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DBJ: Capitol Business Preview

March 11, 2019

 

 

The Colorado Legislative Session is in full swing and there are a number of bills that could impact business. Check out the article from Ed Sealover from the Denver Business Journal with an overview on what could be coming to the floor and what that could mean for business. 

 

See the original article here.

 

Normally this column notes one theme to the bills that are up in the coming week. However, with everything from oil and gas regulations to creation of a paid family leave program to an allowance for cities to raise their minimum wages moving through at the same time, it’s hard to prioritize just one subject that is important to business anymore.

 

So, with that said, here is a look at the wide range of subjects that could come before the Legislature this week.

 

Oil and gas
 

The highly controversial bill to change the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and to allow local governments far broader authority to regulate drilling sites passed through the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee on Wednesday morning, the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday afternoon and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday morning. The latest row, which happened in appropriations, came as officials from the nonpartisan Colorado Legislative Council said they had no way of determining whether increased regulations on the industry might reduce the number of drilling operations in the state and, therefore, reduce state tax revenues coming in from said operations.

 

It’s now up to Senate Minority Leader Steve Fenberg, the Boulder Democrat who is the sponsor of Senate Bill 181, to decide exactly how quickly he would like to bring up the bill for debate before the Senate as a whole, where the likely Democratic swing votes — Sen. Angela Williams of Denver and Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo — will have a chance to work with Republicans to offer potential amendments. But with the speed SB 181 has been moving at, the best bet is that will happen early this week.

 

Paid family leave

SB 188, sponsored by Williams and Democratic Sen. Faith Winter, finally got its introduction Thursday after months of negotiations that left key business groups angry that few, if any, of their suggestions had been incorporated into the bill. It is scheduled for its first hearing at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.

 

Minimum wage
Colorado House members will vote as early as Monday on House Bill 1210, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Jovan Melton of Aurora and Rochelle Galindo of Greeley, which would allow cities and counties to raise their minimum wages above the state’s rate, which will reach $12 an hour on Jan. 1.

The bill passed out of the House Local Government and Transportation Committee on Wednesday and received preliminary approval on the House floor Friday with only one concession to opposing business groups — a requirement that any local minimum-wage hike occur on the same date as the annual statewide hike for inflation going forward, which occurs on Jan. 1.

 

Retirement savings

Legislative Democrats have brought back another bill that failed multiple times when the Republicans controlled the Senate over the past four years — one that is designed to help private-sector workers get into a retirement-savings plan even if their employer does not offer such an option. However, SB 173, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Kerry Donovan of Vail and Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood, this year asks legislators only to create a study committee to look into what it would take to create such a plan rather than create such a program right away.

SB 173 goes for its first hearing on Thursday morning before the Senate Finance Committee.

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