65 Days left until May 6 – 442 bills introduced – 251 House – 191 Senate – 159 Bipartisan – 87 bills postponed indefinitely
Update – Oil and Gas Taskforce Releases Report – the long awaited report (142 pages) was released by the taskforce and received mixed reviews depending on which side of the issue you are on. Some stakeholders believe that the recommendations provide more input for local communities while others believe that the taskforce didn’t go far enough and are making noise about ballot issues in 2016. The legislature and regulators are reviewing the report that included nine recommendations (seven unanimously) and it is highly likely that we will see legislation and/or regulation addressing the recommendations as well as those issues that the taskforce could not agree upon.
Update – Data Center Sales Tax Refund – HB 1158 passed the House Business Affairs Committee 11-1 and now heads to the House Finance Committee. The estimated fiscal impact to the State in 2016-2017 is a $10.4m reduction in revenues so it will also have to go through House Appropriations. This has been a long-time criticism by economic development advocates that the legislative fiscal analysis uses a static model to determine impacts and not a dynamic model that would estimate the total impact of the incentives as they flow through the entire economy (jobs, taxes, suppliers etc.)
Crowd Funding Bill Introduced – HB-1246 was introduced this week to allow Colorado startups to raise capital from investors for relatively small dollar amounts through open exchanges. If passed, Colorado would join only a handful of states to allow investors to purchase securities in a new company. The bill provides a list of requirements that may be imposed by the Colorado securities commissioner to insure consumer protection. It will allow Colorado to be one of the nation’s leaders in business development.
Education Standards and Assessments – the debate over education policy will be front and center in the last half of the session. More than 40 bills have already been introduced dealing with education policy including testing and accountability standards. Parents, teachers and administrators have long complained about too much testing. In the 2014 session, HB 1202 set up a diverse taskforce to study concerns around testing. They worked through the last half of 2014 and issued a report to the legislature. Their findings were the result of many hours of taskforce meetings, public comment and surveys, and research. The taskforce recommended changes in testing requirements, READ Act assessments, school readiness, English language learners testing and technology for testing. The report also includes many issues that they could not reach agreement on. While most everyone agrees that standards and assessments are important accountability measures, how you get there is very controversial.
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