Colorado Capitol Report

2016 Legislative Session Begins: “It’s Like Deja Vu, All Over Again”

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State Policy News

2016 Legislative Session Begins: “It’s Like Deja Vu, All Over Again”

The famous quote attributed to Yogi Berra seems appropriate to predict how the 2016 session of the legislature will likely progress compared to the 2015 session.

On Wednesday, the session began with speeches from the four legislative leaders.  On Thursday, Governor John Hickenlooper delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the two chambers.

Following are links to the prepared speeches by each chamber’s majority and minority leaders and by Governor John Hickenlooper:

Dickey Lee HullinghorstHouse Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder)


B. DelGrossoHouse Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland)


bill cadmanSenate President Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs)


Guzman LuciaSenate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman (D-Denver)



 Governor John Hickenlooper

For news-media coverage of the opening of the legislative session, read:

In 2016 State of the State, Colorado governor asks for cooperation,” by John Frank and Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, January 14th.

Gov. Hickenlooper’s case for action on roads and schools,” editorial, The Denver Post, January 14th.

Hickenlooper calls for construction-defects reform in State of the State address,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, January 14th.

Colorado governor looks to frame session in State of the State,” by John Frank and Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, January 13th.

10 business bills introduced on day one of Colorado Legislature,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, January 13th.

Colorado House GOP, Democrats see same objectives, different solutions,” by Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, January 13th.

Colorado Senate opens with different tones for the legislative session,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, January 13th.

Policy proposals clash on Colorado Legislature’s opening day,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, January 13th.

Colorado legislative sessions begins Wednesday with tough fights ahead,” by Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, January 13th.

2016 Legislature: Stalemate likely at Colorado Capitol,” editorial, The Denver Post, January 12th.

Federal Policy News

CACI Federal Priorities Addressed at the End of 2015

  • Ex-Im Bank: After months of lobbying our delegation and their staff, Congress passed a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank on December 3, 2015.  This reauthorization will go through FY2019 and allow the Ex-Im Bank to finance foreign buyers of American-made products, as well as insure U.S. manufacturers who send products overseas.  This is a HUGE win for Colorado and our manufacturers! 
  • Fiduciary Rule Changes: During debate and negotiation for Congress’ final bill of the year (a.k.a. the Omnibus) two different sets of language were proposed to address Obama’s Executive Order; to effectively repeal President Obama’s fiduciary rule standard, as well as language to delay implementation, by two years, until stakeholders and those likely affected by the rule have been given the opportunity to comment.  Both proposed provisions drew a Presidential veto threat and were later removed, as a Presidential veto could have created another government shutdown.  

CACI continues to educate our delegation on the negative impacts the fiduciary rule changes will have on financial advisors and individuals planning for retirement.  In particular, the proposed rule creates unintentional consequences by blocking access to retirement advice for those who can least afford to pay and may be most in need of financial advice.

  • Joint-Employer: CACI began educating our delegation and member companies about harmful National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) policies starting back in 2013.  In particular, we raised alarms about the joint-employer standard and its potential negative economic impact for Colorado franchisors, franchisees, independent contractors and those considering starting a business.

While a proposed amendment to strip joint-employer authority from the NLRB was part of the Omnibus spending bill discussion, this amendment also drew a Presidential veto threat.  At the same time, House members were under political pressure from Speaker Ryan to pass a “clean” spending bill, and to instead address labor issues in 2016.  CACI continues to ensure our delegation knows labor issues, and joint-employer in particular, are top priorities for Colorado businesses.

Unfortunately, the NLRB was funded by the Omnibus at 2015 budget levels.  This funding level drew the ire of conservatives who believed the only way to prevent joint-employer implementation was to take away the financial means of the NLRB.  Although joint-employer was not stopped by the Omnibus bill, through CACI’s efforts, we are ensuring businesses and our federal representatives understand the harm the NLRB’s rule will have on Colorado’s economy.

  • Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), a.k.a. toxic substance reform, was a part of the omnibus budget discussion, but later put aside for debate in 2016 due the complexity of the issue.  TSCA is the regulation responsible for chemical label requirements, for prescribed proper handling of chemical, as well as health and safety recommendations for proper chemical use.  However, this bill originating from the 1970’s hasn’t seen substantive reform since its original passage and represents a massive bipartisan, as well as industry effort, to develop meaningful regulations.

CACI is supportive of TSCA reform because our members have been at the negotiating table, and Congress will essentially codify industry-developed best practices.  As part of bipartisan negotiation efforts, reform language will acknowledge potential harms for special classes of chemical users, while making recommendations for those specific classes of consumers: the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with compromised immune systems.

Senator Inhofe (R-OK), Chair of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee may work with his House counterpart, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, to move TSCA reform forward as early as this month or February.  TSCA reform was a major topic of both the Republican Senate and House leadership policy planning retreats this week.

  • The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA),  was rolled into the final version of the Omnibus bill, and effectively prevented debate on privacy protection qualms raised by industry and consumer protection hawks.  CACI had been closely following CISA developments and privacy and business protections, particularly over member concerns that channels used to freely and quickly share information with Homeland Security, would also create warrantless backdoors for the National Security Agency (NSA).  Some industry negotiators say this CISA version also allows the President to create ‘information portals’ so cybersecurity information is shared directly with law enforcement, and potentially skirts Homeland Security oversight.  Despite some of these flaws, we believe CISA has taken very important steps to ensure protection of businesses who share security information with the federal government in a dual effort to protect our customers, consumers and our national, economic interests.
  • Coming next week:  Tax extenders bill explanation …

For questions regarding these or other federal related issues, please contact Leah Curtsinger at [email protected] or at 303-866-9641.


Federal News Bites

  • Executive Orders: President Obama announced executive orders requiring background checks and additional permitting for all gun sellers, regardless of venue or volume

For questions regarding these or other federal related issues, please contact Leah Curtsinger at [email protected] or at 303-866-9641