Colorado’s 74th General Assembly is in full swing with a full slate of topics and issues to be addressed. Keeping an eye on the best interest of Fremont County, the Board of Commissioners is closely working with Colorado Counties Incorporated to make sure the welfare of all constituents is being considered.
The Fremont County Board of Commissioners attended CCI’s steering committee meeting on Thursday and Friday in Denver, where the group selected which proposed bills to collectively endorse, oppose, request an amendment, take no position or simply, for now, wait and watch.
Commission Chair Kevin Grantham on Monday gave an overview of some of the proposed bills that are being considered at the state level.
One proposal that CCI endorses is HB23-1043: Emergency And Continued Placement With Relative Or Kin, which removes barriers to kinship placement. The bill clarifies the procedures for continuing the placement of a child or youth that a county department of human services or a local law enforcement agency with custody of the child shall follow before making the continuing placement of a child with a relative or kin.
“When it comes to DHS, this will help make it easier for our staff to get kids into kinship homes,” Grantham said. “You want to get them with family members, if possible, and when that is not an option, then you look for other placement.”
CCI is looking to modify Colorado’s Equal Pay Act relating to job reclassification, auto-flex employee advancement and other promotions in order to provide flexibility and relief for organizations that are moving employees along a pre-defined advancement track or updating job descriptions that qualify employees for adjusted compensation.
Currently, employers must post a job notification on their website when an employee receives a promotion in an existing role or class of job.
“Basically, this is an administrative burden for us when we’re just trying to promote within,” Grantham said. “Even if we changed a job a little bit, it would get in the way of internal advancement.”
One bill that may be good for rural municipalities and possibly rural counties, Grantham said, is HB23-1085: Rural County and Municipality Energy Efficient Building Codes. This concerns modification of the requirements for local governments in rural areas to adopt energy-efficient building codes, and, in connection therewith, amending the definition of a rural county, defining a rural municipality, and extending the energy-efficient building code compliance periods for both.
“It gives them more leeway in adopting up-to-date building codes,” he said.
One of the more egregious proposed bills, Grantham said, is SB23-016: Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Measures, a bill aimed at measures to promote reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado.
“That can get into some land-use issues and local control issues on how land is used and transferred to a statewide land use authority, basically, on these reduction measures,” he said.
Another proposed bill of concern is HB23-1115: Repeal Prohibition Local Residential Rent Control. This concerns the repeal of statutory provisions prohibiting local governments from enacting rent control on private residential property or a private residential housing unit.
“That would be horrible for our market, for investment, for real estate, for new construction, investor-owned income properties, things like that,” Grantham said. “Plus, it also exacerbates the problem we are having with the short-term rentals because people will take their long-term rentals because of rent control and convert them into short-term rentals. We already have a problem with supply, which is why rents are as high as they are. This would only make that worse across the state.”
Grantham said CCI is concerned about some of the land use and building code issues that are poking their heads up but haven’t been introduced yet, but he does believe legislators do give CCI’s input weight when making decisions.
“For the most part, we are the feet on the ground in the counties and we know what can and can’t work and what would hurt us,” he said.
Residents can hear firsthand what’s happening at the state capitol from Senator Mark Baisley from Senate District 4 and Representative Stephanie Luck from House District 60 during a legislative forum at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Fremont County Administration Building, located at 615 macon Ave. The event is open to the public and will be shown on the Fremont County broadcast channel and posted later on the county’s Facebook page.
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