2017 Legislative Session

Each session we take positions on matters 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.

See where we’re weighing in, or jump to the issues that matter most to you.

Education and Workforce Health and Wellness Infrastructure

Have a question about a position we’ve taken? Call us at 303-620-8088 or email us at publicpolicy@denverchamber.org.

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Bill # Title Summary Position Justification Materials Pillars Status
HB17-1008 Graywater Regulation Exemption For Scientific Research

This bill allows for an exemption from the water quality control commission’s regulations related to graywater for scientific research.

The Chamber supports implementing the steps established in the 2015 Colorado Water Plan, a plan designed to address Colorado’s future water needs and measure its progress. This bill implements one of the actions recommended in the plan and addresses a reuse strategy.

HB17-1013 Free Exercise of Religion

The bill would allow a business to discriminate against their customers based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.

The Chamber’s focus is attracting and retaining top talent. We are committed to opposing legislation that hampers our ability to do so.

HB17-1062 Making Certain State Assessments Optional

This bill allows each school district to choose whether to administer the state social studies assessments, the ninth-grade math and English language arts state assessments and the 10-grade assessment. The bill also removes the requirement that the Colorado Department of Education must apply for a waiver to administer the ninth-grade math and English language arts state assessments to satisfy federal requirements.

The Chamber has long supported the development of the Colorado Academic Standards and the use of smart assessments in our schools. Colorado is now in the process of implementing the standards and assessments that the Chamber believes will equip our students with the skills needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace. Repealing these standards and assessments will add significant unnecessary cost and delay implementation of the high standards we need for our students.

HB17-1063 Reduce Business Personal Property Tax

This bill reduces the amount of personal property tax that businesses pay by increasing the business personal property (BPP) exemption from $7,300 to 50,000 (adjusted for inflation going forward).

The Chamber supports business property tax exemptions that aim to further economic development. This bill reduces the tax burden on small business and public utilities from business personal property tax and allows for more investment in equipment and efficiencies to increase production for Colorado businesses.

HB17-1068 Prevailing Wages for Colorado Department of Transportation Public-Private Initiatives

This bill requires that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) may only consider proposals for a public-private initiative that pay no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits set by the U.S. Department of Labor as directed by the federal Davis-Bacon Act.

This bill puts unnecessary restrictions on public-private partnerships (P3s), creating a burdensome and economically unattractive environment to anyone looking partner with or invest in Colorado.

HB17-1070 Infrastructure Bill

This bill requires the Center of Excellence to conduct a study and implement a pilot program on integrating unmanned aircraft systems within state and local government operations that relate to public safety.

This bill will provide analysis on the feasibility of integrating advanced technologies into government operations, further diversifying and advancing our state’s aerospace industry
while improving public safety.

HB17-1090 Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit Extension

This bill extends the current advanced industry investment tax credit for an additional five years; otherwise, it is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2018. The bill also increases the maximum amount of tax credits allowed from $750,000 to $1.5 million per year.

The Chamber supported the original advanced industry investment tax credit, enacted in 2014, because we know diversification of our key industries is interrelated with our economic success.

HB17-1091 Tax Credit for Employer-assisted Housing Projects

This bill creates an income tax credit for a taxpayer who makes a donation of $10,000 or higher to an employer-assisted housing project located in a rural area.

This bill encourages local workforce housing in rural Colorado, which supports the growth of our state’s economy by providing diverse housing options for our workers throughout Colorado communities.

HB17-1094 Telehealth Coverage Under Health Benefit Plans

This bill clarifies that insurance companies cannot restrict or deny coverage of telehealth services based on the communication technology or application used to deliver the telehealth services, thereby improving low-cost access to health care for people in rural parts of the state.

The Chamber supports the necessary clarifications to the telehealth law in this bill because it will continue to improve rural patient’s access to quality health care through the use of technology and results in lower cost of care.

HB17-1117 Repeal Assessments in Ninth Grade and Social Studies

This bill directs the state department of education to eliminate the ninth-grade assessments in English language arts and mathematics and the state social studies assessments.

The Chamber has long supported the development of the Colorado Academic Standards and the use of smart assessments in our schools. Colorado is now in the process of implementing the standards and assessments that the Chamber believes will equip our students with the skills needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace.

HB17-1119 Payment Of Workers' Compensation Benefits

The bill creates the "Colorado Uninsured Employer Act," a fund meant to help cover claims made by workers who are injured while working for an employer who does not carry workers' compensation insurance. The fund is capitalized by penalties paid by those employers that do not carry workers' compensation insurance.

The Chamber supports efforts to encourage full participation by Colorado employers in a worker’s compensation program. We agree that employers that do not carry workers’ compensation insurance represent a burden to our employment system and ought to be penalized.

HB17-1124 Local Government Liable Fracking Ban Oil and Gas Moratorium

The bill makes any local government that bans or imposes a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing of an oil and gas well liable to the affected mineral interest owners, oil and gas operators, mineral lessees and royalty owners.

The Chamber maintains a firm position that local fracking bans are unconstitutional. We support this bill because it recognizes the private property rights of mineral owners and compensates owners for the financial loss if they are precluded from accessing resources that belong to them.

HB17-1153 Highway Congestion Mitigation

This bill prevents the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) from increasing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane requirements from two passengers currently to three passengers, counting the driver. This bill also requires that any funding CDOT receives that is not already allocated to another project must be allocated to the expansion projects for portions of Interstate 25 between the town of Castle Rock and Monument and between State Highways 14 and 66.

The Chamber recognizes that the need for transportation infrastructure funding is a statewide issue and must be addressed in a way that provides solutions for all of Colorado. This bill removes funding from CDOT by reducing HOV lane collections; it also focuses solely on one area, designating that any additional funding CDOT receives must be allocated to this one project. This is not a collaborative solution. Finally, this bill attempts to legislate CDOT, requiring them to focus resources on a particular project rather than allowing them to best determine where the greatest need lies.

HB17-1157 Bank and Credit Union Reliance on a Certificate of Trust

This bill requires trustees to provide banks and credit unions with additional information in a certificate of trust when opening a trust deposit account. In turn, it allows banks to rely on a certificate of trust for any future transaction with the trustee as long as the certificate of trust remains compatible with the trust
agreement.

This bill streamlines the trust administration process and makes it easier for banks and credit unions to provide services to trustees. The Chamber is supportive of legislation that removes burdensome regulations from businesses while protecting consumer rights.

HB17-1161 TIF Tax Increment Financing Transparency

This bill increases reporting and auditing restrictions on urban renewal authorities using an approved urban renewal plan. It also holds the authority liable if it’s deemed to have been used inappropriately.

This is a process that is already addressed by many authorities and doesn’t need to be legislated. Urban renewal and tax-increment financing are important tools for revitalizing, reenergizing and redeveloping communities and creating economic development; this bill may stifle development in the areas that need it most.

HB17-1167 Existing Businesses in Business Improvement District

This bill limits a municipality’s ability to create a business improvement district (BID) as a business attraction strategy. It would require an area being considered as a BID to already have existing businesses.

This bill eliminates the ability of municipalities to utilize an important tool meant to aid in business attraction for suburban areas, which is vital to economic growth throughout Colorado.

HB17-1171 Authorize New Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes

This bill requires that the Transportation Commission submit a ballot question in November 2017 asking voters to approve $3.5 billion in bonds for transportation funding.

Although we support finding a long-term solution to addressing the needs of our roads and bridges, this bill isn’t meaningful unless we pair it with significant revenue.

HB17-1180 Tuition Assistance for Certificate Programs

This is a technical bill that clarifies the definition of “tuition assistance” to include tuition, fees and course materials and makes tuition assistance available to income-eligible students enrolled in short-term career and technical education certificate programs that are generally ineligible for the federal Pell Grant program.

Our economy depends on working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the talent pipeline. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on.

HB17-1181 Required State Assessment for Ninth-grade Students

This bill replaces the current ninth-grade state assessment requirement in math and English and instead requires local education providers to administer a ninth-grade assessment that is more closely aligned with assessments given to 10th-grade students, which in Colorado are the PSAT and SAT tests.

This bill offers reasonable reform to ninth-grade testing while preserving smart assessments in our schools.

HB17-1184 Modern Technology Education in Public Schools

This bill directs the state education board to incorporate the use of technology skills into the academic standards for every subject deemed appropriate, directs the Department of Education to create a
publicly available resource bank of materials pertaining to computer science programs and creates a grant program in the department to help fund computer science courses.

Our economy depends on working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the workforce. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on. This bill provides for consistency in academic standards and access to materials and resources to accomplish this.

HB17-1187 Change Excess State Revenues Cap Growth Factor

This bill is a statutory amendment that would modify the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) revenues cap by allowing an annual adjustment for an increase based on the average annual change of Colorado personal income over the last five years, rather than adjusting for inflation and population growth.

The Chamber is a strong supporter of TABOR’s requirement that all tax increases should be decided by Colorado voters. Because this bill addresses the formula used to determine the cap and does not impact voters’ rights, we’re supportive of the change. This modification better reflects the state’s economic growth and will help free up critical funding for transportation infrastructure and education.

HB17-1200 Update Public Benefit Corporation Requirements

This bill makes technical changes to the 2013 law that allows for the creation of public benefit corporations in Colorado. The bill clarifies definitions in the original law and requires for improved notification to stockholders under certain conditions.

The Chamber supported the original benefit corporation legislation in 2013 and supports these technical fixes that will increase transparency and disclosures to stockholders.

HB17-1201 Science Technology Engineering Math Diploma Endorsement

This bill authorizes an education provider to grant a STEM endorsement to high school students who meet specific STEM graduation requirements and demonstrate a high level of proficiency in STEM courses.

This bill encourages student participation in STEM courses, a field that currently holds 23% of all Colorado jobs and continues to grow. Our economy depends on us working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the talent pipeline. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on.

HB17-1216 Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force

This bill creates the sales and use tax simplification task force to develop recommendations that streamline sales and use tax between the state and local governments.

The current patchwork of sales and use tax laws throughout Colorado are particularly challenging for Colorado businesses. The recommendations derived from the sales and use tax task force would be especially helpful to businesses with locations in multiple jurisdictions operating under multiple tax laws in Colorado.

HB17-1219 Extend Colorado Water Conservation Board Fallowing and Leasing Pilot Program

This bill extends and expands the current Colorado water conservation board pilot program on temporarily leasing fallowed agricultural land by allowing for five additional pilot projects, including one additional pilot project in any one of the four major river basins, and extending the program by an additional five years.

The Chamber is supportive of this pilot program, as prescribed in the Colorado Water Plan, as it provides an alternative method for farmers to monetize their water rights rather than simply selling them.

HB17-1227 Electric Demand-side Management Program Extension

This bill extends a 2007 program requiring the PUC to reduce peak demand by at least 5 percent and demonstrate energy savings of at least 5 percent using 2018 energy sales numbers as a baseline for the period from 2019 through 2028.

This program promotes energy efficiency and reduces energy costs of businesses and individuals. The bill does not preclude a utility from exceeding the program targets and thereby helping business and residential customers achieve higher energy savings.

HB17-1229 Workers' Compensation For Mental Impairment

This bill is a technical bill that adds definitions for “psychological traumatic event” and “serious bodily injury” to the workers’ compensation statutes to clarify a worker’s right to compensation for a claim of mental impairment incurred during their line of work.

This is a thoroughly negotiated bill that offers a compromise to improve mental impairment coverage in workers’ compensation insurance for high stress professions while keeping costs down and avoiding frivolous claims.

HB17-1232 Public Utilities Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicles

This bill enables public utilities to recover the costs of implementing electric motor vehicle or natural gas fueling stations. It also allows public utilities to consider transportation electrification and natural gas vehicle programs to support greater adoption of these technologies.

The Chamber is supportive of a diverse energy economy and this bill encourages investment in innovation, infrastructure and these alternative energy technologies.

HB17-1233 Protect Water Historical Consumptive Use Analysis

This bill applies a water use exemption for participants of government-sponsored water conservation programs statewide.

The Chamber supports implementing the steps established in the 2015 Colorado Water Plan, a plan designed to address Colorado’s future water needs and measure its progress. This bill implements one of the actions recommended in the plan and encourages people to participate in water conservation programs.

HB17-1242 New Transportation Infrastructure Funding Revenue

This bill refers a ballot question to voters in November 2017 asking for approval of a .62 percent sales and use tax increase to fund transportation infrastructure and mobility. The funding would generate approximately $700 million in its first full year, allocating $300 million to CDOT and, of the remaining new revenue, 70 percent to counties and municipalities so they can address unique local needs and 30 percent to create a multimodal transportation fund. The tax increase would sunset automatically in 20 years.

This bill offers a long-term statewide solution to addressing the needs of transportation infrastructure by pairing it with sustainable funding. Without significant investment in our state’s infrastructure, our economy and ability to attract workers will suffer. This bill aligns with the Chamber’s transportation principles.

HB17-1247 Patient Choice Health Care Provider

This bill prohibits a health plan from managing the size of their network by removing their ability to choose which providers can be on the network.

This bill is a mandate that interferes with private contracts and restricts carriers’ ability to create their own network as a strategy that can help businesses and their employees contain costs of health care.

HB17-1254 Noneconomic Damages Cap Wrongful Death of Child

This bill would remove all limits on noneconomic damages that might be awarded upon the wrongful death of a child under the age of 21.

Caps on noneconomic damages have been in effect since the late 1980s and they are periodically indexed for inflation as appropriate. This bill will create a precedent that jeopardizes other noneconomic caps in our statutes and will have a negative effect on the business environment of Colorado by increasing insurance premiums and making our state less business friendly.

HB17-1256 Oil and Gas Facilities Distance from School Property

This bill increases the current setback rules for oil and gas drilling from 1,000 feet from a school or other high occupancy building to 1,000 feet from the property line of that building.

Colorado has the most stringent oil and gas regulations in the country, which are regarded as best practices nationally and internationally. This legislation undermines the legitimacy of the 2015 Colorado oil and gas task force, which produced a number of comprehensive recommendations from a diverse group of stakeholders.

HB17-1270 Agency Discretion Enforcing Rules Small Business

This bill gives state agencies the discretion to allow small businesses with less than 50 employees to remedy a first-time minor regulatory violation before incurring a fine.

The Chamber supports this bill because it helps alleviate the burden that new rules and regulations can impose on small businesses. Small businesses typically don’t have the capacity to employ full-time regulatory staff members, making addressing rule changes especially challenging.

HB17-1279 Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval/

This bill would enact an informed consent process and require that a majority of homeowners vote to proceed with a construction defect claim before a lawsuit is filed.

This bill helps ensure homeowners are informed and able to resolve issues without having to resort to costly and time-intensive litigation. Although we realize that House Bill 1279 alone will not solve all of Colorado’s housing problems, we hope it will help spur the development of attainable housing options for our millennials, seniors, public servants and other Coloradans struggling to buy a home.

HB17-1286 State Employee Health Carrier Requirements

This bill requires that any insurance carrier that provides services to the state must also participate in the individual market, in Medicaid or the children’s basic health plan and offer individual market plans in at least two Colorado counties with the highest average premiums.

This legislation sets a dangerous precedent by putting into statute a mandate for how and where a business must operate as a condition of doing business with the state.

HB17-1287 Achieving A Vision For Education In Colorado

This bill creates a legislative steering committee, an executive advisory board and a statewide advisory board for the purpose of creating a strategic, statewide education plan and vision for Colorado.

Our economy depends on youth who are prepared for the talent pipeline. We must equip our students with 21st-century skills to meet the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on. This bill aims to create a statewide vision, a strategy and an action plan for education and the associated funding sources so that all students, regardless of the school they attend in Colorado, can meet the needs of our workforce.

HB17-1289 State Engineer Rules Historical Consumptive Use

This bill requires that the state engineer develop rules to allow for a quicker, more streamlined process for calculating historical consumptive use of a water right when selling or leasing. However, it doesn’t eliminate the option for the seller to go through water court if they so choose.

The Chamber supports implementing the steps established in the 2015 Colorado Water Plan, a plan designed to address Colorado’s future water needs and measure its progress. This bill implements one of the actions recommended in the plan.

HB17-1290 Colorado Secure Savings Plan

This bill creates a statewide retirement plan for the private sector. Participation is required for companies of a certain size (100 or more employees for the first year of the plan, 50 or more for the second year and five or more for the third year on) that do not already offer a qualified retirement plan to their employees. This bill also creates a board of trustees to manage the Colorado secure savings plan fund.

The Chamber recognizes that the economic growth of our state depends in part on our aging population having sufficient income in retirement and that increasing retirement savings in Colorado is beneficial for the long-term economy of our state. However, the Chamber is strongly opposed to a mandate that will create an additional burden on businesses, particularly small businesses who don’t have the resources to manage the implementation complexities that this proposal would enact.

HB17-1305 Limits On Job Applicant Criminal History Inquiries

This bill prohibits an employer from advertising that a position is not open to a person with a criminal history and prohibits them from asking applicants about their criminal history on an initial application.

This is a process that is already addressed by many companies and doesn’t need to be legislated. This bill puts an additional mandate on business that would have a substantial financial impact on employers. Businesses should be allowed to determine for themselves a hiring policy that works best them.

HB17-1307 Family And Medical Leave Insurance Program Wage Replacements

This bill creates the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program in the newly created Division of Family and Medical Leave Insurance in the Department of Labor and Employment. The division would provide partial wage replacement benefits to eligible individuals who take leave from work to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition or who are unable to work due to their own serious health condition. The bill expands employer coverage to employers with one or more employee as compared to the 50-employee threshold under the FMLA.

This bill would be costly and burdensome for employers as they would be required to implement an additional employee payroll deduction. It would also impose significant administrative and operational costs.

HB17-1309 Documentary Fee To Fund Affordable Housing

This bill increases the documentary fee paid to the county clerk and recorder on any real estate transaction. The new money will be allocated to the statewide affordable housing investment fund.

While the Chamber is actively engaged in finding solutions to incentivize the building of attainable housing for our workforce, this bill would have a negative effect. An increase in documentary fees would result in higher real estate costs.

HB17-1314 Colorado Right to Rest Act

The bill creates a protected class in Colorado called persons experiencing homelessness and explicitly outlines their right to use and move freely in public spaces without discrimination, to rest in public spaces without discrimination, to eat or accept food in any public space where food is not prohibited, to occupy a legally parked vehicle and to have a reasonable expectation of privacy of one's property.

The Chamber opposes HB17-1314. This legislation is unnecessary because the bill duplicates rights already afforded to all people, regardless of housing status, in the U.S. Constitution.

HB17-1336 Additional Protections Forced Pooling Order

The bill requires a majority of royalty interest owners to agree to apply for an order to pool oil and gas resources within a given drilling unit as opposed to any one interested party. The process includes giving notice to all interest owners, holding a hearing and holding a vote.

The Chamber remains a strong believer in protecting private property rights; however, this bill and its sponsors attempt to address a very complex issue very late in the session and without engaging all stakeholders in the process. Therefore, it fails to achieve a balanced solution. Additionally, this proposal doesn’t consider the innovations in technology that, coupled with the current set of stringent rules for oil and gas development, allows for minimal impact to the environment.

HB17-1348 Prohibit HOV High-Occupancy Vehicle 3 Requirement North I-25 Express Lanes

This bill would require any public private partnership agreement for the Interstate 25 north project to say that high--occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes must be free of charge for any motor vehicle that is occupied by two or more individuals, counting the driver.

This bill removes funding from CDOT by reducing HOV lane collections and will exacerbate the already critical transportation infrastructure funding crisis the state is experiencing.

HB17-1356 Treat Economic Development Income Tax Credits Differently/

Currently, the Office Economic Development and International Trade can use a variety of existing tax credit programs to incentivize strategic capital investment in our state. However, some companies interested in making investments here do not have net revenue sufficient to use these incentives. The bill addresses this problem by allowing the state’s Economic Development Commission to designate a limited amount of tax credits available under existing programs ($10 million per year for three years) as transferable. To qualify, an investor would need to qualify for an existing tax credit and make a strategically significant capital investment of at least $100 million.

This bill adds a new economic development tool to our state’s toolbox and will encourage important capital investment and job creation in our state.

HB17-1375 Distributing Mill Levy Override Revenue to Schools

Beginning in the 2019-20 budget year, this bill requires that school districts that authorize a charter school and collect revenue from mill levies in addition to the total program mill level either adopt a plan for distributing revenue for all schools or distribute 95 percent of the per pupil amount to the charter schools. The bill also creates the mill levy equalization fund consisting of money the general assembly may appropriate for charter schools.

The bill seeks to remedy key funding disparities that charter public schools face. Tax revenue collected from all taxpayers in a school district should benefit all public school students in that district and be distributed equally. It is important that all students have the opportunity for a quality education and are prepared to fill current and future jobs. Equitable funding is imperative to providing a quality education.

SB17-001 Alleviate Fiscal Impact of State Rules for Small Business

This bill allows businesses with 500 or less employees to implement corrective steps or to cure a first-time minor regulatory violation without having to incur a fine.

It reduces the burden on small businesses by giving them the opportunity to remedy minor violations before receiving fines without compromising health or safety. The bill also helps foster improved interactions between the department and small businesses, which will help reduce rule violations.

SB17-003 Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange

This bill repeals the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act, effective Jan. 1, 2018, and allows the exchange to continue for one year for the purpose of winding up its affairs.

The Chamber, along with more than 100 diverse stakeholders as part of the Colorado Health Policy Coalition, has identified a set of principles that we urge Congress to consider when examining a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We oppose a repeal of the ACA without a clear replacement because of the uncertainty and potential cost increases a repeal without replacement would create for businesses.

SB17-009 Business Personal Property Tax Exemption

This bill triples the exemption from business personal property tax from $7,300 for the current property tax year to $21,900 for the next two property tax years and adjusts it for inflation going forward.

The Chamber supports business property tax exemptions that aim to further economic development. This bill reduces the tax burden on small business from business personal property tax and allows for more investment in equipment and efficiencies to increase production for Colorado businesses.

SB17-022 Rural Economic Advancement of Colorado Towns

This authorizes the Department of Local Affairs to offer non-monetary assistance to a rural community that experiences a significant economic event causing substantial job loss in an effort to assist the community with economic development and revitalization.

This bill assists rural communities with economic development in times of distress, which helps strengthen our state’s economy and mitigate job losses.

SB17-042 Repeal of Local Government Internet Service Voter Approval

This bill repeals restrictions meant to keep governments from competing with telecommunication companies. The bill also removes restrictions that prevent governments from using governmental immunity to circumvent federal and state rules and from engaging in preferential or discriminatory practices in the provision of telecommunication services.

While the Chamber recognizes that the intent of this bill is to expand broadband capabilities to rural Colorado, repealing these government restrictions would not achieve that goal. Instead, it would have a detrimental effect on local communities and allow for discriminatory practices and unfair competition in the telecommunications industry.

SB17-055 Prohibit Discrimination Labor Union Participation

This bill prohibits employers from requiring an employee to become, remain or pay dues, fees or other assessments to a labor organization. It would repeal the Labor Peace Act in favor of “Right to Work.”

The Chamber has consistently opposed any efforts to weaken our existing Labor Peace Act because its statutory framework provides the right balance to ensure a healthy relationship between business and labor in this state. Colorado’s Labor Peace Act has long provided a unique legal middle ground between right-to-work and union states.

SB17-057 Colorado Health Care Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise

This bill repeals the Hospital Provider Fee and enacts the Colorado health care affordability and sustainability enterprise as a state business outside of the revenues used for evaluating TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) and Referendum C cap levels. The enterprise would charge and collect a new Hospital Provider Fee and would implement and administer the state Hospital Provider Fee program.

Last year, the governor imposed a $100 million reduction in Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) collection to help balance the budget for Colorado, which resulted in the loss of an additional $100 million in matched funds for Colorado by the federal government. This year that number increased to $195 million, and it will continue to rise exponentially unless reclassification of the HPF is addressed.

SB17-061 Additional Funding for Charter School Operating Costs

The bill requires that a school district distribute 100 percent of the per pupil mill levy revenue it receives from local property tax mill levies. The bill goes into effect in 2018 and does not require that a district pay a charter school retroactively.

The bill seeks to remedy key funding disparities that charter public schools face. Tax revenue collected from all taxpayers in a school district should benefit all public school students in that district and be distributed equally.

SB17-067 Educator Effectiveness 50 Percent of Student Academic Growth

This bill eliminates the requirement that at least 50 percent of a teacher’s and principal’s evaluation be determined by the academic growth of their students. It dilutes provisions of SB10-191 by allowing school districts to use student academic growth as a measure in educator evaluations but only up to 20 percent of the total assessment.

This proposal would remove a key provision of SB10-191, which created an evaluation system to develop greater accountability for educators and principals. The Chamber has long supported education as one of its pillars for a healthy and thriving economy.

SB17-085 Increase Documentary Fee and Fund Attainable Housing

This bill increases a filing or recording fee from $1 to $5, requiring that the increased portion be allocated to a statewide attainable housing investment fund administrated by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA).

While the Chamber is actively engaged in finding solutions to incentivize the building of attainable housing for our workforce, this bill would have a negative effect. An increase in filing and recording fees would result in higher costs to real estate professionals and the business community, which would be passed along to the consumer and essentially increase home prices further.

SB17-088 Participating Provider Network Selection Criteria

This bills requires health insurers to disclose the standards they use to construct and market their provider networks. It also requires carriers to outline a process by which providers may seek reconsideration if a carrier decides to make changes to, terminate or deny participation in its provider network.

This bill is a mandate that interferes with private contracts and restricts carriers’ ability to create their own network as a strategy that can help businesses and their employees contain costs of health care.

SB17-089 Allow Electric Utility Customers to Install Energy Storage Equipment

The bill directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to require all utilities in the state to allow electric customers to install and use electricity storage systems on their property without restrictions or regulations and without changes in their rate.

This bill would impose significant uncertainty around energy storage applications, utilization and connectivity, particularly as it relates to connecting with the utility power grid. The unknown increased costs would be passed on to all consumers, including commercial customers, regardless of whether they are utilizing this technology.

SB17-101 Ninth and 10th-grade Assessments in Public Schools

This bill allows school districts to choose whether to administer state assessments in English language arts and math for ninth-grade students or one of the two college entrance exams selected by the Colorado Department of Education. The bill also allows school districts to choose between two college entrance exams to administer to 10th- and 11th-grade students.

The Chamber has long supported the development of the Colorado Academic Standards and the use of smart assessments in our schools. Colorado is now in the process of implementing the standards and assessments that the Chamber believes will equip our students with the skills needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace. Repealing these standards and assessments will add significant unnecessary cost and delay implementation of the high standards we need for our students.

SB17-112 Sales and Use Tax Payment to Wrong Local Government

In 1985, the General Assembly enacted a dispute resolution process meant to prohibit punishment of a taxpayer who acted in good faith to pay a sales-and-use tax to one local government when the tax should have been paid to another local government. Without changing anything else in statute, this bill nullifies any statute of limitations that might otherwise prohibit a taxpayer from using this protection.

This bill remedies an otherwise punitive process by extending a protection given to taxpayers who make these tax payments in good faith, saving a business owner time and money by eliminating the need to go through this process twice.

SB17-114 Accountability for School Districts and Schools

This bill repeals the state education board’s authority to remove a school district's or school's accreditation based on poor performance for five consecutive school years.

Our economy depends on us working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the talent pipeline and high-performing schools are a critical component of accomplishing this. We support a high-performing education system and this bill weakens our ability to hold school districts and schools accountable for their performance.

SB17-145 Electric Utility Distribution Grid Resource Acquisition Plan

This bill directs electric utilities to integrate renewable energy resources into their plans to acquire new infrastructure.

This bill imposes additional regulation on an industry already moving to integrate renewable energy resources into their distribution plans. This highly prescriptive regulation would result in higher costs and decreased security to all consumers.

SB17-151 Consumer Access to Health Care

This bill imposes new mandates on how insurers should make decisions pertaining to authorizing providers, health care services and coverage, particularly removing the requirement that the insured receive a referral before seeing a specialist.

This bill is a mandate that interferes with private contracts, and with the ability to directly visit a specialist, will increase health care costs.

SB17-152 Implement Changes Made by Amendment 71

This bill implements the changes made by Amendment 71 which requires that for an initiative amending Colorado’s Constitution to be added to the ballot voter signatures must be collected from across Colorado and 55 percent of voters must approve the measure for it to pass. Coloradans can still pass a law with only 50 percent plus one under this amendment.

By implementing Amendment 71, which the Chamber strongly supported, we’re better protected against outside interests who want to use our constitution as a testing ground for their policy ideas and give all Coloradans a voice in what’s on our ballot.

SB17-156 Homeowners' Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines

This bill requires alternative dispute resolution before filing a construction defects lawsuit if written into the governing documents. It also requires that all owners receive notification of any legal proceedings related to their property and that a majority of homeowners vote to proceed with the construction defect claim before a lawsuit is filed.

This bill addresses the three most critical components of construction defect litigation reform that will make a meaningful difference in increasing for-sale workforce housing while maintaining strong consumer protections. The Chamber has been working on these reforms with a broad coalition focused on energizing the construction of for sale condominiums throughout Colorado.

SB17-157 Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval

This bill requires that a homeowners’ association (HOA) board must notify all unit owners before filing a lawsuit against a developer or builder, disclosing information about the lawsuit and its potential costs and benefits and obtain the approval of a majority of unit owners. This bill also preempts municipal ordinances requiring alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and extends the statute of limitations by freezing the clock while the HOA is going through the voting process with owners.

While this bill contains some meaningful changes to current law regarding construction defect litigation, the Chamber is concerned that, as written, it supersedes local municipality efforts to incorporate ADR as an option to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. The Chamber supports a process that allows for a quick resolution of construction issues while providing sufficient consumer protections to all owners in a community.

SB17-186 Reduce Regulatory Burden Rules on Businesses

This bill redefines a "small business" as a business that employs 100 or fewer employees for the purpose of analyzing the impact of a proposed rule and helping to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses. This bill also requires agencies to expand their outreach to small businesses so that they may participate in rule-making hearings.

This bill helps alleviate the burden new rules and regulations can impose on small businesses by providing a more precise analysis on the impact to small businesses before rules are put in place. The Chamber supports this increased outreach and consideration because small businesses typically don’t have the capacity to employ full-time regulatory staff members, and addressing rule changes can be especially challenging.

SB17-188 Repeal Income Tax Credit of Innovative Motor Vehicles

This bill is a referred measure that repeals the current income tax credit on purchased and leased innovative trucks and vehicles and uses that money to fund the highway users tax fund.

This bill would remove incentives to invest in alternative fuel vehicles, something the Chamber has been supportive of in past years. Although we support finding a long-term solution to addressing the funding needs of our roads and bridges, this bill doesn’t provide a significant source of revenue.

SB17-191 Market-based Interest Rates on Judgments

This bill eliminates the current 8 percent minimum interest rate paid by defendants in civil lawsuits and ties the current interest rate, as well as the post-judgement rate for personal injury damages, to an inflation formula that is 2 percent over the Kansas City Federal Reserve discount rate.

This bill keeps the post-judgement formula interest rate in line with economic trends that is currently in use in Colorado law. This bill removes an arbitrary interest rate put in place by the General Assembly in 1975 when inflation was high.

SB17-213 Automated Driving Motor Vehicles

The bill makes regulating automated vehicles (AVs) a matter of statewide concern. It also sets statute that would allow the testing of and subsequent personal use of AVs in Colorado.  Finally, it provides jurisdiction and regulation of testing AVs to the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The Chamber recognizes that innovation is vital to improving transportation in Colorado. This legislation allows for the testing of new driverless technologies to help foster this innovation.

SB17-267 Sustainability of Rural Colorado

This bill reclassifies the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) as an enterprise, removing it from our TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) state revenue cap. The bill lowers that cap by $200 million, the amount equal to the expansion of health care by the Affordable Care Act. It also includes provisions for spending on transportation and education and requires a 2 percent budget reduction for each state agency.

The bill represents years-long work on a compromise that will correctly classify the HPF – properly reflecting the growth of state revenue – keep our rural hospitals funded and allow the state to invest in transportation and education infrastructure.

SB17-272 Measures of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

The bill adds a new accountability measure for determining the postsecondary and workforce indicator, an indicator set in statute to help determine graduation readiness, based on the percentage of students who demonstrate college and career readiness. Local school districts would choose from the menu of graduation demonstration options (such as AP, IB, industry credentials and concurrent enrollment courses) in developing this indicator.

Our economy depends on working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the workforce. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on. This bill encourages student participation in career-focused programs, increasing the likelihood that they graduate from high school.

SB17-276 Alleviate Fiscal Impact State Rules Small Business

This bill requires that state agencies allow small businesses with less than 100 employees to remedy a first-time minor regulatory violation within 30 days before incurring a fine.

The Chamber supports this bill because it helps alleviate the burden that new rules and regulations can impose on small businesses. Small businesses typically don’t have the capacity to employ full-time regulatory staff members, making addressing rule changes especially challenging.

SB17-279 Applicability Recent Urban Renewal Legislation

This bill clarifies technical portions of HB15-1348, a bill that modified provisions governing urban redevelopment, by expressly listing the types of changes to existing plans that will trigger retroactive compliance with HB15-1348.

The Chamber sees the strong value of urban renewal projects as a tool for revitalizing, reenergizing and redeveloping our communities and for economic development. We support these necessary technical fixes to streamline the process and to help local governments and the development community achieve greater certainty when investing in these projects.

SB17-280 Extending The Economic Development Commission

This bill extends the Colorado economic development commission by changing the sunset date from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2025.

The economic development commission approves loans and grants from the economic development fund to public and private entities throughout the state to help existing businesses expand and new companies locate to Colorado. Extending the commission will foster economic development throughout the state, strengthen our economy and increase quality of life.

SB17-283 Clarify Discrimination and Right to Disagree

This bill would allow a business or business owner to discriminate against an individual or event based on whether the event sends a message that the business owner or the business disagrees with or chooses to not associate with.

The Chamber’s focus is attracting and retaining top talent. We are committed to opposing legislation that hampers our ability to do so. If passed, this bill would allow business owners to arbitrarily refuse service simply for disagreeing with a message or event.

SB17-285 Downtown Development Authorities Fairness Act

This bill reforms who can be on the board of a downtown development authority when a tax-increment financed project’s plan is under review. It sets the makeup of the board; it determines that before such a plan can be approved, the governing boards of each taxing entity affected must agree on allocation; and it requires mediation if an agreement on the deal cannot be reached within 120 days.

The Chamber sees the strong value of downtown development authorities and tax-increment financing as tools for revitalizing, reenergizing and redeveloping our communities. This bill imposes significant regulations on an already well-regulated process and could stifle development for areas of our state that could benefit from the additional investment.

SB17-292 Colorado Works Employment Opportunities with Wages

This bill creates an employment program run by the Department of Human Services in coordination with counties and the Colorado Workforce Development Council. The intent is to assist participants in attaining living-wage, permanent jobs by funding things like subsidized employment, apprenticeships, on-the-job training and transitional jobs.

Programs like these that help people enter the workforce with good paying jobs are closely tied to the success of the Chamber’s Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative. Our economy depends on working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the talent pipeline. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on.

SB17-303 State Highway System Funding and Financing

This bill refers a measure to the November 2017 ballot asking voters to approve $3.5 billion in bonds for transportation funding and requires that 10 percent of existing revenue from state sales and use taxes be transferred to the Colorado Department of Transportation for payment of bonds and ongoing maintenance.

Although we support finding a long-term solution to addressing the needs of our roads and bridges, this bill isn’t meaningful unless we pair it with significant revenue. In order to fund this bill, the state would be forced to forego needed maintenance on existing roads, bridges and tunnels. Furthermore, this bill focuses only on highways and fails to include local governments to address mass transit and other mobility needs across the state.

SCR17-002 Real Estate Transfer Tax for Affordable Housing

This concurrent resolution will refer to the voters on the November ballot a real estate transfer tax of 1/10 of one percent that will be used to fund affordable housing.

While the Chamber is actively engaged in finding solutions to incentivize the building of attainable housing for our workforce, we oppose this bill because it would have a negative effect. An increase in real estate transfer taxes would result in higher real estate costs. When examining public funding to support building affordable housing, we believe every stakeholder ought to contribute toward the solution and no individual or group alone should bear the burden of solving this. Additionally, this proposal will add yet another formula to our state’s constitution, an issue that the Chamber adamantly opposes because of its inherent potential to create budgeting and funding problems in the future.