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2017 Education and Workforce Bills

We focus on education as one of our pillars for a strong economy because preparing our students—our workforce of the future—is essential to our success as a region. In fact, it’s a critical issue that we’re focusing on as a Chamber.

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

  • Position Key
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  • Oppose
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  • STATUS Key
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Bill # Title Summary Position Justification Materials Pillars Status
HB18-1001 FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program

This bill creates the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program, providing 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 Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

This bill would be costly and burdensome for employers, particularly to small businesses, as they would be required to implement an additional employee payroll deduction. It would also impose significant administrative and operational costs for the state which would be required to administer an insurance program with little certitude of solvency in an economic downturn.

HB18-1005 Notice to Students of Postsecondary Courses

Current law requires a public high school student's education provider to notify the student and his or her parent or legal guardian of their opportunities for concurrent enrollment. This bill requires the notification to include information regarding the benefits of completing concurrent enrollment courses, all concurrent enrollment courses offered at the education provider’s facility, all concurrent courses offered at a postsecondary institution’s facility and all associated costs.

This bill encourages increased understanding and awareness of concurrent enrollment offerings and costs, discourages unnecessary duplication of classes and is mindful of students’ limited resources. The Chamber is supportive of concurrent enrollment as research shows that access to college-level classes while in high school helps prepare students for postsecondary success – this is a critical component of future workforce development.

HB18-1009 Diabetes Drug Pricing Transparency Act 2018

This bill requires drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers to report information regarding diabetes drug prices and related profits. The information from the report is to be posted on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.

The Chamber is working with more than 30 organizations to identify industry-wide strategies that address Colorado’s rising health care costs. While this bill highlights an existing challenge within our healthcare system, we are concerned that this proposal exceeds the state’s legal jurisdiction. There is uncertainty regarding the state’s ability to require federally regulated companies to submit data; additionally, there is considerable inconsistency in the types of pharmaceutical organizations this regulation would impact.

HB18-1014 Social Studies Assessment in High Schools

This bill removes the requirement that the social studies state assessment be administered in high school.

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 any of these standards and assessments will add significant unnecessary cost and delay implementation of the high standards we need for our students.

HB18-1030 Prohibit Discrimination Labor Union Participation

This bill prohibits employers from requiring that an employee 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 the existing Labor Peace Act because its statutory framework has been providing a balance to ensure a healthy relationship between business and labor in this state. Colorado’s Labor Peace Act is a unique legal middle ground between right-to-work and union states. The Chamber believes that more should be done to educate the nation on our state’s hybrid approach and how it has contributed to Colorado’s economic well-being.

HB18-1033 Employee Leave to Participate in Elections

Current law allows an employee to take leave to vote in an election on the day of the election. This bill expands that leave to include registering to vote, obtaining a ballot or replacement ballot or obtaining documents or identification necessary to vote or register on any day during the eight days prior to the election. It exempts employees who have three consecutive hours in which they’re not scheduled to work in those eight days.

The Chamber is supportive of voter engagement and expanded participation in the election process. Although Colorado has a unique statewide vote-by-mail program, this bill provides employers the flexibility without undue burden, within our current voting system and trends, to make sure employees have the opportunity to participate in Colorado’s election process.

HB18-1034 Career and Technical Education Capital Grant Program

This bill creates a capital grant program in the Department of Labor and Employment allowing the Colorado Workforce Development Council to award grants to area technical colleges, school districts and community colleges that provide career and technical education. Grant money can be used for equipment purchases or construction and maintenance of buildings. Rural applicants will be prioritized.

It is important that we invest in our career and technical education system statewide and equip our students with the skills that will prepare them for the workplace of the future. Trades and technical employers in Colorado face situations where there are more jobs available than skilled people to fill them. This bill will enhance opportunities across Colorado for students following a technical career path and assist in alleviating a labor market shortage in this important field.

HB18-1036 Reduce Business Personal Property Taxes

This bill raises the exemption from property tax for business personal property from $7,400 to $50,000 and continues to adjust it for inflation for subsequent property tax cycles.

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

HB18-1052 Exception to Two-year Higher Education Service Areas

Current law only allows a community college to offer concurrent enrollment opportunities to education providers within the institution’s college service area. This bill allows a college to provide concurrent enrollment opportunities to providers outside of the institution’s college service area if the designated college does not provide a concurrent enrollment opportunity.

This bill increases access to higher education opportunities by removing geographic boundaries as a barrier to education and will equip our future workforce with the skills our economy depends on. Research shows that access to college-level classes while in high school helps prepare students for post-secondary success – this is a critical component of future workforce development.

HB18-1053 Reclaimed Water Use for Marijuana Cultivation

This bill allows reclaimed domestic wastewater to be used for marijuana cultivation.

Expanding uses for reclaimed water is a critical part of the state water plan approved in 2015. We know that using reclaimed water safely in this manner will free up other sources of fresh water for more appropriate uses. We are committed to maximizing the water we receive on the Front Range instead of asking for more.

HB18-1067 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.

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

HB18-1069 Reclaimed Water Use for Toilet Flushing

This bill allows reclaimed domestic wastewater to be used for toilet flushing.

Expanding uses for reclaimed water is a critical part of the state water plan approved in 2015. We know that using reclaimed water safely in this manner, will free up other sources of fresh water for more appropriate uses. We are committed to maximizing the water we receive on the Front Range instead of asking for more.

HB18-1071 Regulate Oil Gas Operations Protect Public Safety

This bill requires that the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulate oil and gas operations to prevent and mitigate significant adverse environmental impacts on the environment or wildlife.

Colorado already has the most stringent oil and gas regulations in the country, which are regarded as best practices nationally and internationally, reinforcing the effectiveness of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in its current form.

HB18-1083 On-demand Air Carriers Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Current Colorado law exempts all aircraft used in interstate commerce by a commercial airline from sales and use tax. This bill extends the current exemption to include on-demand carriers (air charters or air taxi operators).

Extending the sales and use tax exemption to on-demand air carriers will generate positive economic growth because it leaves more funds for carriers to grow and update their fleets in Colorado, increase access in rural communities to transport people and goods across the state and hire more people.

HB18-1093 Reclaimed Water Use for Edible Crops

This bill allows treated reclaimed domestic wastewater that meets state and federal food safety standards to be used for food crop irrigation.

We are committed to maximizing the water we receive for the Front Range; expanding uses for reclaimed domestic wastewater is a critical part of the state water plan approved in 2015. The use of reclaimed water that has been treated according to water quality standards, protects public health and safety, maximizes our resources and will free up other sources of fresh water for more appropriate uses.

HB18-1097 Patient Choice of Pharmacy

This bill prohibits a health plan from controlling costs by choosing which pharmacies to include in its networks.

Chamber members have consistently identified rising cost as the biggest concern with regard to health care. This bill undermines the ability of health plans to negotiate with pharmacies to provide patients with lower-cost options thereby making it more costly for businesses to afford these benefits.

HB18-1098 Roll Over Year-end Balance Environmental Response Account

This bill permits the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to roll over environmental response account funds that are not used in one year to the next year, allowing them to tackle larger environmental projects that take more than one year’s worth of funds to address.

Colorado is recognized as a national and international model of responsible oil and gas development. This bill would allow the Commission to tackle larger environmental projects that take more than one year’s worth of funds to address, which is essential to maintaining that balance between responsible development and enforcement of environmental safeguards.

HB18-1113 Small Business Regulatory Reform

This bill requires state agencies to develop, and make available electronically, fact sheets for new rules that affect businesses with 100 employees or less and requires them to issue written warnings for first-time minor violations that do not impact health or safety.

This bill alleviates administrative and financial burden on small business that lack the resources and capacity to employ full-time staff to focus on regulatory compliance.

HB18-1125 Tax Credit Employer-assisted Housing Pilot Program

This bill creates an income tax credit pilot program to promote employer-assisted housing projects in rural areas.

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.

HB18-1128 Protections for Consumer Data Privacy

This bill requires that Colorado organizations that maintain documents that contain personal information develop a written policy for the destruction and proper disposal of those documents.

While data security is a critical concern for all organizations, this bill complicates, and in some cases, may conflict with data privacy processes already in place. As drafted, it would create an unnecessary burden on business, particularly smaller companies. We look forward to working with the bill sponsors on clarifying details, such as notification periods and defining personal information.

HB18-1135 Extend Advanced Industry Export Acceleration Program

This bill extends the advanced industries export acceleration program through November 2024. This grant program provides funding for early and second-stage development of companies in identified advanced industries including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering and information technology.

The Chamber continues to support the Advanced Industry (AI) Accelerator Act, enacted in 2013, as it enhances innovation, cross-sector partnership, job creation, capital investment and economic success across the state.

HB18-1157 Increase Reporting Oil and Gas Incidents

This bill requires additional reporting for oil and gas operators for certain major and minor reportable events.

This bill duplicates current reporting required by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for oil and gas operations in Colorado. Colorado is recognized as a national and international model of responsible oil and gas development with the most stringent oil and gas regulations in the country.

HB18-1185 Market Sourcing for Business Income Tax Apportionment

This bill would replace cost-of-performance sourcing with a market source approach for the purposes of corporate income taxation. Under this system, receipts for the sale of services are apportioned to Colorado companies based on where the service is delivered, not where the service is performed, bringing Colorado in line with a change most other states have made.

As the nation continues to move toward a service-based economy, this bill provides a more equitable method for applying taxes, creates a level playing field for Colorado businesses when competing with states who have market-based sourcing systems and supports our economic vitality by making Colorado more attractive for businesses to locate here.

HB18-1188 Electronic Data Transportation Infrastructure

Current law requires a state or local agency to get a search warrant before obtaining location information from an electronic device. The bill authorizes the Colorado Department of Transportation to use highway infrastructure technology to communicate with motor vehicles using vehicle location information to facilitate transportation or manage traffic.

Technology is vital to the future of transportation and connected mobility in Colorado. This bill will enable solutions that improve roadway reliability, efficiency and safety, providing the state with a more easily accessible, technologically advanced and seamlessly integrated mobility system.

HB18-1190 Modify Job Creation Main Street Revitalization Act

This bill extends the current tax credits allowed under the Colorado Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act to the year 2029. These tax credits are allocated to those who incur costs preserving and revitalizing a historical structure, allocating more credits when the structure is located in a rural community.

Colorado’s economic vitality and competitiveness is dependent on the economic success of both the Front Range and quality of life provided by our mountains and plains. Reinvestment in main streets across the state would continue to drive economic growth, job creation and preservation of historic communities in rural and metro areas.

HB18-1195 Tax Credit Contributions Organizations Affordable Housing

This bill creates a 50 percent state income tax credit for any individual or company who makes a donation to an eligible developer for the construction of affordable owner-occupied housing projects for income tax years 2019-2030.

Our ability to recruit and retain our workforce is critical to our success. The Chamber supports solutions that incentivize the building of attainable housing for our workforce so that Colorado remains an attractive place to do business and live.

HB18-1206 Live and Let Live Act

This bill would allow businesses to decline service to people based on their religious beliefs.

The Chamber is committed to helping Colorado companies grow and thrive, attract new businesses and build a strong and healthy workforce. We advocate for policy that makes Colorado the best place to do business and oppose legislation that hinders our ability to do so. If passed, this bill would set Colorado back over several decades and allow for rampant discrimination, sending a message that conflicts with the inclusive and collaborative culture the business community has worked hard to build and maintain here in Colorado and putting our ability to attract top companies and workers at risk.

HB18-1217 Income Tax Credit for Employer 529 Contributions

This bill creates an income tax credit for an employer who makes a contribution to an employee’s 529 qualified state tuition program account for income tax years 2019 through 2021.

Investment in professional and educational development for our workforce not only creates a competitive edge for companies to recruit and retain employees, but ensures our workforce can meet the demands and access the knowledge and training necessary to fill the jobs vital to our economic success.

HB18-1237 Sunset Continue Cost-benefit Analysis for Rules

This bill extends the rule that requires departments to publish information about the cost-benefit analysis of rules and regulations indefinitely.

Publishing the cost-benefit analysis of rules and regulations is beneficial to employers because the impacts on business, especially small business, can be evaluated with this process. This data can be used to inform rule-making and to create regulations that support a healthy business climate.

HB18-1250 Analysis to Improve Compliance with Rules by Businesses

This bill requires each state agency to conduct an analysis of noncompliance with its rules to identify rules with the greatest frequency of noncompliance, rules that generate the greatest number of fines, how many first-time offenders were given the opportunity to cure a minor violation and what factors contribute to noncompliance by regulated businesses.

This bill allows state agencies to better understand which rules cause the most confusion to businesses and lead to noncompliance. The Chamber supports legislative strategies that help companies understand state rules and educate them in how to comply, rather than penalize them.

HB18-1256 Sunset Continue Civil Rights Division and Commission

This bill extends the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission
through Sept. 1, 2027.

The Colorado Civil Rights Division and Commission are charged with enforcing the state's anti-discrimination laws in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. They are a valuable and less costly resource for business, especially small business, to resolve discrimination disputes through arbitration and educational programs.

HB18-1261 Colorado Arbitration Fairness Act

This bill increases required disclosures by arbitrators and allows for litigation to be brought
against arbitrators based on a challenge of impartiality or failing to comply with this statute.

Colorado’s current process for consumer and employment arbitration has shown to be a successful and less costly resource for dispute resolution. Requiring these disclosures could lead to additional unnecessary litigation, slowing down the resolution process and making it more costly and time consuming for Colorado businesses.

HB18-1262 Arbitration Services Provider Transparency Act

This bill requires that arbitration service providers make public certain previously confidential information on arbitrations administered in the previous five years.

Colorado’s current process for consumer and employment arbitration has shown to be a successful and less costly resource for dispute resolution. Requiring these disclosures could lead to additional unnecessary litigation, slowing down the resolution process and making it more costly and time consuming for Colorado businesses.

HB18-1266 Career Development Success Program Expansion

This bill extends the existing career development success pilot program for an additional five years. The program provides a distribution of up to $1,000 to school districts and charter schools for each high school student who successfully completes an identified industry certificate, internship, pre-apprenticeship program or computer science advanced placement (AP) course.

By 2020, more than half of the jobs in Colorado will require skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Our economic vitality depends on us working together to ensure that our youth are equipped with the 21st-century skills necessary to fulfill the future needs of business and for the jobs our economy depends on. This bill increases access and opportunity for students in school districts across the state to partake in STEM programs that will provide real-world experiences for in-demand jobs.

HB18-1270 Public Utilities Commission Evaluation of Energy Storage Systems

This bill directs the Public Utilities Commission to consider whether to establish a process for electric utilities to buy energy storage systems, with the ultimate goal to decide if those systems are a valuable addition to Colorado’s overall grid system based on an analysis of costs and benefits.

Energy storage systems can reduce costs, support the increased use of diverse energy sources and increase the safety and reliability of our grid, all of which makes Colorado more a competitive state for economic development. Although this bill is a step to move energy storage forward, the Chamber’s support of this bill is contingent upon an amendment that would allow this initiative to start as a pilot program to limit unintended consequences and allow for necessary fixes prior to full scale.

HB18-1271 Public Utilities Commission Electric Utilities Economic Development Rates

This bill allows the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to allow utilities to charge lower “economic development rates” to commercial users who locate or expand their operations in Colorado. The bill also authorizes the expansion of a voluntary renewable energy program to meet the needs of a commercial user that makes a significant capital investment in Colorado and wants to utilize the program.

The cost of energy plays a major role in a company’s decision to locate or expand operations in Colorado, which has a substantial impact on job creation and opportunity for our state. This bill provides a unique, performance-based and value-added approach to attracting and retaining companies across all industry sectors and is in alignment with other state economic development programs. It also sets thoughtful and substantive measures to ensure that eligible projects meet or exceed PUC standards.

HB18-1272 Network-level Distracted Driving Control Technology

This bill requires mobile service providers to add distraction-control technology to their service platforms.

This bill imposes a mandate on business and doesn’t consider the innovations in technology and user-friendly mobile applications already in use today by mobile device users to limit distracted driving.

HB18-1274 Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

This bill requires that statewide greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by at least 80 percent of 2005 levels by the year 2050.

We support responsible energy development, and strong public health, safety and environmental safeguards. However, this bill is unnecessary, the marketplace on its own is moving in the direction of lower greenhouse gas emissions without the need for a mandate. The requirements in this bill are arbitrary and unsupported by any research; and the bill lacks a clear plan in place for how to achieve the reductions it calls for.

HB18-1278 Apprentice Utilization in Public Projects

This bill requires the contractor for any public project that does not receive federal money to use apprentices for at least 25 percent of the project workforce.

The Chamber is appreciative of the approach to incorporate apprentices into existing projects, an opportunity to continue education and training while fulfilling talent needs of our businesses. However, the construction industry currently does not have the capacity to fulfill this requirement. This is burdensome and unattainable mandate for employers that will negatively impact our state’s ability to build important infrastructure projects.

HB18-1289 Exempt Local Government School Districts Forced Pooling

This bill exempts local governments and school districts that own mineral rights from automatic inclusion in the pooling of oil and gas resources when the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approves an order to pool and develop those resources.

This bill fails to consider the innovations in technology that, coupled with the state’s administered set of stringent rules for responsible oil and gas development, allow for minimal impact to the environment.

HB18-1298 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.

Increasing retirement savings is an issue of great importance to the Chamber and the business community. The mandate in this legislation however, is not the appropriate method to increase savings. This mandate creates a significant and costly burden on small businesses. Additionally, as the state continues to work toward a solution to address the state’s pension system’s $32 billion unfunded liability, adding yet another state-run retirement program is not the appropriate path forward.

HB18-1308 Workers' Compensation Out-of-State Workers Temporarily in Colorado

This bill exempts out-of-state employers from being required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for employees who are working in Colorado on a temporary basis as long as the employer has coverage in its home state and the employer’s home state offers a reciprocal exemption for Colorado employees.

The Chamber supports efforts to encourage full participation by employers in a workers’ compensation program, ensuring workers and businesses are protected while doing business in Colorado. This bill would bring Colorado employment laws up-to-date and help ensure ongoing interstate commerce with our neighboring states.

HB18-1310 Emergency Employment Support Services Pilot Program DOLA

This bill creates a pilot program in the Department of Local Affairs for an emergency supportive services fund that community-based organizations and public agencies can use to serve participants with barriers to employment with a focus on rural and economically disadvantaged counties in the state.

Employers are facing labor shortages across the state. This legislation, along with initiatives such as the Chamber’s “Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative”, will assist talented and motivated job-seekers in overcoming barriers to employment and training and expand our workforce.

HB18-1312 Open Internet Customer Protections in Colorado

This bill would disqualify internet service providers from receiving high-cost support mechanism funds or other money to finance broadband development if the provider engages in practices that interfere with the open internet.

While the Chamber does not oppose the notion of net neutrality, we believe it is a matter of federal jurisdiction. This bill, in its current form, is overly burdensome regulation that expands the current Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulatory powers and allows the state to issue preferential contracts thereby creating an unfair playing field for Colorado internet service providers.

HB18-1316 Extend Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Skilled Worker, Outreach, Recruitment and Key Training Grant Program

This bill extends the Skilled Worker, Outreach, Recruitment and Key Training (WORK) grant program created in 2015. It was intended to address one of the key problems in Colorado’s career training programs – students who are not heading to college but unaware of great paying career options and the pathways to get there.

Trades and technical employers in Colorado often have more jobs than there are skilled people to fill them. It is important that we continue to invest in career and technical training programs such as WORK that bridge the gap between training and educational attainment and expand the pool of skilled workers needed to fill current and future jobs.

HB18-1322 Long Appropriation Act

The Long Appropriation Act (“Long Bill”) appropriates Colorado’s state budget and funding. While the Long Bill spans a variety of interests, the Chamber’s position is focused on the current transportation proposal that allocates funding to transportation infrastructure.

We have underfunded transportation for decades, and it’s costing us $6.8 billion each year because of traffic congestion delays, damage to vehicles, accidents and lost gas efficiency. The Chamber is supportive of proposals in the long bill and its satellite bills that aim to provide ongoing investments in our transportation system.

HB18-1334 Extend Transitional Jobs Program

This bill extends the transitional jobs program for an additional five years. Transitional jobs are time-limited, subsidized, paid jobs intended to provide a bridge to unsubsidized employment. These positions are generally available to hard–to-employ individuals, such as those with limited or no job history, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients or individuals with criminal records.

Our economy depends on working together to ensure the state has a skilled and successful workforce. The Chamber is supportive of outcome-based programs such as ReHire Colorado which connects our labor force to employment opportunities where they can learn needed skills on the job and provides opportunity for small businesses who traditionally lack resources to hire additional personnel and provide training, ultimately expanding the pool of skilled workers needed to fill current and future jobs.

HB18-1343 Veterans' Service-to-Career Program

This bill continues and expands the current Colorado Veterans' Service-to-Career Program, which provides resources to enhance workforce center services for veterans, veterans’ spouses and other eligible participants to help them overcome barriers to employment not otherwise covered under federal law.

We’re committed to support our veterans as they transition into the civilian workforce. We know our veterans have the kind of transferable knowledge, leadership skills and work ethic that make them valuable employees. With more than 395,000 vets in Colorado, there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to engage this talented workforce.

HB18-1352 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 is recognized as a national and international model of responsible oil and gas development. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which is charged with regulating oil and gas development, has already set forth stringent regulations that place strong emphasis on public health and safety and set distance requirements on oil and gas production activities from high-occupancy facilities. This bill expands on those regulations arbitrarily and would significantly restrict oil and gas development in Colorado.

HB18-1355 Public Education Accountability System

This bill implements changes recommended by the Colorado Department of Education and the state Board of Education, including changes to the accountability system for schools and school districts categorized as Priority Improvement or Turnaround for five years.

Accountability is critical to upholding high performance education standards. By providing schools and school districts with the tools and resources needed to improve performance and succeed long-term, we can create a strong education system that prepares our youth to enter the workforce of the future.

HB18-1368 Local Control of Minimum Wage

This bill would change the current statewide minimum wage system by allowing a local jurisdiction to increase its minimum wage separate from state and federal wage laws.

In 2016, Colorado voters adopted an amendment to our state constitution that raised the minimum wage for the entire state. This legislative proposal aims to overturn the will of most Colorado voters and create an unpredictable business environment harmful to our economy. In Colorado, many businesses operate across multiple cities and counties. Allowing wages to vary by municipality would create unnecessary complication and increased administrative burden for businesses.

HB18-1377 Prohibit Seeking Salary Information Job Applicant

This bill prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information, including compensation and benefits, from an applicant unless the employer notifies the applicant of the wage or salary range for the position or the applicant agrees to discuss this information.

This bill takes away an employer’s ability to request disclosure of salary history from an applicant, a hiring mechanism for many organizations. There are legitimate reasons for which employers can rely on prior salary information, including learning about the market rate for a given position and whether they can afford to hire an applicant. This choice should be reserved for each business to make for themselves.

HB18-1393 Effective Implementation of Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act

This bill strengthens areas of Colorado’s early literacy policy, the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act, by addressing uneven implementation, emphasizing teacher supports and professional development and establishing a process for improving the functionality of individualized literacy plans.

Early literacy is key to the success of our students – our future workforce. Research shows that students who cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school. The Chamber supported the passage of the READ Act in 2012. It is imperative we continue to work together to ensure all students have access to a quality education that will prepare them to enter the workforce successfully to fill the jobs our economy depends on.

HB18-1426 Virtual Currency Exemption Money Transmitters Act

This bill exempts the transmission of virtual currency from regulation under the Colorado “Money Transmitters Act.”

This bill creates an uneven playing field by exempting the transmission of virtual currency and puts consumers at risk by not extending protections that are offered for the rest of the digital banking industry.

HB18-1428 Authorize Utility Community Collaboration Contract

This bill allows investor-owned utilities to enter into agreements with local governments, subject to approval of the public utilities commission, to provide utility service that meets the energy goals of that local government, separate from state offerings, as long as the agreement does not require utility customers outside the local government boundaries to subsidize the costs of those agreements.

Allowing utilities to work with local governments to create more personalized service agreements adds more flexibility into the grid, while protecting and keeping costs stable for ratepayers. This added flexibility could also help attract businesses to Colorado by ensuring their energy needs can be met.

SB18-001 Transportation Infrastructure Funding

This bill provides $500 million in one-time and $250 million in ongoing transportation funding, and gives the legislature the option to refer a measure to the November 2019 ballot asking voters to approve $3.5 billion in bonds for transportation funding.

We have underfunded transportation for decades, and it’s costing us $6.8 billion each year because of traffic congestion delays, damage to vehicles, accidents and lost gas efficiency. The Chamber is supportive of proposals that will provide ongoing investments in our transportation system. Without significant investment in our state’s infrastructure, our economy and ability to attract workers will suffer.

SB18-002 Financing Rural Broadband Deployment

Currently nonrural local exchange carriers receive subsidies from the high-cost support mechanism fund (HCSM) to deploy telephone services in underserved areas of the state. This bill requires that starting Jan. 1, 2019, the Public Utilities Commission repurpose 20 percent of the total amount of the HCSM fund to assist in broadband deployment in underserved areas of the state and in 20 percent cumulative increments every year thereafter on Jan. 1 through 2023.

Advancements in technology have made significant impacts on everything, from the way we access health care to the way we utilize education. These changes make it critical for rural and underserved communities throughout Colorado to have access to broadband.

SB18-006 Recording Fee to Fund Attainable Housing

This bill increases the recording or filing fee paid to the county clerk and recorder for each document received for recording or filing. The new money will be allocated to a statewide affordable housing investment fund.

While the Chamber is actively engaged in finding solutions to incent the building of attainable housing for our workforce, there is no nexus between the fee and its planned allocation. The current fee is collected strictly to cover the costs of recording documents by the county clerk. Collecting funds beyond the cost of the recording and spending the funds collected on the allocation outlined in this bill creates a TABOR issue. When examining public funding to support building attainable housing, the Chamber believes everyone must contribute toward the solution and no individual or group should bear the burden alone.

SB18-007 Affordable Housing Tax Credit

This bill changes the name of the existing low-income housing tax credit to the affordable housing tax credit and extends the credit for five years. Modeled after the federal program, the state program allows the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority to allocate tax credits for the development of low-income rental housing.

Since the original bill was signed into law in January 2015, the state has seen tremendous success with the low-income housing tax credit. This bill would extend the program’s life and further provide families and individuals with opportunities for affordable housing in the state of Colorado. This is a great example of a successful public private partnership in Colorado

SB18-009 Allow Electric Utility Customers to Install Energy Storage Equipment

This bill prohibits a utility from being able to accurately measure the amount of energy a customer with an electricity storage system on their property is distributing back to the grid by removing the utility’s right to install additional meters on the customer’s property. It also allows electric customers to install, interconnect and use electricity storage systems on their property without restrictions or regulations and without additional rates or fees.

Residents of Colorado receive compensation when they distribute energy back to the grid. Without the ability to measure the amount of energy redistributed, the utility cannot adequately compensate a customer for his or her energy. Furthermore, without the ability to monitor the levels of energy returned to the grid, safety is at risk, as the extra energy could result in voltage issues that can cause power surges and grid blackouts.

SB18-038 Reclaimed Water Use on Industrial Hemp

This bill allows reclaimed domestic wastewater to be used for industrial hemp cultivation.

Expanding uses for reclaimed water is a critical part of the state water plan approved in 2015. We know that using reclaimed water safely in this manner will free up other sources of fresh water for more appropriate uses. We are committed to maximizing the water we receive on the Front Range instead of asking for more.

SB18-048 Protect Act Local Government Authority Oil & Gas Facilities

This bill expands the land use authority of local governments in relation to oil and gas mineral extraction areas.

Colorado has a distinct way of doing business that involves working together, respecting proven processes, compromising and finding common ground. As a state that is recognized as a national and international model of responsible oil and gas development, with strong regulations on all oil and gas production activities, including enforcement of environmental safeguards and protection against waste, a patchwork of local regulations doesn’t make sense. Allowing regulation to vary from each municipality would create unnecessary complication and add an increased administrative burden that would negatively impact the industry and our economy.

SB18-063 Oil Gas Higher Financial Assurance Reclamation Requirements

This bill requires that an oil and gas operator be able to demonstrate that they have the finances to cover all foreseeable expenses should an event occur where they have failed to meet compliance obligations. Only at that time would the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission be allowed to issue financial assurance to approve operations.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has already set forth stringent regulations on oil and gas that benefit the environment and enhance public safety. SB18-063 increases the financial assurance required by the commission to prohibitively high levels. This would lead to the failure of many small operators and even cause the largest of operators to deter investment into Colorado which, in the end, has negative impacts to our state’s overall economy and jobs.

SB18-064 Require 100% Renewable Energy By 2035

This bill updates the renewable energy standard to require that all electric utilities, including cooperative electric associations and municipally owned utilities, derive their energy from 100 percent renewable sources by 2035.

Colorado is already very aggressive in the transition toward an “all of the above” approach when it comes to the usage of renewable energy sources. The marketplace on its own, is moving in the direction toward complete use of renewable energy without the need for a mandate.

SB18-066 Extend Operation of State Lottery Division

The State Lottery Division of the Department of Revenue is scheduled to terminate on July 1, 2024. This bill repeals the scheduled termination and permanently establishes the division.

The Colorado Lottery has successfully provided funding for outdoor recreation via Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Conservation Trust Fund and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, all of which generate jobs and provide significant economic benefits to the state. Proceeds collected that exceed the inflation-adjusted cap are allocated to the state’s schools construction assistance fund. Continued investment in Colorado’s outdoor recreation through lottery funds will not only continue to make Colorado an attractive tourist destination but also an attractive place to live and do business.

SB18-069 Enforcement Statewide Degree Transfer Agreements

This bill states that an institution of higher education that requires a student to complete additional credit hours covers the cost of the student’s tuition for any required credit hours above 120 credit hours, if the student is admitted as a junior and a transfer student who holds an associate of arts, applied science or science degree.

This bill holds institutions of higher education accountable for upholding their transfer agreements. The Chamber supports removing barriers to educational attainment, allowing more students to be prepared to meet the future needs of businesses and the jobs on which our economy depends.

SB18-086 Cyber Coding Cryptology for State Records

This bill requires the state to identify, assess and mitigate cyber threats to the state government and all public agencies and to develop a series of metrics to be able to do so. The bill also sets aside funds so that the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs can coordinate with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies to develop a cybersecurity center in Colorado.

This bill will ultimately help strengthen the state’s ability to protect itself from cybercrimes and help promote a much-needed pipeline of workers that will help our companies strengthen their cybersecurity infrastructure.

SB18-088 Taxation of Retail Marijuana Sales

This bill reinstates retail marijuana sales taxes that were erroneously removed by SB17-267 and clarifies that retail marijuana sales shall remain subject to the sales taxes of the Regional Transportation District, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and the Health Services District that were levied before July 1, 2017.

Reinstating marijuana tax revenues that were unintentionally removed via SB17-267 will restore special district funding to the levels these organizations had budgeted before the error took place and will allow them to continue to provide services on which our community depends.

SB18-118 Local School Board Authority Over Charter Schools

Current law allows a charter applicant that was denied a charter by a school board to appeal to the state board of education a second time in the event that the state board sends the decision back to the school board and the school board confirms its prior decision. This bill removes the charter applicant’s right to appeal.

It is important that all students have access to an education that will prepare them to enter the workforce successfully. This bill threatens current charter school operations and future development and it could limit school choice which is crucial to parents when making decisions that fulfill their child’s educational needs.

SB18-146 Freestanding Emergency Departments Required Consumer Notices

This bill requires freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) to disclose information to potential patients regarding the type of facility in which they’re seeking care as well as costs and coverage associated with care.

The Chamber is working with more than 30 health care organizations to identify industry-wide strategies that address Colorado’s rising health care costs. Throughout this process, requests for transparency and continue to emerge. The disclosures required in this bill could help patients make more informed decisions about the health care services they receive.

SB18-167 Enforcement Requirements 811 Locate Underground Facilities

This bill creates the Underground Damage Prevention Safety Commission to help bring Colorado law surrounding underground excavations up to the standards of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s requirements.

The creation of this commission streamlines the call process to conduct excavation projects in Colorado, bringing important enforcement procedures up-to-date, increasing clarity and public safety.

SB18-171 Marketplace Contractor Workers’ Compensation Unemployment

Under current law, the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act (CSCA) and Employment Security Ace
(CESA) determine whether a business is an employer through a nine-part test. This bill establishes a 10-part test
that is consistent with current law but includes businesses and independent contractors operating with online
platforms to connect consumers with transportation, delivery, household and other services.

Advances in technology continue to change the way we live and work. This bill, addresses the innovations of the on-demand sector, allowing independent contractors the ability to operate and provide services to consumers in a business environment that supports these innovative workplace arrangements which will become more prevalent in the future.

SB18-196 Repeal Late Vehicle Registration Fee

This bill repeals the late vehicle registration fee for all motor vehicles effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The Chamber supported the original FASTER legislation signed into law in 2009 (SB09-108), which generates about $200 million every year from registration fees and fines for critical state transportation projects across Colorado. Terminating the use of FASTER fee revenue for transit would eliminate funding available to improve roadway safety, repair bridges and support and expand transit across Colorado. If passed, this bill would be harmful to communities that rely on FASTER funds to complete multimodal projects that reduce traffic and congestion on our roads.

SB18-200 SB18-200 Modifications to PERA Public Employees' Retirement Association to Eliminate Unfunded Liability

This bill implements changes to the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) with the goal of eliminating the unfunded liability and reaching a 100 percent funded ratio for each division within the next 30 years.

It is critically important to make the necessary changes to improve the financial viability of PERA in this 2018 legislative session. Every year that the legislature fails to act costs Colorado taxpayers more money and negatively impacts the state’s credit rating and its ability to attract companies and jobs. Although this bill is not perfect, it is an important step towards addressing the state’s pension system’s $32 billion unfunded liability.

SB18-216 Alternate Fuel Vehicles Public Utilities

This bill enables public utilities to recover the costs of implementing electric or natural gas vehicle 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. This bill encourages investment in innovation, infrastructure and alternative fuel and energy technologies.

SB18-230 Modify Laws Drilling Units Pooling Orders

This bill modifies reporting and disclosure requirements to provide clarity and notice to all impacted parties of pooling procedures and options available to mineral owners and reduces the liability for those owners who do not voluntary consent to pooled drilling in instances where they are compelled to allow access to their minerals.

Colorado is recognized as a national and international model of responsible oil and gas development. By proactively updating this statute and providing more protections for non-consenting mineral rights owners, this bill allows the pooling process to be facilitated more fairly for all parties involved.

SB18-277 Virtual Currency Exemption Money Transmitters Act

This bill exempts the transmission of virtual currency from regulation under the Colorado “Money Transmitters Act.”

This bill creates an uneven playing field by exempting the transmission of virtual currency and puts consumers at risk by not extending protections that are offered for the rest of the digital banking industry.

SCR18-004 Congressional Redistricting

This concurrent resolution will send a question to voters in the November 2018 ballot, which, if passed, will amend the state constitution and transfer the responsibility to divide the state into congressional districts away from the General Assembly to a new commission. This also creates the new 12-member Congressional Reapportionment Commission, which would be equally composed of Democrats, Republicans and the unaffiliated to draw district competitive boundaries.

For 150 years, the Chamber has been a leading voice for small and large businesses across the state, ensuring Colorado remains an attractive place to do business and live. Designating a new commission that is balanced, equally comprised and representative of all Coloradans, will avoid gerrymandering and ensure a more transparent and competitive redistricting and reapportionment process for Colorado.

SCR18-005 Legislative Redistricting

This concurrent resolution will send a question to voters in the November 2018 ballot, which, if passed, will amend the state constitution and transfer the responsibility to divide the state into state Senate districts and state House districts away from the General Assembly to a newly created Redistricting Commission. This also creates the new 12-member Redistricting Commission, which would be equally composed of Democrats, Republicans and the unaffiliated to draw competitive district boundaries.

For 150 years, the Chamber has been a leading voice for small and large businesses across the state, ensuring Colorado remains an attractive place to do business and live. Designating a new impartial commission that is balanced, equally comprised and representative of all Coloradans, will avoid gerrymandering and ensure a more transparent and competitive redistricting and reapportionment processes for Colorado.