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May 7, 2015

The 70th Annual Colorado General Assembly adjourned yesterday and managed to reach agreement on a dozen major issues after a session that was often marked with contention between the House and the Senate. Members are invited to attend the Legislative Wrap Up breakfast to learn about all the business related activities of the past 120 days on Tuesday, May 19th, 7:30 AM at the Clarion Inn. To register, click here

Listed below is a snapshot of some of the bills the Chamber took positions on and how they fared.

Bills Supported:

SB 282 Rural Jump Start Program. The bill was changed significantly as it made its way through the process but ultimately the key components of offering tax relief to new companies in distressed rural areas that have a relationship with an institution of higher learning were kept whole as the bill passed yesterday morning by a margin of 50 to 13. This concept was developed and promoted by the Grand Junction community and we anticipate we will be among the first to use it.

HB 1366 Expansion of Job Growth Credit. This was a bill was somewhat related to SB 282 and allows a taxpayer with a “qualified relationship” to an institution of higher learning and located within one mile of one of its facilities to qualify for an income tax credit if they create at least five jobs. This bill also passed yesterday.

HB 1227 Employer Tax Credit for Helping to Pay Off Employee Student Loans. The Chamber viewed this bill as a viable way for employers to attract and retain highly qualified employees but the bill never made it out of its second committee.

SB 177 Construction Defects Bill. The bill was meant to put some limits on contractor liabilities related to condo unit association’s complaints including a time limit. The bill was indefinitely postponed and the resulting status quo will continue to hamper development of this type of housing.

Bills Opposed:

SB 269 Determining Whether a Person is an Independent Contractor for Purposes of Coverage under Workers Compensation Insurance. This bill was indefinitely postponed. While it had good intentions of clarifying who was an independent contractor it also added more definitions and carried a provision that put additional onus on the company employing the independent contractor to provide workers compensation insurance coverage.

HB 1258 Creation of a Family Medical Leave Insurance Program. This bill would have required every employee in the state to pay a premium in order to assure that they would have access to partial wage replacement in the event they needed to take an extended leave. The bill would have required the creation of over 200 new positions in state government just to administer the act and it was passed by the House but not heard in the Senate.

For a good overview of the actions taken yesterday by the Legislature as outlined by the Denver post click here

Energy Briefing View From the Top May 13th
The Chamber’s next Energy Briefing on Wednesday, May 13th, 12:00 PM at the Mesa County Workforce Center will feature perspectives from energy companies with an interest in area development including WPX, Encana, Ursa and SG Interests. Cost, including lunch is $15 and reservations can be made by clicking here.

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