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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
  • Support
  • Oppose
  • Neutral
  • STATUS Key
  • Passed
  • Failed
  • Vetoed
  • Active
Bill # Title Summary Position Justification Materials Pillars Status
HB20-1002 College Credit for Work Experience

This bill puts in place a multi-year plan to develop and implement a program that will award college credit for work-related experience including self-employment, internships and apprenticeships. By 2022, the process for the program must be created, and beginning with the 2023-24 academic year, the program must be implemented.

Our competitive advantage is our talented workforce, but if we don’t get more of our kids to and through college, we could jeopardize that advantage. This bill increases the value of work-based learning for students (something the Chamber is an advocate for), because those apprenticeships and internships will be tied to post-secondary credit, transferable to credentials.

HB20-1003 Rural Jump-start Zone Act Modifications

The Rural Jump Start program allows “Tax-friendly Zones” to be created in the state’s highly distressed counties. This bill extends the program for an additional five years. Businesses approved to locate in a rural jump-start zone are entitled to tax-friendly zone program benefits including income, sales and use and property tax credits as determined by the Colorado Economic Development Commission. It restricts the approval of a new business that directly competes with a similar business in the zone and adds economic development organizations, in addition to institutions of higher education, to entities that can participate in the program.

This bill provides targeted support in rural, distressed communities for job creation and business attraction. The Chamber supported the development of this program and is supportive of this legislative change to add economic development organizations as eligible entities for funding and amends restrictions on competition. It continues to support overall economic development for the state and increases the likelihood of approval for companies in rural areas.

HB20-1022 Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force

The Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force develops recommendations that streamline sales and use tax between the state and local government. This bill extends the authorization for the task force for an additional five years and removes the requirement that the task force undergo an evaluation by the Department of Regulatory Agencies prior to the task force’s repeal.

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

HB20-1023 State Address Data for Sales and Use Tax Collection

This bill establishes a hold harmless provision for vendors who use the state’s geographic information system database to determine the jurisdictions to which their sales or use tax is owed and to calculate appropriate sales or use tax rates. It also requires the Department of Revenue to ensure accuracy and notify vendors when the database is verified as operational and available for use.

This bill comes out of the Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force and protects businesses that use the state’s geographic information system database to calculate their sales and use tax rates.

HB20-1024 Net Operating Loss Deduction Modifications

Under current law, Colorado businesses can carry forward their net operating loss deduction for the same number of years as allowed federally. The federal “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” enacted in 2017 removed the 20-year limit set previously to allow businesses to carry forward their deductions in perpetuity. This bill sets the Colorado limit to 20 years.

The Chamber is supportive of aligning with federal guidelines and is discussing the impacts of this bill with members.

HB20-1025 Sales Tax Exemption Industrial and Manufacturing Energy Use

The sales tax exemption for energy use exempts the sale and purchase of electricity, coal, gas, fuel oil, steam, coke or nuclear fuel for specific uses outlined in the exemption. This bill would require businesses to meter separately for those specific uses in order to qualify for the exemption.

This bill would substantially increase costs for businesses because they would need to meter every room to separate those that are directly tied to manufacturing and those that are not, making it cost prohibitive for many.

HB20-1033 Live And Let Live Act

This bill will allow an employee to refuse to serve a customer based on their own 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 will set Colorado back 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. This bill would put our ability to attract top companies and workers at risk.

HB20-1039 Transparent State Web Portal Search Rules

This bill requires a state agency conducting a rulemaking to post notifications of the proceedings on a centralized website and mobile app.

This would make it easier for businesses of all sizes to be aware of rulemaking proceedings that impact them.

HB20-1048 Race Trait Hairstyle Anti-discrimination Protect

This bill protects against discrimination on the basis of hairstyle(s) historically associated with race.

The Chamber is committed to creating safe and inclusive workplaces for our employees and this bill supports those efforts.

HB20-1053 Supports for Early Childhood Educator Workforce

This bill facilitates the recruitment and retention of Colorado’s early childhood educator workforce by directing the State Board of Human Services in the Department of Human Services to establish additional licensing standards, including approving additional credentials, applying points to a credential based on previous experience, developing resources to support concurrent enrollment opportunities, creating a retention grant and scholarship program (funding decided by General Assembly) and creating an apprenticeship program.

Access to quality childcare is important to our entire workforce, allowing more parents to engage in the economy; addressing this educator shortage by creating relevant experiences to fill these roles; and laying a foundation of knowledge for our future workforce. Every dollar spent on early childhood education services contributes $2.25 to the state’s economy by enabling parents of young children to work.

HB20-1070 Local Government Liable Fracking Ban Oil and Gas Moratorium

This bill specifies that local governments that ban fracking are liable to the mineral owner for the value of the mineral and shall compensate oil and gas operators, mineral lessees and royalty owners for all costs, damages and losses associated with any moratorium placed on oil and gas activities.

The Chamber maintains a firm position that local fracking bans are unconstitutional. This bill 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.

HB20-1089 Employee Protection Lawful Off-duty Activities

This bill prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for the employee's off-duty activities that are lawful under state law even if those activities are not lawful under federal law.

The Chamber supports employers’ rights to maintain a drug-free workplace as upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court. This legislation undermines an employer’s ability to create that safe environment and, for certain employers, could cause them to violate federal law.

HB20-1109 Tax Credit Employer Contribution to Employee 529s

This bill extends the income tax credit for an employer who contributes to an employee’s 529-qualified state tuition program account for an additional 10 years.

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

SB20-013 Promote Innovative and Clean Energy Technologies

This bill would allow an investor-owned public utility to seek approval from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to implement an innovative energy technology project which would allow them to test emerging technologies in an effort to lower emissions. It would also allow the public utility to recuperate costs it incurs from researching, testing and implementing the project.

The Chamber is supportive of efforts to reduce emission of greenhouse gases. This bill creates a pathway for investor-owned utilities to test emerging energy technologies which, if successful, would allow them to achieve aggressive carbon emission reduction goals.

SB20-080 Consumer Protection Act Damages

This bill amends the Colorado Consumer Protection Act to state that a plaintiff in an individual action may be awarded damages of $500 per violation and allows a class action lawsuit to be brought under the act.

This bill will result in increased unnecessary and costly lawsuits making it much more expensive for businesses to operate in Colorado and dampening economic development efforts currently underway to attract more good paying jobs to this state. It also incentivizes bringing class actions for smaller classes by making attorney fees available, as opposed to only being available in individual claims, as they are currently.

SB20-084 Prohibit Requiring Employee Immunization

This bill prohibits discriminatory employment practices based on employee’s immunization status, including health facilities.

This bill would hinder a business’s ability to create a safe and healthy work environment and potentially cause non-compliance when certain standards, for example OSHA, direct them to require vaccinations for their employees. The Chamber’s primary interest is lowering the cost of health care, and preventive care, like immunizations, is a documented way to do that.

SB20-094 Plug-in Electric Motor Vehicle Registration Fees

This bill authorizes the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise to impose fees on the registration of plug-in electric motor vehicles. Fees would contribute to funding for surface transportation infrastructure projects.

We have underfunded transportation for decades, and it’s costing us $7.1 billion each year because of traffic congestion delays, damage to vehicles, accidents and lost gas efficiency – and those costs will only continue to increase if this issue goes unaddressed. Because transportation system is primarily funded through gas tax, it cannot account for electric motor vehicles and their impact. While we prefer a system where usage is tied directly to fees, we recognize that there are challenges in doing so at this time and support efforts to ensure all drivers are contributing to maintaining the roads they use.

SB20-099 Thresholds for Sales Tax Collection Requirements

In December 2018, the Department of Revenue adopted various rules related to sales tax collection, including a destination sourcing rule that requires retailers without a physical presence in a taxing jurisdiction to collect sales tax based on the goods and services that are delivered to that jurisdiction. This bill adjusts the exemption to retailers that generate less than $200,000 in gross revenue outside of its local taxing jurisdiction.

Colorado is among the states with the most complicated sales and use tax systems in the country, with over 550 jurisdictions that levy sales taxes. This bill eases the burden for small businesses while minimizing the impact on jurisdictions.