Currently, state electrical inspections fees are adjusted periodically by the Division of Professions and Occupations located within the Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA). Under current law, cities and counties are prohibited from deviating from these fees set by the state by no more than 15%. HB 1035 was amended in the Senate Local Government committee to:
Because of the dramatic changes to HB 1035, the bill was sent back to the House for consideration of amendments and passed with only one no vote out of the House. HB 1035 is now on its way to the Governor's desk.
For the last four legislative sessions, versions have this legislation have been introduced but ultimately failing to pass in a split legislature. Staff believes the legislation has significant chance of passage this year.. The intent of the legislation is to have a state version of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with two key exceptions: 1) It provides a paid benefit, and; 2) it applies to all employers in Colorado of all sizes. The FAMLI program would be funded with a percentage of payroll deduction relative to the employee’s pay and create an enterprise within the Colorado Division of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to administer it. FAMLI would provide partial wage replacement benefits to an eligible individual who takes leave from work to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition, who is unable to work due to the individual's own serious health condition, or is unable to work because the individual or a family member is the victim of abusive behavior or stalking. The premium – affirmatively defined in the bill draft as a “fee” and not a “tax” – would be required to be split 50/50 between the employer and employee. The bill passed the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee, in a hearing held while the rest of the state was closed down and region was gripped by a blizzard, on a 3-2 party line vote. CML did not testify, as staff was directed to stay home and be safe. Amendments adopted include:
The requirement for the employer contribution in this year's bill is a new element and of primary concern to staff, as it represents a unfunded mandate on municipalities, regardless of the "discount" amendment. CML and CCI spoke to proponents and Senate sponsors to enumerate issues with the details – many of which mirrored those earlier supplied by private sector interests – as well as to explain how local governments often already provide better benefits than FAMLI would. At this point, the key concerns are ensuring that any program would align and not conflict with FMLA and the unfunded mandate that the required employer payroll deduction represents. The bill was heard in committee, but has been laid over to a later day to be determined because of serious concerns from most of the committee members and several senators not on the committee. CML staff testified against the bill.
It has not been a secret that a marijuana delivery bill would be introduced in the 2019 session and be far more expansive than last year's defeated legislation creating a pilot project. Initially, proponents stated they would be consistent with the local control they have promoted as part of medical and retail marijuana by including opt-in provisions. As introduced, HB 19-1234 creates delivery permits for licensed retail marijuana and medical marijuana stores and transporters. CML is opposing the legislation unless it is amended to:
These points are consistent with the local control elements and processes of Amendment 64. Discussions with the sponsors and proponents have already started.
The stated intent of SB 19-181 is to:
CML continues to advocate for the legislation's clarification of local control land use and siting. However, staff testified the bill needed significant to address legitimate concerns of many Colorado municipalities. Throughout the bill's journey, CML has consistently recognized the collaborative process of negotiating MOUs—taking into account community needs and the interests of citizens. SB 181 does not drastically change that process and has been strengthened by the amendments that help start the conversation at an earlier point and allow local governments and operators to focus more intently on other site specific issues. Staff requested continuing opportunities to consider suggestions and amendments inclusive of all municipal interests. The Senate added the following amendments, many of which were possible because of the League's positioning and presence in amendment discussions:
SB 181 was heard in the House Energy and Environment committee on Monday, March 18. CML again testified in support of the bill but is insisting on specific guardrails in the bill critical to many Colorado municipalities that are also entirely consistent with the sponsors’ stated intent that the bill is not intended to allow bans or excessive setbacks. SB 181 will continue through the House the week of March 25, starting in the House Finance Committee. Staff will continue to update our members on major developments.
HB 19-1235 requires municipalities to broadcast its dispatch radio communications without encryption such that the communications may be monitored by commercially available radio receivers and scanners or online. The bill also applies to certain state entities and counties. There are exemptions in the bill that include:
Encryption is an important tool for law enforcement and firefighting agencies. They utilize the technology to protect municipal citizens. Even with the exemptions, CML is opposed to HB 19-1235 because the use of encryption should not be dictated by the state. Local governments are capable of deciding when encryption should be utilized by law enforcement and other public safety entities. They are well equipped to balance privacy issues and successful public safety operations.
HB 19-1006, as introduced, did not impact local governments as it was aimed at creating grant opportunities for individuals to mitigate their homes in order to protect from wildfire damage. Upon learning that the current grants administered through the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program would already cover homeowner mitigation, the sponsors decided to amend the bill to strengthen that program. Once amended, HB 19-1006 will provide an additional $3 million to the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program. CML supported its creation as it provides resources to municipalities to implement wildfire mitigation programs. CML appreciates Reps. Terri Carver, R-Colorado Springs and Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango for their work on improving this legislation.
SB 19-144 allows a driver of a motorcycle to proceed past a traffic signal that is inoperative, that remains on a steady red or yellow light for two minutes or more, or that fails to recognize the motorcycle for two minutes or more. The League opposes the preemption into local control of safety on municipal streets.
CML worked with the bill sponsor to amend SB 19-144 which removed our above concerns with the bill. CML has now removed its opposition.
Under current law, scooters are classified as toys and are therefore designated to be used on sidewalks. However, this antiquated statutory provision never contemplated the new technology of battery powered e-scooters now being utilized as a convenient last mile mobility device. HB 19-1221 excludes e-scooters from this definition and includes them in the definition of "motor vehicle" thus authorizing the use of electric scooters on roadways. The bill also affords riders of e-scooters the same rights and responsibilities as e-bikes under state law.
CML has analyzed this bill to ensure local governments have the authority and flexibility they need to effectively regulate e-scooters within their jurisdictions to ensure the general safety of riders and the public. We have updated our position and are now supporting HB 19-1221.