Weekly Policy Update: One Week Left – What Will Make It Across the Finish Line
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 04/26/2019
With just over a week left in the 2019 legislative session, there are hundreds of bills left to debate and Democrats are scrambling to get their remaining priorities across the finish line.
Here are some highlights of what happened this week on key bills for CBSA.
CBSA Position: Oppose
As introduced, Senate Bill 188 – FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program would have created a mandatory state-run paid family leave program funded through a $2 billion payroll tax on employers and employees. But this week, the bill was substantially amended to set up task force to study the issue.
CBSA has shared the concerns of our partners in the business community on this bill – including the extremely broad eligibility requirements, the bill’s failure to align with federal law, and the lack of flexibility. Recent studies also raised questions about the financial solvency of the program, so we are encouraged by this move to examine the costs and financial risks before putting a program in place.
CBSA Position: Support
House Bill 1312 – School Immunization Requirements passed its second reading on the House floor this week after a debate and amendment process that lasted until 3:30 in the morning. The bill would create a standardized exemption form for immunizations and require all exemptions to be submitted to the state health department or local public health agency. Initial non-medical exemptions would also need to be submitted to CDPHE or a local health agency in person.
The bill is calendared for its third reading (and final passage) in the House on Friday, April 26 and then it would move to the Senate. But recent comments from Governor Polis during a town hall this week suggest he may not sign the bill in its current form.
CBSA Position: Oppose
Senate Bill 005 – Import Prescription Drugs From Canada passed the House Health & Insurance Committee this week with new language that requires the state to contact with one or more vendors to provide services under the importation program. It also requires the vendor(s) to post a surety bond or comparable security arrangement of at least $25,000 to ensure participation in and payment of any civil and criminal causes of action.
CBSA is strongly opposed to drug importation schemes and testified in both chambers, expressing our concerns that it would jeopardize patient safety and result in minimal savings for consumers.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in House Appropriations on Friday, April 26. If the bill passes the Appropriations Committee, it will then move to the House floor.
CBSA Position: Neutral
Senate Bill 085 – Equal Pay For Equal Work Act passed the House Appropriations Committee this week and is currently on its second reading on the House floor.
CBSA initially took a position of “Amend” on this bill, but we were encouraged by a number of amendments that were adopted in Committees that address many of our concerns with the mechanics of the bill. For that reason, we have moved to a neutral position. These changes include:
• Additional exceptions to justify a pay difference like shift, geographic location, education, training, experience, and travel
• Eliminated liquidated damages in cases of good faith action by employer
• Reduced recovery of economic damages from 6 to 3 years
• Eliminated requirement to repost a job if an offer is made to employee outside posted salary range
• Extended effective date from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021
• Created a process for mediation before an aggrieved employee files a lawsuit
• Changed the record keeping requirement presumption of bad faith to a rebuttable presumption
• Limited the requirement for salary range disclosure to base salary with a general description of benefits
• Amended the section on employer liability by adding that the determination of whether an employer acted in good faith may consider evidence that the employer conducted thorough wage audits and made reasonable progress toward eliminating identified pay differentials in the past 2 years.
A complete list of CBSA’s positions on 2019 state legislation can be found here.
If you have any questions about these bills or other state legislation, please contact Emily Roberts.