February 23, 2024


A short, sweet, and rich summary of what’s happened at the Capitol

The hallways of the Capitol are buzzing with over 400 bills introduced as we wrap up the second month of the session. Committee hearings are lasting longer as contentious discussions around public safety, energy, and healthcare are keeping legislators in their seats. It’s all hands-on deck at 76 Group as we watch what’s to come in the remaining days of session.

Keeping Colorado’s lights on…quite literally.

Colorado continues its push to go carbon neutral, as a slate of bills impacting the oil & gas industry emerge. When benchmark goals become a moving target, the industry becomes strapped to meet regulatory demands in conflict with their energy efficiency efforts. Senate Bill 24-159 (Mod to Energy and Carbon Management Process) is seeking to slow drilling permits and completely ban new wells after 2030. Our current legislative make-up seems more eager to stop the process all together than work to find innovative solutions. This measure could have severe economic implications throughout our state. This bill’s fate will be determined in the Senate Agricultural Committee in mid-March.

You care, I care, we all care for Healthcare!

From animal health to human health, legislation led predominantly by the Senate and House Dems is weighing heavily on the legislative calendar. Bills about transparency, telehealth, and prescription drugs are weaving their way through committee. Not every healthcare fight is partisan though. Bipartisan sponsorship on bills such as Senate Bill 24-060 is seeking to exempt orphan drugs from being reviewed by the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB). PDAB, a board created by Gov. Polis, reviews medications to determine whether they are affordable. Affordable to who, you may be asking. Well, we’re asking that same question. 76 group is closely monitoring these discussions to sift through the lack of clarity around how to define affordable and who affordability pertains to.  

Housing, Housing, and more Housing

Housing continues to be an important issue at the legislature. Senate Bill 24-033, sponsored by Sen. Hansen, is still waiting on a scheduled committee hearing in Senate Finance. The bill targets short term rentals and could put a complete halt to their use throughout Colorado. In a year when property tax is at an all-time high, homeowners may have to pay commercial property tax rates instead of residential rates on units used for short term rentals. This change would result in a fourfold increase in tax liabilities for most affected property owners and might prompt many homes and condos to exit the short-term rental market for a significant portion of the year. Sen. Mullica and Rep Bird introduced their own legislation on short term rentals which will be watched as well.

As the Governor referred to during his State of the State address at the beginning of the year, Senate Bill 23-213 (Land Use) is back, but this time it’s a package of bills instead of one sweeping piece of legislation. In the past few weeks we’ve seen legislation about Accessory Dwelling Units,Transit-oriented communities and a slew of other housing bills, introduced. For those of you who prefer more in depth research, the Common Sense Institute’s Peter LiFari and Steven Byers published their Colorado Housing Affordability Report earlier this year, giving a detailed overview of the challenges Colorado faces when it comes to housing supply, pricing, and regulatory conditions.


Updates on impactful legislation

Senate Bill 24-141
Out-of-State Telehealth Providers
By: Senators Van Winkle, Michaelson Jenet
Status: Senate Committee on Health & Human Services Refer Unamended to Finance
Summary: The bill allows a health-care provider (applicant) who possesses a license, certificate, registration, or other approval as a health-care provider in another state (out-of-state credential) to provide health-care services through telehealth to patients located in Colorado if the applicant registers with the regulator that regulates the health-care services the applicant will provide (regulator).

Senate Bill 24-159 
Mod to Energy & Carbon Management Processes
Senators Priola, Jaquez Lewis
Status: Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Agriculture & Natural Resources
Summary: The bill requires the energy and carbon management commission (commission) to adopt rules (permitting rules) to cease issuing new oil and gas permits (permits) before January 1, 2030, which rules must include certain reductions in the total number of oil and gas wells covered by new permits issued in 2028 and 2029. 

House Bill 24-1299
Short-Term Rental Unit Property Tax Classification
Representative Bird and Senator Mullica
Status: Introduced In House – Assigned to Finance
Summary: The bill defines a short-term rental unit as a building that is designed for use predominantly as a place of residency by a person, a family, or families, is leased or available to be leased for short-term stays, and includes the land upon which the building is located. A commercial short-term rental unit is defined as a short-term rental unit that is not the owner’s primary or secondary residence.

Senate Bill 24-073
Maximum Number of Employees to Qualify as Small Employer
Senator Smallwood, Rodriguez
Status: Senate Floor Work
Summary: For the purposes of providing health insurance coverage, current law defines a “small employer” as any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, or association that employs between one and 100 employees during a calendar year. Effective January 1, 2026, the bill amends the definition to define a “small employer” as any person that employs between one and 50 employees during a calendar year.

House Bill 24-1225
First Degree Murder Bail & Jury Selection Statute
Representative Lynch, Duran, Senators Fields, Gardner
Status: Introduced In House – Assigned to Judiciary
Summary: Under current law, all persons have the right to bail pending disposition of charges, with certain exceptions, including an exception for persons charged with capital offenses. The bill adds an exception for murder in the first degree when proof is evident or presumption is great.

House Bill 24-1310
School Safety Measures
Representatives Hamrick, Parenti
Status: Introduced In House – Assigned to Education
Summary: The bill permits a school district, charter school, or board of cooperative services (local education provider) to employ or retain by contract a person as a school security officer.

Senate Bill 24-060
Prescription Drug Affordability Board Exempt Orphan Drugs
Senators Kirkmyer, Ginal
Status: Introduced In Senate – Assigned to State, Veterans, & Military Affairs
Summary: The bill states that the Colorado prescription drug affordability review board has no authority to perform an affordability review of, or to establish an upper payment limit for, any prescription drug that is designated as a drug for a rare disease or condition by the federal food and drug administration.

Senate Bill 24-077
Prescription Drug Manufacturer Requirements
By: Senator Jaquez Lewis, Michaelson Jenet, Representative McCormick
Status: Senate Committee on Health & Human Services Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only
Summary: The bill requires each manufacturer of a prescription drug that is available for purchase in this state (manufacturer) to register with and pay a fee to the division of insurance. The bill requires a manufacturer to offer a copayment assistance program to a covered person, either for the entire plan year or for the calendar year, whichever the deductible and out-of-pocket calculation applies to, for as long as the covered person is enrolled in the health benefit plan.


All that’s happening with the Joint Budget Committee

The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) continues to march on as departments recommend their budgets.  Among these departments are the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), Department of Local Affairs, Department of Early Childhood, and the Department of Human Services. Rep. Taggart, the newest member of the JBC, voiced his concerns that the budget this year is going to be tight and that difficult decisions are going to have to be made to stay in budget limit.  


Press releases, news articles, and more

News Story – February 19, 2024 – Colorado Newsline
Let Colorado work to lower drug prices and help patients, including those with rare diseases

News Story – February 16, 2024 – CPR

Lawmakers postpone hearing on short-term rental tax measure | Colorado Public Radio

News Story – February 21, 2024 – Summit Daily

Letter to the editor: This short-term rental bill will hurt Summit County and Colorado

News Story – February 14, 2024 – Denver Post

Colorado oil-gas conflicts stoked by legislation, ballot proposals

News Story – February 17, 2024 – Kiowa County Press

Bill would stop new oil, gas permits in Colorado by 2030

News Story – February 21, 2024 – KRDO News

Colorado lawmakers deciding between access and affordability for ‘Orphan Drugs’