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Legislative Action Committee February Report

Sylvia Bernstein | Published on 3/1/2022


This is the second installment of reports on the activities of the LWVCO Legislative Action Committee (LAC). For those of you who are new to the League, the LAC is a group of League members from all over the state who meet virtually on Friday mornings from 9 - 11 to discuss how the LWVCO should respond to upcoming bills. Members of the LAC adopt a topic area that they feel particularly passionate about, and follow the bills that correspond to that topic area. Often there are multiple LAC members for a topic. The LAC is run by Andrea Wilkins, the LWVCO Lobbyist, and Toni Larson, the Action and Advocacy Chair for the LWVCO, and any local League member can join. Currently Rionda Osman, Celeste Landry, Holly Monkman, Peggy Leech, Jeannette Hillary, Gaythia Weis, Debby Vink and Kay Palmer Marsh represent our Boulder County League.

 

I was unable to attend the February 4 meeting, but here are some highlights from the LAC meeting on February 18. (The bill naming convention is HR = House Resolution, HB = House Bill, SB = Senate Bill.  The chamber named (House or Senate) tells you in which chamber the bill originated.)

  • The meeting opened with the LWVCO Executive Director, Beth Hendrix, announcing that on March 22 from 5:30 - 7 a virtual forum titled The State Of Education In Colorado will be held. Topics include the sunshine laws, the authority of school boards, and the role of the Department of Education. Click here to register. She also said they are reinvigorating the observer corps and will have a tool kit available that is focused on extremists, especially around school boards. 
  • Health Care bills
    • New Bills
      • SB068 Provider Tool To View All-payer Claims Database - The creation of a tool to provide transparency in health claims data submitted to the Colorado all-payer health claims database.  It will assist with improvements to HC access and affordability. LAC voted to Support
      • SB077 Interstate Licensed Professional Counselor Compact - An interstate compact to allow a person who is a licensed professional counselor in the person's state of residence to practice professional counseling in a compact state in which the person is not licensed. Advocates recommend we should join to allow counselors from compact states to practice in all compact states, including by telehealth.  Only two states have currently signed up. They need 10, and 13 state legislatures are considering it. It has passed two committees with unanimous votes already. LAC voted to Support
      • SB079 Dementia Training Requirements Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Department of Health Care Policy and Financing Rules - This requires training for staff of elder care facilities to be trained in dementia.  It passed the Health & Human Services committee on a party line vote. LAC voted to Support

    • Current Bills
      • HB1005 Health-care Preceptors Tax Credit has passed the Health & Insurance committee
      • SB003 Community College Nursing Bachelor Degree Eligibility - passed the Senate Education Committee and passed the Senate COW (committee of the whole). Introduced in the House on 2/14
  • Voting and Elections
    • New Bills
      • HB 1204 Election Systems- Requiring votes to be cast in person on election day, limiting the use of electronic voting systems, establishing requirements for precinct polling places, requiring the secretary of state to withdraw the state from the electronic registration information center, and establishing additional requirements for the conduct of elections. Ballots could still mailed but would need to return them in person on election day.  LAC voted to Strongly Oppose
    • Current Bills
      • HB 1086 Vote Without Fear Act has passed committee but the discussion on the House floor has been held over until February 22.
  • Education
    • New Bills
      • SB039 Funding For Educational Opportunities - This bill stops budget stabilization and they want to use the funds to start the Hope Scholarship Program which would fund tuition and fees at a non-public school, and pay for costs incurred with homeschooling and tutoring. It creates a scholarship administered outside CO dept of ed., LAC voted to Strongly Oppose
      • HB1203 Income Tax Credits For Nonpublic Education. LAC voted to Strongly Oppose
      • HB1069 Parent Authority To Request Public School Reforms -  This bill would allow parents for low performing schools to be converted into charter schools, and the replacement of teachers and staff who parents think are underperforming, giving permission to recall the school board and superintendent. LAC voted to Strongly Oppose
  • Environment
    • New Bills
      • The upcoming PFAS bill is weaker than the team would like to see because it doesn’t include cleanup and accountability.  Sending the input to the sponsors.
      • SB129 Process For Proposed Air Quality Rules. - The bill requires the air quality control commission to include in a notice of proposed rule-making a description of the classes of persons, including businesses, that will be affected by the proposed rule. It was opposed by the LAC last year because it supports air polluting businesses. LAC voted to Oppose
      • SB183 Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This bill was just introduced on the day of the LAC meeting. It has 11 sections, section 6, carbon capture sequestration, is a problem because sequestration is not considered safe. LAC is not ready to take a position yet
      • HB1244 Public Protections From Toxic Air Contaminants - The bill creates a new program to regulate a subset of air pollutants, referred to as "toxic air contaminants", which are defined as hazardous air pollutants, covered air toxics, and all other air pollutants that the air quality control commission designates as a toxic air contaminant based on its adverse health effects. This bill replaces SB082 below. LAC is not ready to take a position yet
      • HB1138 Reduce Employee Single-occupancy Vehicle Trips - This is a transportation bill with environmental parts. It creates an income tax credit for employers, list of options, employers choose two, there is a loophole around zero emitting vehicles. LAC voted to Monitor
      • HB1026 Alternative Transportation Tax Credit - Replacement of the income tax deduction for amounts spent by an employer to provide alternative transportation options to employees with an income tax credit for amounts spent by an employer for that purpose. LAC voted to Monitor
    • Current Bills
      • SB082 Geographical Area Hazardous Air Pollution Rule -  died in committee, the sponsor wasn’t aware that a stronger bill was coming along, the replacement bill was introduced on 2/17
      • SB1134 “Skip the Stuff” Plastics Accessories - pulled by the sponsor
  • Fiscal
    • HB1223 Mobile Home Property Tax Sale Notice And Exemption - This bill creates an exemption for low-value mobile homes and modifies the notice requirements for mobile homes to be sold due to delinquent taxes. LAC voted to Support
  • Gun Safety
    • New Bills
      • HB1105 Deadly Force Against Intruder At A Business - The bill extends the right to use deadly physical force against an intruder under certain conditions to include owners, managers, and employees of a business. LAC voted to Oppose
      • HB1106 Concealed Handguns On School Grounds - The bill prohibits a local government from prohibiting carrying a concealed handgun on school grounds by a person who has a valid concealed carry permit. LAC voted to Strongly Oppose
    • Current Bills
      • HB1033 Constitutional Carry Of A Handgun - indefinitely postponed
  • Housing
    • HB1242 Regulate Tiny Homes Manufacture Sale And Install - Concerning the regulation of structures that are manufactured at a location that is not at the site where the structure is occupied. LAC voted to Monitor
    • SB063 Property Ownership Fairness Act - The bill entitles a property owner to seek just compensation from a governmental entity that enacts a land use law reducing the right of a property owner to use, divide, sell, or possess their property and reducing the fair market value of the property. The last time this bill was introduced the LAC voted to oppose. It does two things: provides just compensation for property owners if impacted by local laws, and prohibits local governments from enacting growth caps. There was a move to amend to get rid of just compensation and solely have the growth caps prohibition. The bill was laid over. LAC switched from Oppose to Amend. 
    • HB1062 Expand Sales And Use Tax Exemption For Food - The bill expands the state sales and use tax exemption for food, which currently exempts most food for domestic home consumption, by also exempting from state sales and use tax most food that is not for domestic home consumption and is instead prepared for on-site consumption at a restaurant, grocery store, or other establishment or to be carried out and consumed without additional cooking or preparation. LAC voted to Monitor, but Oppose if the fiscal notes are unfavorable
  • Climate
    • SB131 Protect Health Of Pollinators And People Measures - The bill implements a number of measures to protect pollinators and people throughout the state. LAC voted to Support
    • HB1151 Turf Replacement Program - This bill provides measures to incentivize water-wise landscapes, and creates a state program to finance the voluntary replacement of irrigated turf. We don’t have the fiscal note yet but it is probably small. LAC voted to Support
  • Justice
    • HB1063 Jail Standards Commission - The bill creates the Colorado jail standards commission in the department of public safety. The commission creates standards for the operation of Colorado's county jails and updates the standards as necessary. The sponsors had to amend the bill because of the huge fiscal note. It creates a body of about 20 volunteers that will come up with recommendations. Those will go to the legislative body that will create laws. There are currently no uniform standards in the state and only 12 counties have an accreditation program. It is now sitting in Appropriations. LAC voted to Support
  • Income Assistance 
    • HB1175 Department of Human Services Supplemental - Has gone to COW, LAC voted to Monitor for now, will probably Support
  • Higher Education
    • HB1107 Inclusive Higher Ed Opportunities - This bill creates a grant program for people with developmental issues, LAC voted to Support
  • Other
    • Ballot Measures on the 2022 Ballot
      • Equal Protection of Every Living Child in Colorado - unborn and born, LAC voted to Oppose
      • State Income Tax Reduction - LAC voted to Oppose
    • HB1121 Supporting Local Media - The bill requires all state departments to spend at least 50% of the money they spend on advertising to Colorado residents in a fiscal year on advertising through local newspapers. LAC has taken no position yet