Weekly Policy Update: Legislative Session Enters the Final Weeks
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 04/29/2022
The legislative session is scheduled to end on Wednesday, May 11th, or in about 12 days. 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 brief recap of CBSA’s remaining priorities for the session and where things stand this Friday.
HB22-1149: Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit
Sponsors: Rep. Shannon Bird, Rep. Mike Lynch, Sen. Bob Rankin, Sen. Chris Hansen
CBSA is proud to lead the advocacy efforts to reauthorize the Advanced Industries Investment Tax Credit this session through HB22-1149. The credit supports access to capital for companies in Colorado’s designated Advanced Industries, including life sciences. The credit currently allows individuals who make qualifying investments to claim an income tax credit equal to 25% of their investment or 30% (proposed increase to 35%) in a business that is located in a rural or economically distressed area, limited to $50,000 per investor. The credit is currently capped at $750,000 annually. The proposed legislation increases the cap to $4 million along with an increase to $100,000 per investor.
The bill successfully passed the House earlier this week on a bipartisan vote of 54-9-2 and is waiting to be scheduled for the Senate Finance Committee. CBSA’s primary priority is to ensure that the tax credit is given an adequate sunset period to ensure the credit can continue to be a successful tool in attracting investors to Colorado and providing the state a defined return on investment.
SB22-140: Expansion of Experiential Learning
Sponsors: Rep. James Coleman, Sen. Barbara McLachlan
This bill supports businesses, workers, and learners, and aligns the talent development ecosystem to maximize economic impact. For businesses, the bill will reduce barriers to adoption of quality work-based learning models and shore up their talent pipeline. For learners and workers, the bill addresses systemic barriers to accessing quality work-based learning and employment through the creation of programs that close the digital divide and eliminate language barriers.
CBSA is in support of SB22-140 because it provides incentives for businesses to create high-quality work-based learning opportunities, including apprenticeship programs for adults and youth through the establishment of a $3 million state-run fund. The bill is still making its way through the Senate and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB22-186: Create Colorado Rare Disease Advisory Council
Sponsors: Rep. Hugh McKean, Rep. Kyle Mullica, Sen. Cleave Simpson, Sen. Joann Ginal
The bill creates the Colorado Rare Disease Advisory Council in the Department of Public Health and Environment to inform state agencies, the public, and the legislature about rare diseases and make recommendations concerning the needs of Coloradans living with rare diseases and their medical providers and caregivers. The council’s 12 voting members include, in part, a researcher, a geneticist, a physician, a pharmacist, and persons living with rare diseases. One representative will come from the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry.
CBSA is in support of SB22-186 because it helps ensures that the industry has a voice on a range of policy decisions made within the state that are impactful to manufacturers of therapies developed to treat rare diseases. The bill is still making its way through the Senate and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
HB22-1031: Consumer Right to Repair Powered Wheelchairs
Sponsors: Rep. Brianna Titone, Rep. David Ortiz, Sen. Rachel Zenzinger
The bill requires a manufacturer to provide parts, embedded software, firmware, tools, or documentation, such as diagnostic, maintenance, or repair manuals, diagrams, or similar information, to independent repair providers and owners of the manufacturer’s powered wheelchairs to allow an independent repair provider or owner to conduct diagnostic, maintenance, or repair services on the owner’s powered wheelchair. A manufacturer’s failure to comply with the requirement is a deceptive trade practice. In complying with the requirement to provide these resources, a manufacturer need not divulge any trade secrets to independent repair providers and owners.
CBSA was opposed to HB22-1031 for several reasons related to the precedent-setting nature of the bill, existing federal oversight of medical devices, and patient risk. Our concerns were expressed in a letter that was sent to the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Brianna Titone.
Read the letter.
The bill did pass the legislature earlier this week with one final amendment that notes manufacturers are not liable for faulty or improper repairs. The bill is now headed to the Governor for signature.
HB22-1244: Public Protections From Toxic Air Contaminants
Sponsors: Rep. Chris Kennedy, Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Sen. Julie Gonzales
The bill clarifies that the Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has the authority to regulate air toxics more stringently than the EPA. CDPHE would be required to establish a toxic air contaminant monitoring program which would determine the concentration of contaminants using 6 monitoring stations that would be placed throughout the state. The state-level monitoring would be in addition to new annual reporting requirements on operators of major sources and synthetic minor sources of air pollution. These monitoring reports along with existing reports from fenceline monitoring and community-based monitoring for the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to review to develop a list of high-risk toxic air contaminants and further develop health-based standards and emissions limitations. Lastly, CDPHE has the authority to reopen any existing air pollution permits given to operators of major sources and synthetic minor sources and amend the permits in accordance with the new standards developed by the AQCC.
CBSA is opposed to HB22-1244 due to the creation of state regulation on Ethylene Oxide which is already heavily regulated by multiple federal agencies to ensure the chemical is safely used for the sterilization of critical life-saving medical devices and other medical products. The bill has seen multiple amendments added so far that continue to narrow its potential scope and the proponents have offered additional concept level changes. The bill is still making its way through the House and is awaiting a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.
HB22-1122: Pharmacy Benefit Manager Prohibited Practices
Sponsors: Rep. Perry Will, Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis
The bill creates the Colorado 340B Prescription Drug Program Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits health insurers, PBMs, and other third-party payers from discriminating against entities, including pharmacies, participating in the federal 340B drug pricing program. The bill expands the definition of a “covered entity” to include contract pharmacies and prohibits PBMs from requiring pharmacies to use a modifier that identifies whether their reimbursement claim is for a 340B drug.
CBSA was initially in an amending position for HB22-1122 due to concerns with the covered entity definition and the modifier prohibition. After the bill’s proponents agreed to changes to the covered entity definition but not to the modifier prohibition the Association’s position on the bill was updated to oppose. The bill was heard earlier this week in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee and CBSA provided the Committee with a comment letter detailing our concerns with the modifier prohibition.
Read the letter.
The bill’s future is uncertain as the bill’s primary sponsor Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis requested to lay the bill over for action by the committee at a later date before additional amendments could be offered for the bill.