Bills headed to Gov. Polis for signature

(Apr. 29) – The House sent two bills to the Governor today to improve the lives of hardworking Coloradans.

The House approved the Colorado Secure Savings Plan Board, a bill by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Rep. Chris Hansen, to allow the state of Colorado to study different options to increase the ability of Colorado workers to save more for their retirement. Almost half of private-sector workers do not have access to a workplace retirement plan.

“America is in a retirement crisis—people are not saving enough. In our fast-growing economy, we need a plan to make sure workers can save for the long term and retire securely,” said Rep. Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada. “This bill allows the state to study four models including a no-action plan to see what is the best way to help Coloradans who don’t have access to a workplace retirement savings plan save a little at a time throughout their life for a secure retirement.”

In our fast-growing economy, we need a plan to make sure workers can save for the long term and retire securely.

Rep. Kraft-Tharp is chair of the House Business Affairs & Labor committee.

The “Colorado Secure Savings Plan Board,” SB19-173, creates a board of trustees that would study various options for a public-private partnership that would offer a low-fee plan, similar to Individual Retirement Accounts, to employees without access to workplace plans. Upon conclusion of the study, the board would then send the legislature its recommendations for final approval

“Retirement looks bleak for many adults in Colorado. Imagine what it looks like for our children. Unless we act, we don’t know how long our kids, nieces and nephews are going to have to work before they can finally retire,” said Rep. Hansen, D-Denver. “This bill is practical, it’s straightforward, and it’s a commonsense approach to examine the different ways we can increase the number of Coloradans who have access to workplace retirement accounts.”

The bill passed on a vote of 41-24. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The House also approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Sullivan and Rep. Rochelle Galindo that would establish a directory with apprenticeship programs within the Department of Labor and it would include salary ranges, critical labor force data, licensure requirements, and other information potential enrollees should know before embarking onto a career pathway.

“I firmly believe every hard working American should get a good-paying job no matter their education. There are currently nearly 200 sponsored apprenticeship programs, and that number is constantly evolving and growing,” said Rep. Sullivan, D-Centennial. “This directory can serve as a beneficial tool to help students and young adults grow in their technical training and enter into career fields that offer salaries without the debt of traditional college.”

The bill also requires the department to distribute the directory to coordinate with local workforce centers, businesses, and education institutions to raise awareness of the apprenticeship programs so more Coloradans can access them.  

“This will help expand opportunity for students and accessibility for apprenticeship programs. When I visited various locations that offered these programs, the directors often said the only way they get the word out about these programs is through word-of–mouth,” said Rep. Galindo, D-Greeley. “We need to get these opportunities out there for more students to join the workforce.”

In 2018, it was estimated that building trades had a shortage of 60,000 workers in Colorado. The state’s construction industry alone will need at least 30,000 new workers to meet demand in the years ahead.

SB19-171 passed on a bipartisan vote of 43-22 and is headed to Governor Polis for signature.

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