The Legislative Session Has Started: What You Need to Know

We are on the fourth day of the legislative session (so, 116 to go 😊), and there’s already a lot happening that directly impacts business.

Family and Medical Leave Task Force Releases Final Report
Last session the top priority for the Chamber was the paid family and medical leave proposal that would have created a mandatory state-run program funded through a $2 billion payroll tax on employers and employees. You’ll recall that the Chamber strongly opposed that legislation. That legislation was amended into a study that created a 13-member task force made up of business leaders, worker advocates and labor representatives.

The task force considered expert studies, actuarial reports, Gov. Jared Polis’ feedback and public comment before they released their recommendations last week, just a day before the legislative session opened.

You can read more about the details of their recommendations in our policy update.

While lawmakers don’t have to take the task force’s recommendations, it is important to know that the task force continues to recommend that there be a state-run program, and some continue to suggest it be funded primarily by employees.

The Chamber and a broad coalition we have been working with continue to express concerns about a number of the recommendations. We believe:

  • A market-based solution would be less costly and provide employers and employees much more confidence that the paid leave will actually be there when an employee needs it.
  • Any leave requirements must closely align with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to reduce confusion and ensure our smallest of employers aren’t negatively impacted.
  • Employees cannot be forced to pay a payroll tax without a vote of the citizens.
  • Employers and employees should be able to keep the current paid leave benefits they offer and receive and not be forced to pay for a lesser benefit from the state.
  • Our smallest of businesses must receive flexibility and protections against abuses with such a proposal.

We will be watching this topic closely at the Capitol and sharing these positions as a business community.

Business Legislative Preview Kicks Off the Session
Last week we also hosted our Seventh Annual Business Legislative Preview, and leaders from both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly took the stage to talk about business policy priorities.

We heard their views on family and medical leave, health care, transportation funding and education. And, while we agree with legislative leaders on the importance of addressing these issues, it was also clear we differ with some legislators on HOW Colorado can best address these issues.

Our commitment remains strong to share information, provide data and insight into the impacts of legislative proposals and build stronger working relationships so we ensure the right policy is passed in Colorado. We want to express our sincere thanks to board members and investors who met with legislators last summer and fall to help us do just that.

You can read more about what to expect this session on our blog.

Follow the Session with Us
Finally, we know there will be a lot of legislation during these next four months that will impact our business community. We will regularly share updates and summaries of our progress during the session, and the best way to stay informed is to sign up to receive our policy alerts.

Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.