Things are moving and shaking at the Colorado State Capitol. The Jefferson County Business Lobby (JCBL) — the united voice of JeffCo businesses at the Colorado State Capitol – has been busy analyzing and lobbying on legislative proposals that may impact our county for you to be aware of, and provides you this update on previous bills that we’ve been working on- and what is yet to come.
Updates From the House
In our last edition we featured House Bill 23-1118, titled “Fair Work Week Employment Standards.” As introduced this bill was alarming to the business community by proposing to put in place requirements around when, how and for how long an employee could be scheduled for work among other requirements. With advocacy from JCBL members and our lobby team at the capitol, the bill sponsors came out with a substitute amendment (also called a strike bill change) cutting the original bill in half and removing several troublesome provisions before the scheduled hearing for the bill on February 16th at the House Committee on Business Affairs and Labor.
At the committee hearing business leaders from across the state, and Jefferson County, gave 7 hours of witness testimony about the potential impacts of the bill on both their businesses and employees. Arvada Representative, and lawyer by profession, Rep. Lindsey Daughtery (HD 24) posed good legal questions to her colleagues on the committee about potential litigation traps hidden in the bill. The storytelling from the community proved powerful as the committee chair moved to pull the bill off the table for consideration at a later date yet to be determined.
Thank you to the business community from across the state and JCBL members who took the time to come to the capitol, call, and write emails to our state legislators about this bill. Keep up the conversation on this issue as we’ll keep you informed when this bill appears again on the committee docket.
Housing has been a top priority for both the Governor and the majority Democratic caucus at the capitol. The JCBL has been monitoring a series of legislative proposals that would place new regulations on private landlords and housing developers that may have unintended negative consequences on providing more, not less, affordable housing.
One of these bills is House Bill 23-1115 that would allow counties and municipalities the power to enact rent control on private residential property or housing units. Jeffco Assessor Scot Kersgaard provided commentary on this bill in a recent JCBL, stating that a potential adverse impact of Rent Control could be an increase in appeals to Assessor Offices across the state if applied to income producing properties.
Other proposed housing-related bills that the JCBL is monitoring are:
HB 23-1095– Prohibited Provisions In Rental Agreements- Will prohibit landlords from evicting tenants for just cause and set in statute allowable reasons for eviction.
HB23-1068– Pet Animal Ownership In Housing- Will prohibit landlords from collecting a pet deposit on rental properties and limit ability to recover damages to private property from pets.
HB 23-1090– Limit Metropolitan District Director Conflicts- A part of a multi-year series of bills to reform Metro Districts that seeks to address potential conflicts of interest with housing developers and the communities they create. While this House bill is moving forward in the process, JCBL is keeping an eye on SB 23-110, a bi-partisan Senate bill led by Arvada Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (SD 19) that may come out on top this session.
Updates From the Senate
The JCBL has long been an advocate for improving the talent pipeline to our local workforce, especially when it comes to involving our schools. The aptly titled bill SB23-065, Career Development Success Program, was designed to expand and improve Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, such as what is in place at Jeffco Public Schools Warren Tech. If signed into law, the bill would provide school districts $1,000 from the state general fund per every student who completes an industry recognized credential or certification. Over 11,000 students across Colorado completed programs in the past year alone, and this bill seeks to continue that growth with a fiscal reinvestment back to the school districts helping to produce workforce-ready employees.
And lastly, a bill JCBL is following from the Senate is a clean up to the Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation of 2019. SB 23-105 was laid over in its first committee hearing, which allowed the time to provide a cleaner version of the bill that addresses issues around posting and notice requirements that were left vague from the 2019 legislation. The bill revisions also does a good job of clarifying provisions around promotion and career development, but does not address remote work which has been a sticking point for the Governor as well. With a $12M fiscal note the bill sponsors have yet to address how this bill would be applied to Government agencies and it is possible they may be exempted from the proposed legislation so stay tuned.
Coming Soon: Bills Not Yet Introduced
The JCBL has heard rumblings at the capitol about two bills that, while not yet introduced, are coming soon for you to be aware of.
Workplace Harassment- Our lobby team at the capitol has been working hard to bring the voice of business to the table when working with advocates who wish to strengthen laws about workplace harassment, potentially on employers. Conversations have been productive with proponents of the legislation and the team looks forward to working in good faith to address this issue and produce a version of the bill the business community can get behind.
Workers Compensation Payment Schedule- In 1991 major reforms took place to set standards in Workers Compensation that included a set payment schedule of how much and for how long a person could be compensated for a workplace injury. A draft bill is proposing to drastically revise this current schedule of payments, upending a system that has produced stability for both employers and employees. The JCBL is awaiting estimates from Workers Compensation Insurance providers to see the impact on rates, setting the stage for a major fight with the bill sponsors unless the proposed legislation is amended before introduced.
JCBL Day at the Capitol- April 6, 2023
Mark your calendars for the return of the annual JCBL Day at the Capitol set for Thursday, April 6th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.. Enjoy a day meeting with our state representatives, and see our legislative process in action. This event is open to any member of a JCBL participating organization with more information coming soon.