May 11, 2022

HOUSE PASSES BILLS TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY, SAVE FAMILIES MONEY

Legislation includes a record investment to reduce ozone emissions, eco-friendly updates to building codes and provide tax filing assistance to families


DENVER, CO – The House today passed bills to save people money and build a healthier Colorado.

“Denverites are stuck with some of the worst air quality in the world during the ozone season,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver, sponsor of SB22-180. “Our bill will help improve air quality by providing free rides on buses and lightrails during peak ozone season, typically experienced in Colorado during the summer months. This bill incentivizes Coloradans to use our public transit system and will cut down on harmful emissions as we work to build a healthier Colorado.”

Increased Transit Options: SB22-180 passed the House by a vote of 41-23. This bill would create an Ozone Season Transit Grant Program and transit services pilot project in the Department of Transportation to increase ridership on state-run transit services, reduce vehicle miles traveled and reduce ground-level ozone. This bill also includes a $10 million investment toward the successful Main Street Program to create better pathways for bikers, pedestrians and transit users to navigate cities.

The top emitter of carbon pollution in Colorado is the transportation sector which includes personal vehicles. By incentivizing Coloradans to take public transit options during the summer months, this bill aims to reduce ozone pollution by cutting down on the number of cars on the road.

The House also concurred with Senate amendments on HB22-1362. This bill would update building codes to improve energy efficiency and cut down on air pollution in Colorado.

“I’m beyond proud of the work we’ve done to update Colorado’s building codes. When we build right the first time, we’ll cut down on air pollution, save Coloradans money on their utility bills and create more energy efficient homes and buildings,” said Rep. Tracey Bernett, D-Louisville, HB22-1362. “Our bill takes action to address one of Colorado’s largest pollution sources and saves families money in the process. As it heads to the Governor’s desk, we can reflect on the extraordinary transitional efforts to prepare for a sustainable through efficient, resilient and healthy buildings.”

Eco-friendly Building Codes: HB22-1362, sponsored by Representatives Tracey Bernett and Alex Valdez, would update Colorado’s building codes to improve energy efficiency, save Coloradans money, and reduce harmful indoor and outdoor air pollution. The bill preserves all appliance and utility options for consumers, including natural gas, and does not transfer enforcement responsibility away from local governments. Owners and occupants of existing homes and buildings would only be affected if their local government chooses to upgrade their building codes and the building owner chooses to undergo a major, permit-authorized renovation or addition.

For cities and counties that have adopted building codes, the legislation updates building codes to ensure that new buildings are constructed right the first time by incorporating electric vehicle charging capabilities, solar and electric-ready wiring, to save building and homeowners thousands off the costs of retrofitting their homes and saving them money on utility bills. While not mandatory, the codes encourage all-electric homes, which research shows cost less to build and save building owners money over their lifecycle. The bill includes $3 million in grant funding to help cities and counties adopt and enforce updated building codes, $1 million in grants for training for builders and contractors, and $22 million in grants and incentives to help finance energy efficiency upgrades.

“This legislation will save Coloradans money as they file their taxes and help hardworking families take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit that we expanded last year,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, sponsor of SB22-182. “This small investment will put even more money back into people’s pockets and help Coloradans access the economic support they need to thrive.”

“Colorado Democrats passed major tax reform last session that is putting hundreds of millions of dollars back into the pockets of hardworking Coloradans and small businesses, and with this bill, we’re making it easier for families to get the money they are owed,” said Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada, sponsor of SB22-182.

Economic Mobility Program: SB22-182, sponsored by Representatives Lindsey Daugherty and Mary Young, passed the House by a vote of 41-23. This bill would save Coloradans money by providing $4 million to extend the successful Economic Mobility Program, which provides tax filing assistance for eligible Coloradans. Among other things, this program helps people claim tax credits, including the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which Colorado families may not know they are eligible for. Last session, Colorado Democrats passed legislation to put over $170 million into Coloradans’ pockets by expanding the EITC and the CTC.