Kevin Grantham, Chairman of the Fremont County Commission, works at his desk Monday, January 30, 2023. (Carie Canterbury/Daily Record)
Colorado’s 74th General Assembly is in full swing, with a whole host of topics and issues to cover. The Board of Commissioners has the best interests of Fremont County in mind and works closely with Colorado Counties Incorporated to ensure the welfare of all voters is considered.
The Fremont County Board of Commissioners attended CCI’s steering committee meeting in Denver Thursday and Friday, where the group chose which proposed legislation they would collectively approve, oppose, propose an amendment, take no position on, or simply wait and watch for now would like.
Commission Chairman Kevin Grantham on Monday provided an overview of some of the proposed legislation under consideration at the state level.
One proposal that CCI endorses is HB23-1043: Emergency And Continued Placement With Relative Or Kin, which removes barriers to kinship placement. The bill clarifies the procedures for continuing the placement of a child or youth that a county social services department or local law enforcement agency with custody of the child must follow before continuing the placement of a child with a relative or relative.
“When it comes to DHS, it will help make it easier for our staff to get children into family homes,” Grantham said. “You want to get them from family members if possible, and if that’s not an option, look for other placements.”
CCI intends to amend Colorado’s Equal Pay Act regarding job reclassification, Auto-Flex employee advancement and other promotions to provide flexibility and relief to companies that move employees along a predefined advancement path or update job descriptions that employees qualify for customized compensation.
Currently, employers are required to post a job notice on their website when an employee is promoted in an existing role or job class.
“Basically, this is an administrative burden for us if we’re just trying to advertise internally,” Grantham said. “Even if we were to change a job a little bit, that would get in the way of internal development.”
One bill that could be good for rural communities and potentially rural counties, Grantham said, is HB23-1085: Rural County and Municipality Energy Efficient Building Codes. This involves changing the requirements for local governments in rural areas to pass energy efficient building codes and, in conjunction with this, changing the definition of a county, the definition of a rural municipality and extending the compliance deadlines for energy efficient building codes for both.
“It gives them more leeway in adopting current building codes,” he said.
One of the most egregious proposed bills, Grantham said, is SB23-016: Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Measures, a bill targeting measures to promote reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado.
“That can lead to some land use issues and local control issues over how land is used and transferred to a statewide land use agency, basically in these mitigation efforts,” he said.
Another worrying bill is HB23-1115: Repeal the Ban on Local Housing Rent Control. This concerns the repeal of legal provisions that prohibit municipalities from imposing a rental price cap for privately owned homes or private residential units.
“That would be terrible for our market, for investments, for real estate, for new construction, investment property owned by investors and things like that,” Grantham said. “Also, it also exacerbates the problem we have with short-term rentals because people will take their long-term rentals because of rent control and turn them into short-term rentals. We already have a supply problem, that’s why the rents are as high as they are. That would only make things worse nationwide.”
Grantham said CCI is concerned about some of the land-use and building codes that are emerging but not yet implemented, but he believes lawmakers will weigh CCI’s input when making decisions.
“Most of the time in counties we have our feet on the ground and we know what can work and what can’t and what would hurt us,” he said.
Residents can hear firsthand what’s happening in the state capital from Senator Mark Baisley of Senate District 4 and Rep. Stephanie Luck of House District 60 during a legislative forum at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Fremont County Administration Building on Macon Ave. 615 happened. The event is open to the public and will be broadcast on the Fremont County broadcast channel and later posted to the county’s Facebook page.