Colorado Capitol Report

The Colorado Chamber-Opposed “Ban-the-Box” Bill Dies in Senate Committee

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State Policy News

CACI-Opposed “Ban-the-Box” Bill Dies in Senate Committee

On Wednesday afternoon, HB-1388, died in the Republican-controlled State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a party-line 3-2 vote.

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.”

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

Two Democrat senators made negative comments concerning the presentations by the bill’s opponents: Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, and Tony Gagliardi, the Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).

Senator Merrifield said the arguments of the bill’s opponents were “not really legitimate.”

Committee member Senator Matt Jones (D-Louisville) said he “has no doubt” that employers use the box to eliminate job applicants with criminal histories.  “I don’t think we need the box because employers say they can figure it out anyway,” Senator Jones said.  Senator Jones was referring to the fact that employers would not be prohibited by HB-1388 from running background checks on applicants if the box was eliminated from job application forms.

Committee member Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), however, said that HB-1388 “is not the solution” to the challenges of individuals with a criminal history seeking employment.  Senator Hill said “government should not tell employers what to do.”

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 HB-1388, read:

Lawmakers kill ‘ban the box’ bill aimed at helping ex-cons land jobs,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 4th.

House Sends CACI-Opposed ‘Ban-the-Box’ Bill to the Senate,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, April 29th.

’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.

Senate Sends Amended Bill Opening up Personnel Files to Governor

On Monday, the Senate approved on final, Third Reading by a bipartisan 22-13 vote an amended HB-1432, which sends the bill to Governor Hickenlooper.

The five Republican senators who voted with the minority Democrats to pass the bill were:

  • Bill Cadman (Colorado Springs)
  • Larry Crowder (Salida)
  • Beth Martinez Humenik (Thornton)
  • Ellen Roberts (Durango)
  • Laura Woods (Arvada)

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

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

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.  The House on April 25th passed the bill on final Third Reading vote by a 39-to-26 margin with five Republicans joining the majority Democrats to move the bill to the Senate.

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:

Amended Bill Opening up Personnel Files to Workers Awaits Final Senate Approval,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, April 29th.

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

“Colorado Secure Savings Program” Killed at Request of House Sponsors

On Wednesday afternoon, HB-1403, the “Colorado Secure Savings Program,” was killed by the Democrat-controlled House Finance Committee at the request of its two Democrat sponsors, Representatives Brittany Pettersen (Lakewood) and Janet Buckner (Aurora).

This session, a liberal/progressive think-tank, The Bell Policy Center, called HB-1403 “our top legislative priority” because the proposal would have established a “retirement income security” program in a state “trust” for workers whose employers do not offer retirement plans.

The CACI Governmental Affairs Council opposed the measure.

For the legislature, HB-1403 is not the first time, however, that this concept has surfaced.  The Bell Policy Center has been advocating this idea for several years at the Capitol.

In 2014, then-Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) promoted the concept with HB-1377, which would have created a task force to develop recommendations for a “Colorado secure retirement plan” for private-sector workers.  The bill died at the end of the session on the Senate Floor on Second Reading.  The Democrats controlled the Senate that session.

Here’s how the HB-1403’s non-partisan fiscal note summarized the proposal:

Summary of Legislation

The bill creates the Colorado Secure Savings Plan (the plan) to provide a retirement savings plan for private sector Colorado workers whose employers do not provide a retirement plan. Private employers are required to arrange for the automatic enrollment of employees in the plan and funds are contributed through a payroll deduction from employee wages. Smaller employers are given up to three years to establish the arrangement; larger companies must establish the arrangement sooner. An employer who offers an alternative retirement savings plan is not required to offer participation in the state plan. Accounts with the plan are in the form of a Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA). An account in the plan is automatically established unless an employee opts out of the program.

The bill creates a nine-member board of trustees for the plan and details conditions for the board’s selection, terms, and replacement. In addition to seven other members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate, the board includes the state controller from the Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) and the director of the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB). Trustees serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for necessary travel expenses.  Among its many duties, the board of trustees is required to:

  • design, establish, and operate the plan meeting minimum criteria;
  • establish investment options that offer employees returns on contributions and the conversion of secure IRA balances to retirement income without incurring state debt or liabilities;
  • establish a process to allocate interest and investment earnings or losses to individual plan accounts on a pro rata basis;
  • evaluate and establish a process for enrollees to contribute wages through an automatic payroll deduction
  • accept gifts, grants, or state donations to cover start-up costs;
  • provide for the payment of administrative costs and expenses for the creation, management, and operation of the plan; and
  • conduct a financial feasibility study to ensure that the plan will be self-sustaining.

The bill establishes the Colorado Secure Savings Plan Fund as a trust outside of the state treasury and establishes the board as the trustee of the fund. The fund consists of money received from enrollees, from individual contributions to the plan, and from any gifts, grants, or donations. Money in the fund is not property of the state and the fund must not be construed to be a department, institution, or agency of the state. The bill permits the board to use a portion of the moneys in the fund to pay administrative costs.

The bill requires that the state savings plan be implemented and enrollment of employees begin within two years after the bill’s effective date; however, the board may delay implementation if the board does not obtain adequate money to implement the plan by this deadline. The plan does not take effect if it fails to qualify as an IRA for federal tax purposes, or if it is determined that the plan is an employee benefit plan and state or employer liability would be established under federal law.

For more information about HB-1403, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For news media coverage of this issue, see:

Wrong way to boost retirement savings in Colorado,” opinion by Vince Carroll, editorial page editor, The Denver Post, April 26, 2014.

Two CACI-Neutral House Bills Await Monday Senate Committee Hearing

Two bills, which CACI has worked on with the sponsors to take a neutral position and which resulted in bipartisan support in the House, are scheduled to be heard Monday afternoon by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee when it convenes at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Committee Room 354.

Both bills passed House final, Third Reading with Republican support.


The first is amended HB-1438, which was sponsored in the House by Representative Faith Winter (D-Westminster).  The Senate sponsor is Senator Beth Martinez-Humenik (R-Thornton).

Here is a summary of the bill:

The bill requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a worker who is pregnant unless it creates an undue hardship on the employer.

In the negotiations, CACI sought to align the measure with the Federal Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA) reach a balance between employers who need workers to fulfill the essential functions of the job while accommodating a pregnant employee at the workplace.  The reasonable accommodations negotiated in the bill include more frequent bathroom breaks, water breaks, modification of equipment (such as a chair), and limitations on lifting.  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.

The bill allows for an interactive process between the employer and worker to determine reasonable accommodations for the employee.  The bill requires an employer to provide written notice to new or current employees that they are free from discriminatory or unfair practices.

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.  A compromise was reached so that a ccourt shall not award punitive damages if the employer has demonstrated that it has made a “good faith” effort to identify and make a reasonable accommodation for the employee who is pregnant and that the accommodation did not cause an undue hardship on the employer.

CACI members with questions about HB-1438 should contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For more information on HB-1438, read:

House Sends Amended Pregnant-Workers Accommodation Bill to Senate,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, April 29th.


The second proposal is HB-1347, which would 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 bill’s Senate sponsor is Senator Jessie Ulibarri (D-Commerce City).

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.

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.

CACI members with questions about HB-1347 should contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For more information on HB-1347, read:

House Passes Amended Bill to Publicly Disclose Wage-Violation Cases; CACI Takes ‘Neutral’ Position,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, April 29th.

Register Now for CACI Candidate Interviews

July 6, 7 & 12th from 9:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Help to get pro-business legislative candidates elected to the Colorado General Assembly! Be a part of the most extensive candidate interview process.

CACI members that make a contribution of $550 to the Colorado Business PAC are eligible to participate.

Tricia Smith,
Sr. Vice President Events & Political Fundraising
[email protected]

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.