In this Capitol Report:
- Transportation Funding Bill Awaits First Senate Committee Hearing
- Return of “Ban the Box”: HB-1305
- Paid Family-and-Medical Leave Bill to be Heard Tuesday in House Committee
- “Colorado Secure Savings Plan” Calendared for First Hearing
- CACI Federal Policy Council is THIS Tuesday, April 11th – RSVP now!
- Federal Happenings: Gorsuch update
- CACI's Legislative Agenda
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State Policy News
Transportation Funding Bill Awaits First Senate Committee Hearing
Last Friday, the House gave final approval to an extensively amended HB-1242, which sent the transportation funding bill to the Senate. If approved by the legislature, the referendum would go before the voters in November as required by TABOR.
The Senate majority Republican leadership assigned the bill to the Senate Transportation Committee. A hearing date for the HB-1242 has not yet been set.
The current version of the bill would increase the state sales-and-use tax by 0.62 percent from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent for 20 years to generate a projected $705.2 million in new revenue during the first full fiscal year (2018-2019) in which it would be in effect.
The proposal would use the revenue stream from the sales tax increase to allow the issuance of up to $3.5 billion in State bonds to kick-start priority projects. Funds also would be provided to local governments and for “multi-modal” projects.
On March 16th, the CACI Board of Directors voted to support HB-1242 as introduced.
The most recent fiscal note, which is 13 pages long, was issued yesterday.
For more information about HB-1242, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.
For news media coverage of the bill, read:
“Transportation bill passes Colorado house with some bipartisan backing,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 31st.
“House Sends Transportation Bill to Senate,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, March 31st.
Return of “Ban the Box”: HB-1305
For the second legislative session in a row, House Democrats are advocating a proposal, HB-1305, known colloquially as the “ban the box” proposal, that would, among other things, bar employers from asking job applicants to acknowledge on a job application form whether or not they have a criminal history.
Last year’s bill, HB-1388, was passed by the Democrat-controlled House but died in the Republican-controlled Senate’s ”kill committee,” the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
Once again, the CACI Labor and Employment Council has taken a positon of strong opposition to the proposal.
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing for HB-1305 when it convenes for a session at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 13th, in Room 112 at the State Capitol.
Here’s the summary of the introduced bill:
The bill applies to employers with 4 or more employees and prohibits those employers from:
- Advertising that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position;
- Placing a statement in an employment application that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position; or
- Making an inquiry about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application.
- An employer may obtain a job applicant’s criminal background report at any point during the hiring process.
- An employer is exempt from the restrictions on advertising and initial employment applications when:
- The law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a particular crime from being employed in a particular job; or
- The employer is participating in a program to encourage employment of people with criminal histories.
The department of labor and employment is charged with enforcing the requirements of the bill and may issue warnings and orders of compliance for violations and, for second or subsequent violations, impose civil penalties. A violation of the restrictions does not create a private cause of action, and the bill does not create a protected class under employment antidiscrimination laws. The department is directed to adopt rules regarding procedures for handling complaints against employers.
For more information about HB-1305, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.
Paid Family-and-Medical Leave Bill to be Heard Tuesday in House Committee
A bill to create a paid family-and-medical leave insurance program, which would be created as a “state enterprise” that would be administered by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, will receive its first hearing next Tuesday, April 11th, by the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee when it convenes for a session at 1:30 p.m. in Room A of the Legislative Services Building.
The House sponsor is Representative Faith Winter (D-Westminster).
As with similar bills in prior sessions, the CACI Labor and Employment Council strongly opposes the measure.
A notable aspect of HB-1307 is that it would apply to every worker in the state, both private and public sector: “On and after July 1, 2019, every individual employed by an employer in this state shall pay a premium in an amount to be determined by the director” of the insurance program.
Here’s the legislature’s summary of the bill:
The bill creates the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program in the division of family and medical leave insurance (division) in the department of labor and employment (department) to provide partial wage-replacement benefits to an eligible individual who takes leave from work to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition or who is unable to work due to the individual’s own serious health condition.
Each employee in the state will pay a premium determined by the director of the division by rule, which premium is based on a percentage of the employee’s yearly wages and must not exceed .99%. The premiums are deposited into the family and medical leave insurance fund from which family and medical leave benefits are paid to eligible individuals. The director may also impose a solvency surcharge by rule if determined necessary to ensure the soundness of the fund. The division is established as an enterprise, and premiums paid into the fund are not considered state revenues for purposes of the taxpayer’s bill of rights (TABOR).
After interviewing CACI’s Loren Furman about this proposal more than a month ago, Ed Sealover, veteran statehouse reporter for The Denver Business Journal, wrote:
But Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal government relations for the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI), said that small businesses especially would have a hard time implementing the proposed law.
Many won’t have the resources to keep a position open or find a temporary replacement for as long as 12 weeks, she said. Also, she added, the revenue stream to operate the system may not be sustainable, and some workers will feel cheated having to pay into the system even if their employer already offers long-term family leave.
“We have very similar concerns as we did in past years,” Furman said. “This will still require every employer to allow a worker 12 weeks of leave regardless of the type of business that they operate. Some employers don’t have the flexibility to offer that.
Meanwhile, one CACI member reached out to CACI at that time to comment on the proposal. Mark Welle, CEO of Wesco Laser Machining, wrote:
Even though there is an attempt at “self-funding”, the major problem with this proposed bill, as you pointed out, is small businesses having to save a job for 12 weeks or more. It is hard enough to find qualified employees to fill a full time job. But virtually impossible to find a temporary employee with the skills needed to take an assignment and not expect “full time” status. The only manufacturing businesses that can afford to offer this type of benefit are the companies with more than 500 employees. But, as you know, most of these large businesses already offer this type of benefit.
A fiscal note for HB-1307 has not yet been released.
For more information about HB-1307, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.
“Colorado Secure Savings Plan” Calendared for First Hearing
Representative Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood), House Majority Whip, and Representative Janet Buckner (D-Aurora) have proposed a bill, HB-1290, to create a state-chartered retirement system for low-income workers whose employers do not offer retirement plans. Workers would contribute a portion of their compensation. Last year, the two legislators pulled a similar bill, HB-1403.
The House Business Affairs and Labor Committee has scheduled a hearing on HB-1290 when it meets in Room A, Legislative Services Building, for a session beginning at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 17th.
Here’s the legislature’s summary of the bill:
The bill establishes the Colorado secure savings plan (plan), which is a retirement savings plan for private-sector employees in the form of an automatic enrollment payroll deduction individual retirement account.
Employers with a specified number of employees in the state are required to participate in the plan, but any employer may choose to participate in the plan.
The Colorado secure savings plan board of trustees (board) is created and consists of the state controller, the director of the governor’s office of state planning and budgeting, and 7 additional trustees with certain experience who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. The trustees on the board have a fiduciary duty to the plan’s enrollees and beneficiaries and are required to:
- Establish investment options that offer employees returns on contributions without incurring debt or liabilities to the state;
- Establish the process for allocating investment earnings and losses to individual plan accounts on a pro rata basis;
- Make and enter into contracts and hire staff as necessary for the administration of the plan;
- Conduct a periodic review of the performance of any investment vendors;
- Cause money in the Colorado secure savings plan fund (fund) to be invested with the intent to achieve cost savings through efficiencies and economies of scale;
- Establish the process for an enrollee to contribute a portion of his or her wages to the plan for automatic deposit and establish the process by which the participating employer forwards those contributions to the plan;
- Establish the process for enrollment in the plan including the process by which an employee can opt not to participate in the plan;
- Accept gifts, grants, and donations from specified entities and pursue options for bank loans or a line of credit to cover the start-up costs of the plan;
- Procure, as needed, insurance against loss in connection with the property, assets, or activities of the plan;
- Allocate administrative fees to individual retirement accounts in the plan on a pro rata basis;
- Set minimum and maximum contribution levels;
- Facilitate education and outreach to employers and employees;
- Ensure that the plan complies with all applicable state and federal laws;
- Deposit all gifts, grants, donations, fees, and earnings from investment of moneys in the fund into the fund and pay the administrative costs and expenses for the creation, management, and operation of the plan from moneys in the fund;
- Determine any nominal and reasonable assistance that may be provided to businesses to offset the initial costs of enrolling employees in the plan;
- Prepare or cause to be prepared certain annual audits and annual reports regarding the plan;
- Develop a process to ensure that employers are in compliance with the requirements of the plan and develop a penalty structure for employers who fail, without reasonable cause, to enroll employees in the plan; and
- Conduct or cause to be conducted a financial feasibility study to ensure that the plan will be self-sustaining.
The bill specifies the process by which the board is required to engage an investment manager to invest the assets of the plan and specifies the investment options that the board is required to create.
The bill creates the fund as a trust outside of the state treasury, specifies that the fund will include the individual retirement accounts of enrollees in the plan, and allows the board to use a certain percentage of money in the fund for the administrative expenses of the plan. The money in the fund is not property of the state and cannot be commingled with state money.
The board must design and disseminate employer and employee information packets regarding the plan and the options for employee participation in the plan to all employers that participate in the plan.
If, based on the required financial feasibility study, the board determines that the plan will be self-sustaining and would promote greater retirement savings for private-sector employees, the board must recommend to the general assembly that the plan be implemented. The board may not implement the plan unless the general assembly, acting by bill, directs the board to implement the plan.
The bill dictates the timing for the board to implement the plan, if directed to do so by the general assembly, and a time frame for employers to establish a system by which enrollees in the plan can remit payroll deduction contributions to the plan. Employers must automatically enroll employees in the plan unless an employee has opted out of participation in the plan. Enrollees may select an investment option and contribution level or use the default investment option and contribution amount established by the board.
The bill specifies that the state and employers do not have any duty or liability to any party for the payments of any retirement savings benefits accrued by any individual through the plan.
The bill’s fiscal note, issued Monday, contains a detailed analysis of the measure.
The primary intellectual horsepower behind this concept comes from The Bell Policy Center.
For more information on HB-1290, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.
Federal Policy News
CACI Federal Policy Council is THIS Tuesday, April 11th – RSVP now!
Join CACI’s Federal Policy Council to talk about Congress’ next project: “Tax Reform & Why We Should Prepare NOW”
- Guest Speaker: Darin James, Corporate & Federal Tax Policy Specialist, RubinBrown LLP
Plus, updates on:
- Congressional timelines
- Budget proposals – President Trump vs. Congress
- “CRAs” & Executive Orders update
- Status of: WOTUS, Fiduciary Rule, health care, EEOC’s Wage Reporting Rule, DOL’s Overtime Rule
For questions about this council or other federal topics, contact CACI Federal Policy Director Leah Curtsinger, (303) 866-9641.
Federal Happenings: Gorsuch update
- Senate Democrats filibustered the Neil Gorsuch nomination yesterday
- Senate Majority leadership changes Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations
- 10 Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado confirmed (54-46) as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia
CACI's Legislative Agenda
Below is a list of bills and their status on which CACI Policy Councils and the Board of Directors have taken positions. For more information on the bills, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642
|Energy & Environment Council Bills||Bill Title/Description||Council Position|
|SB 14 by Sen. Baumgardner/Rep. Becker, J.||Inspection requirements/Underground Tanks||Support|
|SB 89 by Sens. Fenberg & Lundberg||Installation Electricity Storage Systems||Oppose/Dead|
|SB 145 by Sen. Fenberg & Rep. Foote||Electric Utility Distribution Acquisition Plan||Oppose/Dead|
|SB 188 by Sen. Marble||Repeal Income Tax Credit Motor Vehicles||Oppose|
|HB 1227 by Reps Winter & Sen. Priola||Electric Demand-Side Mngt Program Extension||Support|
|HB 1256 by Rep. Foote||Oil & Gas Set-Backs/Schools||Oppose|
|SB 271 by Sen. Cooke & Rep. Pabon||Investor Owned Utility Cost Recovery Program||Oppose|
|HB 1336 by Reps. Young & Foote||Additional Protections/Forced Pooling||Oppose|
|HB 1256 by Rep. Foote||Oil & Gas Set-Backs/Schools||Oppose/Dead|
|SJM 005 by Sen. Jones & Rep. Foote||Reduce Energy Subsidies||Oppose|
|Health Care Council Bills||Bill Title/Description||Council Position|
|SB 003 by Sen. Smallwood & Rep. Neville||Repeal of CO Health Benefit Exchange||Monitor|
|SB 57 by Sen. Guzman||Hospital Provider Fee Enterprise||Support/Dead|
|SB 88 by Sen. Holbert & Rep. Hooten||Network of Providers||Neutral /Signed by Gov|
|SB 151 by Sen. Crowder & Rep. Ginal||Consumer Access to Hlth Care/Intermediaries||Oppose/Dead|
|SB 206 by Sen. Gardner & Rep. Singer||Out-of-Network Providers Payments||Oppose/Dead|
|HB 1236 by Rep. Kennedy & Sen. Coram||Annual Report on Hospital Expenditures||Oppose|
|HB 1247 by Rep. Danielson & Sen. Sonnenberg||Patient Choice Health Care||Oppose/Dead|
|HB 1286 by Rep. Esgar & Sen. Crowder||State Employee Health Carrier Requirements||Oppose|
|HB 1318 by Rep. Ginal & Sen. Crowder||Annual Report Pharmaceutical Costs Data||Oppose|
|Labor & Employment Council Bills||Bill Title/Description||Council Position|
|SB 001 by Sen. Neville & Rep. Neville||Alleviate Fiscal Impact of State Regulations||Support/Dead|
|HB 1001 by Rep. Buckner||Parental Leave for Academic Activities||Neutral/Dead|
|SB 187 by Sen. Tate & Rep. Carver||Reduce Regulatory Burden Rules on Business||Support|
|HB 1269 by Rep. Danielson/Nordberg & Sen. Donovan||Discussing Salaries Among Employees||Neutral|
|HB 1290 by Rep. Pettersen||Retirement Savings Mandate||Oppose|
|HB 1021 by Rep. Danielson & Sen. Cooke||Wage Theft Transparency||Neutral|
|HB 1254 by Rep. K. Becker & Sen. Kagan||Removal of Cap on Non-Economic Damages||Oppose|
|HB 1305 by Rep. Foote & Sen. Guzman||Limits on Job Applicant Criminal History Inquiries||Oppose|
|HB 1307 by Rep. Winter||Family & Medical Leave Wage Replacement||Oppose|
|SB 276 by Sen. Tate & Rep. Tate||Alleviate Fiscal Impact of State Regulations||Support|
|HB 1314 by Reps. Salazar & Melton||Colorado Right to Rest||Oppose|
|SB 186 by Sen. Tate & Rep. Carver||Reduce Regulatory Burden Rules on Business||Support|
|Tax Council Bills||Bill Title/Description||Council Position|
|SB 009 by Sen. Crowder||Increase Per-Schedule Exemption on BPPT||Support|
|HB 1049 by Rep. Thurlow||Elimination of Interest/Tax Abatements||Neutral as Amended|
|HB 1063 by Rep. Leonard/Sen. Neville||Concerning Reduction in BPPT||Support/Dead|
|HB 1090 by Rep. Kraft-Tharpe/Sen. Gardner||Continuation Advanced Industry Tax Credit||Support|
|SB 112 by Sen. Neville & Rep. Pabon||Intergovernmental Tax Disputes||Support/Signed by Gov.|
|HB 1216 by Rep. Kraft-Tharpe/Sen. Neville||Sales & Use Tax Simplification Task Force||Support|
|Governmental Affairs Council Bills||Bill Title/Description||Council Position|
|SB 191 by Sen. Tate & Rep. Wist, Willett||Market Based Rates/Interest on Judgments||Support|
|SB 213 by Sen. Hill||Automated Driving Motor Vehicles||Support|
|HB 1254 by Rep. KC Becker & Sen. Kagan||Removal of Caps on Non-Economic Damages||Oppose|
|HB 1309 by Rep. Jackson & Sen. Guzman||Documentary Fee To Fund Affordable Housing||Oppose|
|CACI Board of Directors’ Bills||Bill Title/Description||Board Position|
|SB 45 by Sen. Grantham & Rep. Duran||Const. Defect Claim Allocation of Defense Costs||Support|
|SB 155 by Sen. Tate & Rep. Saine||Statutory Definition of Construction||Support|
|SB 156 by Sen. Hill & Rep. Wist||HOA Const. Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines||Support|
|SB 157 by Sen. Williams & Rep. Melton||Const. Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval||Support/Dead|
|HB 1169 by Rep. Leonard & Sen. Tate||Const. Defect Litigation Builder's Right To Repair||Support/Dead|
|HB 1242 by Speaker Duran & Prez. Grantham||New Transportation Infrastructure Funding||Support as Introduced|
|SB 267 by Sen. Sonnenberg & Rep. K. Becker||Sustainability of Rural Colorado (Hosp Provider)||Support|