kopp said.

SB 165 would have created two bipartisan study groups to examine state agencies and functions and regulatory duties to find more efficient ways of doing business.

But Kopp’s measure failed a crucial test, falling 3-2 in the State Affairs Committee.

“While the bill had bipartisan support, the hyper-partisan State Affairs Committee killed the bill and provided no credible rationale for doing so,” Kopp wrote in his Weekly Capital update.

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