Statehouse update: Gridlock edition

spDuchamp | Flickr via Creative Commons

Right on time! It’s Week Four of the 2012 Colorado legislative session and the wheels of progress are predictably grinding to a slow crawl.

The daily House and Senate floor debate calendars are now jam-packed while the committees continue to pump out dozens of bills each week ahead of the May 9 session deadline. Of the 39 startup- and tech-related bills we’re tracking: Four new ones were introduced. Two were killed in committee, one House resolution passed and one joint resolution passed both chambers.

Here’s how the legislative process shook out during the week of Feb. 6:

NEW BILLS
HB12-1251 Urban and Rural Enterprise Zone Reform 
Amends current law to restate limits on qualified investment tax credits and requires greater transparency of claimed tax credits.
Assigned to the House Finance Committee.

HB12-1260 Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credits
Limits the allowable tax credit for qualified investments made in enterprise zones.
Assigned to the House Finance Committee.

HB12-1265 State Investments in Colorado Businesses.
Directs the Colorado Treasurer to invest $25 million in domestic fixed income securities to raise capital for companies incorporated or headquartered Colorado.
Assigned to the House Finance Committee.

HB12-1284 Interim Committee to Study Small Business Finance.
Establishes a committee to investigate access to capital issues and make legislative recommendations.
Assigned to the Economic Development and Business Committee.


BILLS IN PROGRESS
HB12-1002 The CLEAR Act & Application Permit Rules
Amends current law to require state agencies to adhere to rules in effect on the date a new or renewed permit is submitted or grandfather them under current law while a pending rule change is under consideration, unless there are compelling health and/or safety issues.
Passed the House 48-17. Now assigned to the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.
NOTE: This has been heavily amended and is getting closer to being a fairly reasonable compromise on making the state permit process more predictable for regulated businesses.

HB12-1061 Skills for Jobs Act
Requires the Dept. of Higher Education to produce annual report that analyzes degree/certificate production and workforce gaps.
Squeaked by the House 33-30. Heads to the Senate. No committee assignment yet.

HB12-1071 Portable Electronics Insurance
Regulates the sale of insurance and consumer protections for portable electronics.
Passed the House 48-16 in a cats-and-dogs-living-together coalition of liberal and conservative opposition.

HB12-1088 Use of Deadly Force at Business
Extends the right to use deadly force against intruders in a dwelling or place of business by an owner, manager or employee.
Passed the Judiciary Committee on a 7-5 party line vote.
NOTE: The House roll call vote is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13 immediately following the 9/11 Patriot Act Day bill vote. Eat your Wheaties. The floor debate ought to be a doozy.

HB12-1127 Eliminate Unemployment Insurance Premium Rate Increase on New Businesses
Amends 2011 law that requires a rate increase once solvency is achieved in the UI fund.
Passed the House on a unanimous 63-0 vote. Heads to the Senate.

SB12-048 Locally Produced Food
Creates the “Colorado Cottage Food Act” to exempt small, home-based producers from retail food licensing requirements and requires producers to be certified in safe food handling and processing. See also HB12-1027.
Sailed through the Senate 48-1. Heads to the House.


BILLS KILLED IN COMMITTEE
HB12-1025 Regulatory Info Navigator
Would have established a single point of contact to help the public find information on local, state and/or federal rules and regulations.
Killed by State, Military and Veterans on a 7-5 party line vote.

SB-053 Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act
Repeals current state law governing the state health insurance exchange if the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed by Congress, a Constitutional Convention or any part is deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Killed by Health and Human Services on an unusually unified 8-0 vote.