Colorado Capitol Report

Chamber’s First Legislative Candidate Reception is Huge Success!

Chamber’s First Legislative Candidate Reception is Huge Success!

This week, the Colorado Chamber held its first legislative candidate and incumbent endorsement reception which brought together the Colorado business community, legislative candidates and incumbents who have received the coveted Colorado Chamber endorsement, and officials from across the state to celebrate and promote candidates who understand the issues important to Colorado businesses.

As part of the Chamber’s vision to enhance the Chamber’s Political Program, over 100 attendees had the opportunity to celebrate the state’s current and future legislative leaders and decision-makers who will play a key role in improving Colorado’s economic climate in the years to come. Legislation and regulations can have a major impact on the way businesses are run, limit how many workers they can hire and retain, and inhibit our state’s economic success.

It is critical for businesses to be heard when legislation and policy is being made which is why the Chamber is continually working to amplify the voices of job creators through our Political Program. The legislative candidates and incumbents who attended the event were selected to receive the coveted Colorado Chamber endorsement after thorough interviews and vetting by the Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board.

Special thanks to all the legislators, candidates, and Chamber members who attended this special event! We look forward to working with all of you to promote economic opportunity for all Coloradans.  This reception will be a key part of the Chamber’s Political Program and will be held again during future election cycles.

The Colorado Chamber’s endorsements for the 2022 Election are as follows:

Colorado House of Representatives:

Julie McCluskie (HD 13)Mandy Lindsay (HD 42)
Rose Pugliese (HD 14)Kurt Huffman (HD 43)
Dave Donelson (HD 16)Anthony Hartsook (HD 44)
Rachel Stovall (HD 17)Lisa Frizell, (HD 45)
Marc Snyder (HD 18)Ty Winter (HD 47)
Dan Woog (HD 19)Gabe Evans (HD 48)
Don Wilson (HD 20)Ryan Gonzalez (HD 50)
Mary Bradfield (HD 21)Hugh McKean (HD 51)
Kenneth DeGraaf (HD 22)Matt Soper (HD 54)
Lindsey Daugherty (HD 24)Rick Taggart (HD 55)
Colin Larson (HD 25)Rod Bockenfeld (HD 56)
Dan Montoya (HD 28)Perry Will (HD 57)
Shannon Bird (HD 29)Marc Catlin (HD 58)
William Lindstedt (HD 33)Barbara McLachlan (HD 59)
Paul Archer (HD 37)Stephanie Luck (HD 60)
Jaylen Mosqueira (HD 38)David Woolever (HD 61)
Brandi Bradley (HD 39)Ryan Armagost (HD 64)
Mike Lynch (HD 65)

Colorado State Senate:

Byron Pelton (SD 1)Dennis Hisey (SD 11)
Stephen Varela (SD 3)Rob Woodward (SD 15)
Mark Baisley (SD 4)Tim Walsh (SD 20)
Janice Rich (SD 7)Tom Kim (SD 27)
Matt Solomon (SD 8)Kevin Van Winkle (SD 30)
Paul Lundeen (SD 9)Robert Rodriguez (SD 32)
Rod Pelton (SD 35)

What We Know About the Upcoming FAMLI Program So Far...

In a virtual forum last Friday, representatives of Colorado businesses heard from division staff for the upcoming state-run Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program on updates to program implementation. More than 60 Chamber members participated in the forum to have their questions and concerns addressed by the FAMLI division.

The new paid leave program takes effect January 1, 2023 – less than 6 months from now. Program staff provided an overview of the timeline and key dates when both employers and employees can expect to start paying premiums into the system. Important dates for the program are as follows:

  • The FAMLI public education campaign began July 2022.
  • January 1, 2023: Employers begin payroll deductions for employees.
  • April 30, 2023: First quarterly premium payments due.
  • January 1, 2024: Covered workers can submit requests for paid leave under the program.

Once employees are able to make claims under the new insurance structure beginning in 2024, they will be eligible to take up to 12 to 16 weeks of paid leave to manage their own serious health conditions, care for family members or a new child, or other circumstances under the policy.

Premiums are set to .9% of an employee’s wage, with .45% paid by the employer and .45% paid by the employee through 2024. Beginning in 2025 and beyond, the Director of the FAMLI Division can increase that rate, not to exceed 1.2% in wages. For simplicity, wages subject to FAMLI premiums will be the same wages that are currently subject to Unemployment Insurance in Colorado. Employers with 9 or fewer employees do not have to pay the employer portion of the premium. A FAMLI premium benefits calculator can be found here.

Under the statute, employers who offer a private plan to cover paid family and medical leave for employees can apply for an exemption to paying into the program. FAMLI Division staff are still in the process of developing rules around what this exactly looks like, which has created some confusion and frustration among businesses for lack of clarity.

In order to receive an exemption, an employer’s private plan must offer the same or higher levels of benefits and rights under the state-run plan. This includes financial benefits, wage replacement requirements, eligibility standards, and more. Guidance regarding approved private plans and 2023 participation can be found here.

Currently, division staff expect to require all employers, regardless of whether or not they have a private plan, to begin paying into the system starting on January 1, 2023. After that date, employers with a private plan can begin applying for an exemption under the program. The intent is for the FAMLI division to review private plan applications after the launch of the program, and then refund employers who are approved for exemption later in the year.

Employers at the virtual forum expressed concern about this process and timeline due to the lack of clear guidelines on whether their plans will be approved. This could cause an employer to be double paying for both the state-run plan and a private plan at the same time, with no guarantee that their exemption will be approved. This could be viewed as penalizing employers upfront, even though they may be acting in good faith.

As a reminder, the Division of FAMLI will be holding a rulemaking hearing on August 2nd at 5p.m. regarding the proposed “benefits and participation” rule. The hearing will now be only held virtually. More information on that can be found here.

To view the full presentation to the Chamber on the FAMLI program implementation, please click here.