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payout at separation of employment). AGC was there
to the last hour of the session, and in the conference committee negotiation between the House and Senate version of the bills, we were able to gain an amendment to give small employers (15 or fewer employee) a year to implement the bill, and clarify how the bill interacts with collective bargaining agreements.
HB20-1414 Price Gouge Amid Disaster Deceptive Trade Practice
The legislature approved this bill that makes it a deceptive trade practice to raise prices on certain necessary goods in the time of a disaster emergency.
The goods and services listed in the bill include food items, fuel, medical supplies, construction materials, and goods related to emergency response. Amendments were added to clarify that the restrictions apply for 6 months after a disaster declaration begins. AGC lobbied in important protections for new development and construction versus any construction that is a direct result of the COVID outbreak, so the bill does not apply to new construction projects.
HB20-1415 Whistleblower Protection for Public Health Emergencies
The legislature approved this bill to enact protections against retaliation for workers who raise health and
safety concerns about their workplaces to local public health officials. It also prohibits employers from taking any adverse actions against employees who wear their own personal protective equipment. AGC successfully removed a section that made independent contractors an employee of the upstream firm for purposes of the bill.
SB20-207 Unemployment Insurance Benefits & Premiums
The legislature approved a bill to temporarily increase the unemployment benefits that workers can receive until 2022 and codified several current practices of the unemployment insurance program. Unemployment benefits paid out have hit records during the pandemic. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is expected to become insolvent by the end of June 2020, and reach a negative $2.7B balance in 2022. The state will borrow from the federal government to continue paying out benefits, any may then bond to pay of the feds and give a longer timeframe to pay off the debt, but the debt will ultimately need to be repaid through an increase in the “chargeable wage base” from $13,600 to $30,600 over
5 years from 2022 to 2026. AGC worked through the C3 coalition to alter the original bill to delay the premium increase from 2021 to 2022, and include a trigger that |
will lower rates once a certain fund balance is reached. AGC also secured the remaining CARES Act funds (see below) unspent by December 29, 2020 to be place in the Unemployment Trust Fund to buy down the total premium increases needed.
Federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Security Act)
Colorado received $1.6B from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act). In Executive Order 070, Governor Polis divided up the federal dollars from the CARES Act as follows:
• $510 million for the Department of Education
• $450 million for the Department of Higher Education
• $275 million for local governments
• $205 million for directly responding to COVID-19 public health expenses
• $84 million for public safety, public health, health care and human services
• $70 million to the state General Fund to be allocated by the General Assembly.
• $22 million for the Department of Human Services
• $10 million for the Department of Local Affairs for rent and mortgage assistance
• $8 million for the Department of Corrections to comply with public health measures
• $2 million for the Department of Human Services for veterans living facilities
What’s Next?
The AGC Legislative Committee met on July 7 to review the results of the session, and start planning the following activities:
• Evaluate the results of the June 30 Primary Election
• Invite new legislators to candidate interviews on July 22.23 & 29
• Prepare an AGC Political Action Committee plan for contributions to existing and new candidates (AGC raised this money from AGC members on the annual dues invoice)
• Analyze measures heading to the Nov 2020 ballot
• Prepare an AGC Voter Guide for the Nov 2020 election
The next AGC Legislative Committee is August 4 at 7:30am via ZoomRoom. To join the 55 other members of the committee, email Polly Mize at the AGC at polly@ or call Polly at 303-388-2422.
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