Colorado Chamber Labor & Employment Council Opposes Overreaching Legislation

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce held its Labor and Employment Policy Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss upcoming legislation for the 2024 session. The Council also heard from Senator Jessie Danielson, Chair of the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.

Sen. Danielson spoke with the group about her expectations for the 2024 Legislative Session and answered questions regarding the workforce legislation that she is sponsoring.

In addition to hosting Sen. Danielson, the Council discussed HB 1260, which prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to attend meetings, listen to speech or view communications concerning religious or political matters. The bill also prohibits an employer from subjecting an employee to discipline or discharging an employee on account of the employee’s refusal to participate in these matters.

The Colorado Chamber understands the intent of the bill is to prohibit what is called “captive audience.” However, the definitions within the bill regarding political and religious matters are overly broad and could interfere with employers’ ability to communicated with employees. Also, there are protections already in place within federal law, and the bill contains significant penalties for violations. Because of these concerns, the Labor & Employment Council took an “opposed” on HB 1260.

The Colorado Chamber also took positions on the following bills:

SB104: Support

The bill requires that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment align the high school career and technical education system and the registered apprenticeship system for programs related to infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, education, or health care.

HB1124: Oppose

The bill prohibits viewpoint discrimination in places of public accommodation, unless the reason for the discrimination is based on a bona fide concern for the well-being of the nonprofit.

The Council is opposed to the bill because it adds viewpoint discrimination, which is typically reserved for free speech right in a government setting, into the workplace.

HB 1132: Amend

The bill creates the “CARE for Living Organ Donors Act” to include benefits and recognition for living organ donors. The bill also prohibits employers from intimidating, threatening, coercing, discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is or becomes a living organ donor. The Chamber took an “amend” position with the intention of clarifying certain language within the bill.

HB1157: Support

The bill creates the Employee Ownership Office as a statutory entity within the Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Also, the bill creates an income tax credit of up to $50,000 for specified costs incurred by new employee-owned businesses.