Weekly Policy Update: Legislative Session Comes to a Close – Final Week Round Up
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 06/12/2020
The legislative session continued for a third week with a wave of controversial bills, including the introduction of House Bill 1420, which would eliminate critical tax breaks and relief for Colorado businesses. As we enter the final stretch, the CBSA team continues to weigh in on key legislation and advocate on behalf of our life sciences ecosystem.
Here is a quick recap of CBSA’s remaining priorities for the session and where things stand on Monday.
Senate Bill 107, Drug Production Costs Transparency Analysis Report (Failed)
SB20-107 would direct the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing to collect, analyze, and report prescription drug costs for the 20 highest-cost drugs per course of therapy and the 20 highest-cost drugs based on total spending by each dept. CBSA opposed this bill and was deeply concerned about the types of information companies would be required to report. We were pleased to learn that the bill will not advance this session.
Senate Bill 119, Expand Canadian Prescription Drug Import Program (Failed)
SB20-119 would expand the Canadian prescription drug import program to countries beyond Canada (if permitted by federal law). CBSA opposed this legislation and shared concerns with legislators that it would jeopardize patient safety and do very little to lower health care costs for Coloradans. This week, CBSA reiterated our concerns with members of the House Health & Insurance Committee. On Wednesday SB 119 was postponed indefinitely, which is a positive outcome for CBSA and our members.
Senate Bill 163, School Entry Immunizations (Sent to Governor)
SB20-163 would create a standardized form that parents would have to get signed by a medical professional in order to exempt school children from vaccines. In lieu of a signature, parents could watch an online educational video created by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment. CBSA supports this legislation, as it incorporates proven strategies to improve vaccination rates and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases. Over the course of the session, we have worked with a broad coalition of medical and public health professionals to help advance the bill, and last week we submitted written testimony for the bill’s hearing in the House Health & Insurance Committee.
There was one amendment adopted in the House that included a petition clause, which would have prevented the bill from going into effect if opponents of the vaccine policy could collect more than 124,000 signatures over the next 90 days. If they reached the signature threshold, the act would have become a ballot measure in the November 2022 election.
Over the weekend, however, Democrats and Republicans agreed to strip out the petition clause amendment in exchange for a clause exempting home schooled children. The new version of the bill was readopted by both chambers, and the bill is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.
House Bill 1160, Drug Price Transparency Insurance Premium Reductions (Failed)
HB20-1160 would require insurers, drug manufacturers, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to report information about the costs of prescription drugs to the Commissioner of Insurance and would direct the Commissioner to analyze the information and submit a report about the effects of drug costs on insurance premiums.
Since learning about this legislation at the end of last year, CBSA worked to secure important changes for our members, including stronger protections for confidential information. When the legislature recessed in March, we were working with industry partners and the bill sponsors on additional amendments to make it easier for our members to comply. Without those changes, CBSA remained opposed to the bill, and we were pleased to learn this week that the bill will not advance this session.
CBSA is committed to working with our members and the bill sponsors in the coming months to make sure next year’s bill starts from where we left off this session.
House Bill 1420, Adjust Tax Expenditures for State Education Fund (Favorably Amended + Sent to Governor)
HB20-1420 would have eliminated critical tax breaks and relief for businesses in Colorado. The bill was introduced days before the end of the session, without any stakeholder process, and proposed significant changes to many tax deductions that were designed to help small businesses.
CBSA opposed the legislation, recognizing it would have a devastating impact on our companies and Colorado’s innovation ecosystem. We were particularly concerned about a provision that would limit the net operating loss (NOL) deduction a company can claim in one year to $400k.
CBSA testified in opposition to the bill in the Senate Finance Committee on Friday and shared our strong opposition with state legislators. We also engaged members of our community to reach out in opposition and share how the bill would negatively impact their business and their employees.
Thanks to the strong opposition from the business community (including CBSA), the bill was significantly amended over the weekend and the cap on NOL deductions was removed. This was a big win for CBSA and our members.
On Monday, June 15, the Colorado General Assembly adjourned sine die, ending the Second Regular Session of the 72nd General Assembly.