The 2022 Colorado State Legislative session officially kicked off on January 12, and with it the start of the LWVCO Legislative Action Committee (LAC). For those of you who are new to the League, the LAC is a group of League members from all over the state who meet virtually on Friday mornings from 9 - 11 to discuss how the LWVCO should respond to upcoming bills. Members of the LAC adopt a topic area that they feel particularly passionate about, and follow the bills that correspond to that topic area. Often there are multiple LAC members for a topic. The LAC is run by Andrea Wilkins, the LWVCO Lobbyist, and Toni Larson, the Action and Advocacy Chair for the LWVCO, and any local League member can join. Currently Rionda Osman, Celeste Landry, Holly Monkman, Peggy Leech, Jeannette Hillary, Gaythia Weis, Debby Vink and Kay Palmer Marsh represent our Boulder County League.
Here are some highlights from the first LAC meeting on February 21
●There were 25 participants
●There is a need for someone to start tracking bills related to Reproductive Rights. This is going to be a very important year for this topic. If you are considering joining, and you are interested in this topic, now would be a great time!
●The bill naming convention is HR = House Resolution, HB = House Bill, SB = Senate Bill. The chamber named (House or Senate) tells you in which chamber the bill originated.
●Elections and Voting
○HR1004 Urging Congress to Adopt Voting Rights Legislation - Concerning urging Congress to adopt comprehensive voting rights legislation to protect the integrity of American democracy and the sacred right to vote. LAC voted to Support.
○HB1086 Vote Without Fear Act - The bill prohibits a person from openly carrying a firearm within any polling location or central count facility, or within 100 feet of a ballot drop box or any building in which a polling location or central count facility is located, while an election or any related ongoing election administration activity is in progress. LAC voted to Support
○HB1060 Contribution Limits School Dist Dir Candidate - Current law regulating campaign finance does not set limits on contributions to candidates for school district director. LAC voted to Strongly Support.
○SB082 Geographical Area Hazardous Air Pollution Rule - Concerning addressing the geographical areas with the greatest concentration of air pollutants that affect human health. LAC voted to Support.
○SB073 Alternative Energy Sources - Requiring a feasibility study for the use of small modular nuclear reactors as a source of carbon-free energy. LAC voted to Oppose based on a national position opposing nuclear energy in favor of renewable energy sources.
○HB1020 Customer Right To Use Energy - The bill prohibits a state agency, local government, and common interest community from limiting or prohibiting the use of natural gas, propane, solar photovoltaics, micro wind turbines, or small hydroelectric power for electricity generation, cooking, hot water, or space heating in residences, units, or businesses. LAC voted to Oppose because it would violate the right of home rule authority and lock Colorado communities into continued use of fossil fuels.
○HB1013 Microgrids For Community Resilience Grant Program - Concerning the creation of a grant program to build community resilience regarding electric grid disruptions through the development of microgrids. LAC voted to Support with reservations, the reservations with the possibility that the electricity could be generated by non-renewable sources
●Environment and Climate
○SB029 Investment Water Speculation - The bill prohibits a purchaser of agricultural water rights that are represented by shares in a mutual ditch company from engaging in investment water speculation. LAC voted to Support.
○HB1021 Reduce State Income Tax Rate - For income tax years commencing on and after January 1, 2022, the bill reduces both the individual and the corporate state income tax rates from 4.55% to 4.4%. LAC voted to Strongly Oppose.
○See HB1086 Vote Without Fear Act in Elections and Voting above
○HB1033 Constitutional Carry Of A Handgun - The bill grants a person who is at least 21 years old and permitted to possess a handgun the same authority to carry a concealed handgun as a person who holds a permit to carry a concealed handgun. LAC voted to Strongly Oppose.
○HB1005 Health-care Preceptors Tax Credit - Concerning modifications to the existing tax credit for rural and frontier health-care preceptors. LAC voted to Support
○SB003 Community College Nursing Bachelor Degree Eligibility - Concerning permitting community colleges to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing to certain students. LAC voted to Monitor
○There are more bills coming related to increasing the health care workforce, including an international medical graduate bill and an interstate compact for licensing for counseling services
○HB1051 Modify Affordable Housing Tax Credit - A bipartisan bill that extends the time and amount for affordable housing tax credits. LAC voted to Support
○There is an expectation that a lot of the American Rescue Plan money to be spent in this area, and bills around that will be forthcoming
●Civil Rights, DEI, Higher Education, Justice System, and Transportation had no bills to report on this meeting