In this Capitol Report:
- Bill Introduced in House to Allow Workers to Inspect Personnel Files
- Bill to Extend Pay Equity Commission Bill Dies in Senate Committee
- Legislative Session Rolls Along: 612 Bills and More to Come . . .
- House Approves 2015-2016 Budget; Compromise with Senate Required
- News Media Coverage
- New-Member Faustson Tools Acquires 3D Metal-Printer
- $10M in grants available to improve workforce and education data collection
- Senator Gardner Hosts Field Hearing in Denver on Small-Business Challenges
- Congressmen Perlmutter and Polis Meet With Pot Community, Kansas City Federal Reserve Chairman
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State Policy News
Bill Introduced in House to Allow Workers to Inspect Personnel Files
A bill was been introduced in the House Tuesday that would allow a workers or former worker to request that a private-sector employer allow the individual to inspect or request copies of his or her personnel file within 30 days of receiving a written request. Financial institutions, along with State and local governments, would be exempt from this mandate.
“This bill represents yet-another arrow shot at employers this session by some House Democrats who seem intent on hamstringing the ability of employers and workers to freely and privately agree on the terms of employment,” said Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Governmental Relations.
The individual would be able to submit “rebuttal information” to be placed in the individual’s personnel file and this “information,” according to the bill’s summary, would have to “accompany any transmittal or disclosure from the file made to a third party.”
Finally, the bill would provide the individual with various “remedies” if the “employer fails to comply” that includes fines on the employer as well as the individual receiving “attorney fees and costs” if the individual “prevails in a civil action to obtain a court order requiring the production of documents from the personnel file or in a motion to compel the production of documents in a civil action to which the documents are relevant.”
The bill will be presented to the CACI Labor and Employment Council for discussion and action when it meets at 12 Noon next Wednesday, April 15th, at the CACI Office.
HB-1342, introduced by Representative Joe Salazar (D-Commerce City), was assigned by Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst to the Judiciary Committee, which has scheduled the bill to be heard when it convenes for a session at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 16th, in Room 112 in the State Capitol.
The bill’s fiscal note provides the following summary of the bill:
Summary of Legislation
The bill allows a current or former employee to make a written request to inspect or request copies of his or her personnel file from his or her private-sector employer. The employer must comply within 30 days of the request. The state of Colorado, state political subdivisions, and financial institutions are exempt from this requirement. If the inspection occurs in person, it must take place during regular business hours at a location at or near the employer’s offices. If copies are mailed to the employee, the employer must certify in writing the accuracy of the copies and the employee may be required to pay reasonable duplication costs.
An employer is not required to permit personnel file inspection more than once a calendar year, unless: the first request was while the employee was actively employed and the second request is after separation; or a disciplinary action was taken against the employee.
The employee may provide written rebuttal information to the employer to be added and retained in the personnel file. This rebuttal must accompany any transmittal or disclosure of the personnel file to a third-party. If an employer fails to comply with these requirements, the following remedies are available:
- personnel information not included in an inspection or copy may not be used by the employer during a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding;
- the employee is entitled to attorney fees if his or her civil action to obtain a court order requiring the production of personnel file documents prevails;
- in any of these cases, a court or administrative law judge has the discretion to impose a penalty of up to $100 per day to be paid by the employer to the employee each day after the 30th day that the employer failed to comply with the employee’s written request; and
- a court or administrative law judge may also impose additional penalties, not to exceed $10,000, if the employee can demonstrate an employer’s intent to conceal personnel file documents.
CACI members with questions or comments about HB-1142 should contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Governmental Relations, at 303.866.9642.
Bill to Extend Pay Equity Commission Bill Dies in Senate Committee
On Monday, the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed HB-1133 on a party-line, 3-to-2 vote. CACI opposed the bill.
The measure’s Senate sponsor was Senator Jessie Ulibarri (D-Commerce City), who is a member of the Committee.
The purpose of HB-1133 was to authorize the Colorado Pay Equity Commission to “evaluate the status of pay equity in the state.” The proposal would have continued and expanded the Commission instead of having it repealed this July 1st.
The Commission was created in 2010 by HB-1417 when the Democrats controlled both legislative chambers and then-Governor Bill Ritter, a Democrat, signed the bill into law. HB-1417 required, however, a sunset review after five years, and it provided no funding. The Commission has been housed in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).
It should be pointed out that the Commission was authorized by HB1417 to receive “gifts, grants and donations” to support its work. It appears, however, that none of the supporters and advocates of the Commission contributed any money to support it during its five years of existence.
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) last October issued the sunset review and recommended that the Commission be given another two years of life. Here’s what DORA had to say in recommending that the Commission be continued:
The Pay Equity Commission (PEC) was created to increase awareness of pay inequity and to develop mechanism to address sit. The PEC has made some, though minimal progress on its assigned tasks. As such the work of the PEC remains unfinished and it should be continued.
HB-1133 was sponsored in the House by Representative Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge), who enlisted the other 32 House Democrats as co-sponsors on her bill. HB-1133 was introduced by Representative Danielson after a Senate committee’s successful effort in January to sunset the Colorado Pay Equity Commission.
Despite the luke-warm endorsement of the Commission by DORA, Representative Danielson asserted during debate in the House that the Commission had produced “remarkable results.”
HB-1133 was substantially amended in the House in the Business Affairs and Labor Committee and the Appropriations Committee and then on the House Floor during Second Reading. A third fiscal note was issued on March 3rd. The bill contained an appropriation of $27,396 to pay for one-half (0.5 FTE) of a staff person in the CDLE to support the Commission. The Commission also could accept “gifts, grants and donations” to support an additional 1.0 FTE staff support. (FTE is the acronym for full-time equivalent.)
Republican Representatives who spoke against the bill on Second Reading in the House said that the 2009-2015 Commission had essentially accomplished very little.
On January 21st, the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee voted on a party-line, 5-to-4 vote to oppose DORA’s recommendation. CACI supported the Senate committee’s effort to not reauthorize the Commission.
Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Governmental Relations, testified in support of the Senate Committee’s effort to oppose continuation of the Commission and then before the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee to oppose HB-1133.
For background information on the bill, read:
“Colorado Legislature snuffs Pay Equity Commission – for a second time,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 7th.
“House Gives Final OK to Bill to Continue Pay Equity Commission,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, March 13th.
“Colorado House passes bill to extend Pay Equity Commission,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 10th.
“Now up in the Colorado Legislature: A battle over working mothers’ rights,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 9th.
“Senate Committee Votes to Kill Pay Equity Commission but House Moves to Continue It,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report,” January 30th.
Legislative Session Rolls Along: 612 Bills and More to Come . . .
Today is the 94th day of the 120-day long first regular session of the 70th General Assembly.
As of this morning, legislators have introduced 612 bills: 347 in the House and 265 in the Senate.
CACI’s legislative agenda now stands at 43 bills plus one House Concurrent Resolution.
For information on CACI’s lobbying agenda, contact Loren Furman, Senior Vice President, State and Federal Governmental Relations, at 303.866.9642.
In addition to the bills on the CACI legislative agenda, the CACI lobbying team monitors many more bills for their potential impact on the business community.
House Approves 2015-2016 Budget; Compromise with Senate Required
The Senate debated and passed the $25 billion “Long Appropriations Bill,” SB-234, last week, and this week it was the House’s turn.
Yesterday, the House passed the Long Bill on final, Third Reading. On Wednesday, the House Second Reading debate lasted for hours and featured repeated attempts by lawmakers to amend the budget.
The Long Bill passed on a 45-20 vote with minority Republicans joining majority Democrats to support the budget. The House added twelve amendments the Long Bill, with about half supported by minority Republicans.
The six-member Joint Budget Committee will now work on resolving the differences between the Senate version and the House version.
The hot-button issues that were debated included a birth-control program, severance taxes, capital construction, K-12 education, higher education, rural vs. urban interests and tax incentives for the film industry,
Both the House and Senate Second Reading debates on the floor of the chambers represent annual, high-political theatre, with doses of drama and comedy, between the Republican and House caucuses in both chambers as members argue over money, ideology, ideas, opinions, facts and fiction—all of which is interleaved with humor, tears, irritation, affection, anger, posturing, bluffing and blatant playing to constituents and the news media.
A spotlight shines especially intensely on the six members of the Joint Budget Committee, which authors the Long Bill.
The JBC members traditionally close ranks to support their introduced budget, which often finds individual JBC members on the opposite side of the fence from an individual’s respective caucus as amendment after amendment is shot at the budget by lawmakers to please those who are dissatisfied with how their pet programs fared in the budget.
In both the House and Senate Second Reading debates, majority-party lawmakers on several occasions defected from their caucuses to join forces with the minority to pass budget amendments.
Because the Second Reading vote is normally a voice vote, the majority party can rule that an amendment offered by the minority party has failed. The recorded, final Third Reading vote, however, makes public where the legislators stand on a bill.
For news media coverage of the budget debate, read:
“Budget heading back to JBC,” by Marianne Goodland, The Colorado Statesman, April 10th.
“Colorado House passes $26.4 billion budget bill over Republican objections,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 9th.
“House approves state budget with most Republicans dissenting,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, April 9th.
“Democrats add $5 million for IUD program amplifying budget battle,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 8th.
“Oil and gas flare-ups mark Colorado’s budget battle,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 2nd.
“Hickenlooper economic initiatives draw scrutiny in state budget bill,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, March 31st.
“Just $10 million remains for Colorado’s unpassed bills in this year’s budget,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 27th.
News Media Coverage
Below is recent news-media coverage of state and federal political, policy and governmental issues of interest to CACI:
“Colorado Senate passes bill reducing time to file defects claim,” by John Aguilar, The Denver Post, April 9th.
“Colorado’s plan to cut CO2 would see multiple reviews under state Senate bill,” by Cathy Proctor, The Denver Business Journal, April 9th.
“Colorado Senate GOP wants some say in plan to curb air pollution,” by Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, April 9th.
“Construction-defects bill for houses gets Colorado Senate approval,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 9th.
“Colorado Senate Education Committee approves testing education bill,” by Eric Gorski, The Denver Post, April 9th.
“Colorado testing opt-out bill wins final Senate approval,” The Denver Post, April 7th.
“Hickenlooper signs Connect for Health Colorado audit bill,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 6th.
“West Slope lawmakers talk TABOR, water at Club 20,” by Ron Bain, The Colorado Statesman, April 3rd.
New-Member Faustson Tools Acquires 3D Metal-Printer
Faustson Tool, a 34-year-old machine shop headquartered in Arvada, recently installed a state-of-the-art 3D printer that prints with metals. The M2 LaserCUSING manufactured by Concept Laser is among the first of its kind to be used in Colorado.
Heidi Hostetter, Vice President of Faustson, says the company expects to see immediate efficiencies thanks to the new machine. For example, early tests show that a part which takes Faustson 85 hours to produce using traditional machining methods will now take 12 hours.
The benefits of this new 3D printer are not limited to time savings. This machine also allows for the recovery and reuse of scrap materials. This is especially important given the high cost of the raw materials used in the printing process. The printer also allows for the creation of parts that are often too intricate or complex for traditional machining processes.
The M2 LaserCUSING uses two 400W lasers to melt powdered metal into a solid structure.
Faustson will not begin shipping finished parts created on the 3D printer to customers until next month but testing is well underway. Hostetter believes that this printer will not only allow the company to serve new customers but also to partner in new ways with existing customers.
For example, Faustson is currently working on a proposal to work with industry and higher education partners to test new parts printed on the 3D printer. Rather than keep the lessons learned from these tests proprietary, Faustson is asking that the information is kept available to others using similar machines to further the advancement of 3D printing in Colorado.
Hostetter sees this investment as an integral part of research and development programs for larger manufacturers and OEMs that want to experiment with new technologies like 3D printing or to prototype new products but do not yet have the expertise to do so in-house.
Federal Policy News
$10M in grants available to improve workforce and education data collection
“Building a better workforce system starts with having reliable data. With the passage of last year’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to encourage greater coordination between workforce and education programs, states have made important strides to integrate their programs. To further the progress, the U.S. Department of Labor announces today that it is making approximately $10 million in grants available to help expand understanding in more states about how education and workforce development programs complement each other in the fifth round of the Workforce Data Quality Initiative.”—DOL.gov
Senator Gardner Hosts Field Hearing in Denver on Small-Business Challenges
Senator Cory Gardner, along with Congressmen Mike Coffman and Ken Buck, held a two-panel hearing to learn more about and discuss the many regulatory challenges faces businesses in Colorado. The first panel was made up of community and regional financial institutions that focused specifically on challenges increased or created through Dodd-Frank financial reform. The second panel consisted of business owners and business-community representatives discussing individual experiences, challenges of the Affordable Care Act, EPA.
Congressmen Perlmutter and Polis Meet With Pot Community, Kansas City Federal Reserve Chairman
The Denver Post reports that Congressmen Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis brought together a group of marijuana-community representatives to meet with the Kansas City Federal Reserve Chairman, Esther George, to talk about the unique position of Colorado when it comes to banking for the marijuana community. Currently, because all banks and credit unions either have a Federal charter or use Federal insurance programs and deposit systems, they cannot knowingly accept money associated with the marijuana industry.