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DBJ: What’s at stake for business in Colorado’s state Senate races

By Ed Sealover for the Denver Business Journal.

Colorado’s House and Senate chambers, both held by Democrats the past two years, aren’t flipping to Republicans in the November election, political observers say. But the margin by which Democrats control them — particularly the Senate — could have a big impact on business issues.

While a number of bills opposed by business leaders have made it through the Senate over the past two years, particularly last year’s SB 181, which ramped up regulation of oil and gas wells, a number of others have died or been pared down because of a cadre of moderate Democrats. Efforts to pass a bill mandating employers offer paid family leave never became law because of that cadre, which also ensured the gutting in June of House Bill 1420, which sought to eliminate a number of tax breaks but went into a law in a form that drew little business opposition.

“The more one party controls the legislative process, the more we move away from a balanced process at the state Capitol,” said Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal affairs for the Colorado Chamber of Commerce.

Furman said she expects majority Democrats to bring back some business-opposed bills that were killed for lack of time to pass them this year, such as arbitration reform and a measure that would presume that worker who caught coronavirus did so on the job and is eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. A public-option bill laid aside for time is almost assured of coming back, and labor and workers-rights groups have talked for years about pushing a bill to reclassify some independent contractors as contract workers.

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