SB13-157, sponsored in the House by Reps. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs) and Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada), will continue The Colorado Work Share Program created in 2010. The program offers employers an alternative to employee layoffs, allowing them to reduce the work hours of a group of employees instead. Employees then share the remaining work and collect prorated unemployment benefits to offset the reduction in income.
“This program has saved jobs in Colorado. Period,” Rep. Kraft-Tharp said. “There are Colorado businesses throughout the state that have used this program to prevent layoffs of more of our workforce. Anything we can do to ensure Coloradans keep their jobs, we must do.”
Included in this bill are some changes to the current program to bring it in compliance with federal law. The bill also changes the current program by continuing the program indefinitely and increasing the cap on the number of weeks employees may be paid benefits under the program.
“This will allow more Colorado businesses to utilize the program to prevent layoffs and allow Coloradans to keep their jobs,” Rep. Exum said. “We are still recovering from the Great Recession and need to ensure that employers have options like this to keep the state’s economy moving forward.”
HB13-1123 by Rep. Tony Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs) will allow unemployed Coloradans to waive confidentiality requirements so the state can forward their names and contact information to employers and private job placement organizations.
HB13-1138 by Rep. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) creates a new class of businesses — benefit corporations, with the freedom to pursue beneficial causes as well as profits. The bill will attract social impact investors to Colorado, funding more companies and creating jobs.
HB13-1208 by Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) allows the state to make infrastructure investments in creative districts, increasing jobs and economic activity and revitalizing communities.
The entire Republican caucus opposed Rep. Lee’s bill. Rep. Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen) was the lone Republican to vote for Rep. Duran’s bill, and she was joined by Minority Leader Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs) and Reps. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo) in support of Rep. Exum’s bill.
“The unemployment rate in Colorado is 7.3 percent,” Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said after the votes. “Do the Republicans really think that’s good enough?”
(Feb. 21) – A bill that will allow unemployed veterans and other Colorado job seekers to waive certain confidentialities so the Department of Labor can share information with outside employers and organizations passed the Business, Labor & Economic & Workforce Development Committee today by a vote of 10 to one.
HB13-1123, sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs), will establish a waiver for the confidentiality requirements regarding job-seeking veterans’ own personal information. This waiver would allow the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to provide prospective employers with job seekers’ names and contact information. The bill will also still ensure continued privacy of individual unemployment insurance data.
“This is a great opportunity to further assist Colorado’s efforts to match up veterans and other job seekers with potential employers while still protecting their personal information,” Rep. Exum said.
Many organizations that make job referrals and placement for veterans cannot access information about those who need jobs. This will allow the job-seeker an opportunity to share basic contact information with those organizations. There are currently 450,000 job-seekers in Colorado, including about 45,000 veterans.
“It’s another tool we can use to help get Coloradans, especially our veterans, get back to work,” Rep. Exum said.