In a year that the Democrat-controlled legislature dedicated to reviving the economy, business leaders are looking to Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper as a last resort to prevent a slew of anti-business legislation from becoming law.
This morning, the Denver Business Journal reported that a coalition of business leaders, including the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Colorado Retail Council, among others, are asking Hick to veto or significantly change several bills coming across his desk. These bills include:
- HB13-1136: Expands the kinds of discrimination damages that can be awarded against businesses with less than 14 employees. (You know, the one from which Democratic Senator Morgan Carroll should have recused herself….)
- HB13-1304: Removes the distinction between an offensive lockout and a defensive lockout, making an individual eligible for unemployment benefits if unemployment is due to lockout.
- SB13-252: Requires an increased percentage of energy sales by cooperative electric associations to be from renewable-energy sources.
- HB13-1269: Removes promotion of the oil and gas industry from the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
- HB13-1316: Increases groundwater sampling in the Greater Wattenberg Area, a busy oil and gas area north of Denver.
The last two bills, dealing with oil and gas regulation still must pass in the Senate, but its opponents aren’t holding their breath that the Senate will magically have a change of heart. They expect the bills to end up on the Governor’s desk.
The governor’s office isn’t offering much optimism on Hick’s willingness to veto any of these bills either. Here’s what his office told the DBJ:
“You always end up having to sign some bills that you’re not crazy about, but we so far have not found ourselves in a position to veto anything.”
This sentiment was further confirmed with Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who said: “We work hand in hand with the governor’s office on a lot of these bills. I think … we are going to be able to find common ground with the governor.”
That the Governor has been working with the legislature on these far reaching bills might come as a surprise to some Coloradans. Perhaps Hick is shedding his “middle of the road” skin and fully embracing the far left wing of his party after all.