Colorado Capitol Report

Task Force on Statewide Family & Medical Insurance Leave Program Experiences Tense Moments

Task Force on Statewide Family & Medical Insurance Leave Program Experiences Tense Moments

This week, the Family & Medical Leave Insurance Task Force, established through the passage of Senate Bill 19-188 during the 2019 Legislative Session, met for the first time.  Over the next few months, the 13-member Task Force will determine whether a consensus can be reached on a statewide $1 billion paid family & medical leave insurance program that would allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work for family and medical needs.  The Task Force is required to submit an initial recommendation by November 1, 2019 and adoption of any state program would require the passage of legislation by the Colorado General Assembly.

Executive Director Joe Barelo, Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, led the meeting while Department staff discussed the timelines and deliverables that are expected by the Task Force between July and November.  Facilitator Greg Bellomo, with the consulting firm of Government Performance Solutions, facilitated the discussion on expectations, deliverables and the voting process for approval of recommendations by Task Force members.  The discussion on the voting process was the most challenging dialogues among the group and revealed some of the tension among members of the group.  Similar legislation has been attempted in prior legislative sessions and remains a highly contentious issue among business owners/operators and paid leave advocates.  The Task Force ultimately could not come to a final decision on the number of votes needed to approve recommendations on elements of a statewide program so the facilitator will delay that decision until a future meeting.

During a closed door session, the Task Force did agree on a Chair and Vice Chair to lead the Task Force meetingsStacey Campbell, was chosen as the Vice Chair of the Task Force.  Campbell is the Board Chair-elect of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and was heavily involved in the negotiations on Senate Bill 188 with the bill sponsors and the advocates during the 2019 session.  He is an employment and commercial litigation trial lawyer at Campbell Litigation, P.C. and has successfully first-chaired jury and judge tried trials throughout the U.S. involving employment discrimination, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, breach of contract, non-compete and trade secrets, and personal injury.

Lydia Waligorski was chosen as the Chair of the Task Force and was also actively involved in Senate Bill 188, specifically on language addressing paid leave for domestic violence victims.  Lydia is the Public Policy Director for Violence Free Colorado and represents state and federal level policy interests of the thousand members of the state’s federally recognized domestic violence coalition.   Lydia works directly with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors as a medical/legal advocate and a counselor.

In addition to Mr. Campbell and Ms. Waligorski, below are the other appointees to the 13-member Task Force:

Dana Hagood, USAA (Private insurer category)
Diana Petrak, CO Policy Pathways (Worker advocate category)
Ms. Hadley Manning, Independent Women’s Forum (Health advocacy category)
Trish Sullivan, Steamboat Ski & Resorts (Private employer category)
Terra McKinnish, CU Boulder (Labor economist category)
Kevin Duncan, CSU Pueblo (Higher education category)
Judith Marquez, 9-5 (Worker advocate category)
Edwin Zoe, Zoe Ma Ma (Private employer category)
Jared Make, A Better Balance (Worker advocate category)
Kathy White, CO Fiscal Institute (State policy organization category)
Sandra Parker Murray, Communications Workers of America (Organized labor category)

A copy of the PowerPoint slides outlining the Task Force meeting held on July 16th, as well as the timelines and deliverables required of the Task Force can be found at the following link:

Article by Denver Business Journal on Task Force Meeting

Tri-State Makes Major Announcement to Implement a Responsible Energy Plan!

This week, Tri-State made a major announcement that the company will be pursuing a Responsible Energy Plan for its customers.  The goal of the plan is to transition to a cleaner energy portfolio while ensuring reliability, increasing member flexibility and lowering wholesale power costs.

Tri-State will be launching the initiative, and will be redefining the delivery of power to its 43 member electric cooperatives located statewide.   Tri-State is a long-time Colorado Chamber of Commerce member, and the Chamber enthusiastically supports the goals outlined in the Plan approved by Tri-State’s Board of Directors.

Additional details about Tri-State and the Plan can be found at the Tri-State website

EXECs Advocacy Program Recap

The EXECs Advocacy Program has been making its way around the state of Colorado learning about different industries, how they operate, and the challenges they face. Please click on the link below to download and review “The Brief” for details about our visit to the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, Lockheed Martin Space and our trip out west to the Western Slope.  Read More…