Prosper CO is the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s initiative to make Colorado the best place to live, work and do business no matter your race, ethnicity or gender. We recognize that policy is incredibly influential to that goal, and we are working to support that vision at the Capitol. Our policy team has engaged in legislation to expand workforce housing, remove barriers to gainful employment, upskill and reskill the workforce and help women and people of color in business.
A Prosper CO priority for this session is fair chance hiring, which helps eliminate unnecessary employment barriers for people with criminal histories. One fair chance hiring bill currently working its way through the legislature is House Bill 1098, which requires an investigation into what barriers exist for licensing, certification and registration of individuals with a criminal history, and it limits the ability for a regulator to deny a certification due to someone’s criminal history if it isn’t relevant to the certification they are pursuing. The Chamber and Prosper CO believe that people with criminal histories deserve a fair and transparent process when applying for jobs and certifications related to their career goals, and we support this bill.
One of the most significant obstacles to the success and competitiveness of our region is the dearth of workforce housing. Prosper CO is working to creatively address the imbalance between supply and demand for workforce housing, so that people who want to work in Colorado can afford to live here. House Bill 1051 aids this priority by extending the affordable housing tax credit for another ten years and increasing the credit’s funding. The affordable housing tax credit is a proven, effective program, and the Chamber and Prosper CO support the expansion and continuation of this program.
Prosper CO’s efforts to build Colorado’s economy and workforce are an integral part of the Chamber’s approach to policy. We also support the following legislation aligning with our Prosper CO initiative:
- House Bill 1002: Fifth Year High School Concurrent Enrollment
- House Bill 1009: Continue Workforce Diploma Pilot Program
- Senate Bill 50: Work Opportunities For Offenders In Department Of Corrections
- Senate Bill 99: Sealing Criminal Records
While Prosper CO advocates for legislation that supports Colorado’s workforce, housing efforts and business community, this initiative is also taking advantage of opportunities to equitably grow our economy. Prosper CO and the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (EDC) are a part of the Colorado Coalition, led by Innosphere Ventures, which has been named a finalist for the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better grant program.
The Colorado Coalition is one of 60 semifinalists competing to win $100 million from this grant to grow Colorado’s bioscience and cleantech industries. They are proposing more than $510 million in non-construction and construction projects, resulting in 8,000 new direct jobs and 3,200 additional indirect jobs in bioscience and clean teach with a 75% increase in research and development output and total investments. Prosper CO was an integral and competitive piece of the grant application, ensuring that as we develop these sectors, they have a foundation for equity, diversity and inclusion and are prepared to support diverse workplaces.
This proposal will accelerate innovation, promote economic growth and ensure equitable job creation in two of Colorado’s leading industries. This grant funding has the potential to protect Colorado against future economic shocks and position the United States as an international leader in biosciences and cleantech. We are grateful to have been invited to join the Colorado Coalition’s funding bid and are eager to scale up Prosper CO in our advanced industries sector.
To read bill summaries and justifications, visit our current legislation page.
Here are the bills we took a stance on this week.
- House Bill 1230 allocates $500,000 annually to the Employee Support and Job Retention Program, removes the requirement that it be appropriated annually, extends the program indefinitely and expands the definition of “service provider” to include other organizations that provide employment to community members. This bill creates opportunities for businesses to access much-needed talent while also creating opportunities for employees to re-enter the workforce.
- Senate Bill 145 establishes three new law enforcement grant programs to be used for crime prevention, law enforcement recruitment and training. This bill provides additional resources to increase community safety, which benefits both businesses and consumers.
- House Bill 1218 places electric vehicle standards on commercial buildings and multifamily residences by requiring electric vehicle charging stations for at least 10% of parking spaces if the building is 25,000 square feet or more. This bill is another significant mandate from the legislature to force a market transition and, in the case of electrification, a market transition that is already happening on its own.
- House Bill 1277 authorizes credit unions to make loans to public entities, permits the state financial services commissioner to assess each credit union for the cost of monitoring compliance and allows public entities to use federally insured credit unions to deposit money. This legislation would give credit unions a leg-up in certain financial markets. We are concerned that this legislation muddies the responsibilities and privileges entrusted to banks and credit unions respectively by giving credit unions access to a new market currently outside of their regulatory purview.
Read our justifications for these positions and more on our current legislation page.
Have questions or concerns about policy? Contact our Government Affairs team.