Resources

Review of 2021 Legislative Actions Affecting Business Interests

The following summary is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to provide comprehensive or technical analysis of the content, intent, cost or consequence of legislation.  Legislation included within this summary has been deemed to have direct applicability to the operation and function of private enterprise.

Additional Resources

The Steep Price Tag of the 2021 Legislative Session | Common Sense Institute

Transportation Funding and Spending Plan 2021 | Capitol Solutions

AGRICULTURE

SB21-087           Agricultural Workers’ Rights

Allows for agricultural workers to organize and join labor unions; removes minimum wage exemptions for ag workers; grants meal breaks and rest periods consistent with other workers; requires employers to provide access and transportation to key service providers; allows employees to have visitors at employer-provided housing; requires employers to provide overwork and health protections to employees; restricts the use of short-handled hoes; creates an agricultural work advisory committee to further analyze wages and work conditions; and, creates rights, remedies and enforcement actions. 

BUSINESS

HB21-1048       Retail Businesses Must Accept Cash

Requires all retail establishments that accept payment in person to also accept U.S. currency as payment, except where a credit card is required for the payment of a security deposit for unforeseen damages or expenses. Violations are subject to a $500 fine.

HB21-1065       Veterans’ Hiring Preference

Creates statutory authority for private employers to establish preferential hiring practices for National Guard and military veterans and the spouse of a disabled veteran or service member killed in the line of duty.

HB21-1124       Expand Ability to Conduct Business Electronically

Facilitates the ability of business to conduct activities electronically, including delivery of notices, while requiring the ability for remote participation in shareholders’ and directors’ meetings.

HB21-1268       Historically Underutilized Businesses Local Government Procurement

The bill establishes a pilot program for local governments and school districts under which the procurement of services can more effectively target businesses that are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents; and, one or more of the following: members of a racial or ethnic minority group; non-Hispanic Caucasian women; persons with physical or mental disabilities; members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; or veterans.

SB21-035           Restrictions on Third-Party Food Delivery Services

Requires third-party food delivery services to obtain consent from retail food establishments prior taking and arranging delivery orders on their behalf.

SB21-070           County Authority to Register Businesses

Authorizes a board of county commissioners to require registration of businesses located within unincorporated areas of the jurisdiction.

COVID RESPONSE

HB21-1027       Continue Alcohol Delivery & Take-out

Extends the ability of licensed premises to offer take-out or delivery of alcohol beverages through July 1, 2026, except manufacturers that have a sales room. Such businesses may only continue take or delivery sales through January 2, 2022.  Maximum volumes per order have been increased to 1.5L for wine, 1.125 gallons for beer, malt liquor and cider, and 1L for spirits. 

HB21-1265       Qualified Retailer Retain Sales Tax

Extends through August 2021 the ability of bars, restaurants, caterers and food trucks to retain retail sales taxes.

SB21-001           Modify COVID-19 Relief Programs for Small Biz

Moves relief programs for minority-owned businesses to the Office of Economic Development and expands the scope of the program to allow relief payments, grants, loans and technical assistance to small businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

HB21-1223       Create Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Establishes the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office within the Office of Economic Development.

HB21-1288       CO Startup Loan Program

Appropriates $30M from the general fund to the Office of Economic Development to establish a revolving loan fund to be administered by a third-party entity.  The program will issue loans to businesses seeking to start, restart or restructure businesses that otherwise lack access to traditional financing sources.

HB21-1302       COVID-19 Small Biz Grant Program

Appropriates $15M of federal CARES Act funds to the Office of Economic Development for subsequent distribution, in the form of grants, to support small businesses impacted by public health restrictions.

SB21-291           Economic Recovery & Relief Cash Fund

Appropriates $40M in federal CARES Act proceeds to the Office of Economic Development to provide grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic and public health orders; undertake other curative response; and, allocates $10M to incentivize location of small businesses in rural areas.

SB21-241           Small Business Accelerated Growth Program

Appropriates $1.35M to the Office of Economic Development to establish a business development support program for companies with 19 or fewer employees.  

ENVIRONMENT

HB21-1266       Environmental Justice Disproportionate Impacted Communities

Includes greenhouse gas emissions as a “regulated pollutant” for the first time, HB 1266 largely codifies into law the 2020 state agency adopted state “greenhouse gas reduction roadmap” for electric, industrial, and manufacturing sectors and attaches fines and “teeth” to the aspirational HB 19-1261 carbon reduction goals.  Accelerates the target reductions for the industrial and manufacturing sectors substantially – including moving the baseline of 2005 emission rates to 2015 emission rates with the same reduction goal of 20% by 2030.   For the oil and gas sector, accelerates and substantially increases the reduction targets to 36% by 2025 and 60% by 2030. Establishes accounting standards for a trading program to allow regulated sources to meet their compliance obligations through the purchase, acquisition, or exchange of a GHG credits.  The AQCC must adopt rule directing the CDPHE to create the comprehensive accounting system before adopting a rule or program that provides for the use of a cap-and-trade program. The AQCC must include the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions in economic impact analyses for rules related to statewide GHG pollution abatement. Additional considerations and permitting requirements for sources in disproportionately impacted communities including the creation of an environmental justice ombudsperson and Environmental Justice Advisory Board in CDPHE; creation of an Environmental Mitigation Project Grant Program funded through receipts of certain fines and penalties collected.  HB 1266 changed the mission of the Colorado Energy Office to include support to Colorado’s transition to a more equitable, low-carbon, and clean energy economy, and to promote an equitable transition to transportation electrification, zero emission vehicles, transportation systems, and land use patterns that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

HB21-1286       Energy Performance for Buildings

Requires owners of buildings consisting of 50,000 square feet or greater to collect and report energy-use to establish benchmarking data for the purpose testing future compliance standards established under the bill.  On or before June 1, 2027, building owners will be required to demonstrate energy-performance compliance.  An annual administrative fee of $100 will be assessed for all covered buildings, while failure to achieve standards or reporting requirements will be subject penalties ranging from $500 to $5,000.

GOVERNMENT

SB21-262           Special District Transparency

Expands notification requirements for special districts elections; requires active metropolitan districts to: establish and maintain an official website that provides required information to property owners; adds statutory requirements for the filing and content of an annual report, including disclosure of contractual agreements; limits the use of eminent domain powers; and, requires disclosure of financial position of the district, debt obligations and estimate of property taxes to property buyers at the time of sale.

HEALTH CARE

HB21-1068       Insurance Coverage Mental Health Wellness Exam

Adds a requirement that health plans cover an annual mental health wellness exam, comparable to coverage for physical examinations.  Large employer plans must include the benefit effective January 1, 2022, with individual and small group coverage effective January 1, 2023.

HB21-1232       Standardized Health Benefit Plan (“Public Option”)

Health care providers and hospitals are required to lower premiums by 15% from current levels by December 31, 2022.  If that objective is not achieved, the Commissioner of Insurance will be required to establish a standardized public health benefit plan to be offered by health insurance carriers in the individual and small group markets.  The standardized plan must be offered through the Colorado health benefit exchange and individual market by January 1, 2023 and must be accepted by care providers and hospitals. Each carrier must offer a standardized plan with premiums 6% less than those offered in 2021 and 18% less by January 1, 2025.  Thereafter premiums may not increase by more than medical inflation in the previous year.

SB21-016           Protecting Preventative Health Care Coverage

Expands the definition of preventative health care services to include counseling, prevention and screening for sexually transmitted infection.  Adds contraception

as a mandatory benefit and allows preventative care to a minor without consent of a parent or legal guardian.

SB21-063           Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements Offer Insurance

Current law allows for multiple employers to associate for the purposes of obtaining health care benefits provided the association arrangement has been in existence since January 1, 1983.  The bill allows the Commissioner of Insurance to provide a waiver to that requirement for a period of two years, which can be re-issued for subsequent periods. 

SB21-090           Small Group Health Insurance Plan Renewal

Clarifies that if a small business has issued a health benefit plan under small group rules, the carrier must allow the business to renew the plan in subsequent periods if the employer subsequently exceeds the 100-employee limit. 

SB21-123           Expand Canadian Rx Import Program

Expands the ability of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to import prescription drugs from countries other than Canada under certain conditions.

HOUSING

HB21-1117       Local Government Authority to Promote Affordable Housing

Clarifies the authority of cities and counties to impose requirements for the construction of affordable housing units for new development and redevelopment of property within its jurisdiction does not violate rent control statute.  The bill does not extend the right of local jurisdictions to impose affordability requirements on existing residential housing.

HB21-1271       DOLA Innovative Affordable Housing Strategies

Appropriates $13M to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, which will subsequently issue grants to local governments to support implementation of programs and strategies that facilitate the development of affordable housing.

LABOR

HB21-1050       Workers’ Compensation

Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to: Add Guardian and conservator services to the list of medical aid required by an employer where the injured worker has been incapacitated; Requires the payment of mileage reimbursement within 120 days of when the expense was incurred; Prohibits the reduction of benefits based on apportionment of cause; Limits the apportionment of permanent impairment; Declares the employer or insurer bears the burden of proof regarding the apportionment of permanent

impairment or disability; limits the ability of employers to engage an independent medical examiner to challenge the opinion of the treating physician; and, constricts the ability to re-open permanent total disability awards among other technical clarifications and changes effective September 2022.

HB21-1108       Gender Identity Expression Anti-discrimination

Amends the definition of sexual orientation and adds gender expression and gender identity to statutes prohibiting discriminatory practices, effective September 2021.

HB21-1207       Overpayment of Workers’ Comp Benefits

Prohibits the Colorado Division of Workers’ compensation or an administrative law judge from re-opening an award of overpayment of benefits paid to a claimant as a result of fraud, error or duplication.

SB21-039           Elimination of Subminimum Wage Employment

Removes a provision within existing statute that allows wages for disabled workers to be 15% below the prevailing minimum, effective July 1, 2021.

SB21-251           General Fund Loan Family Medical Leave Program

Extends a $1.5M loan to the newly created family and medical leave insurance fund as startup dollars for the building of the program by 2023.

TAXATION

HB21-1311       Income Tax

Modifies State tax code for both individuals and businesses.  As it relates directly to business tax computation: foreign tax shelters are disallowed for purposes of calculating tax liability; adds back to income any enhanced federal deductions food and beverage expense for the 2022 tax year; limits capital gain subtractions from federal income calculations to real property sales of agricultural land, not tangible personal property; creates a temporary tax credit for businesses that convert to employee ownership; and, restricts tax avoidance by certain captive insurance companies.

HB21-1312       Insurance Premium Property Sales Tax Severance Tax

For purposes of claiming insurance premium deduction, the bill requires companies to employee at least 2.5% of its total domestic workforce within the state by 2024. Narrows tax exemption for annuities purchased in connection with retirement benefits and the scope of home office deductions to actual property tax.  The business personal property exemption is increased to $50,000.  The bill further codifies the definition of BPP to include digital goods, mainframe services and other items not explicitly permitted. Retention of sales tax vendor

fees is disallowed for retailers reporting more than $1M in taxable sales, while deductions and credits are phased out for oil, gas and coal producers.

HB21-1321       Voter Transparency in Tax Related Ballot Measures

Requires that ballot title language that increases or decreases tax revenue through tax policy change open with a clear statement to that effect.

HB21-1327       State & Local Tax Parity Act for Business

Commencing January 1, 2022, the bill permits pass-through business entities (S-corps and partnerships) to deduct state and local taxes expenses at the entity level to relieve disparate treatment in relation to C-corps.

SB21-020           Energy Equipment & Facility Property Tax Valuation

Harmonizes property taxation of clean energy resources and energy storage systems with renewable energy facilities.

SB21-282           Continue Small Business Destination Sourcing Exception

Allows small retailers to apply sales tax on purchases based on the location of the business regardless of where the purchaser receives tangible property or service until February 1, 2022.  Subsequent application of taxes must be assessed on the purchaser’s location utilizing a geographic information system developed by the Department of Revenue.

SB21-130           Local Authority for Business Personal Property Tax Exemption

Allows counties, municipalities and special districts to exempt 100% of business personal property from levy and collection for the 2021 property tax year.

TRANSPORTATION

SB21-110           Fund Safe Revitalization of Main Streets

Appropriates $30M to the Revitalizing Main Streets and Safer Main Streets programs administered by Colorado Department of Transportation.

SB21-238           Create Front Range Passenger Rail District

Creates a Front Range Passenger Rail District for the purpose of planning and implementing a fixed rail system stretching from Wyoming to New Mexico.  The Governor is instructed to appoint board members to the district by April 1, 2022.  Subject to voters residing within the district boundaries, the district board shall be empowered to levy a sales and use tax, exercise taxing authority common to special districts and issue bonds.  

SB21-260           Sustainability of the Transportation System

Increases fees and allocates federal stimulus funds for spending on statewide transportation infrastructure needs and electric vehicle adoption goals. SB 260 adds a new fee on gas and diesel and a new fee upon deliveries; creates three new state enterprises to spend delivery fees to support and accelerate adoption of electric vehicles; and increases spending on road and transit infrastructure. 

The measure adds additional environmental mitigation requirements and planning related road construction including enhanced reviews for regionally significant projects.   *(see in-depth analysis Here courtesy of Capitol Solutions)

SB21-265           Transfer from General Fund to State Highway Fund

Transfers $124M from the general fund to the state highway fund effective July 1, 2021.

WATER

HB21-1043       Study Underground Water Storage

Directs the Colorado Water Conservation Board to engage with An institution of higher learning to evaluate ways to maximize the beneficial use of water within the state utilizing underground storage and minimize the amount of water flowing to downstream states without violating applicable compacts, law and rulings.  Study results must be presented to the Board by August 1, 2022.

WORKFORCE

HB21-1007       State Apprenticeship Agency

Creates a state agency to oversee all apprenticeship programs, including registration of existing and new programs, establish standards for registration, quality assurance, promotion of apprenticeships, and provision of technical assistance.  Registration begins July 1, 2023.

HB21-1264       Funds Workforce Development Increase Worker Skills

Appropriates $25M to the Colorado Workforce Development Council to facilitate statewide and local workforce center’s ability to implement reskilling unemployed and underemployed workers, upskilling workers increase advancement opportunities, and next-skilling workers for future-ready employment. 

SB21-218           CDLE Employment & Training Technology Fund

Eliminates an automatic reallocation of the employment and training technology fund balance to the unemployment compensation fund when the latter fund balance falls below $100M; reduces the annual allocation of unemployment funds to the technology fund to $7M from $10M starting July 1, 2023; Adds a cap

of $31M on cumulative receipts to the technology fund until June 30, 2023; reallocates transfers made to the technology fund between July 1, 2020 and present back to the compensation fund; and, repeals the assessment for the technology fund on June 30, 2031.

HB21-233          CDLE Unemployment Insurance Division Enterprise

Requires the Department of Labor and Employment to study the feasibility of establishing an unemployment compensation benefit program for workers ineligible for the current program due to immigration status.

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Northern Colorado Business Community and Elected Officials Laud Senate Passage of Federal Infrastructure Package; Urge Portion of $5B Colorado Allocation Direct to North I-25 Gap

Passage of the $1 Trillion Infrastructure Package was a tremendous feat of compromise, appreciation of the value of infrastructure investment and economic stimulus. Leaders from the Northern Colorado region and advocates for funding and construction of the North Interstate 25 corridor shared their praise of the plan and desire for a portion of the Colorado dollars to complete the North I-25 Express Lanes project.

“There is no better investment in stimulating an economy than investing in transportation infrastructure. We congratulate the Senate on their historic achievement today in finding a bi-partisan compromise and thank our Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet on their role to bring the package to fruition,” said Scott James, Weld County Commissioner, Chair of the North I-25 Coalition, the joint Chair of the Upper Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization and member of the State Transportation Advisory Council.

North I-25 is the back bone and life blood of the Northern Colorado region. It is the intrastate connect between the north, south, east and west of Colorado.  And, critically, it is the interstate connect to the rest of the country.  We strongly urge our Senators, the Colorado Transportation Commission and the Colorado Department of Transportation to direct a portion of the Colorado allocation of these federal funds to fully fund and complete the critical expansion of the federally overseen interstate roadway, the North I-25 Express Lanes Project.

“Interstate 25 is among the very few key nationally and state strategic transportation corridors in Colorado.  Full completion of the express lanes in the North I-25 corridor assures the health and safety of the thousands of Colorado and interstate citizens and freight movers that use the corridor every day while addressing the important air quality concerns caused by unnecessary congestion along the miles of two-lane interstate,” said Ann Hutchison, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO and Convener of the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance:

The Fix North I-25 Business Alliance stands firmly with the North I-25 Coalition in urging the Colorado Transportation Commission and CDOT to fully fund* “North I-25 Gap” from the available federal transportation/infrastructure funds.”

*$660+ million is necessary to complete the $1.6 billion North I-25 Express Lanes project.

Northern Colorado is United
Northern Colorado is united in its efforts to assure full funding of North I-25. 

Together, the North I-25 Coalition and Fix North I-25 Business Alliance, represent the local governments and the business community of the Northern Colorado region.

The North I-25 Coalition, founded in September 2013, encompasses local government Mayors, Commissioners and Councilors representing entities – counties, cities and towns – along the I-25 corridor. Their focused and cooperative efforts by members of the Coalition, chaired by Weld County Commissioner Scott James, has produced millions in local matching funds to position the North I-25 Corridor to receive federal funding.

The region’s business community founded the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance in early 2014. The Alliance is a project of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, the joint advocacy arm of the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley Chambers of Commerce with Upstate Colorado and One NoCo Economic Development.  It has invested significant financial resources in the unified North I-25 effort and the statewide funding conversation to advocate for more transportation funding for Colorado and North I-25.

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Withdrawal of ETRP One Step Closer to Eliminating Another Burden on Northern Colorado Businesses and Employees

The Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment submitted to the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) its withdrawal of the Employee Traffic Reduction Program (ETRP) from the rulemaking process. 

The Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley Chambers, working together as the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, was named a formal party in the rulemaking process, and welcomes this withdrawal as one step closer to eliminating a program that would impose burdens upon employees of businesses with 100 or more employees.

What’s Next
The NCLA is hopeful that we are at the end of the rulemaking, but will continue to follow the process as there are still several procedural steps that may require activation of the business community.

“Today’s announcement is very welcome news to the 350 large employers across Northern Colorado that would have been captured by the mandatory rule,” said Sandra Hagen Solin, working on behalf of NCLA and representative as formal party to the ETRP. “More importantly, this is welcome news to the tens of thousands of employees across the region — disproportionately impacted communities, women and essential workers — whose quality of life would have been impacted by the burden they would have borne by the requirements upon employers.” 

The NCLA engaged former APCD Deputy Director Chris Colclasure, attorney with Beatty Wozniak, as regulatory legal advisor to the NCLA. The NCLA has been convening meetings and coordinating the business community response with other similarly minded formal parties to present the strongest case against the proposed mandatory employer-based program that will impose burdens upon employees of businesses with 100 or more employees. 

Original ETRP Proposal

Approximately 2,600 companies across the Denver Metro Area and the North Front Range, including 350 in Larimer and Weld County, will be required to comply with pending ETRP by April of 2022. If approved, the program will mandate that these economically critical companies with more than 100 employees at a single worksite:

  • Develop and implement a company-funded plan to reduce their employee’s Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) commuting to and from your worksite.  
  • Achieve a 75% SOV drive rate “goal’ by July of 2023 and 60% by 2025.
  • Identify or hire an ETRP Transportation Coordinator
  • Develop a baseline of the current SOV rates that will include commuting practices, vehicle type and other data
  • Report periodically on progress towards and sustainability of the achievement of the goal

The APCD, according to its formal Economic Impact Analysis, estimates that, conservatively, the cost per employer to implement ETRP will range from $7,200 – $811,643 annually.  

About the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA)
The NCLA is the joint public policy advocacy arm of the Fort CollinsGreeley and Loveland Chambers of Commerce, Upstate Colorado Economic Development Corporation and One NoCo. The NCLA is the leading voice in northern Colorado influencing local, state and federal policy on issues affecting the unique business interests of northern Colorado.
NCLA’s mission is to unite and empower the members of the northern Colorado chambers of commerce, Upstate Colorado and OneNoCo with the means to generate a strong voice for positive impact on state and federal policy, regulations, and legislation that affect business’ ability to succeed and to help create a more positive business climate for the future of northern Colorado business. Visit ncla.biz.

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NCLA Responds to EPA’s Proposal to Expand Air Quality Non-Attainment Boundary to Include the Entirety of Weld County

Environmental Protection Agency
Public Comment on Intended Air Quality Designations for the 2015 Ozone
National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Response to the July 10, 2020,
Court Decision Addressing El Paso, Texas and Weld County, Colorado
Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0548-0459

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance with Upstate Colorado Economic
Development Corporation, the Greeley Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Collins
Chamber of Commerce, and the Loveland Chamber of Commerce shares, with strong
interest, our concerns with the EPA’s proposal to include northern Weld County, and
therefore the entirety of Weld County, in the Denver Metro/North Front Range (“DM/
NFR”) non-attainment area.

Sadly, this proposal is a reversal of your prior designation made in 2018 without any
significant additional analysis. The proposal to include northern Weld County within the
nonattainment boundary is based on a virtually identical record prepared for its original
2018 designation, which did not change the boundary from the 2008 Ozone National
Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”). Further, the current boundary has proven
satisfactory for rigorous SIP review by the EPA for many years.

By proposing to move the boundary, we believe firmly that the EPA needs to start over,
reviewing all five factors required for boundary designation, not just the two factors the
D.C. Circuit court described in its remand of the original 2018 designation to the EPA
(the “emissions” and “topography” factors). Northern Weld County is remote and
rural, so imposing non-attainment area emission control strategies will come at high
cost and little benefit. Therefore, we concur in Weld County’s opinion that the EPA has
failed to adequately respond to the D.C. Circuit’s remand in Clean Wisconsin v. EPA,
964 F.3d 1145 (D.C. Cir. 2020).

Emissions in northern Weld, not even quantified by the EPA to support its
redesignation, have gone down in recent years due to aggressive, state-only, state-wide regulations enacted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission.

Accordingly, imposing NAA controls on top of that will have very little or no air quality
benefit at violating monitors in the urbanized Denver Metro area. The EPA has chosen to ignore the last four years of the most current data and
modeling by limiting its review to the original record. This decision is arbitrary and
capricious and contrary to its previous regulatory decisions:

◦ (1) The EPA’s primary priority should be to ensure its redesignation
decision, which would likely have significant and lasting economic
consequences for stakeholders, is based on sound and current scientific
data and analysis. Indeed, a decision to expand the DM/NFR boundary is
going to extend Colorado’s extensive non-attainment area regulatory
requirements to various facilities and industries that have never before
been subject to such onerous regulatory standards. This may require
expensive facility upgrades and expansion of company compliance
programs, not to mention the significant cost to the state and local
governments to now enforce upon and monitor compliance with these
regulatory standards. Considering the significant consequences of its
decision, the EPA’s decision to rush this process at the expense of sound
scientific analysis is itself arbitrary and capricious.

◦ (2) The EPA has consistently considered additional and more current air
quality monitoring data in making its past redesignation decisions. It
should do the same here

The most current data does not support including northern Weld County in the
nonattainment boundary. It is the people of Weld County who will bear the brunt of the
EPA’s hasty, ill-supported decision for literally decades, with little or no air quality
benefit to show for their trouble. Where’s the national consistency in that?

Submitted Respectfully by:
Steve Tool, Chair of the Board
Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance

Rich Werner, President/CEO
Upstate Colorado Economic Development

Jaime Henning, President/CEO
Greeley Chamber of Commerce

Ann Hutchison,President/CEO
Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce

Mindy McCloughan, President/CEO
Loveland Chamber of Commerce

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NCLA Leads Business Regulatory Response to the State’s Mandated Employer Trip Reduction Program

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA), submitted its concerns and issues in a formal Pre-hearing Statement to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on July 9 in response to the state mandated Employer Trip Reduction Program (ETRP) proposal that is pending before the Commission and undergoing its formal regulatory hearing process.  The NCLA has been convening meetings, coordinating the business community response with other similarly minded formal parties and has engaged with legal and rulemaking counsel to present the strongest case against this proposed mandatory employer-based program that will impose burdens upon employees of businesses with 100 or more employees. 

Approximately 2,600 companies across the Denver Metro Area and the North Front Range, including 350 in Larimer and Weld County, will be required to comply with pending ETRP by April of 2022.  If approved, the program will mandate that these economically critical companies with more than 100 employees at a single worksite:

  • Develop and implement a company-funded plan to reduce their employee’s Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) commuting to and from your worksite.  
  • Achieve a 75% SOV drive rate “goal’ by July of 2023 and 60% by 2025.
  • Identify or hire an ETRP Transportation Coordinator
  • Develop a baseline of the current SOV rates that will include commuting practices, vehicle type and other data
  • Report periodically on progress towards and sustainability of the achievement of the goal 

The Commission, according to its formal Economic Impact Analysis, estimates that, conservatively, the cost per employer to implement ETRP will range from $7,200 – $811,643 annually.  The NCLA acknowledges the contributions of the transportation sector to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the need to reduce such emissions in its pre-hearing statement.  However, the NCLA argues the ETRP proposal and the SOV drive rate targets in particular, is not cost effective.

“The Commission substantially overstates the program’s emission reductions in its Economic Impact Analysis and fails to account for several costs that employers will incur,” the NCLA argues in its statement.  “The proposed ETRP rule, consequently, costs far more per ton of emissions reduced than other Commission regulations.”

The NCLA, jointly with the Business Alliance for Economically Sensible Regulation, provides policy arguments for removing the numeric SOV drive rate targets from the ETRP program. 

“The recent passage of Senate Bill 21-260 coupled with employers that are already expanding remote work opportunities in response to the market need will have a greater impact upon reducing GHG emissions than the harmful and overreaching provisions of the mandatory ETRP proposal,” said Ann Hutchison, President & CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce and formal party to the rule making representing the NCLA.

Additionally, in its statement, the NCLA is calling for a voluntary or incentive-based program that allows employers to take reasonable and customized actions to reduce SOV driving and is preferable to a mandatory program. This could include programs that involve employers providing free transit passes to all employees.

“A mandatory ETRP will have adverse effects on disproportionately impacted communities, many of which are in Weld and Larimer Counties”, said Sandra Hagen Solin, head of the NCLA and formal party on behalf BAERS.  “Combine that with the compounding burden of ETRP on female employees emerging from the She-Cession, the unique harm of the pandemic to women, and it begs the question why the state would propose such a program.”

Encouraging Businesses to Engage

The NCLA will continue to follow the proposed ETRP. Information on how businesses can engage and updates can be found here.  To submit written public comments, email tcdphe.aqcc-comments@state.co.us.

A public comment sign up option during the ETRP rulemaking hearing is scheduled for August 18.

The hearing will be held online only; there will be no in-person participation. Details related to participation and registration can be found at: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/aqcc

NOTE: The public comment session may end early if all commenters that are registered and in attendance before 6:30 have had an opportunity to speak prior to 7:30

About the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA)

The NCLA is the joint public policy advocacy arm of the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland Chambers of Commerce, Upstate Colorado Economic Development Corporation and One NoCo.  The NCLA is the leading voice in northern Colorado influencing local, state and federal policy on issues affecting the unique business interests of northern Colorado.

NCLA’s mission is to unite and empower the members of the northern Colorado chambers of commerce, Upstate Colorado and OneNoCo with the means to generate a strong voice for positive impact on state and federal policy, regulations, and legislation that affect business’ ability to succeed and to help create a more positive business climate for the future of northern Colorado business. Visit ncla.biz.

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