Around the Legislature in 80 Days!

That’s right! We have hit the two-thirds mile marker in the 120-day session which will end May 11 at midnight. What is behind us and what lies ahead? Looking back, the Workplace Marijuana bill was killed in committee. CMA joined other Colorado employers to defeat the bill which sought an accommodation for medical marijuana in the workplace, thus overturning Coats v. Dish Network. Also dying an early death was HB 1138 which would have placed the burden on employers to reduce single occupant commuting by their employees.

The State budget (Long Appropriations Bill) is halfway through its course, having passed the House on March 31. The Senate will take up the measure on April 4 and should finish (including conference committee) before recessing in recognition of the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays.

As we cautioned in the previous issue of Rock & Coal, the really weighty bills come in the second half of the session. To wit, the Air Toxics bill which creates a new program at CDPHE potentially affecting all stationary industrial sources of air emissions, was introduced on March 31, and is scheduled for hearing April 7. HB 1244 is causing CMA the biggest concern at present, as it goes well beyond any EPA requirements and directs CDPHE to set standards to protect against adverse health impacts, particularly taking into account cumulative and synergistic effects of multiple industrial sources in an area.

Also scheduled for hearing on April 7 is the new Producer Responsibility bill, which establishes a state-mandated bureaucracy operated by a non-governmental organization and funded by mandatory dues paid companies that sell, offer for sale, or distribute packaging or paper products in the state. The entity would develop and implement a statewide recycling program to increase recycling in Colorado. A broadly titled bill, “Concerning Water Quality Regulation in the State” introduced on March 24 is scheduled for committee hearing April 6. Provisions of the bill are vague and raise concern over the broad array of amendments that could be tacked onto the bill as it winds its way through the legislature. And, lest we forget the “forever chemicals”, a major PFAS bill has also been introduced as HB 1345. That bill establishes a regulatory scheme to collect information from product manufacturers regarding the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS chemicals) in their products which are added for non-stick and fire-retardant properties. The bill also phases out the sale or distribution of products that contain intentionally added PFAS chemicals. On and after January 1, 2024, the bill bans the sale of numerous consumer products containing intentionally added PFAS including Carpets or rugs; Cookware; Cosmetics; Fabric treatments; Food packaging; Juvenile products (such as children’s strollers); Oil and gas products; Textile furnishings; and Upholstered furniture. Use as a firefighting foam will be regulated and enforcement handled by the Attorney General’s office.

CMA’s Government Affairs committee meets weekly to discuss these bills, develop recommended positions for the association, and set strategy in collaboration with allies from other industry groups.