Senate Bill 260, the transportation funding bill we’ve been waiting to see, has finally been introduced. The nearly 200-page legislation outlines a package that will raise $5.3 billion for transportation infrastructure funding by increasing various fees including those on electric vehicles and gas and adding a state surcharge on deliveries and shared rides.
Our members know we must invest more in transportation and have supported doing so for years. While this policy isn’t perfect, it is a bill rooted in the reality of our situation that secures more of the funding we so desperately need in Colorado. We support this bill with the understanding that questions about its constitutionality will be determined by the courts. This bill doesn’t solve all our problems, and we will continue to advocate for more general fund investment in infrastructure and longer-term, sustainable transportation funding solutions.
Chamber President and CEO Kelly Brough spoke at the press conference for the bill’s introduction Tuesday afternoon, along with dozens of other leaders from across the state, including bill sponsors Sen. Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder), Sen. Faith Winter (D- Westminster), Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver) and Rep. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield).
“While we have ongoing questions about specifics within the bill, we support the notion that Colorado must invest more in transportation to protect our quality of life and economy,” Brough said.
We will continue to follow this one closely as it moves through the legislative process.
Data Privacy Bill Passes First Hearing
Senate Bill 190, the bipartisan bill seeking to establish the Colorado Privacy Act, was heard in the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee yesterday and passed with a vote of 7-0. The Chamber has a position of amend on this legislation. The legislation would provide additional protections for the personal data of Colorado residents, change the way in which businesses can collect, process and use personal data and create new enforcement provisions.
Bill sponsors Sen. Robert Rodriguez (D-Denver) and Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) have incorporated changes that address many of our concerns over the past year that we’ve been working on this bill, but ongoing concerns remain. Camila Tobón, attorney of counsel with Davis, Graham & Stubbs with a focus on privacy and data security and a member of the Chamber’s Legal Advisory Committee, testified on behalf of the Chamber, outlining two main concerns, one of which was resolved at the hearing via amendment.
Tobón requested that the definition of consumer remain as someone “acting in an individual or household context,” rather than expanding it to other types of individuals like “job applicant” and “beneficiary of someone acting in an employment context.” Those types of individuals are more closely related to a company’s employees and not their customers and this expanded definition would create confusion. Senate Committee members voted to accepted this change via amendment at the hearing.
Additionally, “the exemption for ‘employment records’” should be clarified to cover all personal data processed about a member of the workforce, including contractors, directors, officers and job applicants, not just employees,” Tobón argued, keeping it consistent with privacy law in other states. We look forward to continued conversations with bill sponsors as we work together to ensure this policy works for employers and consumers across the state. Read Tobón’s full testimony here.
Workers’ Rights Act Legislation Sees Substantial Changes
Another bill that has also been heavily amended is Senate Bill 176, the Protecting Opportunities and Workers’ Rights Act. This legislation creates and expands definitions and processes for harassment and discrimination claims and increases the time limit in which charges can be brought against employers to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. We have been tracking this bill closely with several partner organizations and have already seen some of our most substantial concerns addressed. We continue to work with bill sponsors Sen. Winter, Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood), Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver) and Rep. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield) to ensure the current language does not unintentionally create a backdoor for increased litigation. Additional concerns remain with expanding the definition of employees to include independent contractors, changes to the severe and pervasive standard, and excessive limitations to non-disclosure agreements.
This bill is up for action in the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon. Read Brough’s submitted testimony on the hearing. We look forward to staying involved in conversations on this legislation with sponsors.
Chamber Takes Positions on Four Bills
This week, the Chamber also took a position on four bills.
- HB21-1288 Colorado Startup Loan Program | Rep. Jennifer Bacon (D-Denver), Rep. Monica Duran (D-Wheat Ridge) and Sen. James Coleman (D-Denver)
- SB21-260 Sustainability Of The Transportation System | Sen. Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder), Sen. Faith Winter (D- Westminster), Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver) and Rep. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield)
- HB21-1191 Prohibit Discrimination COVID-19 Vaccine Status | Rep. Kim Ransom (R-Parker) and Rep. Tonya Van Beber (R-Greeley)
- HB21-1286 Energy Performance For Buildings | Rep. Cathy Kipp (D-Fort Collins), Rep. Alex Valdez (D-Alamosa), Sen. Kevin Priola (R-Henderson) and Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood)
Visit our current legislation page to see all our positions and testimony so far this session.