Strategic | Where We Engage

Each year the Colorado General Assembly considers 500 or more pieces of legislation. Are you interested in which bills Colorado Concern is tracking during the 2015 legislative session and where each bill is in the process? Click here for an "At a Glance" status sheet, or for a real-time status sheet with additional details, click here.

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Click here to find out what issues Colorado Concern is working on and how you can help, find and contact your elected federal, state and local officials, and learn more about important issues facing businesses in Colorado.

United | Weekly Legislative Update

Colorado Concern produces a weekly newsletter for its members during the Colorado State Legislative Session, January through May. Click here to view archives of these newsletters.

From the President and CEO

The Week in Review: February 23, 2015

The level of discourse and debate around student testing and standards and assessments has been at a heightened level for many months - here in Colorado and across the country. Last session the General Assembly passed legislation creating a Task Force focused on evaluating the types of tests, the curriculum areas measured and how often they are administered to ascertain if Colorado was testing too much, too little or just enough.

From the business community's standpoint, to ensure accountability in our education system - and to provide parents, students and educators with sound information regarding our future workforce's knowledge base and skills at key points in time - four key points must be top of mind in this debate. Colorado's education system must:

  • Maintain rigorous academic standards that are comparable across states (Ensure our academic approach is equal to, or more rigorous than, other states).
  • Make sure the state assessments accurately measure student academic growth (How do our students stack up, and are they progressing?).
  • Protect accountability structures for schools, districts and educators (Preserve strides made in education reform).
  • Ensure that the state assessments allow for comparison across schools districts and states (How are our schools compared with their peers in Colorado, and across the country?).

Certainly it is worthwhile to assess our system to ensure we are testing on the right academic topics at the appropriate time. And perhaps the approach currently administered at schools across our state is deserving of change. That said, stepping away from any kind of testing - or data collection that allows for the ability to compare how a student is doing with his or her peers - is detrimental in the long run. In this global marketplace ensuring our kids are appropriately educated and competitive is the greatest gift we can give them, and our state as a whole.

To date more than 30 bills dealing with specific components of this topic have been introduced in the Colorado General Assembly. Comprehensive legislation based on the work of the Task Force is expected in the coming month, and the business community believes a focused approach based on the work of that diverse group of stakeholders is a preferable path forward. The guidelines noted above will be a screen utilized in review of that legislation.

Simultaneously, the State Board of Education has been wrestling with these issues, and where their authority begins and ends around setting standards and providing opt-out opportunities for districts around student testing. The legality of recent actions by the Board has been questioned by the state's Attorney General, and questions regarding the impact of some decisions - such as allowing school districts to opt-out of nationally mandated tests - on federal education funding, have been raised. The discussion and debate both on the legislative approach, and actions by the State Board, will continue to be an area to watch closely. We will keep you up to speed on any important actions.

Should you have questions about this topic, or any other public policy issue of interest, please do not hesitate to contact me at tamra@coloradoconcern.com

Warmly,

Tamra J. Ward
President and CEO
Colorado Concern

Archived legislative updates can be viewed here.

Committed | Member Survey Highlights

Member engagement is critical in setting our agenda. Each fall our CEOs, business and community leaders provide their feedback to a public policy survey.

Jobs and the Economy

  • Fifty-two percent believe Colorado’s economic situation will be better a year from now. Almost 43 percent feel the economy will be “about the same”.
  • Forty-eight percent feel operating their business in Colorado is about the same as operating in most states. Twenty-four percent feel it is harder to operate in Colorado..

Colorado Concern's Top Five Issues for Elected Officials

  • Recruit and retain companies/job growth strategies.
  • Strengthen the process to put measures on the Colorado ballot.
  • Ensure attempts to ban energy development are stopped.
  • Address issues in multifamily construction defect laws.
  • Further K-12 education reform.

Policy Issues Facing the State of interest to Colorado Concern members

  • Protecting Colorado's business climate by stopping bad legislation and supporting measures that enhance job growth.
  • Recruiting, vetting and electing statewide candidates who have an understanding of business issues.
  • Stopping any attempt to ban energy development in Colorado, legislatively or at the ballot box.

Health Care

  • Nearly all of Colorado Concern members provide health insurance benefits to their employees.
  • A full 76 percent of them have experienced health insurance premium increases in the past year.
  • The majority of members seeing increases experienced premium bumps of 10 percent or more. This has caused half of those members to make changes to how they provide health insurance coverage to their employees.

Elections

Frustration with partisanship is at an all-time high, both in Washington and here at home.

  • Sixty-seven percent of Colorado Concern’s members are interested in learning about modifying our current political primary candidate election process by allowing unaffiliated voters to directly participate in primary elections.
  • Seventy-six percent support or removing the use of the party caucus system.

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