State Legislative Positions 2018-19

Partnership positions

Workforce / Education:

HB19-1262 State Funding for Full Day Kindergarten

Under existing law, the school finance formula provides funding for half-day kindergarten educational programs plus a small additional amount of supplemental kindergarten funding. The bill provides funding through the school finance formula for full-day kindergarten educational programs. A student enrolled in a full-day kindergarten program will be funded at the same amount as students enrolled full-time in other grades

Staff Position: Support

HB19-1008 (Kraft-Tharp (D) & Larson (R) / Todd (D) & Lundeen)) –Include Career And Technical Education In Building Excellent Schools Today Program

In order to address the lack of CTE training facilities in junior and high schools, the bill permits school districts to apply for BEST grants to build or upgrade a woodworking, metalworking or similar shop.

Position: Support

Rationale: Across every industry in Colorado employers are challenged to find skilled workers. This gap in the workforce impacts not only their own bottom line, but our economy as a whole. Investing in our career and technical education system will equip today’s students with the skills they will need in the workplace. Staff is supportive of HB-1008 as it will enhance Colorado student’s opportunities who choose a technical career path as well as play a role in alleviating the labor market shortage.

HB19-1121 (McCluskie (D) & Roberts (D)) – Fifth-year High School & ASCENT Program Students

Colorado’s ASCENT program allows qualified students the opportunity to attend a fifth year of high school, after which they graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree. The program is currently funded for 500 spots per year. The bill prioritizes applicants who are seeking a certificate or degree in a high demand career.

Position: Support

Rationale: This bill is a direct result of Eagle County Schools and Colorado Mountain College efforts regarding “early college high school” and the alignment and support of the CareerWise Youth Apprenticeship program. VVP is a sponsor of the CareerWise program in Eagle County, and this will stabilize funding for students utilizing the program.

HB19-1153 (McCluskie (D) & Roberts (D) / (Donovan (D) & Rankin (R)) – Concerning Measures to Enable Local District Collages to Serve More Students

The bill changes the role and mission of Colorado Mountain College from authorizing no more than 5 baccalaureate degree programs, as determined by its board, to authorizing a limited number of baccalaureate degree programs, as determined by its board.

Position: Support

Rationale: This bill has no fiscal impact and would allow CMC to serve more students by expanding four-year programs, providing a workforce pipeline and offering an affordable college education for local students. For transparency, please note that Chris is Eagle County’s representative on the CMC board of trustees. 


Housing:

HB19-1319 (Bird (D) & McKean (R)|Winter (D) & Hisey (R)) Incentives for Developers to Facilitate Affordable Housing

This bill directs the state to develop an inventory of existing state real property that might be available for affordable housing.  The bill also amends existing law requiring affordable housing developers which have been granted tax exemption to repay any tax benefit they have received if the project turns a profit or is transferred. The bill will simply require them to pay the tax prospectively.

Staff Recommendation: Support

Rationale: This bill is part of an affordable housing package aimed at creating more affordable housing. This bill helps builder partner with state and local governments by reducing regulatory burdens. VVP will continue to support programs that incentivize building affordable housing to meet the needs of our workforce.

HB19-1322 (Roberts (D) & Will (R) | Moreno (D) & Coram (R)) Expand Supply Affordable Housing

Under the right fiscal conditions, this bill would require the treasurer to transfer monies starting in the 2019-20 fiscal year through 2025-26 from the unclaimed property trust fund to the division of housing in DOLA and put towards the housing development grant fund.

Staff Recommendation: Support

Rationale: Another bill that looks to boost the supply of affordable housing in Colorado by increasing the funding to the division of housing in DOLA and providing another tool to build affordable housing for Colorado’s workforce.

HB19-1075 (J. Wilson (R)) – Tax Credit Employer-assisted Housing Pilot Program
This creates a pilot program for affordable housing projects in rural areas. A state income tax credit is created for any taxpayer who makes a donation to a sponsor (like the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority) that is used for employer assisted affordable housing.

Position: Support

Rationale: Affordable housing is an issue across Colorado communities and in the Vail Valley. To address this, innovative solutions, like this bill, will be needed to find ways to provide much needed housing for our business’s’ workforce.


General Business:

HB19-1210 – (Melton (D) & Galindo (D) | Danielson (D) & Moreno(D)) – Local Government Minimum Wage

This bill would repeal a prohibition that prevents towns, cities and counties from setting a minimum wage for their jurisdiction, higher than the state and federal minimum wage.

Position: OPPOSE

Rational: We generally believe that local government policy making is preferred to state-wide policy as Colorado’s regions vary in needs and economic challenges; the western slope, mountain region, eastern plains, and metro Denver region vary significantly and local jurisdictions have a better feel for their needs than state-wide policy.

That said, this will create a burdensome layer with various minimum wages across regions/towns. This bill would create a patchwork of differing minimum wage rates that would create competitive issues for small businesses and administrative headaches for businesses with and even some without multiple locations. The bill would also create a multitude of enforcement standards furthering the burden placed on business.

SB19-188: (Winter and Williams A.| Gray and Duran) Concerning the Creation of a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

The bill creates the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program and the division of family and medical leave insurance (division)in the department of labor and employment to provide partial wage replacement benefits to an eligible individual who takes leave from work:

  • To care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition; Because the eligible individual is unable to work due to the individual’s own serious health condition or because the individual or a family member is the victim of abusive behavior; or
  • Due to certain needs arising from a family member’s active duty service. Each employee and employer in the state will pay one-half the cost of a premium as specified in the bill, which premium is based on a percentage of the employee’s yearly wages. The premiums are deposited into the family and medical leave insurance fund, and family and medical leave benefits are paid to eligible individuals from the fund. The division is established as an enterprise, and premiums paid into the fund are not considered state revenues for purposes of the taxpayer’s bill of rights (TABOR).

Position: OPPOSE

Rational: SB19-188 creates a mandatory program that grants paid leave to employees with the guarantee of their job upon return. This applies to every employer in the state that has 1-1,000,000 employees. Sole proprietors can opt in with a three-year minimum. The paid leave would be granted for the birth of a child, bonding with a child, the adoption of a child, fostering a child, serious medical conditions for you or a family member, and for domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. An employee is eligible for paid leave after working for 90 days and can take up to 12 weeks (an additional four weeks if for childbirth and bonding) with a guarantee of their job being held open. The insurance pool that would fund the worker’s benefits is paid for through a fee assessed on the pay roll where half is taken from the employee and half from the employer.

We believe that family leave should generally be a business-by-business decision and the fees associated with the program are burdensome to employers and employees, many of whom will never use the program.

SB19-006 (A. Williams (D) | Kraft-Tharp (D) & Van Winkle (R)) – Electronic Sales and Use Tax Simplification System 
Directs the Department of Revenue to source a searchable online database of state and local sales and use tax rates and definitions, and to process returns and payments through the system. Home rule cities are encouraged to participate in the system.

Position: Support

Rationale: This is a necessary next step toward realizing the business community’s desire for a statewide database that includes reliable GIS information and a single point of remittance and licensure that eases some of the burden on business due to the extreme complexity of the sales tax system.

SB19-130 (Gardner (R) | Rich (R) & Larson (R)) – Sales Tax Administration 

Because of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et al., the U.S. Supreme Court decided that states can require retailers without physical presence in the state to collect sales tax on purchases made by in-state customers so long as the sales tax system in the state is not too burdensome for the out-of-state retailer. This bill aims to simplify the state sales tax system for those retailers without a physical Colorado presence by requiring that out-of-state retailers be responsible for paying only the state sales-tax rate on products shipped into Colorado. It also requires the Department of Revenue to be responsible for all state and local sales tax administration and return processing, and to provide businesses with a database of local-government taxing rates and local taxing jurisdiction boundaries.

Position:  Support

Rationale: This simplifies the sale tax system for the retail business community and most importantly requires the state to provide a database with local taxing rates and boundaries. Colorado has the most complicated sales-and-use tax systems in the country, with over 550 jurisdictions that levy sales taxes and over 700 different combinations. We are supportive efforts to simplify and develop a sales tax system that serves the interests of Colorado businesses, our local governments and special districts while allowing businesses to grow and thrive.


Transportation:

**HB19-1207 – (Roberts (D) | Donovan (D) & Rankin (R)) Winter Conditions and Traction Control Requirements

Currently a person is required to use certain traction control equipment, such as chains or snow-rated tires, when the Colorado Department of Transportation restricts road use due to a winter storm. The bill broadens this law to require the traction equipment to be carried on I-70 between Dotsero and Morrison during icy or snow-packed conditions, before CDOT issues winter storm restrictions. It also updates the law to allow for current technology and traction options.

Position: Support

Rational: Winter driving conditions in the mountains of Colorado can be extremely hazardous and driving conditions can change quickly. Not having the proper equipment to drive in these conditions exacerbates this putting the driver of the ill-equipped car and other drivers at risk on top of the economic impact to the I-70 corridor communities of over $700,000 per hour the highway is slowed or shutdown. Requiring the proper equipment prior to winter driving conditions will hopefully have more drivers prepared for winter driving conditions.

SB19-051 – (Cooke (R) & Scott (R)) – Increase General Fund Funding For Transportation

Under SB18-001, a total of $150 million was dedicated from the General Fund to fund transportation as follows: $105 million to the State Highway Fund (SHF); $22.5 million to the Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF); and $22.5 million to the Multimodal Transportation Options Fund. This bill increases the total amount to be transferred to $340 million, and increases the amount to the SHF to $226.5 million and the amount to the HUTF to $51 million, while keeping the amount to the Multimodal Transportation Options Fund the same.

Position: Support

Rationale: VVP has historically supported transportation funding at a state level and has supported proposals that will provide ongoing investments in our transportation system. As a state, we have underfunded transportation for decades and it’s costing us $7.1 billion each year because of traffic congestion delays, damage to vehicles, accidents and lost fuel efficiency. Without significant investment in our state’s infrastructure, our economy and ability to attract workers will suffer.

SB19-101 (Lundeen (R) | Carver (R)) Prerequisites for Construction of Managed Lanes (Kelli)

SB-19-101 prohibits the use of managed lanes, which are defined as toll lanes, high occupancy toll lanes or high occupancy lanes, unless CDOT or any enterprise of CDOT meets additions requirements that prove a managed lane a necessity.

Position: OPPOSE

Rationale: As we continue to struggle to fund transportation infrastructure in Colorado, we must us every tool at our disposal. Not only do managed lanes provide a source of revenue for road maintenance, they are able to secure reliable travel times for commuters and transit along their route. As this provides more barriers to the use of managed lanes, we think we should oppose the bill.

**HB19-1207 – (Roberts (D) | Donovan (D) & Rankin (R)) Winter Conditions and Traction Control Requirements

Currently a person is required to use certain traction control equipment, such as chains or snow-rated tires, when the Colorado Department of Transportation restricts road use due to a winter storm. The bill broadens this law to require the traction equipment to be carried on I-70 between Dotsero and Morrison during icy or snow-packed conditions, before CDOT issues winter storm restrictions. It also updates the law to allow for current technology and traction options.

Position: Support


Health Care:

SB19-004 – (Donovan (D) | Roberts (D)) – Address High-cost Health Insurance Pilot Program

Authorize the state personnel director to explore the feasibility of offering and, if feasible, to develop and implement a one-year pilot program in a limited geographic region of the state affected by high health insurance premiums to provide access to individuals in that region to participate in the group medical benefit plans offered to state employees. The pilot program would be available:

  • In the portions of Eagle and Garfield counties that are within the service area of the state group benefit plans;
  • To a limited number of individuals whose household income is more than 400 % but not more than 500 % of the federal poverty line; and
  • In the 2019-20 benefit plan year.

Position: Support

Rationale: VVP has actively supported innovative solutions to health care and high health insurance costs in the mountain region and has supported proposals that will provide for Association Health Plans (AHP), Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWA), and an “yes, and” approach to addressing health insurance costs. Without innovative private programs combined with state-led investments in health insurance solutions, our economy and ability to retain employees will suffer. Healthcare costs have been increasingly recognized as an issue by the Vail Valley business community and this pilot program is fenced to a limited number of people to determine future viability.

HB19-1004 – (Roberts (D) & Catlin (R) | Donovan (D)) – Proposal for Affordable Health Coverage Options

The bill requires the department of health care policy and financing and the division of insurance in the department of regulatory agencies (departments) to develop and submit a proposal (proposal) to certain committees of the general assembly concerning the design, costs, benefits, and implementation of a state option for health care coverage.

Position: Support

Rationale: VVP has actively supported innovative solutions to health care and high health insurance costs in the mountain region and has supported proposals that will provide for Association Health Plans (AHP), Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWA), and an “yes, and” approach to addressing health insurance costs. Without innovative private programs combined with state-led investments in health insurance solutions, our economy and ability to retain employees will suffer. Healthcare costs have been increasingly recognized as an issue by the Vail Valley business community. This bill does not recommend any specific solution, but rather charges the state to review and propose options; VVP may or may not support proposed options but certainly supports reviewing and discussing the correct role for the state in addressing healthcare and health insurance costs.

HB19-1174 (Esgar(D) & Catlin(R) | Gardner (R) & Pettersen (D)) – Concerning Out of Network Health Care Services

This bill establishes a reimbursement benchmark for payment to hospitals and providers in certain circumstances where a person receives care outside their health insurance network.  The provisions of the bill apply when an insured individual receives emergency care at an out of network facility or when they receive care from a uncontracted provider at an in network facility.

The bill establishes three benchmark rates for reimbursement and the impacted hospital or provider can pick the highest of the three.  The benchmarks are:

  • 125% of Medicare
  • The average of the plans in network rate
  • The average rate as determined by actual payments reported to the All Claims Payer Database

Position: Support

Rationale:

  1. HB19-1174 protects Colorado consumers from these unexpected medical bills by prohibiting “surprise” out-of- network billing by providers in cases where consumers don’t owe the bill in the first
  2. The bill also requires plain language notification to consumers to inform them of their rights regarding bills sent by out-of-network providers and facilities in both non-emergency and emergency

HB19-1174 helps control costs in “surprise” billing situations by setting a reasonable rate of payment for out- of-network providers and facilities, in these specific situations where consumers don’t choose to be out of network

HB19-1168 (McCluskie (D) & Rich (R) | Donovan (D) &Rankin (R) – Concerning Creation of The Colorado Reinsurance Program

Concerning the creation of the Colorado reinsurance program to provide reinsurance payments to health insurers to aid in paying high-cost insurance claims, and, in connection therewith, authorizing the commissioner of insurance to seek approval from the federal government to waive applicable federal requirements, request federal funds, or both, to enable the state to implement the program and making the program contingent upon waiver or funding approval. The bill authorizes the commissioner of insurance to apply to the secretary of the United States department of health and human services for a state innovation waiver, for federal funding, or both, to allow the state to implement and operate a reinsurance program to assist health insurers in paying high-cost insurance claims.

Position: Support

Rationale: This bill utilizes federal funds and innovation waivers to help reduce health insurance costs. VVP has actively lobbied the state to utilize innovation waivers in the past. This legislation will be limited to the individual exchange (7-10% of total insurance market) and will not impact employer group plans; reinsurance program to be funded by state general fund, insurance providers, and healthcare providers in addition to the federal innovation funds.

HB19-1001 (Kennedy (D)) – Hospital Transparency Measures

The bill requires the Department of Healthcare Policy and Finance in, consultation with Colorado healthcare affordability and sustainability enterprise board, to prepare a report annually that incorporates a number of different data points.  The report will annually be posted on the department website and submitted and presented to the governor and designated legislative committees.

Position: Support

Rationale: As employers and their employees struggle to make informed healthcare decisions they need information. This proposal is a step in the right direction making information available to policy makers and the broader public to allow more informed decision making in purchasing and policy making.


Early Childhood:

CO – HB1052 Early Childhood Development Special District

Concerning the creation of special districts to provide early childhood development services. The bill authorizes the creation of early childhood development service districts (districts) to provide services for children from birth through 8 years of age. Early childhood development services are defined to include early care and educational, health, mental health, and developmental services, including prevention and intervention. Districts are authorized to seek voter approval to levy property taxes and sales taxes in the district to generate revenues to provide early childhood development services.

Position: Support

Rational: Child care is an issue to the Eagle County business community as shown in the annual Workforce Study. This legislation would require local approval of any new district and would allow a new, innovative approach to a regional challenge.

Hear from the Vail Valley Businesses

Member Minute: Nancy Heard

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park