Colorado Capitol Report

Colorado Energy Office Chief Briefs The Colorado Chamber Energy and Environment Council

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State Policy News

Colorado Energy Office Chief Briefs CACI Energy and Environment Council

Yesterday, Jeff Ackerman, Director of the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), joined CACI’s Energy and Environment Council to speak about the CEO’s priorities and activities.  Jeff discussed the valuable role he sees the CEO fulfilling in helping to flush out ideas and questions from legislators and in playing a facilitative role to convene parties around energy conversations.

A number of legislative proposals were discussed, including a possible late bill to aggregate small rural projects for energy-performance contracting.  Additionally, Jeff responded to questions from CACI members ranging from net metering to “anaerobic digestion” (aka manure) as an energy source.

Council Votes to Oppose Ballot Initiative 103

The Council also discussed a number of ballot issues, and voted to Oppose proposed ballot initiative 103 – Public Trust Resources.  The constitutional amendment would upend Colorado water law and rights, wreaking havoc on the economy of the state.

The proposal states that the people of Colorado have an inalienable right to clean air, clean water (including ground and surface water) and the preservation of the environment and natural resources– and calls them the public trust resources.  It states that the government shall protect the public trust resources and if any action has a “suspected risk of substantially impairing public trust resources” the burden of proof falls on those proposing to take the action.  Additionally, the proposal directs the State to seek damages and allows for any Colorado citizen to sue to defend and protect the public trust resources against substantial impairment and to ensure that the State is meeting its obligations to protect such resources.

Essentially, the measure prioritizes the protection of water resources over any beneficial use, no matter how essential to the economy and function of the State.  The proposal is scheduled for a Title Board Hearing on April 16, a key step to move toward the November 5th ballot.

For more information about the work of the Energy and Environment Council, contact Carly West, CACI Governmental Affairs Representative, at 303.866.9622.

Leah Curtsinger Joins CACI as Federal Policy Representative

L.CurtsingerCACI has hired Leah Curtsinger, an experienced congressional staffer, as its new Federal Policy Representative to run the CACI Federal Policy Program, which was created more than two years ago.

“We’re delighted to have Leah join our CACI team, said Chuck Berry, CACI President, “Her experience on the staff of U.S. Senator Mike Enzi will be a great benefit to CACI members as she facilitates connections with the various Congressional staffs in Colorado.”

“We are very excited to have Leah as part of the CACI team,” said Loren Furman, Senior Vice President, State and Federal Policy, “She brings an incredible amount of experience on Federal issues and the congressional process and will be a great help on our state legislative issues as well.”

Leah and her husband moved to Denver about a year ago from Washington, D.C.  Since then, she has worked as policy consultant at the Colorado State Capitol, analyzing business legislation in such areas as telecommunications and financial services.

For eight years, Leah worked in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Senator Mike Enzi(R-Wyo.).    When she left Senator Enzi’s office, she was a legislative assistant responsible for analyzing legislation and regulatory proposals that affect businesses and state economies.  Prior to being named to that position in 2008, Leah held three other positions within the Senator’s office.

A native of Wyoming, Leah is a graduate of the University of Wyoming with a B.A. in political science.  As a student at the University of Wyoming, she served as a legal assistant in the Office of the Wyoming Attorney General on school finance litigation.  While at the University, she received the Presidential Scholarship, and was a four-time NCAA Mountain West Conference Scholar-Athlete.

For its first two years, the CACI Federal Policy Program was staffed by Sue McGurkin, who left last month to move to Boston with her husband.

CACI Legislative Agenda Update

To date, CACI has taken positions on almost 40 bills or soon-to-be-introduced bills. In addition, the CACI lobbying team monitors three to four times as many bills for their potential impact on the statewide business community.

Two bills on the CACI Legislative Agenda have been signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper (CACI’s position on a bill follows the abbreviated title of the bill):

  • HB-1053, “Consistent Requirements Pediatric Dental Benefits”  Support
  • SB-4, “Community College Four-Year Program”  Support

One bill, HB-1108, “Copayments for Rehab Services,” was vetoed by the Governor, which CACI had requested.

Eleven bills on the CACI Legislative Agenda have died:

  • SB-93, “Pipeline Right-of-Way”  Support
  • SB-10, “Manufactured Home Communities”  Oppose
  • HB-1226, “Local Governments Authority to Regulate Plastics” Oppose
  • HB-1058, “Voluntary Labeling Genetically Engineered Food”  Oppose
  • HB-1075, “Deferral Unemployment Insurance Benefits,”  Oppose
  • HB-1091, “Accurate Experience Modification Workers’ Comp”  Oppose
  • HB-1165, “Private Construction Contract Retainage & Payments”  Oppose
  • SB-74, “Repeal Damages State Employment Discrimination Claims” Support
  • SB-134, “Repeal Statutory Water Quality Fee Schedule”  Oppose
  • HB-1033, “Regulatory Reform Act 2014”  Support
  • HB-1192, “Repeal Health Benefit Exchange”  Oppose

For information on CACI’s lobbying agenda, contact Loren Furman, Senior Vice President, State and Federal Governmental Relations, at 303.866.9642.

CACI Workers Comp Safety Program News

An important part of the U.S. workforce, seasonal workers are employed in numerous industries throughout Colorado every year. Seasonal workers regularly step in to fill employers’ needs for additional manpower when those needs cannot be handled by full and part-time staff. Although seasonal workers have the same rights as other workers, it is important that employers who hire seasonal workers understand some specific issues. Click here to read more.  For more information regarding the CACI Workers Comp Safety Program, please contact Tom Terry at Keller Lowry Insurance.

Safety Seminar:

Making Return-To-Work Work for You

If you are a new Pinnacol policyholder or new to handling workers’ compensation claims, this course is for you! It is designed to help employers return injured workers safely to work by offering modified duty. You’ll learn when and how to contact Pinnacol’s return-to-work consultants and what resources are available to you. You’ll also discover how offering modified duty can help your organization better manage your claims and save money. Click here to find out more.

News Media Coverage

Below is recent news-media coverage of business, political, policy and governmental issues of interest to CACI:

Crowded calendar for House committee overrides opening day,” by Anthony Cotton,The Denver Post, April 4th.

Personality conflict disrupts Appropriations,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, April 4th.

Hickenlooper concerned about EPA-proposed water regulation,” by Caitlin Hendee,The Denver Business Journal, April 4th.

Underdogs in Colorado’s GOP gubernatorial race try to take out the top dogs,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, April 3rd.

Fireworks between Duran, Gerou mar Appropriations Comm. meeting,” by Anthony Cotton, The Denver Post, April 2nd.

A bipartisan approach to restoring Colorado public education funding,” guest commentary by Barbara O’Brien, The Denver Post, April 2nd.

Colorado legislative committee OKs oil and gas health impact study,” by Mark Jaffe,The
Denver Post
, April 1st.

Colorado needs new telecom regulations for modern technology,” editorial, The Denver Post, March 30th.

Changes to Colorado’s telecom policies could harm reliable phone service,” guest commentary, Terri Potente, The Denver Post, March 28th.

Budget passes Colorado House on largely partisan vote,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 28th.

Evaluation flexibility test pass first test,” by Todd Engdahl, Chalkbeat Colorado, March 26th.

Bipartisan support for charter school revenue,” by Todd Engdahl, Chalkbeat Colorado, March 24th.