COLORADO — There is a group of Colorado business support groups, including the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC calling out two bills before the Colorado legislature. They refer to them as “job killers.”
The bill sponsors are not fazed. They believe the legislation will bring positive change for Coloradans.
Senate Bill 176 takes on discrimination in the workplace. "We need to modernize our laws and update them on what people expect in the workplace," said Democratic Senator Faith Winter. The Protecting Opportunities and Workers’ Act (POWR) expands rules and definitions of discrimination for employees. It includes adding “caregivers” to the list of protected groups. Winter says Colorado employees who also had the role of caregivers, were impacted heavily buy the pandemic. "Either left or have been forced out because of their caregiving status."
House Bill 1232 titled the Standardized Health Benefit Plan Colorado Option, would create a standardized health insurance option plan in Colorado. "We are looking to both increase choices so that we can increase competition, but also lower prices for that insurance plan so that more people can become insured," said bill sponsor Democratic Representative Dylan Roberts. If passed, it requires that a subsidized public option service plan be offered and accepted across the state. "We have too many people in Colorado who don't have enough choices where they shop for health insurance on the individual market," said Roberts.
"We hope that ordinary people are paying attention because it will affect them," said Rachel Beck with the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC. She says the intent of both bills is good, but the details are bad for business. On the POWR bill she says, "There are already state and federal processes in place to protect workers from discrimination and harassment and what this bill does is turn everything into a really litigious process." She says House Bill 1232 helps a very small percentage of people in the state, but it will come at a cost to everyone else. She says if passed, the bills will add expenses that will either lower the bottom line or force businesses to eliminate jobs to off-set the loss of revenue.