Legislative Update: April 14, 2017

‘Chance to Compete’ gains support
Every Coloradan deserves a chance to compete in the workforce. That’s why CCLP developed and built support for House Bill 1305, the Colorado Chance to Compete Act. In short, the legislation prohibits most employers from asking about criminal history on initial job applications.

Should HB 1305 pass, Colorado would join nine other states with similar laws. Studies show that when states and local governments enact such policies, job applicants are more likely to land face-to-face interviews, be judged on their merits and secure employment. Criminal justice experts consistently report that one of the biggest deterrents from reoffending is the ability to reenter the workforce.

On Thursday, HB 1305 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee following testimony from supporters who said the legislation would help people get a chance to compete for a job and be able to work and build financial security for themselves and their families.

Earlier this week, The Denver Post editorial board endorsed HB 1305, saying “We like this measure, and hope to see it become law.” Jenny Kraska of the Colorado Catholic Conference made the spiritual case for the legislation in this column in the Denver Catholic. Ed Blair, general manager of the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown hotel, explained why he supports HB 1305 in this op-ed in the Denver Business Journal (available for subscribers only). Finally, Public News Service developed an article about the bill.

If you are a business owner and would like to endorse this legislation or have any questions about the bill please, send email to jregenbogen@cclponline.org or call (303) 573-5669, ext. 321.

Bill to Watch: HB 1307
No one should have to choose between keeping their job and taking care of themselves, a sick family member or a newborn child. That’s why CCLP supports House Bill 1307, the FAMLI Act, sponsored by Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster and developed by 9to5 Colorado.

The legislation would establish a paid family and medical leave program across the state at no direct cost to employers. Instead, the program is entirely employee-funded through payroll deductions that amount to a cost of one cup of coffee per employee, per week. Under the program, employees who experience qualifying events would be able to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year with partial wage replacement. They will also be guaranteed that their job would be available when they return to active duty.

If HB 1307 passes, Colorado would join several other states across the country that have implemented similar paid family and medical leave programs. The bill passed out of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on Tuesday and was referred to the House Finance Committee.

On the Radar
Senate Bill 245, the “Notice to Quit” measure developed by CCLP, was approved with bipartisan support by the House Local Government Committee by a vote of 9-4. The bill would extend the state’s notification period for month-to-month tenants from seven days to 21 days. Thanks to Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, and the advocacy partners who supported this bill, which now goes to the House floor!

Last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed HB 1126 into law. The measure is part of a three-bill package, developed by CCLP and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, intended to ensure that Medicaid clients do not lose access to health care without adequate notice and opportunity to contest the basis for the decision. Specifically, HB 1126 would ensure that an administrative law judge reviews the sufficiency of Medicaid termination notices at the beginning of an appeal hearing. Gov. Hickenlooper signed another bill in the trilogy, HB 1143, in March. The third piece, SB 121, passed out of the Senate was assigned to the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee. As we’ve said before, these bills could save lives! Thanks to the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and other stakeholders for your support in making the package a success (so far).

On Tuesday, April 17, the House Finance Committee will consider HB 1310, which limits the application fee a landlord may charge a prospective tenant to the amount necessary to cover actual costs for a personal reference check, consumer credit report or tenant-screening report. HB 1310 requires landlords to provide an itemized receipt of actual expenses incurred and requires landlords to return unused portions of such fees to the applicants. Building upon the groundwork set by 9to5 Colorado, CCLP developed HB 1310, which is sponsored in the House by Reps. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood and Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora and in the Senate by Sen. Stephen Fenberg, D-Boulder.

– By Bob Mook