Colorado: plan would shift cost of court facilities from localities to state over next 20 years; 2015 version of bill killed in committee

A plan first introduced in 2015 and discussed here to shift the costs of state court facilities from local governments to the state has cleared its first 2016 legislative hurdle (media coverage here).

Current law (C.R.S. 13-3-108(1)) provides

The board of county commissioners in each county shall continue to have the responsibility of providing and maintaining adequate courtrooms and other court facilities including janitorial service, except as otherwise provided in this section.

SB 16 of 2016 as approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week alters this provision to provide the gradual transfer of the responsibility from the county to the state. The state would pay rent for the facilities starting at 5% of fair market value and increasing another 5% every year to 100% in FY 2036-2037.

This plan differs from the 2015 version (SB 15) in terms of length of time and starting percentage. SB 15 of 2015 started at 10% or 20% (depending on county) and increased 10% or 20% a year to reach 100% sometime in FY 2020-21 (20% counties) or FY 2026-27 (10% counties).

Finally, after full state takeover (i.e. 100% rental rate) for the properties, there would be the option for the state to simply buy the property outright.

After the state has completely assumed the responsibility of providing and maintaining adequate courtrooms and other court facilities in a county as specified in this section, the state may negotiate with the county to acquire the property from the county in lieu of continuing to pay rent.

SB 16 now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which killed the 2015 version of the bill.