Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring-Summer 2020

60 Colorado Public Works Journal ACEC ENGINEERING FORWARD 2020 Colorado Legislative Session Wrap-Up The 2020 Colorado Legislative Session began amidst a robust economy on January 8 and was scheduled to adjourn on May 6, but with the outbreak of COVID-19, all schedules were disrupted. After a two-month hiatus, the legislative session resumed on May 26 with precautionary measures in place to limit the number of people who could be in the Capitol at one time. Despite the shortened session of 84 days instead of 120, the legislature still introduced the usual number of 650 bills and adjourned on June 15. As to be expected, COVID-19 dominated many of the legislative pri- orities. Although several of the early bills were postponed indefinitely, many new ones were introduced to address the $3.3 billion budget shortfall and to respond to COVID-related issues affecting the business community. ACEC Colorado was engaged on several key bills through coalition building, meetings with the legislators and state agencies. Below is a synopsis of the legislation recently signed by Governor Polis. Business: • HB20-1420 – Tax Fairness Act that will adjust Tax Expenditures for State Education Fund affects individual taxpayers and deductions for qualified business income. • HB20-1415 Whistleblower Protection Public Health Emergencies signed • SB20-215: Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise extends and refinances the Reinsurance Program will continue a federal tax that insurance carriers pay, which is set to expire at the end of the year, by requiring carriers to continue to pay that tax as a fee to the state in an effort to fund the state’s reinsurance program. Capitol Construction: • HB20-1377 Requires a portion of the proceeds of the Senate Bill 17-267 lease-purchase agreement for state fiscal year 2019-2020 to allocate $50 million to capital construction and controlled maintenance projects. • HB20-1408 This bill specifies that the money credited to the capital construction and controlled maintenance projects pursuant to HB20-1377 and prioritizes the allocation. • HB20-1378 concerning capital-related transfers of money. Marilen Reimer Transportation: • HB20-1376 Modify Transportation Funding Mechanisms repealed the requirement to have a ballot initiative regarding issuance of transportation revenue anticipation notes on the November 2020 ballot; eliminates 2 statutory transfers of $50 million each from the general fund to the state highway fund that are scheduled under current law to be made on June 30, 2021, and June 30, 2022 (this $50 million went to capitol construction and controlled maintenance projects – see HB20-1408) Water: • HB20-1403 Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund Project • SB20-155 Keep Presumption Noninjury Well on Divided Land Surveyors’ Practice Act: • HB20-1318 Standards for Recording Plats allows county clerk and recorders to receive and preserve original plats for recording in an electronic format. In addition, there were several COVID-related bills that were pushed and passed in the last days of the session: • HB20-1414: Price Gouge Amid Disaster Deceptive Trade Practice • SB20-205: Sick Leave for Employees will impact employers with more than 15 employees who can accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours starting January 1, 2021; under 15 employees on January 1, 2022. • SB20-207: Unemployment Insurance – increases businesses’ contribution to the fund. Under a challenging and an unprecedented legislative environment, ACEC Colorado’s coalition partners, lobbyists, members, and business community activists worked tirelessly to convince legislators of the need to amend these bills that impact businesses in this era of economic uncertainty. As always, their efforts are greatly appreciated. The author Marilen Reimer is executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Colorado.