What We’re Watching: HB 1130 Regarding Biometrics

With the ever-growing role of technology in society, tech has earned an increased focus among state legislators in recent years. This has led to the dedication of a newly-formed Technology Alliance by the Colorado Chamber this session which prioritizes tracking and monitoring bills impacting the tech industry and ensuring this sector can continue to thrive.

One major bill that would have significant impacts on the tech industry and beyond is House Bill 1130 regarding the privacy of biometric data – which includes things like fingerprints and eye/voice scans that companies increasingly use for security purposes. The bill would put substantial regulations on how companies can use biometric data of customers and employees.

Because this proposal ventures into new regulatory territory and could impact recent rulemaking on the Colorado Privacy Act, the Colorado Chamber took an “amend” position on the bill in order to ensure the concerns of businesses were addressed. It’s critical that any bill amending current law aligns with the intent of that law as much as possible and also provides predictability and consistency for employers.

HB 1130 was heard in committee this week and Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Political Operations Meghan Dollar testified on behalf of the Chamber. She emphasized the importance of the tech industry to Colorado’s overall economy and competitiveness.

“As of 2022, the tech industry has created over 200,000 jobs and contributes 18% to our state’s total GDP,” Dollar said. “When we looked at the data and how Colorado ranks with other states, this is one of the industry sectors that is a strong economic driver for our state.”

In her testimony, Dollar focused on three areas of concern over the bill:

  • The bill’s application to employers and employees. This could present problems for companies that operate in multiple states, creating complications and new costs for companies to comply with Colorado’s regulatory climate.
  • The alignment of certain definitions. Several areas of the bill deviate from current law, specifically regarding the definitions of biometric data and biometric identifiers. These definitions are overly broad and the Chamber would like to see them narrowed to better reflect the intent of the proposal.
  • The proposal’s retention requirements currently contradict other regulations in state law and creates confusion for companies.

Several amendments were added to the bill on Wednesday that addressed some of the Chamber’s concerns. The amended HB 1130 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and the Colorado Chamber continues to work with the bill sponsors to address our remaining concerns.