Colorado Capitol Report

Senate Announces Committee Chairs, Balmer to Chair Important Business Committee

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State Policy News

Senate Announces Committee Chairs, Balmer to Chair Important Business Committee

Senator David Balmer (R-Centennial)

Senator David Balmer

Senator David Balmer (R-Centennial) has been named by the Senate GOP leadership to chair the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.

Senate Majority Leader-elect Mark Scheffel (R-Parker) announced the appointment Tuesday, along with other committee chair appointments.

The November 4th elections resulted in the Senate Republicans picking up one seat to take control of the chamber by one vote, 18 to 17, when the Colorado General Assembly convenes in early January.  Since fall 2013, the Democrats have controlled the Senate by one vote.

Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, told Ed Sealover, statehouse reporter for The Denver Business Journal, the following:

“It is clear that Senate majority leadership put a great deal of time and consideration into the committee selection process.  We are very excited to work with Senator Balmer as the chair of the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee, as he has been incredibly supportive of business during his tenure as a state legislator and as the lead Republican on this committee in recent years.”

The other Republicans named to serve on the Committee are:

  • Senator Randy Baumgardner (Cowdrey),
  • Senator-elect Chris Holbert (Parker) as Vice-Chair,
  • Senator-elect Tim Neville (Littleton), and
  • Senator-elect Laura Woods (Arvada).

The other Republican committee chairs named by Senator Scheffel are:

  • Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy–Senator-elect Jerry Sonnenberg (Sterling)
  • Appropriations– Senator Kevin Grantham (Canon City)
  • Education– Senator Owen Hill (Colorado Springs)
  • Finance–Senator-elect Tim Neville (Littleton);
  • Health and Human Services—Senator Kevin Lundberg (Berthoud)
  • Judiciary–Senator Ellen Roberts (Durango)
  • Local Government–Senator Vicki Marble (Fort Collins),
  • State, Veterans and Military Affairs–Senator-elect Ray Scott (Grand Junction), and
  • Transportation—Senator Randy Baumgardner (Cowdrey).

For news media coverage of the Senate committee announcements, read:

Former developer Balmer to head Senate business committee,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, November 18th.

Colorado Senate Republicans announce committee chairs,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, November 18th

Senate Democrats Name Minority Leadership

Last Saturday, November 15th, the Senate Minority Democrats elected their leaders for the 2015 session:

  • Minority Leader–Senator Morgan Carroll (Aurora),
  • Assistant Minority Leader—Senator Rollie Heath (Boulder),
  • Minority Caucus Chair—Senator Jessie Ulibarri (Commerce City), and
  • Minority Whip—Senator Matt Jones (Louisville).

Earlier last week, the Senate Majority Republicans and the House Majority Democrats met to elect their leadership.  The minority House Republicans were the first caucus out of the gate to elect their leaders on November 7th.

For news media coverage of the legislative caucus elections, read:

House Republicans elect leadership for session,” by Jody Hope Strogoff, The Colorado Statesman, November 14th.

Senate Republicans score majority status,” by Jody Hope Strogoff, The Colorado Statesman, November 14th.

New leadership for House Democrats,” by Jody Hope Strogoff, The Colorado Statesman, November 14th.

Senate Dems urged to make lemonade out of lemons,” by Jody Hope Strogoff, The Colorado Statesman, November 14th.


CACI’s Energy & Environment Council Welcomes CDPHE to Discuss 2015 Legislative Agenda

Dan O'Connell

Dan O’Connell

Tuesday, CACI’s Energy & Environment Council welcomed Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Deputy Executive Director, Karin McGowan, as it convened for its annual pre-legislative session meeting to discuss pending regulatory and potential legislative issues.  Joined by CDPHE Director of Environmental Programs, Martha Rudolph, and Legislative Liaison, Eliza Schultz, Ms. McGowan presented details regarding her agency’s nine budgetary requests for the 2015-16 budget cycle, and led a discussion regarding the department’s evolving legislative agenda for the 2015 session of the Colorado General Assembly.  The department requested budgetary support for their air inspection and permitting program, as well as for a solid waste landfill study.

Eliza Schultz also updated the Council regarding the Water Quality Control Division’s Clean Water Fee Structure Stakeholder Process that has been meeting over recent months.  CDPHE is currently soliciting feedback regarding three different proposals for changing the permit structure and increasing permit fees.  While CDPHE is currently intending to develop water permit fee legislation for 2015, it remains to be seen how the department will use these proposals or relevant stakeholder feedback to guide the development of a bill.  Because water permit fees that the department can assess are set in statute, legislation is required to pursue changes to these fees.  In response to questions from Council members regarding why the department did not include a request for increased General Fund support for the, Ms. Schultz noted that the Clean Water Fee Structure Stakeholder Process extended beyond internal administrative deadlines for submitting departmental budget requests.

Ms. Rudolph presented an overview of CDPHE’s engagement in the ongoing Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking process regarding new carbon emissions standard proposals under the Clean Air Act.  Section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act addresses state-based programs for the regulation of existing sources of carbon emissions, such as power plants.  While the EPA establishes guidelines, states must then design programs that comply within EPA guidelines and achieve defined emissions reduction goals.  While Ms. Rudolph noted that it is unclear whether Colorado’s state plan would require legislative approval, once developed.  The new EPA rules are expected to be finalized during next summer, 2015.

Finally, Doug Flanders, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, updated Council members regarding the status of the Oil & Gas

Task Force.  In the absence of a legislative solution regarding issues related to the state and local regulation of oil and gas operations Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper issued an executive order to establish the task force in early September.   Mr. Flanders provided updates on the Task Force’s recent efforts, which include a serious of stakeholder meetings, presentations, and educational tours across the state to educate task force members on the benefits and issues stemming from oil and gas operations.  Mr. Flanders implored CACI members both from the oil and gas industry and the broader business community to become involved, to attend the task force meetings, and to help voice the importance of the industry in Colorado and the risk that overreaching regulations and burdensome mandates pose to oil and gas, or any industry.  For a list of upcoming meetings and more information on the task force, visit the Task Force website.   The task force is required to present its recommendations to the Governor no later than February, 27, 2015.  For questions regarding this matter, please contact Dan O’Connell at [email protected] or at 303-866-4622.