Bills Roll in as Session Completes Week 1
The 2020 legislative session is off and running and, as always, the Chamber is there to advocate for Colorado’s business community. We believe that the 2019 session was a good preview for what we’re facing in 2020, and that means we’re in for a challenging 120 days (only 113 days left though!).
If you were at our Business Legislative Preview on Jan. 7, you learned that some of the issues we are watching closely this session are paid family and medical leave, a public health care option and transportation funding, and we also anticipate bills on data privacy, school funding, workplace harassment and retirement savings. Read more about the priorities we highlighted at our Business Policy Preview.
Protecting an Employer’s Right to Provide a Drug-Free Workplace
A bill that immediately grabbed our attention when it was introduced last week is House Bill 1089, Employee Protection for Lawful Off-Duty Activities. This bill prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for the employee’s off-duty activities that are lawful under state law, even if those activities are not lawful under federal law. While the language is broad, this bill is aimed specifically at marijuana use.
The Chamber has long advocated for an employer’s right and responsibility to maintain a safe, healthy and productive workplace. In 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed our position that employers be able to maintain drug-free workplaces.
House Bill 1089 would roll back the ability for an employer to comply with federal regulations governing their business and to ensure the safety of their employees and customers – something our Supreme Court has recognized as the responsibility of employers.
Several Chamber members have shared their concerns about this bill, and we will continue to voice our opposition to any legislation that hurts an employer’s right to providing a drug-free workplace.
Advocating for Market-Based Solutions to Paid Family and Medical Leave
We continue to watch the progress of legislation around paid family and medical leave and have met with Gov. Polis and bill sponsors to advocate our position. We seek a market-based solution that provides flexibility and doesn’t force employees to pay a mandatory payroll tax. Legislation about this issue has yet to be introduced.