The Session: One Month In
It’s been just over four weeks since the 2019 legislative session started and, although over 300 bills have been introduced at the legislature, much of the contentious legislation we anticipate has yet to be introduced. This is in part because of intentional efforts by legislators and proponents to do outreach and work on bills before their introduction. The Chamber has taken positions on 20 bills ranging in topics from health care and transportation to business regulations and tax credits. The Chamber has been involved in several stakeholder meetings with legislators to provide constructive feedback on prospective legislation in the interest of our 3,000 employers and their 300,000 employees across the state.
Chamber Testifies at the Capitol
On Thursday Dorothy Jones, the Chamber’s director of public affairs, testified in support of House Bill 1075. The bill would create an income tax credit pilot program to encourage employer-assisted, local workforce housing in rural Colorado, which supports the growth of our economy by providing diverse housing options for our workers throughout the state. We must create ways to support employers who establish down payment assistance programs, buy tax credits from banks to close the equity gap or create loan programs that help their employees buy their first home.
Hospital Transparency Measure Moves Forward
House Bill 1001 was introduced in the Senate this week after extensive work by the bill sponsor, Rep. Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood), to ensure that the concerns of stakeholders were addressed. House Bill 1001 requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Colorado Health Care Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise Board to develop and prepare an annual report detailing uncompensated hospital costs and expenses, using publicly available data whenever possible. Psychiatric hospitals, long-term care facilities and certain critical access hospitals are exempted.
Rep. Kennedy offered numerous amendments to the legislation and continually engaged stakeholders in the process. The Chamber supports this legislation and applauds Rep. Kennedy for his willingness to work on concerns that were raised. Health and wellness has long been a policy pillar of the Chamber in recognition that having a healthy and productive workforce is a competitive economic advantage. Over the past 18 months the Chamber convened a series of meetings among its health care members to address the factors driving up the cost of health care in Colorado and to identify potential actions to impact these factors. The group developed robust transparency and disclosure recommendations, understanding that they are key to analysis and consumer education.
As always, Chamber staff will continue working on your behalf analyzing and weighing in on legislation that can impact your business. We list all our bill positions online. Stay in touch with us by checking our website and sharing with us your concerns as the session progresses.