News

CCA Sine Die Report

The 2019 legislative session certainly brought more than its share of drama and challenges as the Democrat majority in the House and Senate and Governor Polis implemented their agenda. Through it all, CCA was aggressive and successful on a number of fronts including in our fight for infrastructure funding and in protecting our members from some of the most onerous proposals of 2019. Below is a recap of the highlights. For more detail, check out the Capstone Group’s Sine Die Report.

Transportation Funding - $800 Million Additional for FY 2020
After significant lobbying and bi-partisan negotiating facilitated by CCA in the final days of session, SB19-262 and SB19-263 were introduced that will transfer an additional $100 million on top of the original budget number of $200 million from the General Fund to the Highway User Tax Fund (HUTF) and postpone the referred bonding measure from 2019 to 2020. This brought the total funding for CDOT to about $760 million above the base program, for this construction season. $260 million is a direct general fund transfer and $500 million funded through lease purchase agreements that would have been delayed had the referred measure moved forward this year. An additional $40 million was distributed to counties and cities through the HUTF to help boost local construction projects. As a direct result of CCA’s and the CIC 527’s efforts, the CDOT construction program is expected to be around $1 billion in lettings for the 2019-20 fiscal year which starts in July 2019. This is up from about $650 million in the 2018 FY.

This session, Speaker of the House KC Becker led the push for two statewide “de-brucing” bills that will ask voters for permission to permanently retain revenue above the TABOR cap and use the revenue above the TABOR limit for K-12 education, transportation, and higher education. CCA supported both bills.  HB19-1257 sends the question to the voters and HB19-1258 delineates how the revenue would be spent if the ballot measure is approved by the voters. The ballot measure, Proposition CC, will require a simple majority to pass at the 2019 November election and if approved could mean hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to transportation over the coming years.

Water Funding – Potential for $10 Million Per Year
Sports betting is currently prohibited in Colorado, but a recent Supreme Court case allows states to individually decide to authorize sports betting. CCA-supported HB19-1327allows facilities where limited gaming currently occurs to apply for a sports betting license. Voters must first decide whether to approve a 10% tax on sports betting proceeds. If the ballot measure is successful, the majority of the new tax revenue would fund implementation of the Colorado Water Plan. The measure, if approved by voters is expected to general about $10 million per year for water projects. CCA is participating in a broad coalition working to fund the State Water Plan. The group is supporting the referred measure in 2019 and exploring additional measure on the 2020 ballot to fund water projects.

CCA and AGC Fight Off Attack on The Low Bid System
SB19-196 as introduced would have virtually eliminated the traditional low bid system for all CDOT as well as local agency work by mandating best value or Integrated Project Delivery (such as Design Build or CMGC). In addition it would have placed a cumbersome apprentice utilization and reporting requirements on the industry. Prior to the bill's first hearing, CCA and AGC Colorado met with the bill sponsors and proponents to explain the many pitfalls of the legislation and the importance of maintaining the traditional low bid system of procurement. CCA and AGC Colorado were successful in getting the bill sponsors to issue a "strike below" amendment to the bill which eliminates all of the original language and replaces it with an amendment. The amended bill puts into place a state prevailing wage mirroring the federal David Bacon program for state funded projects bid through CDOT. It also exempts political subdivisions such as cities, counties and special districts from the bill. The bill was approved by the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. CCA members with state-only funded projects who need help with the new OJT requirements should contact Moses Alvarez, CCA’s Director of Training at 303-290-6611 or malvarez@ccainfo.org.

CCA and AGC Advance Workforce Development
HB19-1008 was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor earlier this year. The bill will help bring traditional shop classes back to Colorado high schools by amending the "Building Excellent Schools Today Act" to allow the public school capital construction assistance board to provide grants to support career and technical education capital construction, which is defined as new construction or retrofitting of public school facilities for certain career and technical education programs; and equipment necessary for individual student learning and classroom instruction, including equipment that provides access to instructional materials or that is necessary for professional use by a classroom teacher. This is one of a number of measures CCA and AGC Colorado has supported to help increase the pipeline of young people interested in construction as a career.

SB 76 Amended Per CCA’s Suggestion, Will Study Use of Consultants 
As introduced, SB19-76 would have required the Department to procure consulting engineering services on Design-Bid-Build projects via fixed bids. CCA took a position of “actively monitor” on the bill and suggested to the bill sponsor Sen. Ray Scott that it be amended to instead require a study of CDOT’s procurement process for consulting engineering services.  CCA articulated the position that although we believe there is a problem with the way consultants are utilized currently, we were not convinced requiring a fixed bid would solve the problem and believe the issue needs to be further studied. During the Senate Transportation Committee hearing for SB 76, the bill sponsor, per our request, amended the bill to require the Efficiency and Accountability Committee study CDOT’s processes. CCA holds a seat on the Efficiency and Accountability Committee and will actively advocate for a timely and unbiased study of these issues and that appropriate administrative changes be made by CDOT once the study is complete. With the suggested changes made, the CCA supported bill was approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.

Fighting Costly Mandates
In the face of stringent opposition from the business community, the Senate Democrats abandoned their plan for a mandated state-run paid family leave act and instead will study the issue for a year. CCA was part of a broad coalition fighting the costly, job-killing SB19-188. CCA issued an Action Alert mobilizing members and employees to contact their Senator and the Senate leadership where the bill had been stalled for weeks. "This is great news for employers, employees and the Colorado economy," said CCA's Tony Milo. "The issue will no-doubt return next session, but for now we can be relieved that enough members of the Senate understood the profound costs this measure would have forced upon Colorado businesses and employees." 

For more detail on the 2019 session, check out the Capstone Group’s Sine Die Report.