April 5, 2024


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

We are on the decline! With a month left in session, we are rapidly seeing bills being pushed, passed, or killed. Although the end is in sight, the speed intensifies to get things passed.

Drilling Forward: The Latest in Oil and Gas 

In an interesting turn of events, Senate Bill 24-159 did not advance out of its first committee hearing. The controversial bill, sponsored by Sens. Jaquez Lewis and Kevin Priola, not only proposed bans on all new oil and gas wells by 2030, but also made previous owners responsible for orphan wells. 

The defeat of SB24-159 indicates that while Colorado is in a hurry to be carbon neutral by 2030, the legislature wants it done in a responsible way. For instance, Sens. Marchman (D) and Roberts (D), who opposed SB24-159, emphasized that ending the industry would cause other problems in communities around the state. For instance, severance taxes from oil and gas production funds hundreds of millions of dollars for schools. The state does not have a plan to infill that funding if the oil and gas industry is shut down. 

Need a Rental Car? Here are more Fees 

Democratic leadership, backed by Gov. Jared Polis, introduced a bill that proposes an additional fee of up to $3 per day on rental cars in the state of Colorado. Senate Bill 24-184 aims to generate millions of dollars to fund transit and bus projects, especially passenger rail along the Front Range and through the mountains. Republicans have opposed the bill, contending that the money is wasteful and  would increase revenues without voter consent. By proposing fees rather than taxes, proponents are able to circumvent voter approval and TABOR revenue constraints.


Updates on impactful legislation

Senate Bill 24-184
Support Surface Transportation Infrastructure Development
By: Senators Fenberg, Marchman 
Status: Senate Committee on Finance Refer Amended to Appropriations
Summary: Concerning support for the development of surface transportation infrastructure, and, in connection therewith, providing funding and operational flexibility needed to support the development of transit and rail infrastructure.

Senate Bill 24-124
Health-Care Coverage for Biomarker Testing
By: Senators Rich, Michaelson Jenet  
Status: Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Health & Human Services
Summary: Concerning requiring health-care coverage for biomarker testing.

Senate Bill 24-1430
2024-25 Long Appropriations Bill
By: Representative Bird, Senator Zenzinger 
Status: Senate Committee on Appropriations Refer Amended to Senate Committee of the Whole
Summary: Concerning the provision for payment of the expenses of the executive, legislative, and judicial departments of the state of Colorado, and of its agencies and institutions, for and during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024, except as otherwise noted.


Insights by Karen Crummy, Principal, 76 Group

Surviving a PR Crisis

Warren Buffet famously said that it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. 

This is especially good advice to keep in mind when your organization is hit with a PR crisis – and all organizations are vulnerable to a crisis that could impact their reputation and financial bottom line.
The decisions made in the first 24 hours will shape what happens in the days and weeks to come.

Unfortunately, we often see organizations make the same mistakes over and over again, which exacerbates the original crisis, and at times, creates an entirely new one.

Below are five mistakes to avoid at the outset of a crisis:

  1. Not having a crisis communications plan in place. Okay, this is technically before the crisis, but it’s one of those things organizations always say they meant to do but never got around to it before the crisis. You need to do it. The plan sets out the response teams, the public spokesperson, the appropriate communication channels, protocols, and procedures triggered when specific events occur and appropriate potential messaging. You won’t have time to figure all of this out when a crisis hits.
  2. Thinking the issue isn’t that big of a deal, and it will blow over. One, it won’t. It will likely snowball. News travels around the world on social media in seconds. Two, you need to get out front to establish the narrative, otherwise your organization and the crisis will be defined by others, including the media.
  3. Failing to communicate internally with your employees before the media, stakeholders and customers. This is a delicate balance, and you will likely have to communicate with employees immediately prior to going public, but the last thing you want is for your employees to hear about a crisis on the news.
  4. Not being forthright with the media. Tell the truth. Be transparent. Take responsibility. Don’t be defensive. Definitely don’t ever say “no comment.” If there are questions you don’t know the answer to yet, then say that but don’t speculate. Make sure your spokesperson is consistent and prepped ahead of time.
  5. Not addressing the right audiences with the right message on the right channels. It’s critical to tailor your narrative to your most important audiences – customers, stakeholders, etc. – and put it out on all of the platforms you know they use the most often. You want to make sure they hear any news from you first.

These are just some of the many stages of effectively managing a crisis but if handled correctly at the outset, it puts your organization in the best position to successfully weather the storm.


All that’s happening with the Joint Budget Committee

In the House, legislators voted on the state budget outlined in House Bill 24-1430. All Republicans in the House, with the exception of Rep. Rick Taggart, opposed the budget, which includes more funding for education. Part of the budget is Senate Bill 24-188, sponsored by Senators Rachel Zenzinger of Colorado and Janet Buckner of Colorado. This bill would eliminate the Budget Stabilization Factor and increase the base amount of funding per pupil by $420 to $8,496. Very simply this means that Colorado now fully funds our schools. The Long Bill, which passed the House has been seen for third reading on the Senate floor and is expected to pass later today. 


Press releases, news articles, and more

News Story – April 1, 2024 – Sum & Substance 
Committee considers whether carbon capture has future in Colorado

News Story – March 25, 2024 – Colorado Sun

Amgen sues Colorado prescription drug board over Enbrel price cap

News Story – April 2, 2024 – Colorado Politics

Colorado bill requiring nonlethal wolf deterrents stalls

New Story – April 3, 2024 – Denver Post
Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis removed from wage theft bill over pay issue