The legislative session wrapped up near midnight May 11, leaving no more to do except for the Governor’s action on the bills passed by both chambers. That deadline fell at midnight June 10, when the Governor signed the last of the nearly 600 bills placed before him. (One hundred twenty-five bills had been killed prior to reaching the Governor’s desk.) The business community urged the Governor to veto several bills, including HB 22-1244 which established a new air toxics program in CDPHE, and HB 22-1255 which established a controversial state-sponsored recycling program. The program will be operated by a third-party non-profit which will assess fees on producers of recycled materials. Neither veto appeal was successful, with both signed into law.
That said, CMA was pleased with the demise of several bills which interfered with the employer-employee relationship, disturbing the at-will doctrine recognized in Colorado law. Included in that group are HB 1100 which prohibited employers from discriminating against an employee based on the employee’s COVID 19 vaccination status and allowing an aggrieved employee to sue the employer. Similarly, HB 22-1200 required employers to grant exemptions from COVID 19 vaccination requirements for specified reasons, with terminated employees who failed to comply remaining eligible for unemployment benefits. CMA also successfully urged the defeat of HB 22-1152, which could have resulted in employees allowed to use marijuana without adverse action by an employer. Also defeated was HB 22-1138, which would have required employers to limit employee’s single-occupancy commuting.
SB 22-097, signed into law on May 31, provides protection for employees who raise reasonable concerns about violations of government health and safety rules, or otherwise significant workplace threats to health or safety to the principal who controls the workplace, the principal’s agent, other workers, a government agency, or the public. Although originally drafted to address rules related to a public health emergency. The bill was broadened to address health and safety rules in general.
With the 2022 legislative session completed, attention now turns to the work of interim committees and ballot initiatives. The Legislative Oversight Committee on Tax Policy and Task Force have scheduled four meetings: June 24, July 18, August 12, and September23. The Water Resources and Agricultural Review Committee convenes August 4, with additional meetings scheduled August 24 and September 22.
CMA’s return to an in-person conference in Grand Junction last week was a real highlight for everyone who attended. Presentations on workforce recruitment and critical minerals provided timely information and approaches to dealing with challenges facing all businesses, not just mining. Supply shortages have everyone wondering, where will we obtain the raw materials necessary for the beneficial electrification and renewable technologies the legislature now requires. And re-thinking approaches to recruiting and hiring will be key to meeting today’s workforce challenges. Kudos to our great speakers!