This will be the last policy update of 2018 but don’t worry there will be plenty to discuss right after the New Year. The Colorado General Assembly will convene on January 4, 2018, for its annual 120-day session. In the meantime, here are some important developments since the blue wave crashed into Colorado last month.
2019 General Assembly Update
As we get closer to the start of the legislative session, bill titles are being introduced and conversations are flying about what to expect. One thing I do know is that there will be many bills introduced to impact the cleantech business community. We expect a raft of pro-EV legislation next year including a potential tax credit extension, modernizing and expanding the HOV lane access program, utility investment and more. We will also see a securitization/bonding bill again that will allow utilities to retire coal plants early while helping the impacted communities. There have been discussions around creating a “Colorado Science Foundation”, a year round energy review committee, and more frequent data collection of greenhouse gases. As always, we will closely watch the important Advanced Industries grant and Innovative workforce intern programs to ensure they are protected and funded. Expect much more detail next month when draft bills are circulated and bills get formally introduced.
(Stimulate Opportunities, Accelerate Investment)
The SOAR coalition has had a busy year working on improving and expanding the current state Venture Capital Authority to help bring more investment to Colorado’s robust innovation sector. Just this week the SOAR coalition met to review the state fiscal and political landscape. It was decided to continue to: 1) Work on draft legislation, 2) Educate all the incoming new legislators, and; 3) Build out industry support for the near future. Additionally, we are waiting to hear who will be appointed to key Cabinet positions in the incoming Polis Administration like the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
We reached consensus on trying to have a SOAR day at the capitol in 2019 to help educate and discuss the unique issues that cleantech and other innovative industries face in Colorado. There was also consensus on moving forward with an economic impact study to help model how increased investment to the innovation community could positively impact our state.
This means because of all the turnover at the Capitol combined with our constitutionally constrained budget process, we will most likely not introduce SOAR legislation this session.
I wish everyone a happy holiday season.