2013: A Veto-Free State Legislative Session

Gov Hickenlooper Signing Bill at Chamber


Governor Hickenlooper has recently signed over 100 bills into law on such wide-ranging topics as school finance, oil and gas and recreational marijuana. He even signed one here at the Chamber with State legislative co-sponsors Senator Heath and Rep Hullinghorst !  Some of these items will appear on your ballot this November. Learn more about them below.

Tend Your Economic Garden

 HB 13-1003 has been signed by the Governor into law.  The bill will proide strategic counseling  to qualifying businesses to help them grow to the next level.  The Economic Gardening Program  will offer services to businesses that have headquartered in Colorado for 2 years, have gross revenues between $500,000 - $50 million, have a product or service that can be exported out-of-state, and have 6-99 employees.

CO Advanced Industries Acceleration Act

HB-1001, the Advanced Industries Acceleration Act signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper,  will create a new Advanced Industries Acceleration Fund,  to fund grants for qualifying firms in seven industry categories.  These are designated as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and information technology  Senator Heath said at a recent town hall meeting that these investments will help drive growth in high-paying, high-skill jobs in Colorado. 

Job Growth Incentive Tax and Work Share Program Extentions

Two pieces of legislation have had extensions approved; The Colorado Job Growth Incentive Tax (HB-1287) and the Colorado Work Share Program (SB-157.)  HB-1287 signed by the President of the Senate, provides an extension of five income tax years of the original Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit.  SB-157, signed by the Governor, eliminates the “sunset date” of the original legislation allowing employees to collect prorated unemployment from their employers if their hours have been reduced and federal funds are not available.

ASSET Bill Signed Into Law

Senate Bill 13-033, known as ASSET, was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on April 29th.  The bill makes undocumented students who graduated from Colorado high schools eligible for in-state tuition and the College Opportunity Fund stipend at all of the state's public post-secondary institutions. To learn more about ASSET implementation, including who qualifies, click here.>

CO State Education Finance Bill

 Colorado Commits to Kids,the campaign to support  Initiative 22. has submitted nearly double the required 86,105 valid signatures by August 6 deadline.  If the measure passes in November, state individual income tax rates would be raised to generate an additional $950.1 million a year through a two-step increase in rates.

Colorado's current income tax rate would be amended from a flat 4.63 percent to a two-tiered tax with a flat-tax rate of 5 percent for all income of less than $75,000 a year and rate of 5 percent for income up to $75,000 annually and 5.9 percent for earnings above that threshold. The increase translates to an additional $166.40 for a person  with an annual state taxable income of $45,000 o $595 on state taxable income of $100,000.

The plan, described as a major shift in how Colorado funds education statewide, directs significantly more funds to districts with the highest concentrations of at-risk students and English language learners. Other key elements of the bill include increased funding for kindergarten and preschool, and for special education, all contingent on passing a statewide ballot measure to raise taxes. For more information on the history of statewide education measures, click here.

Grants for Students Pursuing Degrees in Key Industry Sectors

Advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience and information technology are among the key industry sectors identified in  SB 13-218, Workforce Development for Key Industries in Colorado.  The bill was postponed indefinitely in the House Appropriations Committee. Grants would have been provided to institutions to assist students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in these areas of study.

Amendment 64 Implementation

Six bills regarding recreational marijuana were signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper. These include House Bill 1317 which outlines the structure and operation of recreational marijuana businesses, and House Bill 1318, which asks voters to approve the of taxing recreational marijuana at least 25 percent, with proceeds going to school construction and the cost of regulatution. Included in the bills signed House Bill 1325 which sets a THC-blood limit for Colorado motorists.

Locally, the implementation of Amendment 64 was on the agenda at City Council's April 23rd Study Session, with discussion centering on whether to propose a local sales or excise tax in addition to those outlined in HB 1316 and 1318.   A working group consisting of representatives from Boulder, Denver and Pueblo and other municipalities state wide may be formed to address implementation issues. Concerns have been raised regarding the societal impacts particularly as may affect Boulder’s youth. July 1 is the deadline for regulations for issuing licenses, and the City must designate an agency to license by October 1.  November 15 is the first day to issue licenses and the State must issue licenses January 1, 2014.

Use of Consumer Credit Information by Employers

SB-13-018 has been signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper. This bill prohibits employers from using credit information in making hiring or promotion decisions unless the information is "substantially related" to a job.  The legislation was designed to provide protection to low-wage workers, victims of identity theft, unemployed workers and students.

CDOT Key Projects Update

As Chair of Senate Transportation, Senator Rollie Heath provided updates on key projects, including U.S. 36:


  • U.S. 36 Managed Lanes, Phase 1:  Construction is underway to add one managed lane in each direction from Federal Boulevard to Interlocken Loop.  The project will include bikeway and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) improvements, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology for tolling.
  • U.S. 36 Managed Lanes, Phase 2:  One new managed lane in each direction from Interlocken to Foothills Parkways, with BRT and bikeway improvements and ITS technology.
  • 1-70 Eastbound:  Construction begins April 2013 on an 1-70 project that will widen the eastbound Twin Tunnel and add a 3rd lane from Idaho Springs to Floyd Hill.
  • The new “RAMP” program gives CDOT the authority to use additional revenues of $300 million per year for transportation improvements over the next five years.

Lobato decision


 The Colorado Supreme Court's decision on the State v. Lobato reverses the trial court’s finding that the public school funding system is unconstitutional. The debate over what makes a constitutionally adequate education has been at the forefront of the high court's consideration of the state’s finding that Colorado school funding system isn’t “rationally related” to the state constitution’s requirement for a “thorough and uniform” public education system.  The 4-2 decision was announced May 27.


Boulder Facts: City Population: 102,800 | County Population: 298,685 | Founded: 1858 | Elevation: 5,430 ft.

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