Dispatches from Colorado's Gold Dome
We are down to the final stretch at the Colorado General Assembly, with only three weeks until the end of session on May 11 (also known as Sine Die). Since our last update, CCIA's hydrogen fuel bill was signed into law, the annual budget is (almost...) done and baseball season has started. Unfortunately, we have hundreds of bills that are still waiting for a committee hearing and potential floor votes. Unlike in Congress, every bill introduced at the Colorado General Assembly has a committee hearing. Needless to say, this workload will require many long days and nights to come.
CCIA Sponsored Legislation
|Governor Hickenlooper signing the bill into law
- Hydrogen 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, sending a strong message to the hydrogen fuel vehicle industry that Colorado is open for business. Signed into law on 3/9/16.
- 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 de
adlines to achieve those goals. Additionally, a report
tracking Colorado's progress
must be presented annually to the legislature.
CCIA supported this legislation - P
ostponed indefinitely 3/30/16.
- Crowdfunding Escrow in Depository Institutions - A clean-up bill, dealing with the escrow provisions, after feedback from the financial community regarding the crowdfunding bill that sailed through the legislature last year. Specifically, it clarifies escrow account termination parameters and the definition of a depository institution. The original bill allowed investors to get equity for their investments up to $5,000. CCIA supported this bill - Signed into law.
- 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.
- 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 - Signed into law.
- PERA Investments in Renewable Energy Companies - Mandates 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 voted unanimously to postpone indefinitely on 2/24/16.
- 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.
** Passed the House Ag Committee on a 9-4 vote on 4/4/15. Next stop is the House Appropriations Committee, where the bill will be amended with an ag sector tax income growth withholding funding mechanism ,authored by CCIA. **
- Long Appropriations Bill -
Colorado's annual budget bill passed both chambers with bipartisan votes, with some minor differences. The Senate version cut $328k and 2.5 jobs from the Air Quality Pollution Control Division within the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE). Look for this amount to be remedied in Conference Committee this week.
**Update - In conference committee, the air quality reduction was reduced to approximately $111k with no job cuts.**
- 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.
- Bill was amended in the Senate to only count biomass used to generate electricity and create biochar towards the RPS multiplier. CCIA supported this bill as amended - postponed indefinitely in the House Transportation & Energy Committee on 3/9/16.
- 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 - Postponed indefinitely.
- 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 disagrees with the assumption that Colorado's yet-to-be-submitted state plan will increase rates. CCIA opposes this bill - Passed the Senate and is waiting for House Transportation & Energy Committee action.
- Don't Implement Clean Power Plan Until Stay Lifted -
Prohibits the state from working on the EPA Clean Power Plan while the Supreme Court Stay is in effect. CCIA opposes this bill - Passed the Senate and is scheduled for a hearing in the House Transportation & Energy Committee on 4/27/16.
- New Energy Improvement District Clarifications (Commercial PACE) -
This is a bi-partisan clean-up bill dealing with a variety of potential issues following the rollout of the New Energy Improvement Special District (NEID). Most of the bill deals with technical and timing corrections in addition to county protections, if the property goes into default and a deed needs to be issued. CCIA worked hard to bring the business community to the table and push this important bill forward. CCIA strongly supports this bill - Passed unanimously out of the Senate and is waiting for a Transportation & Energy Committee hearing on 4/20/16.
- E15 Income Tax Credit for Retail Dealers -
Creates a 3 cent/gallon tax credit for ethanol blends 15% or greater for three years. The credit goes to the retail station selling the fuel. CCIA is monitoring this bill - Postponed indefinitely on 4/13/16.
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
Heizer Paul LLP