Colorado Capitol Report

Eleven Days to Go: Vote for Pro-Business Legislative Candidates!

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State Policy News

Eleven Days to Go: Vote for Pro-Business Legislative Candidates!

As of today, the Secretary of State’s Office reports that 697,414 ballots have been received.  On Monday, October 17th, county clerks began mailing out more than three million ballots to registered Colorado voters.

Here are the three big categories:

  • Democrat, 269,066;
  • Republican, 241,750; and
  • Unaffiliated, 177,225.

The November 8th outcome of the state legislative races will determine whether or not CACI will face a Colorado General Assembly  controlled by one party in January.  To prevent that scenario, CACI in July endorsed a bipartisan slate of 53 incumbent and new legislative candidates and has worked hard for their election.

Republicans currently control the 35-member Senate by one vote, and the Democrats control the House 34 to 31.

CACI supports candidates who it believes will advocate policies that will create jobs and enhance the state’s economic climate.  The best chance for such policies to succeed is when the control of the legislature’s two chambers is split between the Democrats and the Republicans.  CACI and the statewide business community that it represents learned this lesson the hard way in recent years.

Control of the two chambers for the 2017 and 2018 sessions, however, likely depends on the outcome of a small number of key races in swing districts.  Below are five key races and the CACI endorsements that reflect CACI’s interest in maintaining a balanced legislature:



For more information about CACI’s legislative-candidate slate, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

Key House Legislative Races: Who Will Control the Chamber and by How Many Seats?

CACI’s goal for the legislative elections is for split political control of the two legislative chambers.  Past legislative sessions have demonstrated that CACI and the statewide business community that it represents fare best when control of the two chambers is split between the two major political parties.  Currently, the Republicans control the 35-member Senate by one vote and the Democrats control the House 34 to 31.

Political observers see a greater challenge for the Republicans to take over the House than retain the Senate.  In 2014, widely considered a Republican “wave” election nationally, Colorado Republicans were unable to seize control of the House although they did take control of the Senate by one vote.

If 2016 turns out to be a Democrat “wave election” nationally, the odds appear stacked against the GOP to take the reins of the House.

Both Republican and Democrats are focused, nonetheless, on a small number of key House races, whose outcome could determine who controls the Chamber come January or, more likely, the margin of control if the Democrats retain the majority.

House District 17

House District 17 in Colorado Springs/El Paso County features incumbent Republican Representative Catherine “Kit” Roupe, who CACI has endorsed, in a rematch with former Democratic Representative Tony Exum, Sr.

As of October 12th, Exum, who started the race with $1,436, had raised $121,365 and spent $95,388.  As of October 26th, Roupe, who started with $3,515, had raised $89,376 and spent $76,069.

Here’s how reporters John Frank and Jon Murray of The Denver Post describe the two candidates:

What’s notable: This is a rematch, after Roupe defeated then-Rep. Exum by 289 votes in 2014 at the end of his single term. That was the fourth cycle in a row in which the seat changed hands between parties, going back to when Roupe first ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2008.

Roupe, a business owner and pet sitter, plays up her bipartisan record against outside groups’ attempts to align her through robo-calls with Donald Trump, whom she quietly supports. Besides the economy and education, she says child care is important in the district. She also wants to find ways to slow the growth of Medicaid costs, possibly by changing the way the state pays for reimbursements, as a key to reining in the state budget.

Exum, a retired firefighter, won decisively in the 2012 election, when Democrats turned out more heavily, and his chances could be similarly improved this time around. He is running as an education advocate, while also highlighting health care issues and his support for giving priority to Colorado companies in bidding for state contracts.

House District 59

In the far southwestern corner of the state, Republican Representative J. Paul Brown of Ignacio faces Democrat Barbara McLachlan of Durango.  CACI has endorsed Representative Brown.

As of October 12th, McLachlan had raised $149,435 and spent $113,002.  As of that date, Representative Brown, who began the race with $50, had raised $144,365 and spent $145,652.

McLachlan is an educator with 20 years of experience teaching at Durango High School.  She is a board member of the Durango Education Foundation and Durango Discovery Museum.

Representative Brown, who runs a sheep ranch, has served as a La Plata County Commissioner and a member of the Ignacio School Board.

Other Key House Races

In addition, there are several other House races that political operatives and observers are closely following.  Here are the CACI-endorsed candidates in three of these races:

For news media coverage of these key House races as well as Senate races, read:

President Obama backs 3 Democrats in tight Colorado House races to help rally votes,’ by Jon Murray, The Denver Post, October 27th.

Battle for the Capitol”: What’s at stake if Colorado’s legislature flips?” by Corey Hutchins, The Colorado Independent, October 25th.

Here are the top Colorado legislative races to watch in 2016,” by Jon Murray and John Frank, The Denver Post, October 23rd.

Colorado legislative races simmer across state as Democrats, Republicans fight for control,” by John Frank and Jon Murray, The Denver Post, October 23rd.

On the radar: Two sleeper statehouse races to watch this year,” by Marianne Goodland, The Colorado Independent, October 19th.

J. Paul Brown wants to work on water, infrastructure needs,” by Peter Marcus, The Durango Herald, October 11th.

For more information about CACI’s endorsed legislative candidates, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

Federal Policy News

Colorado Congressional Delegation Receives NAM Report Card

This week, the National Association of Manufacturers released its report honoring Congressmen who have supported policies to protect and further manufacturing.

“The NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence honors members of Congress who demonstrate support for policies that enhance the ability of U.S. manufacturers to succeed in the global economy. In the 114th Congress, 301 senators and representatives earned this distinction.

The NAM’s Key Vote Advisory Committee—composed of executives from small, mid-sized and large manufacturing companies—designates the key manufacturing votes to be included in the NAM’s Congressional Voting Record.  Members of the House and Senate who vote in support of manufacturing at least 70 percent of the time earn the NAM Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award.”

CACI members who meet with members of the Colorado Congressional delegation should let them know that they support the NAM’s initiatives and pro-business votes that are recognized through this award.

For the Senate, the NAM looked at 24 key votes important to manufacturers and businesses.

  • Sen. Michael Bennet supported 67% of the NAM’s targeted votes.
  • Sen. Cory Gardner voted pro-manufacturing 87% of the time and will be honored by the NAM and CACI with the Manufacturing Legislative Excellence award.

For the House, the NAM key-voted 46 pieces of legislation.  This is where our Colorado House Representatives ranked for support of business & manufacturing.  Bolded names below will also receive the NAM legislator excellence award:

Rep. Mike Coffman:  93%
Rep. Doug Lamborn:  89%
Rep. Scott Tipton:  86%
Rep. Ken Buck:  80%
Rep. Ed Perlmutter:  30%
Rep. Jared Polis:  22%
Rep. Diana DeGette:  20%

The SBA & DOL Partner to Prep Businesses for Overtime Rule

Last week, the Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division (DOL) in partnership with the Small Business Office of Advocacy presented the, “Preparing for the Overtime Final Rule,” webinar.  Although webinar participant slots were filled within just days of the announced session, the content of that webinar is now being shared with CACI and our members.

DOL provided a briefing and Q&A session about the agency’s final rule from their perspective.  This rule will change the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations, setting the new overtime threshold at $50,440 from the original $23,660, in addition to creating automatic inflation adjustments.  CACI and our partners at the U.S Chamber believe that this rule is a clear-cut example of regulatory overreach.  Additionally, it would put Congress on the sidelines and the DOL on auto-pilot because threshold adjustments would happen automatically.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:  The Final Overtime Rule is effective on December 1, 2016.  However, two legal cases brought against the DOL rule could potentially delay or stop the rule’s implementation.  A group of 21 states seeking a temporary injunction has been combined with the case brought by the U.S. Chamber et al, where an expedited permanent injunction request will be heard November 16th, 2016.  CACI will be tracking this rule closely to update our members.

For more information: 

Or on Youtube:

(DOL has said they will post a transcript of the Q&A portion of the webinar soon.)

  • DOL also has a hotline for compliance questions at: 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)

If you have questions about the DOL’s federal overtime standard or questions about any other federal issues, please contact CACI Federal Policy Director Leah Curtsinger at (303) 866-9641.