(April 22) – A measure to make sure more Colorado taxpayer dollars stay in Colorado, supporting Colorado businesses and putting Coloradans to work, passed the House today on a bipartisan 38-26 vote.

HB13-1292, known as the Keep Jobs in Colorado Act, is sponsored by Reps. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) and Dan Pabon (D-Denver). It will require state agencies to weigh overall “best value,” not just price, in their consideration of competitive bids on state contracts. Factors will include the use of Colorado workers and Colorado products to complete the contract, as well as the wages, health care and other benefits paid to those workers.

“This bill will ensure that state funds – our taxpayer dollars – go support Colorado businesses and hire Colorado workers,” Rep. Lee said.

Among its other provisions, the bill will modify a Colorado law, on the books since 1933, that requires that Coloradans make up 80 percent of the labor on Colorado public works projects. Replacing criminal penalties with a schedule of fines and a prohibition on repeat-offender companies from bidding for state contracts will provide appropriate penalties and lead to more consistent enforcement.

HB13-1292 also includes a reciprocity clause to treat companies from other bid preference states the same as Colorado companies are treated in those other states. Twenty-eight other states award bid preferences to in-state bidders.

Rep. Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen), a member of the Joint Budget Committee, joined the House’s 37 Democrats in support of the bill, which now goes to the Senate.

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