Colorado Capitol Report

Legislature’s Four Caucuses Elect Leaders

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State Policy News

Legislature’s Four Caucuses Elect Leaders

For the third session in a row, the Colorado General Assembly will have the House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats and the Senate controlled by the Republicans.

The session, however, will feature a larger margin of control by the House Democrats, 37 to 28, while the Republicans retain control by only one vote, 18 to 17.

The caucuses elected their leaders on Thursday, November 10th, two days after the election.  Here’s the line-up:

Senate Majority Republicans

  • President Kevin Grantham (Canon City)
  • President Pro Tempore Jerry Sonnenberg (Sterling)
  • Majority Leader Chris Holbert (Parker)
  • Assistant Majority Leader Ray Scott (Grand Junction)
  • Caucus Chair Vicki Marble (Fort Collins)
  • Whip John Cooke (Greeley)

Joint Budget Committee members: Senators Kent Lambert (Colorado Springs) and Kevin Lundberg (Berthoud).  Senator Lambert is a current JBC member.

Senate Minority Democrats

  • Minority Leader Lucia Guzman (Denver)
  • Assistant Minority Leader Leroy Garcia (Pueblo)
  • Caucus Chair Lois Court (Denver)
  • Whip Mike Merrifield (Manitou Springs)

Joint Budget Committee Member: Dominick Moreno (Commerce City).

House Majority Democrats

  • Speaker Crisanta Duran (Denver)
  • Majority Leader K.C. Becker (Boulder)
  • Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett (Denver)
  • Majority Whip Brittany Pettersen (Lakewood)
  • Deputy Majority Whip Jovan Melton (Aurora)
  • Caucus Chair Daneya Esgar (Pueblo)
  • Assistant Caucus Chair Jeni Arndt (Fort Collins)

The current Joint Budget Committee members for the House Democrats are Representative Millie Hamner (D-Frisco), who is the JBC Chair, and Representative Dave Young (D-Greeley).

House Minority Republicans

  • Minority Leader Patrick Neville (Franktown)
  • Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist (Centennial)
  • Whip Perry Buck (Windsor)
  • Caucus Chair Lori Saine (Firestone)

Joint Budget Committee Member: Bob Rankin (Carbondale), who is a current JBC member.

For news media coverage of the leadership elections, read:

Colorado House, Senate leadership choices could spark heated debates,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, November 10th.

Donald Trump’s victory spills into the Colorado legislature,” by John Frank and Christopher Osher, The Denver Post, November 10th.

Election 2016’s impact on Colorado business,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, November 10th.

U.S. Labor Department’s “Persuader Rule” Deemed Unconstitutional by Federal Judge

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings in Texas rejected the Federal Government’s motion to set aside his June 2016 temporary injunction on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) so-called “persuader rule.”

Through this ruling, Judge Cummings upheld the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ (NFIB) motion for permanent injunction, citing the persuader rule as violating attorney-client privilege.

This rule is one of several major labor rules implemented under the Obama Administration without Congressional approval.  Although the rule went into effect in April 2016, it was halted by June before its final implementation date in July.

The Administration has appealed the June temporary injunction ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but it is unlikely that the rule would survive under a Trump Administration, regardless of whether the DOL and persuader rule prevail in court.  During President-elect Trump’s campaign, one of the key tenets of his candidacy was promising to pull back “rogue agencies” and to use Executive Orders if necessary to remove over-reaching and burdensome regulations.

Background:  The persuader rule is a product of recent Obama Administration policy changes to ensure that labor unions could more easily and readily organize.  When the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) formerly approved “ambush elections,” the union organizing process took what had been a two- or three-month process and shortened the time in which businesses could react to as few as ten days.  With such an accelerated timeline and pro-union environment, employers turned to consultants more and more for navigating the challenges and pitfalls of unions in the workplace.

In April, the DOL determined that these consultants and lawyers were having an undue influence on unions and potential union election outcomes, so the impetus of the persuader rule was born.  The persuader rule required businesses and employers who sought outside counsel or consultants, for the purpose of educating employees about union organizing, to report ‘persuading activities’ as well as what the consultant’s contract, payment and the content of information shared with employees.  If a consultant was hired, but information from the consultant was never directly shared or communicated with employees, the consultant did not have to file with DOL.  This rule would have added to the already tough burdens placed on businesses around labor union protections, while also infringing on attorney-client privileges, with monumental economic costs.

CACI applauds this Judge Cummings’ ruling for removing the persuader rule from the burdens businesses face each day.

For more information on this issue, read:

Judge Permanently Blocks DOL ‘Persuader Rule’ Requiring Firms To Disclose Labor Advice, Forbes

Federal Judge Halts Labor Department’s ‘Persuader’ Rule, Compliance Week