woman smiling, wearing glasses and a suit
Ann Hutchison
President & CEO

For comments and questions about this blog, please email Ann at [email protected]

2024 Legislative Session Wraps: A Summary of Northern Colorado Business Priority Efforts

by | May 13, 2024 | From the CEO

woman smiling, wearing glasses and a suit
Ann Hutchison | President & CEO

For comments and questions about this blog, please email Ann at [email protected]

 

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA) empowers Northern Colorado chambers and economic development entities, fostering a strong collective voice to influence positive changes in state and federal policies, regulations, and legislation.  We aim to enhance the business climate for the future success of Northern Colorado.

Your Chamber and the NCLA were keenly focused on making sure Northern Colorado business had a voice during the 2024 General Assembly.  Below is a summary of our 2024 NCLA Priority Efforts.

Water Development and Movement
A major compromise was forged between Weld Senator Barb Kirkmeyer and Speaker Julie McCluskie to bring together Senate Bill 127 and House Bill 1379 regarding the issue of water development and “dredge and fill” practices.

Land Use and Housing
Senate Bill 106, focused on reform of construction defects liability reform, was killed due to pressure from Colorado trial lawyers. NCLA

  • NCLA strongly supported the measure to bring about condo development into the Colorado market.
  • The Homeownership Opportunity Alliance, of which the NCLA is a member of the Executive Committee, decided it was better to start again next year rather than pass a policy that would not improve the situation and asked sponsors to pull the bill.
  • NCLA firmly opposed a competing measure, HB 1230, to make condo development more problematic was killed by the Senate.
  • NCLA Board Chair Joe Rowan provided compelling testimony on both measures

Senate Bill 1152, Accessory Dwelling Units, passed with modifications. It aims to provide more opportunities for loans and grants for affordable housing, but there is skepticism about its effectiveness. NCLA supported the bill.

Local housing needs assessments will be required under Senate Bill 174,

  • Sponsored by Barb Kirkmeyer (R-Weld) and Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D-Arvada
  • Planning and action will be taken and determined at the local level.
  • It passed with minor modifications and aimed to provide tools for local governments to address housing needs.

House Bill 1304, prohibits local governments minimum parking requirements.

  • The measure passed with changes to alleviate some of the state mandates on local governments that NCLA urged.
  • Amendments gave flexibility for local governments and developers, but there are still concerns about its impact to communities.

Transportation
House Bill 1313 pertained to forcing higher density development in more urban areas.  The bill requires 40 units per acre and transit connections.

  • Failure to comply with the requirements of the bill would have resulted in a loss of state transportation funding.
  • After a tireless fight by the NCLA and our local government partners, the transportation funding penalty was removed from the bill.
  • NCLA’s Sandra Hagen Solin testified against the measure to convey our strong opposition to the penalty provisions.

Embedded into Senate Bill 184, a bill to raise funds for the Governor’s Front Range Passenger Rail project from rental car fees, was a provision that would have swept up toll revenues off the I-25 corridor to also direct to the rail project.

  • The NCLA led the charge to ensure that North I-25 toll revenues would stay within the corridor by securing an amendment in the Senate.
  • NCLA rallied the support of the elected leaders of the North I-25 Coalition and testified in the Senate Transportation and Finance Committees
  • The bill, co-prime sponsored by NoCo Legislators Senator Janice Marchman and Andrew Boesenecker, passed the legislature.

NCLA advocated for exclusion of Weld County from the taxing district for the Front Range Passenger Rail upon learning the alignment of the rail corridor would land along the US 287 corridor, not I-25.

  • NCLA testified and secured an amendment to House Bill 1012 to remove Weld from the taxing district.

Senate Bill 230 imposed a production fee on oil and gas sector, 90% of which are producing in Weld County.

Air Quality and Oil and Gas
SB 159 proposed to shut down the oil and gas sector by halting permitting after 2030.

  • The NCLA and our industry partners firmly responded and successfully killed SB 159 in committee with strong testimony protective of Weld economy and legacy industry.
  • A series of other bills, taken together, were just as consequential at SB 159 in their effect.
    • Including HB 1330, SB 166, SB 165.
    • NCLA testified on each with powerful testimony from Upstate Colorado and Greeley Chamber
  • The bills were on the ropes in the appropriations committee before the deal between oil and gas leaders and environmentalist was struck.
    • The three bills were killed in the deal.

UNC Osteopathic Medical School
The University of Northern Colorado’s establishment of an Osteopathic Medical School took another step forward to secure full funding of its building with the support of the NCLA and passage of House Bill 1231.

  • Greeley Chamber’s Jaime Henning offered our support in testimony for the measure

Technology
Senate Bill 205 cut first-mover policy from broadcloth to address evolving artificial intelligence technology.

  • NCLA joined the Colorado Technology Association and other industry partners in pushing important modifications to the measure to assure the novel policy doesn’t unduly chill Colorado’s thriving tech sector.
  • The policy takes effect in 2026 but the tech sector lacks confidence that the policy, introduced and passed in the last 3 weeks of the session, is right.
  • The Governor, with a history in the tech sector, will consider his options to sign or veto.