Colorado Capitol Report

Republicans to Control Senate by One Vote; Cadman Elected President & Caucus Leadership Chosen

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State Policy News

Republicans to Control Senate by One Vote; Cadman Elected President & Caucus Leadership Chosen

Late last Friday, November 7th, the news spread that the that the Republicans had picked up Senate District 24 in Adams County with the victory of Beth Martinez Humenik over Democrat Judy Solano by 876 votes.  The victory gives the GOP an 18-to-17 margin of control.

But it did not take long for political sniping to begin again between the chamber’s two caucuses, which have had a contentious relationship during recent legislative sessions.

First, the Senate Democrats issued a news media release Saturday morning.  Lynn Bartels, statehouse reporter for The Denver Post, quoted the release:

“The Democratic caucus plans to do whatever possible to block efforts to take the state backward with respect to economic growth, women’s rights, (gay) equality, the environment and workers’ rights.”

Bartels relayed that Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) said, “Going forward, we will do what we can to defend the rights and liberties that we worked so hard to protect.”

The Republicans responded later in the day; Senator Bill Cadman (Colorado Springs) issued the following statement:

“On behalf of an amazing campaign team, my committed senate colleagues and all of our hard-working candidates, I want to thank the people of Colorado for giving us this historic opportunity. The Republican Senate Caucus is eager to move Colorado forward on so many important issues, and away from the extraordinary divisiveness of recent years. We are here to serve common interests, not special interests.

We are committed to empowering people, not government as we seek to improve K-12, increase job growth and economic opportunities and rebuild our decaying infrastructure. We believe government that governs least, governs best. We plan to provide the groundwork for continued public support in coming elections by contrasting a governing party committed to empowering people, and a ruling party, committed to controlling them.”

On Tuesday, the Senate Republicans elected their leaders:

  • Senate President, Bill Cadman (Colorado Springs)
  • President Pro Tempore, Ellen Roberts (Durango)
  • Majority Leader, Mark Scheffel (Parker)
  • Assistant Majority Leader, Kevin Lundberg (Berthoud)
  • Whip, Randy Baumgardner (Cowdrey)
  • Caucus Chair, Vickie Marble (Fort Collins)

The Senate Republican Caucus also elected Kent Lambert (Colorado Springs) and Kevin Grantham (Canon City) to serve on the powerful Joint Budget Committee (JBC).  Lambert will chair the JBC.

In the House, meanwhile, the Democrats retained control of the chamber, but with a reduced, three-vote majority, 34-to-31, over the Republicans.  The House Democratic Caucus met this morning and elected the following leaders:

  • Speaker of the House, Dickie Lee Hullinghorst (D – Boulder)
  • Majority Leader, Christanta Duran (D – Denver)
  • Majority Leader, Dominic Moreno (D – Commerce City)
  • Caucus Chair, Angela Williams (D – Denver)
  • Assistant Caucus Chair,  Mike Foote (D – Boulder)
  • Majority Caucus Whip:  Sue Ryden (D – Arapahoe)
  • Deputy Caucus Whip:  Brittany Peterson (D – Jefferson)

For news media coverage of the election, read:

Republicans choose Cadman as new Colorado Senate president,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, November 11th.

Twice-beaten, Andrew Romanoff faces uncertain political future,” by Jon Murray, The Denver Post, November 11th.

Ken Buck picks state Sen. Greg Brophy as new chief,” by Mark Matthews, The Denver Post, November 10th.

Two Colorado House Democrats in limbo as they wait for final vote counts,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, November 9th.

In Colorado, the GOP shifted the ground game,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, November 9th.

Purple is a good place to be for Colorado after midterms,” opinion, by Eric Sondermann, The Denver Post, November 9th.

It’s official: GOP wins 18-17 majority in Colorado Senate,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, November 8th.

GOP win in Colorado Senate, Democrats vow to hold party accountable,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, November 8th.


Sign Up Now to Sponsor a CACI Council Meeting

As the 2015 legislative session approaches, we want to invite you to once again participate in CACI’s Issue Councils.  CACI councils offer a unique opportunity for CACI members to add their expertise and judgment to our policy-making and influence legislation and regulations that impact business. Council meetings provide an open and frank dialogue between our members, key legislators and state agency leaders.  This is also your chance to attend council meetings that you have not attended in the past.  The following Councils are available to all CACI members:

  • Energy and Environment Council
  • HealthCare Council
  • Federal Affairs Council
  • Labor and Employment Council
  • Governmental Affairs Council
  • Tax Council

Each Council will meet at Noon at the CACI offices throughout the session.  Lunch is served at each meeting.  Sponsorship of council meetings by our members is crucial to maintaining the practice of providing lunch to each member during these important council meetings.  We need sponsors for every meeting in the coming year, so we would like to encourage members to sign up now to sponsor a lunch!  Sponsors receive recognition in both email reminders for the meeting and our online Events Calendar, as well as during the meeting itself.  CACI does all of the ordering and setup of the lunch and the sponsorship is always a flat rate of $600Please contact Laura Moss for more details or to sign up as a sponsor.  Again, sponsorship by our members is essential to providing our members with lunch during these meetings; we appreciate your ongoing support!

Please see the grid below for specific dates for each council.  Councils always meet from Noon to 1:15 p.m. in the CACI Conference Room: 1600 Broadway, Suite 1000, Colorado State Bank Building.

CACI 2015 Council Meeting Dates

Energy & Environment Council:HealthCare Council:
January 15January 29
February 5February 26
March 4March 26
April 2April 23
Federal Affairs Council:Labor & Employment Council:
January 6January 21
March 10February 18
 March 18
Governmental Affairs Council:April 15
January 20
February 3Tax Council:
February 17January 16
March 3February 13
March 17March 13
March 31April 10
April 14
April 28


To learn more about our councils, click here.

Thank you and please contact Laura Moss with any questions you may have!

Federal Policy News

CACI’s Federal Council Welcomes USPTO Director Slifer

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Russ Slifer presented to CACI’s Federal Council, focusing on how far patents have come, where the Denver office can be a resource, plus where we can expect the patent and trademark process to improve in the future.  Denver is one of only two existing satellite offices, with two more coming soon.  Denver’s branch currently has 100 patent judges to hear appeals cases and expects to double that number, while the number of patent examiners is expected to nearly triple to meet filing demands of 900,000 patents applications (600,000 approved just this year).

Through digital innovations, a patent filed in Denver for international protections can now simultaneously be examined by one of the USPTO’s attachés in China, India or Brazil.  Likewise, a patent might be examined in-person here in Denver or via teleconference from D.C. – but the best news for innovators is that the USPTO now has both the technological capacity and flexibility to address a back-log of patents from across the country.

Director Slifer also addressed questions from the Council about patent trolls, the possibility for federal legislation (likely but not during “lame duck” session) and upcoming Colorado state legislation to rein in patent troll demand letters.  Three years ago through the America Invents Act, the USPTO was granted authority to operate without federal appropriations, and instead began using application fees to operate.  Because the USPTO had always operated in the black, excess funds previously remitted to the U.S. Federal Government General Fund could now be used to shore up the patent process.  The result:  A reduced backlog of pending patent cases and noticeably fewer “weak” patents being approved.  More rigorous examinations combined with more competent examiners created stronger patents being approved– and this revolution is credited with reducing the number of so-called ‘patent trolls.’

CACI looks forward to working with the USPTO’s experts as consumer-protecting patent troll legislation is brought before the Colorado State Legislature in 2015

Federal Council Weighs In On EPA’s Proposed “Waters of the U.S.” Changes

On Wednesday, CACI’s Federal Council considered and approved a letter for submission to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA will be considering comments on proposed changes to the definition of “Waters of the U.S.”  Previous definitions included regulation focused only on “navigable waters”.  However, newly proposed EPA changes take a very different approach by essentially regulating under the assumption that all water is connected and therefore all water (including snow melt, water run-off, storm ditches and stock ponds, as well as any development which may change water flows, i.e. parking lots) should be regulated through EPA permits and oversight.

The Federal Council agreed the proposed rules are detrimental to business growth, extend EPA’s authority too far, have not included an assessment of potential economic impact, and while scientific research relied upon for the proposed rule was not widely available to the public, it was also not properly peer-reviewed.  For all the above reasons and because the overall rule-drafting process did not satisfactorily include stakeholders, CACI asked the EPA to reconsider the rule as proposed and offered to be a stakeholder in future discussions.

Congress’ “Lame Duck” Session & Looking Ahead …

While Colorado as a whole did not necessarily see the kind of upheavals the rest of the country saw (six of seven CO incumbents retained), Congress will have a very different personality for the 114th Congress.  The House added to their majority, sitting at 188 Democrats and 244 Republicans with five races still too close to call and only 219 needed for a majority.  The Senate switched to Republican control (45 Dem, 54 GOP) with one run-off to be held in Louisiana in December.

For now, there are several major “Lame Duck” issues to be addressed in the final weeks of the 113th Congress.  Among those, politicos are saying:

  • Immigration remains a major focus (with the President considering circumventing Congress to issue an Executive Order, testing promises both sides made to work together post-election);
  • Tax Extenders would address expired provisions from 2013 which many businesses rely upon (such as making the R&D tax credit permanent, addressing bonus depreciation, Sec. 179 expensing, green energy TCs, deferral for active financing income and the “look through” rule for controlled foreign income to name a few likely candidates). Action would be needed before January to ensure tax preparers and tax filers have enough time to accommodate code changes;
  • Funding the government – A continuing resolution (“CR”) will be “must pass” legislation as the current government authorization expires Dec. 11, just one day before the House, and likely the Senate, are set to adjourn for 2014; Ebola Funding – $6.2 billion has been requested and is likely to be rolled into a greater spending package or the CR;
  • TRIA a.k.a. Terrorism Risk Insurance Act is a government backstop program for insurance claims in cases of terrorism. TRIA authorization expires Dec. 31, 2014;
  • ISIS War Authorization (beyond protecting U.S. assets and providing humanitarian relief) is a potential topic given the President’s request but much less likely with a short timeline;
  • Potential for Keystone Pipeline vote may be as soon as next week as current Majority Leader Reid believes it could give moderates for 2016 and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) an edge in her run-off against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in December;
  • Ex-Im Bank revisions and re-authorization are another potential topic as Democrats look for opportunities to pass pro-business, pro-export legislation while the Senate remains in their control; and,
  • All nominations, all the time. Look to see the Senate vote almost daily on a backlog of Democratic nominees (judges, ambassadors, liaisons) as larger negotiations and debates take place on the above topics.