State Legislative Update
Inside state energy policy with CCIA's legislative team
 
March 3, 2016
Dispatches from Colorado's Gold Dome 

2016 Policy Preview

March has finally arrived and with it the Colorado General Assembly is nearing the midway point of the session. So far 439 bills have been submitted with many more to come. Additionally, the mid-March budget forecast is looming and after that the annual budget or "long bill" gets dropped and the budget debate intensifies. Listed below are CCIA's official positions on bills but the real story for the cleantech business community is what has not been submitted so far...and what is waiting for the Governor to sign. 


Bill Updates

CCIA Sponsored Legislation  

HB 16-1053Hydrogen Fuel Vehicle Retail Regs - Allows the Division of Oil & Public Safety (OPS) to establish rules and guidelines for the retail sales of hydrogen fuel by the end of this year. In addition to clarifying the definition of hydrogen fuel products in statute the bill requires OPS to establish rules for fire safety, weights and measures, dispensing, installation, operation, and an initial fee structure. This is a pro-innovation bill to send a strong message to the hydrogen fuel vehicle industry that Colorado is open for business. 
**Update - Passed the House on a 63-2 vote & the Senate unanimously. Governor Hickenlooper is scheduled to sign the bill on March 9.


Miscellaneous Bills  

HB 16-1004 - Measurable Goals Deadlines for Climate Action Plan - Requires the state's climate change staff to include measurable goals with near-term, mid-term, and long-term deadlines to achieve those goals. Additionally, a report must be presented annually to the legislature tracking Colorado's progress. CCIA is supporting this legislation -  Passed the House Floor on a party line vote and is waiting on a Senate committee assignment. 

HB 16-1049 - Crowdfunding Escrow in Depository Institutions - This is a clean up bill dealing with the escrow provisions after feedback from the financial community from the crowdfunding bill that sailed through the legislature last year. Specifically, it clarifies escrow account termination parameters and the definition of a depository institution. This original bill allowed investors to get equity for their investments up to $5,000. Passed the House & Senate and is waiting for the Governor's signature.  

HB 16-1074 - Limited Gaming Fund Reallocation - Removed 10% from several Limited Gaming Fund cash accounts including the Advanced Industries Acceleration Cash Fund. This is one of three funding sources for the Advanced Industries Accelerator grant fund. CCIA actively opposed this bill and it was Postponed Indefinitely on 1/27/16.  

HB 16-1091 - Change Due Dates for Electric Utility Transmission Plans - A bipartisan bill that consolidates when an Investor Owned Utility submits transmission plans to the PUC. CCIA is monitoring this bill - Passed the House & is waiting on a Senate Agriculture, Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing.  

HB 16-1207 - PERA Investments in Renewable Energy Companies - Would mandate that PERA (Public Employees Retirement Association) would have to invest 1% of annual unspent funds in renewable energy companies. No specific industry currently has a mandatory investment requirement. CCIA is monitoring this bill - House Finance Committee Unanimously voted to Postpone indefinitely on 2/24/16. 

HB 16-1226 - Agriculture Innovation Grants - Creates an "ag" specific grant program similar to the Advanced Industries Accelerator grant program. The bill is seeking $1 million/year for four years to fund proof-of-concept, early stage and marketing grants for companies positively impacting rural Colorado.
**Update - CCIA is currently working with the bill sponsors to find additional funding sources and testified in support of the bill in the House Agriculture committee. The bill is scheduled for action only on 3/23/16.

SB 16-007 - Biomass Multiple for RPS Compliance - Allows a utility to apply a 3:1 multiplier for RPS compliance for electricity generated by biomass collected from high fire risk areas. 
**Update - Bill was amended in the Senate to only include biomass used to generate electricity and create biochar to count towards the RPS multiplier. CCIA is monitoring this bill - passed the Senate and is scheduled for a House Transportation & Energy hearing on 3/9/16.  

SB 16-046 - Preserve State Options for EPA Power Plan Rule (111d). Requires the legislature to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) prior to submitting to the EPA. Additionally, the bill requires the state to file for a two-year extension and would prevent Colorado from taking full advantage of the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) which allows for extra compliance credits for renewable projects and energy efficiency. CCIA opposes this bill - This bill has not been assigned a hearing date.

SB 16-061 - Ratepayer Protection Fund Creation r/t EPA Power Plan Rule (111d) - Creates a "Rate Payer Protection Fund" taking money from the Stationary Sources Control Fund (which power plants, and other non-power producing industrial users pay into). Additional funding would come through the General Assembly to pay ratepayers for the potential increased cost of 111d compliance - assuming there is a rate increase. CCIA also disagrees with the assumption that Colorado's yet-to-be-submitted state plan will increase rates. CCIA opposes this bill - Sen. Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy hearing scheduled for 3/10/16.

CDPHE Budget Bills - The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment 2015/16 Supplemental and status for the upcoming long bill is being held up by the Senate majority related to how much money the department has spent working on the EPA Clean Power Plan. A recent memo produced by the Joint Budget Committee staff has estimated this amount to be approximately $19k thus far. Stay tuned on this development that we are watching closely...

Coming down the pike...

CCIA is working with a variety of stakeholders on bills that have not yet been introduced. One bill would give purchasers of alternative fuel vehicles the option of taking the tax credit at the point-of-sale not just when they file their taxes.  

**UpdateHB 16-1332 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Point-of-Sale tax credit  - has just been introduced.  CCIA strongly supports this proposal and is proud to have worked with the Colorado Energy Office, GM and others to introduce this important bill.

Commercial PACE - an extensive clarification to the original bill passed in 2013 is in the drafting process. The discussions are ongoing between many stakeholders including the Governor's office, financial community, county treasurers and others. CCIA is leading the charge to give the business community a bigger voice in the on-going negotiations. Unfortunately the residential PACE RFP is being held up as this bill is being hashed out. We expect a compromise bill to be introduced soon.  

If you would like to become active in CCIA's policy committee, or if you have a question about one of the bills listed above, please feel free to contact me at cvotoupal@hpfirm.com

Best, 
Chris Votoupal 
Heizer Paul LLP



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