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State Policy News
Ready or Not: The Legislative Session Begins Wednesday
The first regular session of the 71st Colorado General Assembly begins next Wednesday, January 11th, at 10 a.m. when both the House and the Senate are called to order.
CACI’s mission is to champion a healthy business climate, and one of its four key objectives is to maintain and improve the cost of doing business. Any state government action—whether by legislation or regulation—that increases the cost of doing business for employers will hamper their efforts to create and retain jobs.
For CACI members and the statewide business community that it represents, the 2017 session–given the results of the November legislative elections–will be critical to CACI’s mission.
Although the Republicans still control the Senate by one vote, the Democrats increased their control of the House by three seats, giving them a 37-to-28 margin.
On the one hand, given the national and state political discontent of 2016, the session could once again be very partisan and contentious as each party continues to jockey for advantage.
The new leadership of the minority House Republicans includes:
- Minority Leader Patrick Neville (Franktown)
- Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist (Centennial)
- Whip Perry Buck (Windsor)
- Caucus Chair Lori Saine (Firestone)
On the Democratic side of the aisle in the House, Democrats will assume power either in leadership or as committee chairs, including:
- House Majority Leader K.C. Becker (D-Boulder)
- Representative Mike Foote (D-Lafayette), who will chair the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, which is commonly known as the Speaker’s “kill committee.”
Both the House and Senate will be led by new majority party leaders, who may be able to forge new avenues of communication and cooperation on such important issues as construction-defect law reform and transportation funding:
- Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) who will become Senate President; and
- House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), who will become Speaker.
As it has been in recent years, CACI’s goal in 2017 is to work with pro-business allies of both parties when a balance exists between the two parties with one controlling the House and one controlling the Senate. This balance existed during the 2011-2012 sessions and again in the 2015-2016 sessions.
As it has during recent past legislative sessions, CACI will continue to urge Governor John Hickenlooper and the legislators to focus on measures in this election year that will improve the business climate for employers, whose continued economic rebound from the 2008-2009 recession will result in increased employment and greater tax revenues for state government.
Since last fall, CACI, through its various policy councils, has been preparing for the session by studying such important business issues as taxation, health insurance, employment law and energy and the environment. In general, CACI will advocate legislation and regulation that will improve the state’s business climate and oppose bills that are “bad-for-business.”
Whiting Petroleum Corporation’s Huggins Named to Chair CACI’s Air Quality Committee
Andrea Huggins, Whiting Petroleum Corporation, has been named by CACI Environment and Energy Council Chair John Jacus, Partner, Davis Graham & Stubbs to chair the Council’s Air Quality Committee. She manages air quality for Whiting Petroleum Corporation’s assets in Colorado and several other states.
The Council has four Committees:
- Air Quality;
- Energy, chaired by Heidi Morgan, State Manager Government Affairs, Black Hills Energy Corporation;
- Industrial Waste, chaired by Lynn Kornefeld, Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels; and
- Water, chaired by Jerry Raisch, Partner, Vranesh and Raisch.
Ms. Huggins has more 15 years of experience in environmental permitting, compliance and management for the oil-and-gas, power generation, and manufacturing sectors. She has extensive experience in air quality for the oil-and gas-industry, including permitting, emission inventories, regulatory compliance and agency interaction.
Ms. Huggins is also experienced in managing other aspects of environmental compliance, including Due Diligence, EPCRA, SPCC, Stormwater, Water Discharge, Waste, Investigation, Monitoring and Remediation. She has developed and managed comprehensive air permitting and compliance programs and greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting programs. She also has managed the corporate environmental program for a natural gas midstream company.