By Jeff Weist, Jefferson County Business Lobby
Things are kicking into high gear 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 have an impact on our communities and businesses here in Jefferson County.
Updates From the House
Healthcare has been a top priority for the Governor and state legislators this year. It’s deja vu all over again with House Bill 23-1209. Despite being voted down by the people of Colorado, and multiple studies in previous years, this bill seeks to study the creation of a Single-Payer Healthcare system. Prior studies show the cost to implement and maintain a government-run healthcare system beyond what the general fund could afford with a large fiscal note, among other concerns.
In other healthcare news, House Bill 23-1215 has had some reconstructive surgery since being introduced. This bill aims to set limits on hospital facility fees charged in outpatient hospital settings, such as clinics. There has been a recent movement in healthcare to establish small healthcare centers, not large hospitals, to provide needed in-community care. This bill would prohibit these centers, especially needed in rural areas, from charging for administrative costs (non-healthcare staff, utilities, etc.) needed to keep the doors open at these small centers. The bill has now been rewritten as a study on the issue, instead.
And finally, you can’t talk about Healthcare without talking about prescription medications. In 2021 legislation created the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, or PDAB for short, to review the affordability of 12 drugs and set an upper payment limit for consumers if by review of the board, the drugs were found to be unaffordable. The 2023 bill, House Bill 23-1225, expands the powers of PDAB and substantially increases the number of prescription medications that can be reviewed for affordability. The JCBL is keeping a close eye on this bill as, in its short existence, PDAB has not set a price limit on any drug in Colorado, and wonders if by expanding the powers of this board it could set a dangerous precedent of large-scale government price setting that could spread into other industries.
Updates From the Senate
Over at the Senate, bills that are making movement include changes to past legislation establishing the Retail Delivery Fee. After a few years on the road, Senate Bill 23- 143, seeks to fine-tune the implementation of this program that charges $0.27 cents for each delivery in the State of Colorado to pay for long-needed repairs to roads. These changes include exempting businesses that generate less than $500,000 in retail sales per year, and removing the requirement that the fee be itemized and listed out on all receipts to customers.
A bill that has been in long negotiations and conversations with the business community is Senate Bill 23-172, also known as the Protecting Opportunities and Workers Rights Act- or POWER Bill- addressing workplace harassment. The business community entered into good faith conversations with the proponents of this bill to make sure the voice of business was heard and that the changes to current law, such as changing the legal standard for when harassment had taken place, was in line with Colorado case law. These conversations with the bill sponsor and party leadership has resulted in a bill that reflects good work with the business community to a successful resolution.
Lastly, the Senate has advanced a bill that makes needed changes and adds flexibility to finance Downtown Development Authorities. Senate Bill 23-175 includes many technical improvements including making it easier to expand Tax Incremental Funding, when approved by voters inside the authority, and allowing DDA’s to assume debt to help support development projects aimed at supporting the local economy. This bi-partisan bill is one JCBL will be keeping a close watch on to see if it makes it to the finish line this session.
News Flash: Governor’s Housing Bills Introduced
Just a few days ago, Governor Polis unveiled his package of bills aimed at addressing affordable housing across the state with a bill that would effectively implement land-use policies at the local county and city level. The JCBL did not have enough time to review the 100-page Land Use Bill- Senate Bill 23-213, and will gather more information and provide a review for you in our next edition.
JCBL Day at the Capitol- April 6, 2023
Register today to be a part of the annual JCBL Day at the Capitol on Thursday, April 6th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Enjoy a day of networking with JCBL members, meeting with our state representatives, and see our legislative process up-close and in-action. This event is free and open to any member of a JCBL participating organization.
That’s all for this week’s JCBL Update. The latest bill positions can be found at arvadachamber.org/billtracker.
The Jefferson County Business Lobby advocates as the unified voice of Jefferson County businesses for public policies that strengthen our business climate. The JCBL is a partnership comprised of the Arvada, Evergreen, Golden and Westminster Chambers of Commerce, the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation and Wheat Ridge Business Association.
The Arvada Chamber’s latest bill positions can be found at arvadachamber.org/billtracker.