Colorado Capitol Report

House Democrats Fire Salvo of “Pay-Equity” Bills at Employers

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State Policy News

House Democrats Fire Salvo of “Pay-Equity” Bills at Employers

House Democrats have introduced three bills that address in different ways their goal of tackling the issue of equal pay among private-sector worker, which is part-and-parcel of the prominent national and state Democrat strategy of hammering the business community this election year on the issue of income inequality.

The CACI Labor and Employment Committee opposes the three bills:

HB-1001, which would require companies that contract with State Government to provide evidence of equal pay among workers.

HB-1156, which would bar employers from taking action against workers who discuss wage information amongst themselves.

HB-1166, which would bar employers from asking about the salary history of a job applicant.  The House Business Affairs and Labor Committee amended and approved the bill on March 17th.

Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations testified before the Committee in opposition to HB-1166.  Here’s an edited version of Loren’s prepared testimony.

CACI appreciates the sponsors’ effort to reach out to our organization in advance of introducing this bill.  We understand and respect the intent of the sponsors, but when we brought this bill to our members and employers across the State, we have two major areas of concern:

  1. If this bill were to become law and employers mistakenly asked for an applicant’s salary history, they would be subject to incredible litigation risk.

a. By creating a new discrimination claim under the Anti-Discrimination Act, which was expanded in 2013, employers would be subject to punitive damages, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs and potentially front pay if an applicant sued an employer for simply asking for salary history.

b. This is a sledgehammer approach on employers that we believe is unreasonable.

2. Employers and their human resources staff need to be able to determine whether an applicant is within the salary range that the employer is considering.

This would be a special problem for Colorado companies that hire staff in other states.

Employers that are hiring for several positions, like one of CACI’s manufacturing members who said: “I’ve got to hire for multiple positions for an assembly line.  Does this mean I would have to interview every single one of those applicants?”


Year after year we see bills that limit the ability of all sizes of employers in Colorado to operate their business;

CACI has worked very hard over the last several years to strike a balance between employers and employees to resolve bills targeted at discrimination and wage claims and benefits.

All of those bills were aimed at “bad apple” employers, but they were written with a “broad  brush” at all Colorado employers;

Unfortunately, we believe this bill has same problem and is a “gotcha” on employers who simply ask for someone’s salary history, which would then subject them to litigation costs that could put them out of business.

Again, I truly respect the sponsors’ interests in finding ways to pay someone equitably but we don’t believe this bill is the best approach.

CACI members with questions about the three pay-equity bills should contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For news media coverage of the wage-gap issue, read:

House considering a trio of equal-pay bills,” by Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, March 22nd.

Feedback for CDPHE's Strategic Plan

water quality control division logo




As part of our strategic planning process we are reviewing existing stakeholder feedback and also seeking your feedback via a short online survey. We value your input and would very much appreciate your participation. 

Please take the time to complete this survey by COB Friday, April 8. 

The process

The department is in the midst of developing this year’s update to our strategic plan. We update the plan every year to give a rolling five-year view and help us set our direction by determining priorities and goals. The strategic plan fulfills requirements of the SMART (State Measurement for Accountable Responsive and Transparent government) Act and meet Public Health Accreditation Board standards. The results of this anonymous survey will be summarized and considered as we update the department strategic plan.

News Media Coverage

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

Hickenlooper won’t commit to four-year term, leaves door open for higher office,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, March 23rd.

Hickenlooper chooses new lieutenant governor,” by Peter Marcus, The Durango Herald, March 23rd.

Colorado GOP lawmakers attempt to defund Clean Power Plan work,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, March 22nd.

Pinnacol Assurance gives up legislative efforts to expand out of state,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 22nd.

Colorado lawmakers advance bill to increase local authority over oil & gas,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 22nd.

Much work ahead in second half of Colorado Legislature,” by Peter Marcus, The Durango Herald, March 21st.

Rep. Dan Pabon offers tearful apology for last week’s DUI arrest,” by Joey Bunch and John Frank, The Denver Post, March 21st.

Universal health care examined Thursday,” by Jonathan Romeo, The Durango Herald, March 20th.

New Era Colorado names Lizzy Stephan Executive Director,” by Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, March 18th.

Colorado government revenue falling – but roads could benefit,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 18th.

Colorado lawmakers’ prescription for exchange,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 18th.

How 3 Colorado initiatives could change which lawmakers you vote for,” by Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, March 17th.

Colorado House advances fracking-quake bill,” by James Anderson, The Associated Press, The Denver Post, March 17th.

Democrats move to address gender pay gap,” by Peter Marcus, The Durango Herald, March 17th.

Colorado Farm Bureau laments vote on GMO labeling,” by Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, March 17th.

GMO Labelling Bill Fails In Senate

Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate took up a vote on whether to allow voluntary labeling of products with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – with compromise language allowing that if 75% of the market had not opted to voluntarily label within three years, the labeling would become mandatory.  Additionally, included language ensured that if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found science-based proof that a new GMO product entering the market was scientifically unsafe, it would require mandatory labeling of that product.  Alternative options for labeling included:  using QR codes or websites on labels directing consumers to more information.

Last week, the U.S. Senate failed to move forward on a cloture vote (48-49) to proceed to Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts’ proposal to create a uniform, national labeling standard for foods produced through agricultural biotechnology.   The timeline for labeling efforts span several years, however, passage of onerous state labeling laws by Vermont have accelerated the need for a national, uniform approach.  Vermont’s multi-tiered approach will go into effect this coming July.

Effects of the failed legislation can already be seen as General Mills announced this week they will begin labeling all products nationally to meet Vermont’s labeling law.  (See below for more on Vermont’s labeling requirements and GMO myths.)  Campbell Foods announced earlier this year that they would voluntarily label all GMO products, and just last year Colorado faced a ballot initiative to consider mandatory GMO labeling.  Sixty-five percent of Colorado voters opposed the ballot initiative, but that vote was indicative of a movement that would have hurt businesses and consumers alike through higher food costs.

CACI is working hard with the Coalition For Safe Affordable Food to represent our member companies who produce, package and ship food products to consumers across the U.S.

Congress will be in recess the next two weeks, so we ask CACI’s members to call, email to talk with our delegation about the negative effects of mandatory labeling, and why it’s so important to put in place a national, voluntary labeling system to avoid the pitfalls of patchwork state legislationand the negative effects of those actions on our businesses.

For more background:

Wall Street Journal:  GMO Labeling Law Roils Food Companies

Politico:  How Vermont Beat Big Food

NPR:  Bill Blocking GMO Labels Stalls In Senate, But Battle Is Far From Over

Vermont Statutes On Genetically Engineered Products

Ad run in “The Hill” last week by the Safe Food coalition:

GMO ad