In this Capitol Report:
- CACI-Initiated Bill to Grant Tax Incentive to Aerospace Industry Scheduled for First House Committee Hearing
- Wage Claims Bill Passes Second Senate Committee, Heads to Appropriations Committee
- CDPHE Officials Brief CACI Energy and Environment Council on Goals and Legislative Agenda
- CACI Seeks Program Manager for the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative
- News Media Coverage
- Fate of Federal Immigration Reform Still Uncertain
- House Democrats Introduce Net Neutrality Bill
- NRLB Resurrects Ambush Rule; Seeks Public Comment
This Capitol Report is brought to you by:
CACI State Policy News
CACI-Initiated Bill to Grant Tax Incentive to Aerospace Industry Scheduled for First House Committee Hearing
HB-1178, whose title is “Concerning a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Qualified Property Used in Space Flight,” is scheduled to be heard by the House Finance Committee next Thursday, morning, February 13th, when the Committee convenes “upon adjournment” by the House of its Floor Session.
The Committee will probably begin its hearing about 9:30 a.m. in Room A of the Legislative Services Building, which is directly south of the State Capitol across East 14th Avenue.
The House prime co-sponsors are Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) and Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland), who is a member of the Finance Committee.
The proposal, which was described in detail in last week’s issue of The Colorado Capitol Report, creates a sales-and-use tax exemption for “qualified property” used in space flight. The qualified property includes, for example, space vehicles and components, equipment to be placed in a space vehicle and fuel for space flight.
Aerospace companies, which build space satellites and related equipment in Colorado, have decided to store and maintain their space property in other, more tax-friendly states. The companies would like to store the equipment in Colorado, but because the state’s sales-and-use tax kicks in after 60 days, they have to take “title ownership” of the equipment, which then subjects them to the tax. According to the bill’s legislative declaration, four leading aerospace-industry states states—Arizona, California, Florida and Virginia—already have exemptions similar to HB-1118.
CACI has assembled a coalition of aerospace companies, business organizations and state and local economic development entities to support HB-1178, including the following CACI members:
- Ball Aerospace
- The Boeing Company
- Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance
- Denver South Economic Development Partnership
- DigitalGlobe, Inc.
- Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
- Sierra Nevada Corporation
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Colorado Economic Development Commission are members of the CACI coalition.
The Legislative Council has not yet publicly issued a fiscal note for the bill. Speaker Ferrandino, however, was quoted as saying that the fiscal cost to the state of HB-1178 is projected to be $80,000 in its first year. The reason that the cost is so low is because aerospace companies are building and storing their space flight equipment in other states instead of in Colorado.
For information on the bill, contact Loren Furman, Senior Vice President, State and Federal Governmental Relations, at 303.866.9642.
Wage Claims Bill Passes Second Senate Committee, Heads to Appropriations Committee
SB-5 passed the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday on a party-line, three-to two vote after undergoing two amendments. Next stop for the bill is the Senate Appropriations Committee.
During the bill’s first hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the only business group to speak against the bill was the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA). The CRA worked with the bill’s sponsor to address its concerns, and it did not testify against the bill before the Senate Finance Committee.
CACI is neutral on the bill. For the background to this measure, read the January 24th issue of The Colorado Capitol Report.
SB-5 is sponsored by Representative Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) and Senator Jessie Ulibarri (D-Commerce City.)
The amended version of SB-5 directs unresolved claims by workers over wages, benefits and vacation pay to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, which would then investigate and could issue orders for employers to pay workers and could cite the employers.
The decades-old Colorado Civil Wage Claim Act provides remedies for a worker or former worker who claims that an employer or former employer owes wages to that individual. The CDLE can investigate such an assertion and determine penalties that the employee can only recover in court. In other words, the CDLE’s Labor Division now cannot recover the penalties for the employees. SB-5 would thus provide the CDLE with enforcement powers to investigate and levy penalties.
The fiscal note for last year’s “wage-theft” bill, HB- 1227, stated that the CDLE receives about 4,000 complaints annually about wage disputes.
CACI members who have questions about SB-5 should contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.
CDPHE Officials Brief CACI Energy and Environment Council on Goals and Legislative Agenda
Yesterday, representatives of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) met with the CACI Energy and Environment Council met to discuss the Department’s legislative agenda and bills and issues that concern both the CDPHE and the Council.
Dr. Larry Wolk, CDPHE Executive Director, and Karin McGowan, CDPHE Deputy Executive Director, provided an overview of CDPHE’s goals and legislative agenda as well as other legislation on which the Department has been engaged.
Dr. Wolk joined the CDPHE last summer just as the northern Colorado floods occurred, an experience he describes as a crash course in public health. He described his approach to leading CDPHE and his top guiding principle: “Don’t fix what ain’t broken.”
This legislative session, CDPHE will be working on proposals on small community water grants, clarifying that such grants are available to both drinking water and wastewater treatment. The Department will also be advocating for recovering various funds that were “swept” during budget downturns, including those related to the tipping fee and waste tires. Under the Gold Dome, “swept” means the legislature appropriated these monies for other state government purposes. Additionally, water nutrient and flood grants will be a priority as well for the CDPHE
The Council discussed SB-134, “Repeal Statutory Water Quality Fee Schedules,” with the CDPHE officials at great length. The bill is scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee when it convenes on Friday, February 14th, at 7:30 a.m. in Senate Committee Room 356. The bill is sponsored by Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton).
SB-134, proposed by Joint Budget Committee staff, has prompted significant concern from the regulated business community because it would be a dramatic shift away from current statutory-fee schedules toward fee-setting by rulemaking. CDPHE has scheduled a stakeholder meeting for this Monday, February 10th, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at its headquarters (4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, Colorado 80246-1530) to discuss the proposal. CACI members are encouraged to attend. Upon the recommendation of CACI’s Water Committee, the Council delayed taking a position on the SB-134 until after this stakeholder meeting.
CDPHE also discussed an anticipated bill, which would require a CDPHE survey of health effects in areas of oil-and-gas development, to be introduced by Representative Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins). The Council expects that this proposal, if introduced, will be of great interest to its members.
For more information on these issues and bills and the work of the Council, contact Carly West, CACI Governmental Relations Representative, at 303.866.9622.
CACI Seeks Program Manager for the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative
Danielle Glover is leaving CACI to take a position with a national association in a government affairs associate capacity. Danielle is in the final semester of a Masters in Public Administration degree with the dream of advancing her career in governmental affairs. CACI and Danielle believed the day would come, eventually, when she would need to leave to further pursue her plans, we just didn’t think it would come so soon. We wish Danielle great success and thank her for a job well done!
The Colorado Manufacturing Initiative has progressed in important ways, and CACI will continue moving forward with these efforts:
- CACI serves as manufacturing industry liaison to the Community College System as it implements HB-1165, the Manufacturing Career Pathways bill, which CACI supported.
- CACI has furthered its relationship with Colorado manufacturers with the National Association of Manufacturers.
- Working in in partnership and within a Memorandum of Understanding with the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, Colorado manufacturers have a loud and clear voice to advocate for policies that help manufacturing.
- We’ve developed and furthered key relationships with organizations like CAMT, Colorado Department of Education, the Denver Office of Economic Development, and ColoradoBiz Magazine, which position CMI as a go-to organization for manufacturing related initiatives.
CACI will be hiring a new Program Manager (job description), and welcome suggestions for candidates. In the meantime, Dave Tabor, Sr. Vice President of Business Partnerships, be managing the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative and the Manufacturing Leaders Group. Dave looks forward to serving CACI members in this role! Before CACI hired a Program Manager, Dave very, very much enjoyed engaging in the issues of manufacturing, touring your facilities, and in some happy circumstances, sampling the desserts, foods and beverages produced here in Colorado!
Everything that was in Danielle’s calendar is now on Dave’s, and the CACI team will help with support where needed. We’re continuing to move the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative and Colorado manufacturing forward! CACI’s Colorado Manufacturing Initiative has the following programing scheduled:
- March 13th – Manufacturing HR Roundtable
- April 9th – Manufacturing Leaders Group meeting at Ball Corporation’s Golden Plant
- April 23rd – ColoradoBiz Made in Colorado Forum (CMI is a partner)
- May/June – a Advanced Manufacturing International Trade information and training in partnership with the World Trade Center (date tba)
News Media Coverage
Below is recent news-media coverage of business, political, policy and governmental issues of interest to CACI:
“Renewable energy has helped rural counties,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, February 7th.
“A green light for tax-paid PR,” opinion, by Vincent Carroll, The Denver Post, February 7th.
“Regulatory Reform Act for small businesses not dead yet,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, February 5th.
“Vectra Bank forecast: Colorado economy well off in the short term, TABOR a problem in the long term” by Heather Draper, The Denver Business Journal, February 5th.
“Poll: Hickenlooper holds comfortable lead over GOP challengers in governor’s race,” by Lynn Bartels,The Denver Post, February 5th.
“Who wants to expand use of Colorado’s job-growth incentive tax credit? Most everyone,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, February 4th.
“Colorado legislator reintroducing bill to tax Internet sales,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, February 4th.
“Legislative panel declines to dump new Colorado logo,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, February 4th.
“New state logo didn’t immediately dazzle Colorado’s House speaker,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, February 4th.
Fate of Federal Immigration Reform Still Uncertain
Despite some positive signs from their annual retreat, where House Republicans released coreprinciples of immigration reform , recent overtures by both houses appear to lessen the chances that a bipartisan and bicameral bill may get passed this year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was quoted this week as saying that “House Republican leaders have not decided whether to bring immigration legislation up for a vote in 2014 following their presentation of draft principles to members. Boehner went on to state that “Members seemed to be “supportive” of the principles, which called for offering legal status to immigrants in the U.S. illegally, who met certain requirements and after unspecified “enforcement triggers” were met on border and interior security.
It should also be noted that “Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a conservative who negotiated with Democrats on immigration for several months last year, indicated that about two-thirds of members did not want to move forward on the issue. About half of them, he posited, were conservatives who opposed immigration reform on principle, and the other half supported the principles but did not believe now was the right time.”
Despite the Senate passing a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, there is even less optimism from Senate Republicans. As reported earlier this week, “Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Tuesday that he doesn’t see any way the Democratic-controlled Senate and GOP-led House will agree on immigration reform legislation in 2014.” Also, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) added that “a comprehensive package is unpalatable to many Republicans. The problem isn’t so much the principles, it’s how legislation actually gets passed and we find consensus, and that’s the challenge,” he said. “The Senate bill is a non-starter because it just reminds people of ObamaCare, another big expensive bill with a lot of moving parts.”
CACI will continue to follow this policy issue and if you have any questions and/or would like assistance in setting up meetings with our Congressional delegation, please contact Sue McGurkin, CACI’s Federal Policy Representative, at 303.866.9641.
For more information, read:
“House GOP leaders embrace immigration fix that includes legal status for undocumented,” by David Nakamura and Paul Kane, The Washington Post, January 30th.
“How immigration reform is shaping up to affect entrepreneurs, business owners,” by Michael Reynolds,The Washington Post, February 3rd.
“Boehner unsure on immigration vote,” by Russell Berman, The Hill, February 4th.
“Eyeing a majority, Senate Republicans cool to House immigration plan,” by Alexander Bolton, The Hill, February 4th.
House Democrats Introduce Net Neutrality Bill
In a follow up to an earlier article in the Capitol Report regarding the recent court decision overturning the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules, House Democrats introduced a bill this week that would reinstate such rules.
The bill, known as the Open Internet Preservation Act, was introduced by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), while Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a companion in the other house.
As reported this week, “The Open Internet Preservation Act would restore the FCC regulations struck down by a federal appeals court earlier this month until the commission decided to take new actions on the issue.
The bill is likely to meet strong opposition from Republicans in Congress, who have said that the rules allowed the federal government to have too much influence in the operation of the Internet.”
By way of an explanation, “those in favor of net neutrality view the regulatory scheme as key to a free, open, and level playing field. Its antagonists decry it as government regulation of something, namely the Internet, which has worked just fine thus far…”
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is looking to update the statutes governing the telecommunications services and Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore.), head of the panel’s Communications and Technology subcommittee, said in a statement that the new bill “will certainly be a part of the discussion” in that process.”
CACI will continue to monitor this issue and if you have any questions, please contact Sue McGurkin, CACI’s Federal Policy Representative at 303.866.9641.
For more information, read:
“Dem bill would reinstate net neutrality rules,” by Julian Hattern, The Hill, February 3rd.
“Democrats Introduce Open Internet Preservation Act To Restore Net Neutrality,” by Alex Wilhelm,Techcrunch, February 4th.
NRLB Resurrects Ambush Rule; Seeks Public Comment
Please see note from Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), regarding a proposed rule from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would speed up union elections. NAM will be filing comments, which are due on April 7th with replies due on April 14th, and NAM welcomes input on their submission. For more information on the proposed rules and how to submit your own comments, click here.
Today, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed sweeping changes to union elections, upending years of precedent and threatening the time-tested balance in the workplace. This “ambush election” rule would limit manufacturers’ ability to communicate to their employers during union campaigns by shortening the period in which a representation election is held; an election could be held in as few as 10 days. It would also impose disturbing new mandates on employers, such as forcing them to turn over employees’ e-mail addresses.
In 2011, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) fought a similar rule, which a federal judge overturned on a technicality. Now, with the NLRB at full strength, the Board re-proposed the measure. It passed along party lines, with the three Democratic members supporting it and two Republican members opposing it.
The Board’s own data do not support a need for a shortened time frame for a representation election. Currently, the average time in which an election is held is 38 days from the time a petition is received. In fact, over the past decade, the Board has either met or exceeded its own goal of the amount of days in which to hold an election. As we did in 2011, the NAM will again look to file comments to this version of the rule, and we welcome any input from you before the comment period closes on April 7.