This Week in Policy

Chamber Opposes Repeal of Health Exchange

Earlier this month, the Chamber joined more than 100 organizations in asking incoming federal leadership to be thoughtful about their approach to health care reform and to not repeal the Affordable Care Act before a replacement option is determined.

We feel that repealing the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, as suggested under Senate Bill 3, would be premature before it’s clear what will happen at a federal level in terms of health care reform. As we begin that discussion, we’ve developed a set of principles on both the process Congress follows to bring about these changes and the policy they ultimately adopt.

Read about our health care policy work.

Chamber Focuses on Returning Issues to Start Session

Two issues the Chamber has opposed in past sessions have resurfaced at the start of this year:

House Bill 1013 would allow discrimination of the GLBTQ community. As a region, we want to attract the best talent, and we will always oppose litigation that hampers our ability to do so. The continued resurgence of this bill is concerning because it undermines our approach as a business community that Colorado is open to everyone.

House Bill 1062 would make some ninth and tenth grade assessments optional. As we talk about education reform, we agree that there need to be some assessments so that we understand a student’s skills and can compare and benchmark them not just against peers but against students in across the country and the world—it’s crucial to ensure we’re preparing our students for the global economy.

Legislative Session Opens with Optimism

The legislative session opened last week with a renewed promise of collaboration and a sense of urgency among Senate and House leadership to finally address years’ long challenges like housing and transportation and education funding.

Those party leaders met with the Chamber board of directors last week and with more than 400 business and community leaders at the Chamber’s Business Legislative Preview earlier this month to outline their goals on business-focused policy during the 120-day session

Read our Legislative Preview recap.

Infrastructure Funding is Top Priority for Governor

At his State of the State address, Gov. John Hickenlooper echoed concerns around funding for transportation, noting that over the next decade Colorado will have $9 billion of unmet transportation needs—and he cautioned they will only grow from there.

“Utah has about half as many people as Colorado but invests four times what we do to expand their road capacity every year,” he said. “It’s economics 101: Smart investments in infrastructure create jobs and strengthen the economy.”

Hickenlooper touched on other infrastructure priorities, like access to broadband, and workforce development with pathway opportunities such as cybersecurity.

We look forward to working with the General Assembly and the governor’s office to address these critical needs under the dome.

Read: Chamber CEO reflects on Guv’s legacy 

The Chamber is taking positions on bills weekly during the legislative session. Click here to see all the bills the Chamber has taken positions on this session.