Recap of 2018 Colorado Legislative Session

May 24, 2018

By: Colin A. Walker

The 2018 Colorado Legislative Session ended on May 9, 2018.  Although most of the bills with which relate to employment law did not pass, many of them would have, if enacted, affected employers significantly—and they are likely to be back.

The following bills were introduced but failed to pass (these bills have been discussed in detail in previous articles):

  • HB 18-1001, the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act (“FAMLI”), would have required every employer in Colorado, regardless of size, to allow its employees to take up to 12 weeks of medical leave similar, but not identical, to leave under the FMLA.  In the first act of its advocacy program, the CO-SHRM Board of Directors voted to oppose this bill and its Legislative Director and another Board member testified before the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee in opposition to it.
  • House Bill 18-1377, which would have amended the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act to make it an unfair employment practice to ask job applicants for compensation history.
  • HB 18-1298, the Colorado Secure Savings Plan.  This bill would have required all employers to participate in a state-administered retirement plan for employees unless they have a qualified retirement plan.
  • HB 18-1378, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, would have amended the existing Wage Equality Regardless of Sex Act, which prohibits discrimination in compensation based on sex, to increase the penalties and remedies.
  • HB 18-1261 and HB 18-1262 could have affected employers with arbitration agreements with their employees.  

All of these bills failed on votes along party lines.  In the 2018 Legislative Session, the House was controlled by Democrats and the Senate was controlled by Republicans.  Almost all of these bills passed the House but failed in the Senate.  If, as many expect, there is a shift in the next legislative session, some of these bills are likely to be proposed again, and, if the Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, some of them are likely to pass.  In that event, care should be given to the specific language of the bills to ensure that they make sense and are not unduly burdensome on employers.

The following bills passed:

  • HB 18-1256, the Colorado Civil Rights Division (“CCRD”) Reauthorization Bill.        
  • HB-1217, which created a tax credit for employers contributing to their employees' 529 accounts (for children’s education). 

There was little doubt that the CCRD would be reauthorized.  Almost no one was arguing that it should cease to exist.  However, some changes were made regarding the makeup of the Commission.  Everyone seemed to agree that the tax credit for contributions to 529 accounts was a good thing. 

We will continue to monitor these issues as the 2019 Legislative Session approaches and to communicate developments through articles such as this one. The 2019 Session will begin on January 4, 2019.

This Article is published for general information, not to provide specific legal advice. The application of any matter discussed in this article to anyone's particular situation requires knowledge and analysis of the specific facts involved.

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