Colorado Capitol Report

House Sends The Colorado Chamber-Opposed “Ban-the-Box” Proposal to the Senate

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State Policy News

House Sends CACI-Opposed “Ban-the-Box” Proposal to the Senate

On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House on a 35-29 final, Third Reading vote approved HB-1388, the “ban-the-box” bill, which sent the measure to the Republican-controlled Senate.  CACI opposes the bill.

Representative Kevin Priola (Henderson) was the only Republican to vote for the bill.  Representative Stephen Humphrey (R-Eaton) was excused.

Given the fate this session of similar, partisan House Democrat proposals that seek to interfere with the employer-worker relationship, HB-1388 faces a problematic future: It was immediately assigned to the Senate “kill committee,” the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.  The bill is scheduled to be heard when the Committee convenes at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3rd, in Room 271 at the Capitol.

The Senate co-sponsors are Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) and Senator Mike Merrifield (D-Colorado Springs).

The bill’s summary states:

“This bill prohibits an employer, excluding the state and its political subdivisions, from advertising or including language in an employment application that indicates that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position. An employer may not make an inquiry about a candidate’s arrest history or criminal convictions until it selects a candidate for an interview or extends an offer of employment to that person.”

During the House Floor debate on Second Reading last Friday, numerous Democrats spoke in support of the bill and numerous Republicans spoke against it, some with considerable “passion,” so to speak.

For more information about HB-1388, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For news media coverage of the bill, read:

’Ban the box’ measure passes Colorado House, heads to Senate,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 27th.

House Committee OKs ‘Ban-the-Box’ Bill,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, April 15th.

Colorado Senate Roundly Rejects Aggressive Anti-Oil and Gas Industry Legislation

Yesterday, Colorado Senators on the Republican majority Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee considered two controversial bills that put debate regarding the impacts and benefits of Colorado’s oil and gas industry squarely at issue.

The first and most controversial bill, HB-1310, sponsored by Democrats Representative Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) and Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), sought to amend existing evidentiary laws governing relations between surface owners and oil-and-gas operators in a way that would have substantially expanded Colorado operators’ liability risks associated with tort claims resulting from oil and gas operations in Colorado.  However, the most controversial aspect of this legislation was that it also sought to put into law a new standard of liability for oil and gas operators.  The new standard would have essentially held operators strictly liable for their conduct if oil and gas operations, including fracking, cause an earthquake that damages property or injures and individual.

CACI joined a long list of its oil-and-gas industry trade association and business community partners in testifying and lobbying to oppose and defeat this legislation.  Significant levels of industrially induced seismic activity is simply not a challenge that Colorado has experienced throughout its long history of oil and gas exploration and production or since the more recent uptick in oil-and-gas operations in the state ushered in by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, technologies and practices that have enabled operators to produce more oil and gas, more efficiently.  CACI voiced strong concerns regarding the chilling effect that Colorado’s adoption of a national-first strict liability – or guilt without fault – program would have on oil-and-gas operations in our state.

HB-1310’s passage would likely result in the shuttering of one of Colorado’s key economic driver industries, as oil-and-gas operators would move to decrease or cease ongoing operations, and cancel future operations and investments in attempts to avoid unchecked liability risks this legislation would put into law.  Ultimately, this legislation was resoundingly rejected by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee by a strong bipartisan vote of 8-to-1.

Secondly, HB-1430 was also defeated by the Republican Majority of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee.  This bill died on a straight party-line vote with the committees five Republicans opposing the bill and its four Democrats supporting.  HB-1430 sought to codify a proposal to mandate that oil-and-gas operators disclose their five-year, drilling-and-development plans to county governments.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the primary agency enforcing regulatory oversight of oil-and-gas operations in Colorado, just recently adopted new rules and regulations regarding operators’ communications and cooperation with local governments.  These rules were the result of the recommendations advanced by the 2014 Oil and Gas Task Force that Governor Hickenlooper created to investigate the impacts and benefits of the oil-and-gas industry throughout Colorado. While these new rules require disclosure of such plans to municipal governments, county-level disclosures were not ultimately included in the final rules.

However, county level disclosure mandates were thoroughly considered by both the Governor’s Oil and Gas Task Force and the COGCC in the resulting rulemaking process.  Both the Task Force and the COGCC rejected the proposal to require county level disclosure mandates, citing the redundant nature of such a requirement with current practices, disclosure requirements to other layers of local governments, and the fact that most operators enter into memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with county governments in the counties where they operate or plan to develop.

CACI joined its oil-and-gas membership and partner trade associations in lobbying and testifying for legislators to defeat HB-1430 and reject efforts to delegitimize Governor Hickenlooper’s Oil and Gas Task Force Process and the authority of the COGCC to set sound state level policies for the safe and responsible operations of the oil-and-gas industry in Colorado.

House Committee Approves Bill Levying Fee on Employers with Low-Wage Workers

Yesterday afternoon, on a party-line 7-6 vote, the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee approved HB-1435, a bill that would levy a fee on corporations employing 250 or more workers and paying them less than $12 per hour but not providing them with health-insurance benefits.

In other words, the purpose of the bill is to force corporations with low-wage workers enrolled in Medicaid to offset that cost to the State.

Revenue from the fees—which would range from 25 cents to $1 per hour per low-wage worker–would go into a state-established “enterprise,” which would be placed in the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which houses the Colorado Medicaid program.

To the degree that the “low-wage employer” provided health insurance to its workers, that expenditure would be credited by the enterprise against the fees owed by the employer to the enterprise

This fee would clearly increase an employer’s labor costs, and it also would impose an unknown administrative cost on the employer to comply with HB-1435 with changes required to the employer’s payroll system.  In any event, the added cost of HB-1435 would result in the employer either passing it along to its customers or seeing its net profit reduced, or both.

The CACI Governmental Affairs Council opposes the bill.

The bill is particularly notable in that one of its co-sponsors is House Majority Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), who is widely considered by statehouse participants to become the House Speaker for the 2017 session.  Speaker Dicky Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) is term-limited and will step down when the legislature convenes in January.  Consequently, it’s a safe political bet that the Democrat-controlled House will pass the measure.  The other co-sponsor is Representative KC Becker (D-Boulder).

Representative Becker told the Committee that the bill will prevent the corporations from “cost-shifting” the expense of providing health insurance to the workers to the State Medicaid program and that it will “level the playing field” between such corporations and those that do provide health insurance benefits to their workers.

Majority Leader Duran told the Committee that she blames these corporations for paying their workers “so little” that they are forced to go on Medicaid because the corporations do not provide health-insurance benefits.  Underlying the bill is a “pooled risk concept,” Majority Leader Duran said, similar to that of other insurance products.  She said she wants these corporations to “pay their fair share.”

The intellectual horsepower behind HB-1435 comes from the liberal/progressive Colorado Fiscal Institute.

Next stop for the bill is the House Appropriations Committee.

Here’s a summary of the bill contained in the non-partisan fiscal note, just issued Tuesday,

Summary of Legislation

This bill creates an employment-related public benefits enterprise (enterprise) as a government-owned business and type 1 agency within the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF). The enterprise’s stated purpose is to improve the health of low-wage workers and their families and thereby benefit low-wage employers by giving them access to a healthier pool of workers. The board of directors of the enterprise consists of seven members appointed by the Governor, representing employers, organized labor, workers receiving assistance under a state-subsidized health care assistance program, and advocates that provide or support health care services for low-income individuals.  The bill specifies the various powers of the enterprise.

Employment-related public benefits fee.  On and after January 1, 2017, the enterprise must impose a fee on all low-wage employers. For purposes of the fee, a low-wage employer is defined as any entity that employs 250 or more employees in Colorado and pays some of those employees $12 per hour or less (low-wage employees). The enterprise must set the fee as an amount reasonably calculated to reflect the benefit low-wage employers receive from the provision of state-subsidized health care assistance to low-wage employees, but the fee must be between

25 cents and one dollar per hour worked by each low-wage employee. A low-wage employer may credit health care expenditures to or on behalf of a low-wage employee against the fee for each low-wage employee’s hours. As long as the enterprise meets the constitutional requirements for enterprise status under the taxpayer’s bill of rights (TABOR), fee revenue does not count against the state fiscal year spending limit.

Employment-related public benefits fee fund. The employment-related public benefits fee fund (fund) is created in the state treasury, and all fee revenue and interest and income derived from the deposit and investment of the fund is credited to the fund. The enterprise may expend money from the fund to support and improve health care services provided to individuals who are eligible to receive services under the Colorado Medical Assistance Act and to defray its administrative expenses in implementing and administering provisions of the bill. No money in the fund may be transferred to any other state fund or department or agency of state government.

Prohibitions against retaliation. The bill prohibits employers from firing low-wage employees to avoid paying the fee or from deducting the amount of the fee from employees’ wages. The bill prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for whistleblowing or taking various other specified actions relating to implementation or enforcement of the bill. Such retaliation is defined as an unfair employment practice, and an employee retaliated against may file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division within the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The attorney general and district attorneys are concurrently responsible for the enforcement of the bill.


State enterprises. TABOR defines an enterprise as “a government-owned business authorized to issue its own revenue bonds and receiving under 10 percent of annual revenue in grants from all Colorado state and local governments combined.” Because the share of revenue that an enterprise may receive from government sources is capped, enterprises are largely financially independent of core government agencies. Additionally, enterprises cannot levy taxes.

Type 1 agencies. A Type 1 agency is administered under the direction and supervision of its principal department; however, a Type 1 agency exercises its statutory powers, duties, and functions, including rule-making, independently of the executive director of its principal department. Any functions of a Type 1 agency not specifically established in statute, including all budgeting, purchasing, planning, and related management functions, are conducted under the direction and supervision of the executive director of its principal department.

House Passes Amended Bill to Publicly Disclose Wage-Violation Cases; CACI Takes “Neutral” Position

On Wednesday, the House gave final, Third Reading approval to HB-1347 that will allow for the public disclosure of information concerning a company determined to be in violation of state-wage laws, but only after all administrative and legal proceedings have been completed.

The vote was a bipartisan 47-17 with Representative Stephen Humphrey (R-Eaton) excused.  Thirteen minority Republicans joined the 34 majority Democrats to approve the measure:

  1. Paul Brown (Ignacio)
  2. Terri Carver (Colorado Springs)
  3. Kathleen Conti (Littleton)
  4. Brian DelGrosso (Loveland)
  5. Tim Dore (Elizabeth)
  6. Polly Lawrence (Littleton)
  7. Paul Lundeen (Monument)
  8. Bob Rankin (Carbondale)
  9. Kit Roupe (Colorado Springs)
  10. Lang Sias (Arvada)
  11. Yeulin Willett (Grand Junction)
  12. Jim Wilson (Salida)
  13. JoAnn Windholz (Westminster)

The House action sends the bill to the Senate, where its sponsor is Senator Jessie Ulibarri (D-Commerce City).  The bill has been assigned to the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.  It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) investigates claims of wage-law violations.  Current law, however, bars release to the public of information concerning such an investigation after a case has been resolved.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge), told The Denver Post that, “the way the law is interpreted now, no one can access this information, even under the Colorado Open Records Act.”

HB-1347 as introduced would have required that the CDLE to publicly release information concerning a finding by the CDLE’s Division of Labor on a wage-law violation.  The information could be released to the public or for a court proceeding.  The director of the Labor Division, however, could make a determination that certain information is a trade secret.

Here’s how the bill’s non-partisan fiscal note described the introduced bill:

Summary of Legislation

This bill requires the Division of Labor (division) in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to treat information pertaining to a wage law violation as public record. If the division determines that an employer has violated a wage law, it must release information about that violation to the public upon request, unless the information relates to a trade secret. Before releasing any information, the division’s director must notify the employer of the potential release. The employer then has ten days to provide documentation showing that the information to be released represents a trade secret. The director can decide whether or not to keep the information confidential.


In the last two years, CDLE closed 7,215 wage complaint investigations. In the last year, since implementing a tracking system, the division made 78 determinations that an employer violated a wage law. The division receives an average of two requests per month for records related to wage law violations.

The bill was amended in the House Judiciary Committee on April 21st to state than an employer “may designate information submitted to the division as proprietary, a trade secret, or privileged information . . . as long as the director is not bound by the employer’s designation.”

Among other things, the amendment added the following language: “The division shall treat any notice of citation or notice of assessment issued to an employer for violation of a wage law . . . after all remedies have been exhausted . . . as a public record and shall release the information to the” public.

Finally, the bill was amended to extend to 20 days from 10 days the length of time that an employer has to respond to the division director after the director informs the company that information pertaining to a wage-law violation will be released.  The company can submit documentation to the director that the information to be released is a trade secret.  The director will then determine if the information is a trade secret and has to be treated as confidential.

Because of successful negotiations among the bill’s sponsor, the bill’s advocates and CACI and its business allies, CACI took a “neutral” positon on the measure.

“Despite the political pressures of an election year on the legislature, this bill illustrates the fact that, now and then, stakeholders can work with a sponsor to arrive at a version of the bill that is acceptable to all parties,” said Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations.  “I commend Representative Danielson for her willingness to work with CACI and other business organizations to achieve this goal,” Loren said.

On Second Reading on Monday, the House then amended the introduced bill by accepting the Judiciary Committee’s amendment.

For more information about HB-1347, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For more on this issue, read:

Colorado wage complaints surge amid claims of payroll fraud, abuse of workers,” by Jerd Smith, The Denver Post, April 23rd.

House Sends Amended Pregnant-Workers’ Accommodation Bill to Senate

This morning, the House approved on final, Third Reading, by a bipartisan 40-25 vote, an amended bill that would grant certain accommodations to pregnant workers.  Six Republican lawmakers voted for the bill:

  1. Paul Brown (Ignacio)
  2. Kathleen Conti (Littleton)
  3. Brian DelGrosso (Loveland)
  4. Kevin Priola (Henderson)
  5. Bob Rankin (Carbondale)
  6. JoAnn Windholz (Westminster)

Yesterday, the House endorsed the bill on Second Reading.  The bill now moves to the Senate.

The House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on Tuesday approved HB-1438, sponsored by Representative Faith Winter (D-Westminster).

CACI worked for months with the bill’s Sponsor and supporters to modify the proposal to address CACI’s concerns.  As a successful result of those discussions, CACI took a neutral position on the bill.

On April 21st, the Committee took testimony on the bill and discussed the proposal, but took no action.  Brooke Colaizzi, Member with CACI-member Sherman & Howard, and Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, testified on the bill on behalf of the CACI Labor and Employment Council.  The Committee’s vote was a bipartisan 9-4.  Joining the majority Democrats to advance the bill were Republicans J. Paul Brown (Ignacio) and Lois Landgraf (Colorado Springs).

Here is CACI’s fact sheet prepared by Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations on the amended bill:

Summary of HB 1438 Regarding Pregnancy Accommodations as Amended


Sponsors:  Rep. Faith Winter (D) and Senator Beth Martinez-Humenik (R);

Negotiations between CACI and proponents began in December, 2015;

Summary of Bill:  The bill requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a worker who is pregnant unless it creates an undue hardship on the employer;

Goal of stakeholder meetings between CACI and proponents:  To align the legislation with the Federal Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA), and to reach a balance between employers who need workers to fulfill the essential functions of the job while accommodating a pregnant employee at the workplace.

Reasonable accommodations negotiated in the bill include:  More frequent bathroom breaks, water breaks, modification of equipment (such as a chair), and limitations on lifting.

The negotiated language also states:  An employer does not have to create a new position or a light-duty position; transfer another employee; or provide paid/unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation.

Other provisions in the bill:  Allows for an interactive process between the employer and employee to determine reasonable accommodations for the employee; requires the employer to provide written notice to new or current employees that they are free from discriminatory or unfair practices.

Final issue:  The introduced bill included legal remedies for a pregnant employee if she filed a discrimination claim against an employer.  The legal remedies were those provided in the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which was enhanced in 2013.

  • Compromise language:  The Court shall not award punitive damage if the employer had demonstrated they had made a good faith effort to identify and make a reasonable accommodation for the employee who is pregnant and that did not cause an undue hardship on the employer.  [CACI Labor and Employment member-attorneys agreed this was a fair compromise since most employers try best to accommodate the worker to avoid litigation].

Comments:  This is a bi-partisan, likely-to-pass bill which was the basis for the months of work invested by CACI to resolve the concerns it had with the introduced bill.  CACI believes HB-1438 as amended in the House Health and Insurance Committee is a fair outcome and is neutral on this legislation.  Other organizations that are neutral on this bill include NFIB, Colorado Competitive Council, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Civil Justice League.

For more information about HB-1438, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For more information on HB-1438, read:

CACI Works on Pregnant Employees’ Accommodation Bill,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, April 22nd.

Contribute to Campaign to Defeat Amendment 69, the $25 billion, Single-Payer, Health-Care Plan

A public-private coalition is working to defeat Amendment 69, the November ballot initiative that would create a quasi-public, single-payer health-care plan that would impose a $25 billion tax on employers, workers, and taxpayers.

Called “Coloradans for Coloradans,” the campaign organization’s co-chairs include Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter.  The organization is backed by a coalition of business organizations, public officials, and community and civic leaders.

In November, the CACI Board of Directors voted to oppose Amendment 69 just days after Secretary of State Wayne Williams qualified the ballot initiative for the November ballot.

CACI urges its members to contribute to Coloradans for Coloradans. Contributions can be mailed to:

Coloradans for Coloradans
1660 Lincoln Street
Suite 1800
Denver CO 80624

Contribution can also be wired electronically to Coloradans for Coloradans.

CACI members who have questions about contributing to Coloradans for Coloradansmay email Katie Behnke or call her at 303.807.4583.

Coloradans for Coloradans is an issue committee, #20165030100, registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.  An issue committee may receive unlimited contributions.

Amended Bill Opening up Personnel Files to Workers Awaits Final Senate Approval

This morning, the Senate approved on a Second Reading voice-vote an amended HB-1432, which now only needs a recorded, Third Reading vote to be sent to Governor Hickenlooper.

CACI and its business allies have worked hard with the House sponsor and the bill’s advocates to amend HB-1432 to address the concerns of the business community.  Consequently, CACI has taken a “neutral” position on the bill.

In an article about the bill in The Denver Business Journal, CACI’s Loren Furman was singled out by a fellow business lobbyist for working closely with the House sponsor to amend the bill to satisfy the business community.

The House sponsor is Representative Faith Winter (D-Westminster), and the Senate sponsor is Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood).  A chief backer of the bill is the Colorado Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association.

On Wednesday, the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee passed the measure on a 5-4 vote, which sends the measure to the Senate Floor for Second Reading.  One Republican—Senator Laura Woods (Arvada)—joined the four minority Democrats to advance the bill.

Here are the salient points of the amended bill:

  • A workers or ex-worker could access his or her files once a year, and the individual could have to pay for the cost of photo-copying the file;
  • A worker or ex-worker would not have the right to a “personal right of action;”
  • An employee or ex-employee could not rebut information in the file;
  • An employer’s inability to produce a file could not be used as evidence in a legal case against an employer; and
  • Employers can keep out of the file such sensitive information as complaints of sexual harassment or other questionable behavior.

The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on April 19th with two Republicans voting with the majority Democrats: Representative Tim Dore (R-Elizabeth) and Representative Yeulin Willett (R-Grand Junction).

The House on Monday passed the bill on recorded, final Third Reading vote by a 39-to-26 margin, with five Republicans joining the majority Democrats to move the bill to the Senate:

  • Terri Carver (Colorado Springs),
  • Kevin Priola (Henderson),
  • Bob Ranking (Carbondale),
  • Lan Sias (Arvada), and
  • Yeulin Willet (Grand Junction).

For more information about HB-1432, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For news media coverage of this bill, read:

Bill would grant Colorado workers access to their personnel files,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, April 19th.

Vital for Colorado: Four Proposed Oil-and-Gas Ballot Initiatives Would Devastate Colorado Economy

Below is a message from Vital for Colorado to its members—many of whom are CACI members–about the four proposed ballot measures for the November general election that would greatly restrict oil-and-gas production in Colorado.

When a ballot initiative is certified for the ballot by the Colorado Secretary of State, the CACI Board of Directors will then consider its position on the proposal.  Consequently, CACI has not taken a position yet on the four proposed ballot initiatives.

Standing for Responsible Energy Development

Thank you for continuing to be among the 56,000+ members of our coalition. As representatives from business, government and economic development groups across the state, you understand the opportunities created by Colorado energy production. That’s why I’m writing to you today.

As the voice for the “rational middle,” Vital supports reasonable and responsible oil and natural gas regulations that protect the environment and quality of life for all residents, while also supporting the critical role oil and natural gas plays in Colorado’s economy.

But this philosophy is under attack.

Four proposed ballot measures have recently been cleared by the Colorado Supreme Court to begin gathering signatures for the November ballot. Each of these measures, if passed, would ban responsible oil and natural gas development, as well as strip Coloradans of their private property rights and create a patchwork of regulations throughout the state. This will label Colorado as a hostile state to do business. A brief summary of the proposed measures is below:

Initiative No. 40: Declares local governments can “enact laws to establish, protect, and secure rights of natural persons, communities, and nature, as well as the power to define or eliminate the rights and powers of corporations or business entities” regardless of federal, state or international law.

The takeaway: This gives local governments the power to ban any industry or business they choose for any reason.

Initiative No. 63: Establishes a fundamental right to a healthy environment. Local governments can enact laws to protect a healthy environment even they exceed current state law. ANY aggrieved person or governmental entity has standing to enforce this, and the prevailing “aggrieved” person shall be awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.

The takeaway: This measure allows any and every Coloradan to sue if they feel the environment is endangered. This will open the floodgates to litigation, which could bankrupt local governments and make it impossible to run a business in this state.

Initiative No. 75: Transfers the authority to regulate oil and natural gas development from the state to local governments. However, the local laws may not be less protective than state law. Local governments can also enact laws that exceed state laws for anything those governments believe has a “detrimental impact” on their communities.

The takeaway: Different rules would create a patchwork of regulations for oil and natural gas development across the state. This would result in inconsistent enforcement, leaving the public unprotected and labelling Colorado as hostile to business.

Initiative No. 78: Establishes a 2,500-foot setback from occupied structures, drinking water sources, lakes, rivers, perennial or intermittent streams, creeks, irrigation canals, riparian areas, playgrounds permanent sports fields, amphitheaters, public parks and public open space.

The takeaway: Homeowners would not be able waive the required setback distance for their own home. This unjustly interferes with a homeowner doing what they wish with their own land. The government could take property, including mineral rights, without compensating the owner. This could lead to years of expensive litigation and cost local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, the setbacks would eliminate at least 87 percent of all new oil and gas development in Weld County alone, where most of the state’s oil and gas activity occurs.

Vital for Colorado is working with a diverse group of businesses and community leaders to prevent these disastrous measures from passing. The governor’s oil and gas task force is an example of how conflicts should be resolved in this state: through collaborative efforts not ballot measures.

Additionally, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission enacted regulations that went even further than the governor’s oil and gas task force recommendations.  We should give these regulations a chance to work before using ballot initiatives to change the state constitution.

We will not be able to defeat these measures without you. Vital for Colorado will continue to update you as to what’s happening with these measures and anything else that arises before the November elections. We thank you for your continued support. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.


Peter Moore
CEO & President
Vital for Colorado

Federal Policy News

Transportation Experts Discuss Transportation Needs and Infrastructure Investment

On Tuesday, CACI’s Federal Council heard from two of Colorado’s top transportation experts:  Shailen Bhatt, Executive Director of C-DOT and John Cater, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Regional Administrator.

During the Council meeting, CACI members learned the differences between the roles C-DOT and the FHWA play in terms of funding streams, project oversight, how businesses can be involved, and where opportunities lie for future growth.

John outlined federal grant opportunities and projects in which Colorado and the Denver Metro Area are finalists, including the $40 million Smart Cities grant where Denver is one of seven finalist cities. Other areas of federal funding mentioned were TIGER discretionary grants and the FasTracks used for the Union Station to DIA “Train to the Plane” regional commuter line.

John brings more than 30 years of experience at FHWA and explained the framework for how federal transportation funds are amassed (primarily the federal gas tax), and why those funds are becoming less and less effective.  Those factors translate to fewer gallons of gas used and less taxes paid, but more miles of travel added to our roadways, bridges and tunnels.  One fact stood out in particular:  We each pay an average of $8 per month to cover the cost of our roadways and those funds cannot keep up with Colorado’s road maintenance needs.

Additionally, John spoke to the Council about the potential effects of Colorado’s NAAQS ozone non-compliance on our federal transportation funding.  Although John addressed the “ozone” question through the FHWA lens, he said the agency is not terribly worried about losing highway dollars at this point, but did acknowledge the complexity of the situation and Colorado’s unique background ozone challenges.  CACI shared a study which details federal transportation funding losses as a direct result of ozone non-compliance.

Shailen Bhatt then spoke to the group regarding the challenges C-DOT faces in meeting the needs of Colorado citizens, and his “nemesis” of Utah, where the gas tax has been raised in recent years and the State operates with very little federal funding.  Despite these budget challenges, aging transportation infrastructure and a growing population, Shailen’s mission for C-DOT is to “Provide Freedom, Connection, and Experience through Travel” and he brings his experience as Delaware’s Undersecretary for Transportation to the table.  With this mission, Shailen’s team is prioritizing projects to balance efficiency with safety, seeking private sector feedback and using smart technology for answers, such as RoadX.

To illustrate some of the challenges mentioned from 2017 to 2040, Colorado expects to see:

  • Population growth of 47% (7.8 million Coloradans)
  • 47% increased traffic (41.8 billion more miles traveled)
  • Increasing traffic delays: Where today it’s an hour from downtown to DTC at peak times, in 20 years, that drive will now be 2-3 hours

To view more of Shailen’s presentation, click here.

If you have any questions on this or other federal issues, please contact CACI Federal Policy Director, Leah Curtsinger at (303) 866-9641.