Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

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ParkBull
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Re: Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

Post by ParkBull » Mon May 02, 2022 7:15 am

May 1, 2022

Collective Bargaining For County Employees

A big bill that hasn’t received much public attention but of great interest to your county commissioners, sheriffs and the rest of the county elected officials is SB22-230. With a short title of The Collective Bargaining Bill, 230 gives county employees in 60 of the 64 counties the ability to unionize.

Some of you may be thinking about recent attempts of Starbucks and Amazon workers to unionize and wondering why county employees couldn’t hold their own vote to join a union. The short answer is public employees are hired and work under a different set of rules. Their work is considered essential to the health, welfare and public safety of the general public. So even where government employees have unionized, like this bill there is generally a prohibition on striking. Sick outs seem to be a handy work stoppage tactic but not a strike.

This bill had been cussed and discussed in various forms since before the session began. Originally it included higher education, apparently higher ed has more clout with the Governor since it is reported he nixed that idea.

With this title 230 could have included your local water district, every special district and fire department. Home rule towns and cities just like the four home rule counties operate under their own charter but the statutory towns and counties would have been included.

In the end it came down to only counties, despite a provision in the constitution that counties are their own separate entity and can not be treated like a department of the state government – think CDOT or the Dept. of Revenue.

By the time we finished committee work at 4:00 Friday afternoon 271 amendments had been prepared for SB-230. Several legislators were prepared to speak at length in opposition to the bill and were prepared for it to be daylight sometime Saturday before we would leave the building.

What really happened was the majority party sent word they would like to talk about where compromises could be negotiated. By the time we got back on the floor only 15 or 20 amendments were offered, of which five passed. All made a terrible bill a bit better but the most significant of which recognized the county commissioners’ constitutional role as fiduciaries of the county budget and gave them the ability to decline to recognize a vote of the employees to unionize – “if they negotiated in good faith”.

Expect legal challenges if it ever gets that far. The other thing to expect is for counties to begin the cumbersome process of gaining home rule status. Those are my predictions if SD230 makes it through the House looking much the same.
I welcome your thoughts and comments on the happenings here at the Capital. Lots of ways to stay in touch; Office phone: 303-866-4877, Mobile phone: 719-351-2121, Email: SenatorHisey@gmail.com, Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey

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Re: Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

Post by ParkBull » Mon May 09, 2022 7:13 am

May 8, 2022

Environmental Regulations on Building Construction.

HB-1362 BUILDING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, as in how buildings and building products affect greenhouse gas emissions. This bill, when passed, imposes state requirements on what has been the purview of local jurisdictions when it comes to building codes.

The bill requires the Colorado Energy Office to identify for adoption three sets of model code language: · electric and solar ready code language by July 1, 2023; · low energy and carbon code language by January 1, 2025; and · green code language before July 1, 2024. This would apply to all new building. These codes or a more restrictive one is required to be adopted as part of the local building codes.

A good example of this type of regulation would be the federal rules regarding water heaters that were adopted in 2015. Water heaters became more energy efficient, larger and doubled in price. Furthermore, it is not as though local building codes are not constantly reviewing their own codes, when I re-insulated my attic after some water damage in 2018 the local code was set to become more stringent in the next 90 days. We went with the newer code by choice as additional attic insulation has one of the shortest pay backs of any weatherization project.

These new codes won’t double the price of building or remodeling a home, shop or barn but in the face of a severe shortage in affordable housing now is not the time to be adding to the ever-increasing costs of construction.

There is $25 million in one time grant funding in the bill as well as funding to the state for the ongoing implementation and monitoring cost. Due to the implementation cost burden, we did get an amendment giving relief to the 20 or so counties under 50,000 in population unless they received a “meaningful” grant to help pay the costs.

HB- 1012 Wildfire Mitigation and Recovery, a relatively inexpensive but useful bill regarding forest health with a larger portion of local grant funding for boots on the ground work was passed. This will help identify forests that emit more carbon than they sequester and implement remediation. Trees, like all living things, don’t live forever. Trees and therefore forests go through a life cycle of vibrant growth, mature stagnation, and then decay. This is of course on a much longer timeline than the garden you plant but the cycle is the same.

The data will include recommendations on management of forests in whatever the current stage of their lifecycle. This is not a new concept and it varies for elevation, moisture, soil type and a host of other factors. The more and better the data, the better the decisions, the better the outcomes.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the happenings here at the Capital. Lots of ways to stay in touch; Office phone: 303-866-4877, Mobile phone: 719-351-2121, Email: SenatorHisey@gmail.com, Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey

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Re: Straight From the Senate - Dennis Hisey SD2

Post by ParkBull » Mon May 16, 2022 6:45 am

May 15, 2022

Closing Actions As The Session Wound Down

The Senate and the House were going back and forth on the Fentanyl Bill right up until the waning minutes of the 2022 session. Earlier I had recorded a “yes” vote for the Senate version of the Fentanyl Bill. Which, while not perfect, gave law enforcement some important tools to prosecute fentanyl possession as a felony. The final version that came out of conference committee had the word felony in the bill but made it almost impossible to prosecute fentanyl possession as a felony, I was a “no” vote. There is no safe amount of fentanyl.

District Attorney Michael Allen felt the bill was so bad that he issued a statement for the Governor to veto it and call a special session to address fentanyl. Reality is we would have all the same players with the same votes and achieve the same results so a special session is not the answer.

We passed HB-1355, Producer Responsibility for Recycling late Tuesday night. Nothing wrong with the companies that actually make things and send them to store shelves to step up. Some are already major participants in processing the materials that enter the recycle stream as empty bottles, boxes, cartons or plastic containers.

The troubling part was the method of government coercion. By force of law, they would be required to join a non-profit, at the risk of a $20,000 per day fine, and pay millions in dues to participate in the recycling process. The use of a nonprofit is just one more attempt to avoid a vote of the people to impose taxes and fees.

The headline in the Colorado Springs Gazette hailed, Majority Passes Much of Agenda, true statement. One thing we did see was a willingness of the majority to put a temporary freeze on several fees that the Majority had passed these past three years. Typically a six month freeze, could just be that I’m a little cynical after 120 days under the Gold Dome but that sounds suspiciously like saying, until after the November election.

The Minority party tried in vain to get longer relief from those fees starting with a total repeal and working our way down to one year instead of six months but like the headline said, Majority Passes Much of Agenda.

Going to be a busy interim so I’ll keep you posted, but glad to have Sine Die behind us so we can focus on a future past midnight May, 11 2022.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the happenings here at the Capital. Lots of ways to stay in touch; Office phone: 303-866-4877, Mobile phone: 719-351-2121, Email: SenatorHisey@gmail.com, Twitter: @SenDennisHisey, Facebook: Senator Dennis Hisey

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