(April 15) – A measure to make sure more Colorado taxpayer dollars stay in Colorado, supporting Colorado businesses and putting Coloradans to work, passed its first legislative test today. The State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee sent the bill to the Finance Committee on a 7-4 vote.

HB13-1292, known as the Keep Jobs in Colorado Act, 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 to hire Colorado workers and support Colorado businesses,” said Rep. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs), one of the prime sponsors. “We want to put food on the tables of Colorado families.”

Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver) is a prime sponsor of the bill with Rep. Lee. Every Democrat in the House and Senate is a cosponsor of the bill, a distinction shared this year only with the bill to establish civil unions.

“Colorado companies do not provide every product and every service under the sun, and this legislation does not pretend otherwise,” Rep. Pabon said. “But outsourcing of jobs on state contracts should be the exception rather than the rule.”

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. 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 will make Colorado the 29th state to award bid preferences to in-state bidders. It includes a reciprocity clause to treat companies from bid preference states the same as Colorado companies are treated in those other states.

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