In this Capitol Report:
- Governor Issues Executive Order on Transition of Energy Resources
- Legislative Sales & Use Tax Simplification Task Force Holds First Meeting
- Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner Named New Executive Director for State’s Department of Regulatory Agencies
- Fed Council is NEXT Tuesday, July 18th
- CACI Member Adventure & Opportunity - Come Ride the Union Pacific Historic Rail!
- Federal Policy Briefs
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State Policy News
Governor Issues Executive Order on Transition of Energy Resources
This week, Governor Hickenlooper issued a controversial Executive Order outlining his support for the State of Colorado to transition its energy resources. In the Executive Order, the Governor declares the following goals:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide by more than 26% by 2025, as compared to 2005 levels;
- A 25% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 2015, as compared to 2012 levels;
- A 35% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 2030, as compared to 2012 levels;
- Achieving electricity savings of 2% of total electricity sales per year by 2020 through cost-effective energy efficiency.
In the Executive Order, the Governor directs Colorado’s state agencies to work with “interested electric utilities or cooperatives that on a “voluntary basis would like to maximize its use of renewable energy…”
Additional provisions of the Executive Order for the transition of the State’s energy resources include:
- Directing the Colorado Energy Office, the Regional Air Quality Council and the CO Department of Public Health & Environment to develop a statewide Electric Vehicle Plan by January 1, 2018;
- Directing the CO Department of Public Health & Environment to develop a state greenhouse gas emissions reporting rule that mirrors the federal rule;
- Requiring certain state agencies to identify partnership opportunities with local jurisdictions to support locally-led climate goals;
- Requiring an annual update to the Governor by the Office of Economic Development, Department of Local Affairs, and the Department of Labor & Employment that includes those agencies’ economic development strategies for communities impacted by a “changing energy landscape”;
- Directing the Department of Natural Resources to amend the Colorado Climate Plan by October 1, 2017 to incorporate the goals listed in numbers 1-4 above.
A swift reaction was shared by the Senate Republicans who expressed their strong disappointment with the Governor’s Executive Order. See a copy of the Press Release here.
Legislative Sales & Use Tax Simplification Task Force Holds First Meeting
On Tuesday of this week, the Sales & Use Simplification Task Force, created through House Bill 17-1216, held its first meeting to discuss general goals for simplification of the current sales tax system in Colorado. The Task Force also heard from several panelists ranging from the Department of Revenue, legislative staff, the Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties, Inc., and members of the Colorado business community.
CACI’s Senior Vice President of State & Federal Governmental Relations, Loren Furman, testified at the Task Force meeting and discussed several areas in which the Task Force could focus its work and provide simplification for Colorado taxpayers. Mrs. Furman provided an overview of the work conducted by CACI’s Tax Council members and Colorado Municipal League representatives over the last two years regarding the Standardized Sales Tax Definitions Project. That effort involved collaboration between CACI and CML and other interest groups to ensure that Colorado taxpayers can rely on a consistent defintion for a taxable item from city-to-city. Mrs. Furman shared that the project has been completed and that the first priority of the Task Force could be to encourage the cities that have not adopted the standardized definitions to do so as soon as possible. At this time, 13 cities have adopted the standardized defnitions, however, 56 cities are still pending.
Mrs. Furman also discussed in her testimony additional opportunities that the Task Force could tackle to simplify Colorado taxpayers’ collection and reporting requirements. Those opportunities would be a continuation of the work conducted through the DOR Blueprint Project Working Group which was comprised of DOR representatives, CACI Tax Council representatives and other business groups. The opportunities she identified include:
- a state-run database for taxpayers to submit their tax return & payments in one place;
- Standardized tax returns (city-by-city);
- The ability for taxpayers to access and download State’s address locator database so they can link it to their own database.
The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled on August 15th at 9a.m. – 4:30p.m., and the Task Force will hold at least eight meetings during its term. The first report is due to the General Assembly by the Task Force by November 2017. Subsequent reports will be due in 2018 and 2019. The task force is scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2020.
Details for Upcoming Task Force Meetings:
August 15th at 9a.m. – 4:30p.m.
September 15th at 9a.m. – 4:30p.m.
November 1st 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Colorado State Capitol
Please contact Loren Furman at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-866-9642 if you should have any questions regarding this matter.
Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner Named New Executive Director for State’s Department of Regulatory Agencies
Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Marguerite Salazar as the new executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Salazar is currently Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner. She replaces Joe Neguse who announced his resignation last month. Salazar begins her role as DORA’s executive director on July 24, 2017.
Salazar has served as Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner since Aug. 19, 2013. In this role, she oversees the regulation of the insurance industry in Colorado as head of the Division of Insurance, one of the nine divisions within DORA.
Prior to joining the state, Salazar served as the Region 8 Regional Director for the Department of Health and Human Services. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to oversee the implementation of the Affordable Care Act not only in Colorado but also in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, North Dakota and South Dakota. She also led one of the largest Community Health Centers in the country for more than 25 years.
“Few are more deserving and capable of this position than Marguerite,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “She has guided the Division of Insurance through a time of great change in our country and has helped Colorado be a leader in the industry. Her experience in one of the agency’s divisions provides a steady and guiding hand during this time of transition.”
DORA’s Executive Director’s Office provides leadership and support to DORA’s nine divisions: Banking, Civil Rights, Financial Services, Insurance, Professions and Occupations, Real Estate, Securities, the Office of Consumer Counsel and the Public Utilities Commission. Functions of the Executive Director’s Office include administrative oversight as well as the Colorado Office of Policy, Research & Regulatory Reform (COPRRR) and the Broadband Fund.
Federal Policy News
Fed Council is NEXT Tuesday, July 18th
**PLEASE NOTE: Location & start time have changed**
SAFETY INFO: Must have ID to enter the facility. Please wear or bring a long-sleeved shirt, pants and close-toed shoes. Comfy shoes are recommended! Brewery rooms are chilly so consider bringing a jacket as well.
CACI Member Adventure & Opportunity - Come Ride the Union Pacific Historic Rail!
Union Pacific invites CACI members to join them for a special train ride aboard UPRR’s Heritage Fleet!
Please join us on Thursday, July 20, 2017, for a journey from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Commerce City, Colorado aboard Union Pacific’s historic, restored passenger cars powered by the No. 844 Steam locomotive.
“Help us honor the past, celebrate the present and look forward to the future of Union Pacific’s role in Building America and the West.”
- The UPRR trip runs from 6:45am to ~12:30pm
This event has very limited spaces, so please contact Leah Curtsinger at (303) 866-9641 by Monday, July 17 if you are interested or would like more details. RSVPs will be accepted on a first-come basis!
Federal Policy Briefs
- August Recess: U.S. Senate announces two-week delay of August Congressional recess in order to address healthcare reforms.
- Healthcare Changes: Today, the Senate publicly released new changes to the Senate’s healthcare proposal. To read more, this graphic link compares changes among proposed bills: à What The Senate Healthcare Bills Changes, Washington Post
- Must Address Items: By September 30, 2017, Congress must tackle S-CHIP (children’s health insurance), the government-funded flood insurance program reauthorization, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, & PDUFA, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act reauthorization.
- Must Address Items, post-Sept 30: U.S. Defense authorization, debt ceiling limits, federal government funding, all other appropriations bills, and expiring sequestration limits.
- Presidential & Congressional Priorities: For healthcare reform to be addressed in the Senate before the (delayed) August recess. Within the FAA reauthorization, President Trump wants to see air traffic controllers privatized. Most on Capitol Hill are saying tax reform would begin in December at the earliest, with an infrastructure package now not likely to be introduced in Congress before 2018.