Colorado Capitol Report

The Colorado Chamber’s New Federal Policy Council Schedules First Meeting June 17th

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State Policy News

CACI’s New Federal Policy Council Schedules First Meeting June 17th

CACI Board Member Bob Schlue, Director, Mission Operations Colorado, The Boeing Company

CACI Board Member Bob Schlue, Director, Mission Operations Colorado, The Boeing Company

The CACI Board of Directors has approved the creation of a new CACI council for Federal policy to provide advice and direction to CACI’s Federal Policy Initiative.

CACI Board Chair Lou Hutchison has named CACI Board Member Bob Schlue, Director, Mission Operations Colorado, The Boeing Company, to chair the new Council.

The first meeting of the Federal Policy Council is scheduled for 12 Noon to 1:15 p.m., Tuesday, June 17th, at the CACI Office.  The Council will discuss Federal energy, labor, health-care, patent and trade issues.  A detailed invitation will be sent soon to CACI members.

To RSVP for the luncheon meeting and for more information, contact Leah Curtsinger, CACI Federal and State Governmental Affairs Representative, at 303.866.9641.

Colorado Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Local Control Initiative

Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court turned down an objection to proposed Ballot Initiative 75, clearing the way for proponents to begin gathering signatures to place the measure on the November 4th ballot.

CACI strongly opposes the initiative.

Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, told The Denver Post that “It’s one of the most blatant anti-business initiatives we’ve ever seen.  It’s not just an anti-fracking initiative. It’s going to have rippling effects throughout the entire state.”

The Ballot Title Setting Board of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office set the title of Ballot Initiative 75 and approved the final version of the initiative, which is called the “Right to Local Self-Government.”  Staff of the Legislative Council and the Office of Legislative Legal Services issued an analysis of Ballot Initiative 75 on February 27th.

The Supreme Court cites the Legislative Council’s description of what can happen after the title Board takes action:

Anyone who is dissatisfied with the Title Board’s action at a rehearing may file an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court.  The Court is required to act on the appeal promptly when an appeal is filed within five days of receiving the required documentation from the Secretary of State.  The Court can either affirm the action of the Title Board or reverse it, in which case the Court must remand the case to the Title Board with instructions, pointing out where the Title Board is in error.

Here’s the ballot title and submission clause:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning a right to local self-government, and, in connection therewith, declaring that the people have an inherent right to local self-government in counties and municipalities, including the power to enact laws to establish and protect fundamental rights of individuals, communities, and nature and the power to define or eliminate the rights and powers of corporations or business entities to prevent them from interfering with those fundamental rights; declaring that such local laws are not subject to preemption by any federal, state, or international laws so long as the local laws do not weaken any fundamental rights or protections for individuals, communities, or nature found in federal, state, or international law?

In essence, this measure, if approved by the voters on November 4th, would allow localities to enact local ordinances that would attempt to contradict existing State and Federal law and regulations that govern business operations.  The audacity of this blatantly anti-business proposal can only be matched by the prospect of furious legal action by the State of Colorado and the state’s business community, which would eventually land in the arms of the Colorado State Supreme Court.  The addition, the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution would undoubtedly provide the Federal Government with a reason to take a close at Ballot Initiative 75, should it be approved by Colorado voters.

The proposal is advocated by a group called Colorado Community Rights Network, whose Facebook states: “Laws that raise corporate rights above the rights of people need to be changed.”  The proponents of the measure are Clifton Willmeng and “Lotus.”  The Secretary of State’s Web site notes that Lotus does not have a last name.

For news coverage of the measure and the Colorado Community Rights Network, read:

Proposed statewide ballot measure would give Colo. communities power to ban fracking,” by John Aguilar, The Boulder Daily Camera, January 2nd.

News Media Coverage

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

Workers with disabilities breaking barriers,” by L. Wayne Hicks, The Denver Business Journal, May 30th.

Something for almost everyone in legislative funding decisions,” by Todd Engdahl, Chalkbeat Colorado, May 28th.

Colorado groups lobby Hickenlooper to veto urban renewal bill,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 27th.

Jobs coming on thick in Colorado, though construction slow to revive,” by Howard Pankratz, The Denver Post, May 26th.

Hickenlooper makes rounds signing bills, will he veto any?” by Kurtis Lee, The Denver Post, May 26th.

Ballot proposal aims to restructure legislature,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, May 23rd.

Shared sacrifice and managing expectations: Colorado’s pension fund still has a long way to go,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, May 23rd.

Manufacturing Initiative

Is the Economy Slowing?

When meeting with manufacturers, one often hears two different stories.  Some businesses are seeing steady, sustainable growth while others say they hear good news about the economy but it is not translating to their balance sheets.  They’re both right.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) issued a report showing that real GDP decreased by 1 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the first decline in economic growth since the first quarter of 2011.

This decrease is due in part to weakened inventory investment, slower than expected spending on durable and non-durable goods, slow growth in exports and generally weak business investment, among other factors.

The good news is that the second quarter looks stronger.  The BEA predicts a 3 percent increase in real GDP in the second quarter and a growth rate between 2 percent and 2.5 percent for the year.

Regardless, it is clear that the economic recovery has been fragile and is not being realized by all manufacturers.  The National Association of Manufacturers released an analysis of the BEA report.

co.manufacturinginitiativeThis article was written by Patrick Pratt, Program Manager, Colorado Manufacturing Initiative, who can be reached at 303.866.9657.