Colorado Chamber Labor & Employment Council Discusses Workforce Bills and Opportunity Now 2.0

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce held its Labor and Employment Policy Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss legislation for the 2024 session.

The Council was joined by Marie Pecoraro, strategic advisor of business engagement & workforce advancement with the Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) and Jessica Kostelnik, senior policy advisor of workforce with the Office of the Governor. The pair discussed the governor’s workforce package including the expansion of the Opportunity Now program and the implementation of the Opportunity Next program.

The Colorado Chamber took positions on the following bills:

HB 1324: Amend

The bill grants the Department of Law authority to regulate restrictive employment agreements, including the recovery of education and training expenses by employers, under existing consumer protection laws. It mandates employer compliance with department rules for recovering such expenses and raises penalty amounts for enforcement of void covenants, while deeming any non-compete covenant restricting compensation for labor a deceptive trade practice. The Chamber has concerns that the bill would discourage employers from offering training programs and would like some clarification on certain bill language.

HB 1365: Support

The bill devotes $3.8 million to the creation of a regional talent development grant program and tax credits for training programs designed to alleviate workforce shortages. The bill requires short- and long-term plans to come from regional summits to address the unique talent needs of Colorado’s local communities. The Chamber played a lead role in key provisions of the bipartisan proposal and is a key focus area of the Chamber’s Vision 2033 plan.

HB 1364: Support

The bill authorizes the Department of Education to conduct a financial study to assess the costs associated with enabling students to attain college credits, industry credentials and work-based learning experiences. Additionally, it mandates the establishment of a statewide longitudinal data system by the Office of Information Technology to securely share and connect multiple data sets, supporting state investments, policy research and educational decision-making for Coloradans.

HB 1124: Oppose to Monitor

The bill extends the Colorado anti-discrimination act to include places of business operated by exempt organizations under the federal “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”. The Council moved from an “opposed” position to a “monitor” position because the bill was amended to remove the viewpoint discrimination section.