2022 Legislative Session

Each session we take positions on current bills that stand to impact the business community and our economy, focusing on education and workforce, health and wellness and infrastructure. Guided by those focus areas, data and member feedback, our policy decisions are guided by a committee of members and our board of directors.

  • Position Key
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  • STATUS Key
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Bill # Title Summary Position Justification Materials Pillars Status
HB 22-1018 Electric And Gas Utility Customer Protections

This bill has three sections. Section 1 of the bill changes the date on which Energy Outreach Colorado disburses to the Department of Human Services a portion of the energy assistance system benefit charges that investor-owned electric and gas utilities collect from Jan. 1, 2022, to March 1, 2023. Section 2 requires the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to adopt rules prohibiting electric and gas utilities from disconnecting a customer's service and alters requirements on requests for reconnection of service. Section 3 establishes three income standards for determining a household’s eligibility for federal utility assistance and clarifies that the PUC may approve a year-round utility preference or advantage given to income-eligible customers.

The Colorado business community acts in good faith to protect consumers while also growing our competitive economy. This bill, though it increases timelines and complexity for business, is a good compromise between the rights of business and consumers. For this reason, the Chamber remains neutral on this bill.

HB 22-1026 Alternative Transportation Options Tax Credit

This bill would offer employers an income tax credit when they provide alternative transportation options for their employees. The refundable tax credit would replace an existing income tax deduction and cover 50% of an employers’ expenses for providing alternative transportation options. It would be available for the tax years covering Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2033.

This approach incentivizes and aids employers in providing alternative transportation options for their employees. We support incentives that help employers provide these types of benefits to their employees, which also help reduce congestion on our roadways and improve our state’s air quality and environment.

HB 22-1027 Sales Tax Destination Sourcing Rules Exception

Currently, the small retailer exception to the sales tax destination sourcing rules will be repealed Feb. 1, 2022. This bill extends the repeal and allows small retailers with less than $100,000 in retail sales to source their sales to the business’ location regardless of where the purchaser receives the product until Oct. 1, 2022. 

Colorado has one of the most complicated sales-and-use tax systems in the country, with over 550 jurisdictions that levy sales taxes. The complexity of the tax system can be a challenge, especially for small businesses. The Chamber supported this bill in 2021 to simplify and develop a sales tax system that serves the interests of Colorado businesses, and we support the extension of this bill in 2022.

HB 22-1039 Sales & Use Tax Exemption Form Simplification

This bill requires the Department of Revenue to examine the forms required to qualify for the sales and use tax exemption. They must also simplify the forms when possible, as well as the requirements related to their use.

Colorado has one of the most complicated sales-and-use tax systems in the country, with over 550 jurisdictions that levy sales taxes. We support efforts to simplify our sales tax system to better serve the interests of Colorado businesses, local governments and special districts while moving the economy forward.

HB 22-1051 Mod Affordable Housing Tax Credit

This bill extends the affordable housing tax credit for another 10 years after it’s set to expire in 2024, and it increases the allocation from $10 million annually to $15 million annually from 2023 to 2034.

The Chamber recognizes that the lack of affordable workforce housing slows Colorado’s economic growth, undermines our ability to attract and retain talent, and poses a significant challenge to employees across the state. The affordable housing tax credit is a proven, effective and efficient solution to this problem, and we support the expansion and continuation of this program. We acknowledge, however, that the affordable housing crisis in Colorado is a multifaceted issue and will need a symmetrical response.

HB22-1002 Fifth Year High School Concurrent Enrollment

This bill makes changes to the Accelerating Students Through Concurrent Enrollment Program (ASCENT), including removing the limit on the number of participants in the program, reducing the number of postsecondary credits a student must have completed to be eligible to participate in ASCENT, and removing the requirements that a student repay a provider if they fail to complete or fail a course. Lastly, it directs the Colorado Department of Education to distribute an additional 3% of the per-pupil extended high school funding amount to providers to help pay for non-tuition expenses.

Colorado’s workforce shortage is one of the most critical issues facing businesses today. By expanding eligibility to participate in ASCENT, this bill broadens educational and workforce opportunities for students. This bill also aligns with the Chamber’s Prosper CO efforts, because it helps remove financial and institutional barriers that might keep students from pursuing higher education.

HB22-1009 Continue Workforce Diploma Pilot Program

The workforce diploma pilot program was established in 2019 and is scheduled to repeal on July 1. This program provides financial incentives for eligible providers who support adults in obtaining a high school diploma and other credentials. This is a three-year pilot, and in its second year of the pilot program (2020-2021), the legislature appropriated $200,000 for reimbursement payments to qualified providers. The bill continues the pilot program indefinitely as the workforce diploma program. The bill requires the Department of Education to annually adjust the amounts paid to qualified providers in accordance with the corresponding percentage change in the consumer price index.

The Chamber believes that this bill benefits both local businesses, as well as adults who were unable to receive their high school diploma. Businesses will experience an increase of qualified workers in the region, which will help meet hiring needs, and adults in need of a diploma will receive the opportunity to complete the necessary credentials. The workforce diploma program is aligned with our Prosper CO initiatives to create an economy that works for all Coloradans, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.

HB22-1013 Microgrids For Community Resilience Grant Program

This bill creates the Microgrids for Community Resilience Grant Program, allowing cooperative electric associations or municipally owned utilities in eligible rural communities to apply for funds to finance the purchase of microgrid resources. Communities within the utility's service territory are eligible if they have significant risk of severe weather or natural disasters, and if they contain one or more community anchor institutions, such as a school, library or hospital.

This bill creates a grant program that will increase community resilience and provide core services to the community in case of a disaster in cooperative and municipal utilities service territories. During extreme weather events and natural disasters, microgrids can continue to generate and deliver electricity to essential resources in a community, such as hospitals, fire stations, law enforcement facilities, government offices and emergency shelters. We believe this bill provides communities at high risk of wildfire and other natural disasters the opportunity to enhance reliable power systems to serve as backup during emergency service situations.

HB22-1071 Damages In Class Actions Consumer Protection Act

This bill permits class action lawsuits under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.

This legislation will result in increased settlements and legal delays, driving costs up for businesses.

HB22-1098 Department Of Regulatory Agencies Barriers To Practice Regulated Professions

This bill 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. It also provides more protections to people with criminal histories when applying for a license, certification, permit or registration, and requires guidelines for state and local agencies should they deny any of these certifications for reasons of criminal history.

This bill falls under the Fair Chance Hiring Act, which the Chamber has supported in the previous years as part of its Prosper CO work. We believe that people with criminal histories deserve a fair and transparent process when applying for jobs, registrations, licenses and certifications related to their career goals. This bill will benefit both people with criminal histories, as well as businesses that are struggling to meet hiring needs. The Chamber supports the removal of the antiquated and unnecessary barriers that stand between a person and their right to join the workforce.

HB22-1099 Online Marketplaces And Third-party Sellers

This bill would require that online marketplaces collect, verify and disclose information about third-party sellers using their platform. Consumers would have access to information such as the full name, physical address and supplier information of the third-party seller. This bill would also require online marketplaces to create a reporting mechanism for consumers to report suspicious marketplace activity.

This bill protects brick-and-mortar retailers from the unauthorized resale of their products and protects online marketplaces from disreputable vendors.

HB22-1100 Prohibit Discrimination COVID-19 Vaccine Status

This bill prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee or an applicant based on the employee’s or applicant’s COVID-19 immunization status. It allows an aggrieved employee or applicant to file a civil action lawsuit if the employer acted with malice or has repeatedly violated the law. The bill also specifies that the state cannot require any individual to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, and a person cannot be discriminated against for their vaccination status.

Businesses have the right to decide the best way to protect their employees and private property. This bill unduly exposes businesses in the state to lawsuits by allowing employees to sue their employers for using vaccines as a tool to ensure the safety of their workplace. We should be supporting businesses as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic, not punishing them with needless litigation for their good faith efforts to move forward.

HB22-1112 Workers' Compensation Injury Notices

This bill extends the current law requiring injured employees to notify their employer within four days after occurrence to 14 days and repeals the current tolling and compensation reduction provisions. The bill amends the notice of requiring an employer to post in the workplace to requiring the notice to state the name and contact information of the insurer.

The Chamber supports legislators and stakeholders negotiating legislation that best serves Colorado employers and employees. This bill reflects a compromise between members of the business community and other stakeholders.

HB22-1119 Colorado False Claims Act

This bill establishes penalties, procedures and limitations regarding any individual who defrauds the state, a county or a municipality. Any such individual is subject to a civil penalty as established by the federal False Claims Act and is liable for additional damages to the defrauded entity and other attorney fees or costs.

Concerns raised by the business community have been addressed through a series of amendments that lower the penalty structure and give courts more discretion over penalties; clarify that actual knowledge, rather than an accidental oversight of a false claim, is required; and create safeguards against abuse by whistle blowers and their attorneys. Most importantly, adopted amendments create significant incentives for self-reporting, including lower penalties and a streamlined settlement process.

HB22-1130 Exception To Employer Sick Leave Requirement

Senate Bill 20-205 (Sick Leave For Employees) included an exception for employers with fewer than 16 employees, but the exception expired on Jan. 1. This bill recreates this exception to apply in perpetuity.

While the Chamber supports providing paid sick leave for employees, we understand that a one-size-fits-all approach for all employers is not practical. We must support our small businesses as they work to recover from the pandemic and create jobs for Coloradans. The exception for small businesses established in SB20-205 should continue in perpetuity.

HB22-1138 Reduce Employee Single-occupancy Vehicle Trips

This bill creates an income tax credit for employers that develop clean commuting plans. It requires the executive director of the Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Colorado Energy Office and metropolitan planning organizations, to create an annual commuter survey for employers to determine how their employees commute to and from work. The bill also creates certain clean commute-related mandates for companies with 100 or more employees.

We firmly believe that clean commute mandates are a burden on employers at a time when many are struggling with increased costs due to inflation and supply chain problems, in addition to workforce shortages. Rather, we support incentivizing employers and employees to take other modes of transportation, such as the strategies proposed in HB22-1026 Alternative Transportation Options Tax Credit.

HB22-1144 Naturally Acquired Immunity COVID-19

This bill requires an employer or a state agency that imposes a COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirement to allow a person subject to the requirement to instead provide documentation demonstrating that the person has naturally acquired immunity to the disease.

This bill creates a logistical headache for businesses striving to make their workplace safe and profitable. The legislature is creating an additional mandate on the business community by requiring businesses to navigate different privileges and protections for their various employees. This bill makes doing business in Colorado more cumbersome and expensive.

HB22-1149 Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit

This bill encourages investments in the Colorado advanced industry sector by extending an existing state income tax credit for an additional five years, increasing the annual maximum amount of tax credit from $750,000 to $4 million and broadening the tax credit from 30% to 35% of a qualified investment in rural or economically distressed areas.

The Chamber supported the original advanced industry investment tax credit, enacted in 2014, because we know that industry diversity is critical to our state’s economic success. Businesses that have taken part have used the investment dollars to create more jobs, access other funding opportunities, accelerate their research-and-development processes and more. We support increasing the tax credit, because we believe the current maximum amount of $750,000 is so low that it may be detrimental to the tax credit’s effectiveness. By increasing the tax credit, more small businesses and investors can take part in this program each year.

HB22-1152 Prohibit Employer Adverse Action Marijuana Use

This bill prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee who uses retail or medical marijuana off the premises during nonworking hours or medical marijuana on the premises during working hours. Employers are permitted restrictions in the case of bona fide occupational requirements or to avoid a conflict of interest with employee responsibilities.

This bill undermines a business’ right to create a safe workplace and provide oversight to employees. Voters, employers and the Colorado Supreme Court have all recognized that it is essential to have safe, drug-free workplaces.

HB22-1199 Visitation Requirements Health-care Facilities

This bill requires that health care facilities such as hospitals, nursing care facilities and assisted living residences permit patients and residents in the facility to receive visitors to the fullest extent permitted under applicable state laws or local ordinances. If circumstances require the complete closure of a facility to visitors, the facility is required to use its best efforts to develop alternate visitation protocols that would allow visitation to the greatest extent and as safely as possible.

This bill as written undermines businesses’ right to manage risk within their facilities and removes authority from health care experts to make decisions about the safety of their patients and staff.

HB22-1200 Employee Exemption COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

This bill requires an employer that imposes a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to allow employee exemption if the employee submits a written request stating that compliance with the vaccine requirement would endanger the employee’s or their household member’s health and well-being, or it would violate the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. If an employee is terminated for failing to comply with the COVID-19 requirement, they are not disqualified from eligibility for unemployment benefits.

This bill interferes with businesses’ ability to maintain a healthy work environment for their employees and patrons. Further, the provision that makes former employees eligible for unemployment benefits upon termination is a departure from existing law and creates additional costs for employers who are already paying to restore the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to solvency.

HB22-1201 Standards for Immunization Requirements

This bill allows individuals who are required to receive an immunization to claim an exemption from the requirement if the immunization has not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has only received emergency use authorization, the manufacturer is not liable for injury or death caused by the immunization, or pivotal clinical trial the FDA relied on for approval did not evaluate the immunization’s safety for at least one year after it was first administered. The bill also requires the Department of Public Health and Environment to post on its website the criteria for immunization exemption and any diseases, risks or injuries caused by the immunization.

Businesses are working hard to recover from this pandemic, get Coloradans back to work and restore the economy. This bill creates a workaround for employees when businesses are trying to enforce safety policies. We trust that each individual business takes the responsibility to keep their employees and patrons safe seriously, and this bill undermines their efforts to do just that.

HB22-1216 Uniform Restrictive Employment Agreement Act

This bill adopts the model from the Uniform Law Commission regarding nondisclosure agreements, noncompete employment clauses and other employment restrictions. While Colorado already has some of the strictest laws on this topic, this bill would broadly make such agreements very difficult to impose or enforce.

We are concerned that this bill as written would make restrictive employment agreements untenable in the state of Colorado due to the burdens and risks it would place on employers. We are working with bill sponsors to clarify the scope of this legislation.

HB22-1218 Resource Efficiency Buildings Electric Vehicles

This bill places electric vehicle standards on commercial buildings and multifamily residences by requiring electric vehicle charging stations for at least 10% of their parking spaces if the building is 25,000 square feet or more. It also requires contractors to provide electric efficiency options when constructing certain buildings.

The market is trending toward electrification and resource efficiency, and businesses are preparing for this market transition by proactively building the infrastructure necessary to support green initiatives. We trust that the business community offers resources to consumers based on market demand. This bill is another significant mandate from the legislature to force a market transition and in this case one that is already happening on its own.

HB22-1230 Employment Support And Job Retention Services

This bill expands the definition of “service provider” in the Employment Support and Job Retention Program to include faith-based organizations, neighborhood organizations, food banks and other organizations that provide employment to members of the community. The bill allocates $500,000 annually to the Employee Support and Job Retention Program, removes the requirement that it be appropriated annually and extends the program indefinitely.

We appreciate efforts to help businesses address the lack of talent in a competitive labor market. This bill creates opportunities for businesses to access much-needed talent while also creating opportunities for employees to re-enter the workforce and find good-paying, meaningful jobs.

HB22-1244 Public Protections from Toxic Air Contaminants

The bill creates a new program to regulate a subset of air pollutants, referred to as "toxic air contaminants", which are defined as hazardous air pollutants, covered air toxics and all other air pollutants that the air quality control commission designates by rule as a toxic air contaminant based on its adverse health effects. In implementing the program, the commission has the authority to adopt rules that are more stringent than the corresponding requirements of the federal "Clean Air Act". The bill also sets specified new deadlines and requirements that relate to new reporting and rules around toxic air contaminants.

We have concerns that this bill continues to expand the authority of an unelected group by giving the Air Quality Control Commission the ability to regulate air pollutants that have not been identified as problematic by the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, this law makes Colorado more aggressive than other states and creates a new implementation burden for businesses who have industrial needs for certain chemical compounds.

HB22-1272 Repeal of Attorney Fees on Motions to Dismiss

This bill eliminates the provision under current law that a defendant be awarded attorney fees in tort actions if the court grants the defendant’s motion to dismiss prior to trial.

Amendments to this bill have limited its scope. Now, if plaintiffs' attorneys file lawsuits to change precedent or make constitutional changes, a judge has discretion to dismiss attorneys’ fees. Amendments have also added a good faith provision. Most importantly, amendments preserve the ability to award attorneys’ fees for nuisance lawsuits, providing an important protection for businesses against frivolous litigation.

HB22-1277 Authorize Credit Unions To Hold Public Money

This bill allows money to be deposited or invested with credit unions insured by the National Credit Union Association and not just those insured by the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation. It authorizes credit unions to make loans to public entities, and it permits the state financial services commissioner to assess each credit union for the cost of monitoring compliance. It also allows public entities to use federally insured credit unions to deposit money.

This bill 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. Banks and credit unions are created under distinct regulatory regimes and we support the status quo. If credit unions desire to compete as banks, then they should accept the regulatory framework that banks do (including the payment of income taxes and local investments through the Community Reinvestment Act).

HB22-1282 Innovative Housing Incentive Programs

This bill creates the innovative housing incentive program and enables businesses that manufacture housing stock to apply. The program awards grants based on certain criteria, such as affordability, location within the state and energy efficiency. Funds may also be awarded for building manufacturing facilities. The bill appropriates $40 million to the fund to encourage housing manufacturers to develop affordable housing stock.

Developers play a pivotal role in creating affordable housing. This bill allows them to access vital state funds so that Colorado's vibrant and competitive workforce can afford to live and work in the state.

HB22-1285 Prohibit Collection Hospital Not Disclosing Prices

This bill prohibits hospitals from collecting debts accrued by patients during periods when the hospital was not in compliance with federal hospital price transparency laws. The bill does not prevent hospitals from billing a patient or health insurer for services rendered or requires hospitals to refund payments to patients. Any hospital that pursues debt collection against a patient is subject to be penalized up to the amount of the debt plus attorney fees and costs. The bill also makes debt collection against patients during times of non-compliance an unfair practice under the Colorado Fair Debt Collections Act and allows the department of public health and environment to consider this during license renewal.

While we recognize the need for and importance of price transparency, we also trust that our hospitals operate in compliance with federal standards. The Chamber believes that legislating additional regulatory and compliance framework at the state level further complicates our health care system and hospital licensure requirements.

HB22-1287 Protections For Mobile Home Park Residents

This bill amends the Mobile Home Park Act and the Mobile Home Park Act Dispute Resolution and Enforcement Program. This bill prohibits a landlord from increasing rent greater the rate of inflation or 3% over any 12-month period for mobile homes. It also requires landlords to repair a mobile home that incurs damage as a result of the landlord’s failure to maintain the premises, clarifies the disclosure responsibilities of a landlord with intent to sell a park, and mandates that public entities representing mobile homeowners have a right of first refusal to purchase a park.

The Chamber believes that our economy functions best when prices are set by the market. As such, introducing rent stabilization measures in one housing sector could lead us down a slippery slope that would end with negative consequences for our entire housing supply. We hope to continue to work with legislators and stakeholders in support of common-sense, market-driven approaches to housing.

HB22-1297 Daylight Saving Time Year Round

This bill makes daylight savings time the year-round standard time in Colorado, but only if federal law is passed allowing states to adopt daylight savings time year-round.

Given that the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 is making its way through federal legislation, the Chamber believes that consistency is essential for Colorado’s businesses to thrive. We believe Colorado should either adopt daylight savings time year-round with agreements from its neighboring states or have it mandated throughout the nation to avoid making our state a regional outlier and impacting businesses that rely on interstate commerce.

HB22-1304 State Grants Investments Local Affordable Housing

This bill creates two grant programs: the local investments in transformational affordable housing grant program and the infrastructure and strong communities grant program. The affordable housing grant program provides grants to nonprofits for investment in affordable housing in their communities. The strong communities grant program provides local governments money to complete infill infrastructure projects to encourage affordable housing development.

Providing grants to non-profits and local governments is an effective way to increase housing inventory. We support the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to address this critical issue, allowing Colorado to remain a competitive place to do business.

HB22-1305 HB22-1305 Paid Family Medical Leave Premium Reduction

This bill reduces the amount employers pay into the state paid family and medical leave program. Starting Jan. 1, 2023 through June 30, 2023, employers would pay eighty-one hundredths of 1% of wages per employee instead of nine-tenths of 1% currently. The bill also transfers $57.5 million from the general fund into the family and medical leave insurance fund.

While we are appreciative of the premium relief this bill affords, it comes at a time when the cost of doing business in Colorado is rising. We support relief that eases the burden from those increased costs, but we remain vigilant about the broader business climate in the state.

HB22-1310 529 Account Apprenticeship Expenses

The federal Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 established qualified distributions from a qualified state tuition program to include expenses for apprentices in apprenticeship programs. This bill clarifies what is a qualified distribution from a 529 account regarding state income tax to include expenses for fees, books, supplies and equipment.

We appreciate the expansion of qualified distributions to support workforce development, and we value putting into statute flexibility for students pursuing nontraditional education models or career training.

HB22-1325 Primary Care Alternative Payment Models

The bill requires the Division of Insurance in the Department of Regulatory Agencies to create, implement, and evaluate standards around the use of valued-based payments in the health insurance system.

This bill is an example of the government intervening in the private sector and pushing for unnecessary additional bureaucratic oversight. We have serious concerns toward ongoing government overreach in telling private companies how to navigate the health care sector.

HB22-1326 HB22-1326 Fentanyl Accountability And Prevention

This bill changes criminal penalties for fentanyl possession and possession with intent to distribute; requires that, for certain offenses, the court order placement in a residential addiction treatment facility; expands the list of eligible entities that can receive Narcan & fentanyl testing strips to include libraries, colleges, community centers and more; charges the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop and implement a statewide fentanyl prevention and education campaign; and expands the list of entities eligible for harm reduction grants.

We believe that the possession of fentanyl must be restored to a felony offense. The prevalence of fentanyl in our communities has led to safety concerns that make Colorado a less desirable destination when recruiting businesses, undermines the value of infrastructure investments taxpayers have supported on the promise these improvements will lead to increased economic growth, and prevents metropolitan communities from confidently restoring downtown business activity. We are supportive of this legislation as a necessary first step to address a multifaceted issue, however we will be seeking amendments that are proportional to the fatal impact of this drug.

HB22-1346 Electrician Plumber Licensing Apprenticeship Ratio

This bill allows the department of regulatory agencies to employ licensed or unlicensed workers with substantial work experience in the electrical, plumbing, or construction industry to conduct compliance checks to ensure compliance with licensing and supervisor-to-apprentice ratios relating to electricians and to provide other compliance checks as seen necessary.

The current ratio requirements allow this industry to produce well-trained professionals in an efficient manner, and we are pleased that the current form of this bill does not alter this, bolstering our talent pipeline and lowering costs for consumers and business.

HB22-1348 Oversight of Chemicals Used in Oil & Gas

This bill regulates the disclosure of certain chemical information that is used in downhole oil and gas operations in conjunction with a chemical disclosure website that is required by the oil and gas conservation commission to report chemical information to the public. This bill also requires manufacturers that sell and distribute any chemical products with the purpose of underground oil and gas operations within the state of Colorado to report the chemical information to the commission. Any perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl chemicals intentionally added to the chemical product must be reported to the commission by the operator. Prior to any downhole operations, the operator is required to report the chemical disclosure list to the communities near the operation, local public water administrators, and the division of parks and wildlife.

This bill is duplicative of other regulations and standards that are already administered by the Department of Public Health and Environment to track chemicals that may harm our community. Additional and unnecessary legislation is a waste of taxpayer dollars and would create more barriers for businesses that are already participating in the effort to keep Colorado safe.

HB22-1350 Regional Talent Development Initiative Grant Program

This bill creates the regional talent development initiative grant program in the Office of Economic Development. This grant program funds talent development initiatives statewide to meet regional labor market and workforce development needs, including recovery needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill establishes a steering committee to support the administration of the program.

We applaud efforts to develop our talent pipeline and provide grants to keep our workforce competitive and resilient for many years to come. Using general fund dollars to ease the workforce shortage facing our country is a great investment in our economy.

HB22-1355 Producer Responsibility Program For Recycling

This bill requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to select a third-party nonprofit to implement and manage a recycling program that services covered entities in the state. The third-party nonprofit’s services would be paid for through dues collected from producers of products that use covered materials. The use of covered materials, such as packaging materials and paper products, would be prohibited effective July 1, 2025 for producers not participating in the program.

We are concerned this legislation will increase the cost of consumer goods and significantly disadvantage Colorado businesses competing with out-of-state producers. While we have concerns about the specific impact this bill will have on packaged goods, they are eclipsed by our concerns about the reach and authority given to a nongovernmental entity. This bill authorizes a third-party nonprofit organization to collect fees on businesses and requires producers to participate in the nonprofit if they want to distribute products throughout the state. We believe this raises constitutional questions about mandatory participation in nongovernmental programs, and we are concerned that such a precedent could have consequences for many industries.

HB22-1357 Rate Increases Homeowner's And Auto Insurance

This bill would reclassify motor vehicle insurance and homeowner's insurance to type I insurance, thereby changing the regulatory structure and authorizing the commissioner of insurance to approve or deny requests for rate increases.

In Colorado wildfires are increasingly frequent and more harmful, hail damage is pervasive, and insurers comply with a rigorous regulatory environment. We are concerned about the cumulative expenses of providing property and casualty insurance in the state, and how any extra burdens might impact the cost and availability of insurance. This bill would deter property and casualty insurers from insuring Coloradans because the loss ratios established would prevent them from recouping losses.

HB22-1362 Building Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This bill requires the Colorado energy office to adopt three sets of model code language: model electric and solar ready code; model low energy and carbon code; and model green code language. Municipalities, counties, the Office of the State Architect and the Division of Fire Prevention and Control must adopt and enforce an energy code that will achieve equivalent or better energy performance than the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code. This bill further creates two primary grants for public buildings to adopt high efficiency electric heating and neighborhoods to adopt electric heating appliances. The bill also transfers $25 million from the general fund to energy, clean air and clean heating.

We have serious concerns about how these proposed building codes will overlap and complicate existing building requirements; how these new regulatory complications will impact the expedited development of affordable housing; and how regulatory authority is being re-delegated to the Colorado energy office to create and enforce building codes for both residential and commercial properties, a function currently beyond their purview.

HB22-1363 Accountability to Taxpayers Special Districts

This bill modifies statues around special district governance to increase taxpayer oversight. Modifications include new required financial filings for special districts to the Department of Local Affairs, reporting requirements to public websites for service plans, specifications for information included in financial planning documents, and clarifications around the powers of the board of directors for any metropolitan district. This bill also limits the contracts a metropolitan district can enter relating to covenant enforcement and design services.

The Chamber has historically supported efforts to make special districts more transparent. However, this bill is duplicative of existing transparency efforts and goes well beyond them in an already extremely regulated industry. We are concerned that the balance of regulation to market flexibility would be disturbed by this bill, and that such a disturbance would have cost implications to our housing market.

HB22-1366 Improving Students Postsecondary Options

This bill establishes a number of new programs for students, such as a grant program in the department of education for local education providers to improve administrative training and to support students and families in developing career and education plans after high school; creates workforce coordinators in the department of education to train educators concerning financial aspects of postsecondary options; updates the financial literacy resource bank; and creates stipends for teachers who successfully complete financial aid training.

Colorado has a steadily declining rate of completion for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), currently at 43.4%. This bill equips teachers and other education professionals with the tools they need to help students navigate a complex federal application process. It is essential that Colorado invest in and develop local talent, and the low rate of completion disproportionately hurts low-income students and students of color who might be eligible for FASFA dollars. The Chamber supports this bill because it works toward economic goals identified by Prosper Colorado and our various talent initiatives.

HB22-1367 Updates to Employment Discrimination Laws

This bill modifies employment discrimination laws by expanding the definition of “employee” to include those working in domestic service, extending the time limit to file discrimination charges from six months to 300 days, and changes age discrimination cases so that claims in all employment discrimination cases are consistent.

The Chamber has worked closely with bill sponsors to create meaningful worker protections without redefining existing legal standards. We support the new protections against harassment for employees, but we are cautious about any definitional changes that would require litigating in order to define.

HB22-1370 Coverage Requirements For Health-care Products

This bill requires each health insurance carrier that offers an individual or small group plan to offer at least 25% of its plan on the health benefit exchange. It also prohibits the modification of the prescription drug formulary during the current formulary plan. The bill repeals and reenacts step therapy requirements. It requires each insurer to demonstrate to the division of insurance that 100% of rebates received are used to lower costs for the employer or individual purchasing the plan and reduce out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

While we understand and are sympathetic to the goals of this legislation to further decrease the cost impacts of high-priced prescription drugs for the relative few that require these drugs to fight a complex disease or to manage a complex condition, we cannot support efforts that seek to achieve otherwise laudable goals by simply shifting costs to Colorado’s employers, thus increasing the cost of doing business in Colorado, and increasing the cost of care for Colorado’s employers and their employees. This bill limits choice by restricting the ability of health plans to respond to the needs and goals of specific employer clients when designing their health benefits. These limits are implemented in a way that will increase costs for employers and their employees.

HB22-1377 Grant Program Providing Responses to Homelessness

The bill connects Coloradans experiencing homelessness with services, treatment and the housing support grant program, administered by the Division of Housing in the Department of Local Affairs. The grant program provides grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations to enable those entities to make investments and improvements in their communities or regions of the state to address and respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

Through our work under Prosper Colorado, the Chamber has made interventions to advance, protect and develop workforce housing. However, Colorado’s housing crisis is a multifaceted issue and, in order to adequately address it, we need to develop solutions across the housing continuum. We support this program because it provides flexible support for those experiencing homelessness and is a necessary step to help advance Coloradans across the housing continuum into greater stability.

HB22-1401 Nurse Staffing Ratios

This bill requires every hospital to establish a nurse staffing committee by September 1, 2022. The committee is required to implement a nurse staffing plan and to track feedback and complaints from nurses and other staff. The bill requires hospitals to submit their plan to the department of public health and environment yearly, post the plan on their website and evaluate the plan quarterly. The bill prevents hospitals from staffing a unit unless the providers are properly trained in that assignment. Each hospital must report the baseline number of beds able to be staffed and its current bed capacity. If the staffed-bed capacity falls below 80%, the hospital is required to notify CDPHE and submit a plan to meet the requirement. The bill levies fines on hospitals who do not fulfill the requirements of staff-bed capacity, have a lack of vaccine availability onsite, and fail to include necessary testing capabilities at their sites.

This bill worsens the already significant shortage of nurses by enforcing an unrealistic nurse staffing ratio at hospitals. We believe that private businesses know how to manage and staff their facilities—balancing the needs of their patients with the nurses they have available. This bill encroaches on hospitals’ ability to be adaptable and account for a variety of circumstances that might impact how they do business.

HB22-1408 Modify Performance Based Incentive for Film Production

This bill incentivizes a film production task force to study how performance-based film production in Colorado can become more effective. This bill would require any findings to be submitted to the Business Affairs and Labor committee and the Business, Labor, and Technology committee by January 1, 2023. Lastly, this bill would make a $2 million transfer from the general fund to the Colorado office of film, television, and media operational account cash fund.

Colorado has a well-developed creative economy, and this bill helps direct economic development dollars into expanding and promoting the sector. Film production in Colorado has a twofold benefit of stimulating the local economy at shooting locations and increasing the visibility of Colorado globally. We support studying the efficacy of economic development dollars and see the value of making Colorado a cultural destination.

SB 22-006 Sales Tax Assistance For Small Businesses

This bill allows retailers who make $100,000 or less in taxable sales to retain 5.3% of their reported sales tax in 2023, an increase from the 4% currently allowed by law.

By increasing the amount of sales tax small businesses can keep, this bill allows businesses to keep more of the money they collect rather than sending it to the state. While the increase is minimal, for businesses, especially small retailers, every dollar retained helps keep your doors open.

SB22-034 Business Filing Address And Name Fraud

The bill creates a complaint process for an individual who claims that their business identity or personal identifying information was used fraudulently or without authority in online filing documents for the creation, organization and operations of the entity. The complaint will be submitted to the Secretary of State who may forward the complaint to the Attorney General for further investigation. Additionally, fraudulent filings will be considered unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and are subject to enforcement by the Attorney General's Office.

Identity fraud is an issue that plagues businesses, as well as individuals, and current law doesn't provide adequate recourse for businesses that are affected by it. This bill creates a clear process for reporting fraudulent claims, as well as investigative and enforcement mechanisms under the Secretary of State and Attorney General which will help protect businesses should they be victim to identity fraud.

SB22-040 Actuarial Reviews Health Insurance Mandate Legislation

This bill requires the Colorado Division of Insurance to retain a contractor on or before Nov. 1, to perform actuarial reviews of proposed legislation that may impose a new health benefit mandate on health benefit plans. Fiscal notes for any legislative proposal that may impose a mandate shall note premium impact information that is produced by the contractor during their review or indicate that no information was produced.

This bill helps legislators and constituents understand upfront the costs that Coloradans may incur as a result of health benefit mandates. Health benefit mandates increase costs for many insured Coloradans. An accurate cost benefit analysis would increase awareness of the impacts of these mandates.

SB22-050 Work Opportunities For Offenders In Department Of Corrections

This bill clarifies the opportunities available to people imprisoned by the Department of Corrections and emphasizes that the rehabilitation and work opportunities available to offenders are to promote the person's successful rehabilitation, reentry and reintegration into the community.

When people who are imprisoned receive training and reskilling during their incarceration, they are better prepared to join the workforce and experience fewer barriers when released. This bill creates an opportunity to reengage a neglected segment of the workforce and equips them with the skills that employers are seeking, which is critical as many businesses are experiencing workforce shortages.

SB22-053 Health Facility Visitation During Pandemic

This bill requires hospitals and nursing care facilities to allow patients receiving inpatient care to have at least one visitor of the patient’s choosing. It also restricts health care facilities from creating policies or procedures that prohibit visitors for the sole reason of reducing the risk of pandemic disease transmission, but facilities can impose specified restrictions and limitations for visitors to reduce the risk of transmission. Health care facilities must provide written policies and procedures that list and give reasons for restrictions and limitations.

Using their data-based expertise, health care professionals are most knowledgeable for how to keep patients, visitors and staff safe in their facilities. These facilities should have the right to create their own policies and procedures without government interference.

SB22-061 Office Of Saving People Money On Health Care In SMART State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent Government Act

The bill adds the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care, created within the Governor's Office by executive order, to the list of departments that are required to comply with the requirements of the State Measurement For Accountable, Responsive and Transparent (SMART) Government Act.

The SMART Act gives the legislature the authority to review various government departments’ strategic plans, goals and performance standards. We believe systems that ensure accountability and transparency are a form of necessary checks and balances and are the hallmark of good governance. This bill is consistent with current oversight standards for both executive and judicial departments.

SB22-094 Insurer Liability For Property And Casualty Claims

The bill entitles a first-party claimant in a property and casualty insurance claim to reimbursement for the reasonable costs incurred to substantiate the claim if the claim was denied, in whole or in part, by the insurer. The first-party claimant then obtains a payment for a claim that was wholly denied or a payment in excess of any initial payment for a claim that was partially denied.

This bill requires insurers to settle claims for more than they believe is reasonable to avoid paying additional costs later. This creates an added cost burden on insurers that would ultimately gets passed down to both individual and commercial consumers.

SB22-097 Whistleblower Protection Health & Safety

This bill protects whistleblowers who raise a reasonable concern related to public health and safety, expanding existing whistleblower protections outside of declared public health emergencies. This extends temporary whistleblower protections related to public health and safety granted during a declared public health emergency to all times, regardless of whether an emergency is declared. 

This bill is duplicative of existing laws and protections.

SB22-099 SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records

This bill extends an existing provision of law regarding automatic sealing for certain drug offenses to other offenses, including civil infractions, that allow the defendant to petition the court for sealing criminal justice records that are not subject to the victims' rights act. The bill also streamlines the automatic record sealing process and makes it an unfair employment practice to discharge or refuse to promote a person based solely on the contents of a sealed criminal record and makes it an unfair housing practice to refuse to show, sell, transfer, rent or lease housing based on the contents of a sealed criminal record.

This bill comes as Colorado, and the United States at large, is in the midst of a widespread labor shortage. In July 2021, 7.7% of jobs in Colorado were unfilled — an all-time high for the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This bill will help address the labor shortage by removing a barrier to employment, education and housing for residents with qualifying criminal records.

SB22-115 Clarifying Terms Related To Landowner Liability

This bill clarifies the scope and meaning of landowner liability and explains that the decision established in Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc. V. Wagner (Wagner) was improperly decided regarding landowner liability and the Colorado Premises Liability Act (CPLA). It advises courts that, when faced with similar facts in the context of a CPLA claim, they should set aside the Wagner analysis and apply the law as previously interpreted.

The Wagner decision placed unreasonable liability standards on businesses. This bill restores the balance between sensible risk management and business liability.

SB22-124 SALT Parity Act

This bill makes the State and Local Tax (SALT) Parity Act that passed via HB21-1327 and enacted in 2021 retroactive to January 1, 2018.

This bill adds flexibility for small businesses and helps them save money on their federal tax returns.

SB22-129 Process For Proposed Air Quality Rules

The bill requires the Regional Air Quality Control Commission to include in a notice of proposed rule-making a description of who the proposed rule will affect, including businesses. If the proposal is an alternative proposal, as the commission defines by rule, the proposal must include an initial economic impact analysis of the proposed rule.

The Chamber has concerns over the increasing prevalence of rulemaking to determine the implementation of legislation. Most businesses do not have the capacity to keep track of this process across several rulemaking bodies, which means businesses that might be directly impacted by the outcome of a rule may miss the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback. This bill makes the rule-making process more transparent for stakeholders.

SB22-131 Protect Health of Pollinators and People

This bill implements protective measures for both pollinators and individuals by restricting the use of pesticides on school grounds, childcare facilities and children’s camps. If pesticides are being used at any of these locations, a notice must be sent to individuals in these locations. This bill also requires the executive director of natural resources to conduct a study to best address the pollinator decline and increase pollinator health in Colorado while also creating a pilot program under the Department of Agriculture to fund research and production of noncoated insecticide on crops.

While the Chamber supports protecting the health of individuals and the environment, this bill interferes with certain safety protocols, such as fire prevention, that require the use of certain insecticides and herbicides to prevent growth from happening near energy lines. This bill allows the regulation of pesticides to happen at a municipal level and creates a bureaucratic nightmare for businesses that have an industrial need for pesticides in business operations across the state.

SB22-135 Standard Time in Colorado

This bill exempts the state of Colorado from observing daylight savings time and adopts the use of United States Mountain Standard Time (MST) year-round.

The Chamber has concerns that this bill makes Colorado an outlier in the United States. It creates unnecessary problems for the airline and tourism industries as well as businesses that work across state lines. We believe that changes to daylight savings time should be handled federally to avoid a patchwork time system.

SB22-136 Special District Governance

This bill extends the powers of citizens’ initiatives and referendums down to the electors of special districts. It also creates new disclosure requirements for special district board meetings and requires boards to terminate developer-affiliated positions should a resident submit a self-nomination form.

We are concerned that this bill would give residents preferential treatment to sit on the board of special districts at the expense of businesses and developers, who are the primary advocates for new housing in the region. Special districts serve an important role developing and advancing affordable housing projects and eroding the voice of developers will further exacerbate Colorado’s affordable housing crisis. Affordable housing and a wide array of housing inventory is a necessity to keep the Colorado economy competitive and attractive to outside businesses. This bill also changes the way citizens participate in ballot initiatives and referendums on a level never seen before in our state, creating further complication for our business community. We are glad to see that this bill was Postponed Indefinitely in committee on March 1, 2022.

SB22-138 Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Colorado

This bill contains multiple provisions related to greenhouse gas emissions. The bill requires insurance companies to assemble an annual report that includes a climate risk assessment for the company’s investment portfolio; requires the board of trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement Association to prepare a similar annual report; updates the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals to add a 40% reduction goal for 2028 and a 75% reduction goal for 2040 compared to 2005 GHG pollution levels; phases out the use of small off-road engines; gives the oil and gas conservation commission authority over class VI injection wells used for sequestration of GHG, including through the issuance and enforcement of permits; requires the commissioner of agriculture or the commissioner’s designee, in consultation with the Colorado Energy Office and the Regional Air Quality Control Commission, to conduct a study examining carbon reduction and sequestration opportunities in the agricultural sector in the state, including the potential development of certified carbon offset programs or credit instruments; and authorizes the Colorado agriculture value-added development board to provide financing, including grants or loans, for agricultural research on the use of “agrivoltaics,” along with other provisions related to the colocation of solar energy generation facilities on a parcel of land with agricultural activities.

We recognize that addressing greenhouse gas emissions is a priority for the metro area; however, this particular bill places an undue burden on the business community to solve this problem alone. The transition of large fleets of vehicles, of which many are already fuel-efficient and well-maintained, and the mandate that businesses meet certain fuel efficiency standards within an unrealistic deadline are impractical for businesses, and they will have direct consequences on the region’s economic activity. By requiring that certain companies create a climate risk assessment, the bill singles out certain industries and increases the cost of doing business in the state.

SB22-140 Expansion of Experiential Learning Opportunities

This bill requires multiple state agencies to support work-based experiential learning opportunities through programs that partner with businesses and colleges in Colorado. All the programs created by the bill have specific data collection requirements for reporting beginning in 2023 to the Department of Labor and Employment’s (CDLE) SMART Act hearings.

Colorado is currently experiencing a labor shortage, and we recognize that alternative pathways into the workforce are necessary to fill job vacancies and create a sustainable workforce pipeline. We support this bill because it creates the infrastructure necessary to upskill and reskill Coloradans as business needs evolve.

SB22-145 Resources To Increase Community Safety

This bill establishes three new law enforcement grant programs within the Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety to be used for crime prevention, law enforcement recruitment and law enforcement training.

Our members, and the people they employ, have expressed concerns about the safety of the downtown area as businesses transition back to in-person workplaces. We can’t restore the vibrancy of downtown or rejuvenate the businesses that rely on in-person traffic without providing confidence to businesses that their teams are safe. This bill provides additional resources to increase community safety, which benefits both businesses and consumers. Additionally, the program’s two-year length allows the state to meet this moment and be responsive to these safety concerns without committing to a long-term program.

SB22-146 Middle Income Access Program Expansion

This bill transfers $25 million to expand the middle-income access program through the department of local affairs. It is administered by the Colorado housing and finance authority.

This bill supports a continuum of housing for the often-overlooked “missing middle.” At a time when housing prices are skyrocketing, this bill creates an opportunity for our workforce to access affordable housing. The fund has previously proven to be effective, and we applaud the legislature for continuing a viable program without re-inventing the wheel.

SB22-159 Revolving Loan Fund Invest Affordable Housing

This bill creates the transformational affordable housing revolving loan fund program, which provides flexible, low-interest, below-market rate loans to eligible recipients to encourage affordable housing development.

By ensuring eligible recipients have access to favorable lending rates, Colorado is better positioned to retain a vibrant workforce despite rising housing prices. The revolving loan mechanism is a long-term solution that will positively impact affordable housing for many years to come.

SB22-161 Wage Theft Employee Misclassification Enforcement

This bill changes the penalty for failure to provide requested information to the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics (DLSS) in the Department of Labor and Employment to $50 per day instead of a misdemeanor, requires employers to provide a former employee with notice within ten days before deducting any property the employee failed to return from their pay and pay the employee the withheld amount within 14 days after the property is returned, and pay two times the amount of the deduction if the employer does not provide required notice. The bill also repeals the requirement that an employee must dismiss charges against an employer if the employer pays the claim in full, and eliminates the authority of the court to award up to $7,500 in attorney fees to the employer, increases the threshold for wage claims from $7,500 to less than $15,000, allows the DLSS to notify other employees that the employer may be engaging in wage theft, and allows the authority to place a lien against a business’s property for unpaid wages.

The Chamber firmly believes wage theft is unethical and undermines the employer-employee relationship. We stand behind the basic principles of this legislation, but certain aspects of this bill, such as employee safety protocols, are duplicative as they are already enshrined into law. This bill goes beyond wage theft prevention, which should be the bill’s main focus, and institutes a number of punitive enforcement mechanisms which are unnecessary because the state already has robust penalties for wage theft. For this reason, this bill creates unnecessary legal confusion and puts an undue burden on businesses to navigate an already fraught legal climate.

SB22-163 Establish State Procurement Equity Program

The bill establishes the Procurement Equity Program within the Department of Administration and Personnel to begin implementing the findings of the state procurement disparity study. The bill directs DPA to engage in procurement bidding assistance for historically underutilized businesses. It also establishes a stakeholder process to review the findings of the disparity study and make recommendations to the legislature on addressing procurement equity.

This bill is congruent with our Prosper CO initiatives to support minority entrepreneurship and lift up BIPOC businesses. We believe this is a good step to closing the statewide gap in procurement opportunities, so we have a more equitable system in place to support all business owners. We applaud the state legislature for prioritizing these initiatives.

SB22-193 Air Quality Improvement Investments

This bill creates the industrial and manufacturing operations clean air grant program, which creates a fund of grant money to be awarded to private entities, local governments, and public-private partnerships for voluntary projects to reduce pollution from manufacturing and industrial plants. It also creates grant programs for local governments advancing the adoption of electric bicycles, for public and private entities decommissioning diesel trucks, and for school districts electrifying school buses.

Businesses recognize that the market is trending toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly business models. With the state hoping to expedite green initiatives, we believe that it is more effective to further incentivize the transition rather than to penalize the status quo. We support SB22-193 precisely because it is not another mandate, fee or regulatory burden on business; rather, it is an invitation for the business community to innovate.

SB22-214 General Fund Transfer to PERA Payment Cash Fund

The bill transfers $198.5 million from the General Fund to the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) Payment Cash Fund for Fiscal Year 2022-23 only.

The Chamber has historically supported legislation to reduce the state’s debt obligations. PERA obligations constitute one of our largest unfunded liabilities, and it is an essential aspect of good governance that Colorado honors its financial responsibilities. If we continue to allow PERA’s deficit to increase, Colorado’s credit rating and ability to attract companies and jobs will be damaged.

SB22-215 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Cash Fund

The bill creates the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Cash Fund to be used by state and local governments for non-federal matching funds required to receive federal infrastructure funds under the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act (IIJA).

It is essential that Colorado can compete for federal funding opportunities. This bill gives our state and local governments the ability to meet the federal matching fund requirements and be eligible to receive IIJA money that could greatly impact our statewide infrastructure and improve Colorado as a place to live, work and play.

SB22-226 Programs to Support Healthcare Workers

This bill makes several appropriations from the economic recovery and relief cash fund to bolster the healthcare workforce, including: $2 million to establish the health-care resilience and retention program; $20 million to establish the practice-based health education grant program, which would increase training opportunities for health profession students; $26 million to assist community colleges and occupational boards to administer credentialling programs for rapidly expanding the short-term supply of in-demand professionals; $3 million to expand of the school nurse grant program; and $10 million to recruit and re-engage health care professionals with current or expired licenses. It also directs the Primary Care Office and the Governor’s Office of Information Technology to establish a data-sharing agreement to analyze the need and allocation of state-administered or state-financed workforce initiatives in healthcare, removes a limitation on payment for volunteer nurses, and requires the nurse-physician advisory task force to make a series of workforce recommendations.

The health care industry was uniquely burdened by the pandemic, and the industry is now experiencing significant workforce attrition in a field so highly specialized that workers are difficult to replace. Improving the workforce shortage through worker retention, higher education enrollment and developing workforce skills is a crucial way to sustain this sector, retain employees and rebuild our economy. This bill would provide recovery and relief cash to support these initiatives and our business community.

SB22-230 Collective Bargaining for Counties

This bill grants public employees of a county to organize, form, join and/or assist to engage in collective bargaining and communicate with other county employees and employee organization representatives to discuss and receive literature regarding employee organization issues. This bill requires counties to honor county employee authorizations for payroll deductions, sets forth the process of determining an appropriate bargaining unit, and requires the county and the exclusive representative to collectively bargain in good faith.

Coloradans have always preserved a careful balance between labor unions and employers. The Labor Peace act is a fundamental component of Colorado labor relations, but this careful balance between labor and employers is at potential risk with this legislation. Today, local communities can already decide whether their government employees can form labor unions, and whether those unions can then collectively bargain. We have unique, diverse communities across our state, and one size fits all government mandates do not work. This is a matter of local control and should be a county-by-county decision.

SB22-232 Creation of Colorado Workforce Housing Trust Authority

This bill creates the Colorado workforce housing trust authority and gives this body the ability to acquire, construct, rehabilitate, own, operate, and finance affordable rental workforce housing. This authority is governed by a board of directors and the board will solicit project proposals by October 1, 2022, for units that provide workforce housing.

The Chamber supports efforts to develop workforce housing and policy that incentivizes adaptation. With that said, we remain neutral on this bill because we want to give the legislation time to test a novel funding mechanism before endorsing the strategy.

SB22-234 Unemployment Compensation

This bill requires the State Treasurer to transfer $600 million from federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars into a newly created fund that must be used to repay Colorado’s outstanding federal debt owed. This bill also makes changes to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund such as codifying increases in partial unemployment benefits, repealing the minimum wait time for eligibility, requiring that one or more third-party administrators provide recovery benefits to eligible individuals, extending the hold on the employer’s solvency surcharge through 2023, and qualifying that those who are overpaid unemployment compensation benefits do not have to repay the division if the repayment would be inequitable.

The ARPA dollars’ express purpose is to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on states and local communities. It is only natural that these dollars would also be used to restore Colorado’s Unemployment Trust Fund Insurance (UITF) deficit, as this deficit was incurred as a direct result of pandemic related business closures. It is essential for Colorado’s business community and for our ability to rehire lost workers that this fund is restored expediently, as failure to do so would create a compounding expense on every business. We applaud the legislature for directing such a substantive amount into the UITF; however, we still have millions of dollars to recoup for the fund to be solvent.

SJR22-008 Colorado Energy Development

This joint resolution asks state regulatory agencies such as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to issue permits to increase Colorado oil and gas production for use at home and abroad.

At a time when U.S. energy independence is a strategic imperative, we believe Colorado is uniquely positioned as an industry leader in oil and gas extraction to meet global energy needs. We support this resolution and recognize that Colorado’s regulatory standards are best in class.