Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

New State Legislation

NEW STATE LEGISLATION


 

Governor Ritter signed the following bills in the last month to help Colorado maximize its eligibility for Recovery Act funding and ensure that Recovery dollars are used as effectively as possible.

 

House Bill 1346: The Colorado Recovery and Reinvestment Finance Act
This law allows Colorado agencies to take full advantage of federal bond subsidies and benefit from a lower cost of borrowing on Recovery Act projects. The Recovery Act includes federal funds to subsidize the interest payments on bonds issued by public entities for certain projects. This law clarifies how Colorado agencies may qualify for these interest subsidies and authorizes the use of other bonds.

 

House Bill 1349: Extending Health Care Benefits
This law helps workers who lost their jobs between September 1, 2008 and February 16, 2009 maintain their health care coverage. The Recovery Act provides a premium subsidy and an extended period for laid off workers to enroll in Federal COBRA health coverage. This law applies a similar extension to Colorado's equivalent healthcare extension program and specifies notification requirements.

 

Senate Bill 247: The Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act
This law qualifies Colorado for more than $120 million in federal aid by modifying Colorado's unemployment insurance provisions to comply with federal guidelines. The law extends unemployment benefits by 20 weeks and allows certain ineligible unemployed workers to become eligible for benefits through an alternate means of calculating eligibility. The law also qualifies Colorado for an additional $15 million for job training benefits over the next three years. By unlocking these federal funds, this law helps Colorado's unemployment insurance program remain solvent and expands the number of Coloradans who will receive benefits during their unemployment.

 

Senate Bill 297: Contract Flexibility for ARRA Projects
This law allows Colorado agencies to waive standard contract or procurement requirements to comply with Recovery Act deadlines. It is intended to be used only in extreme cases when the state is in jeopardy of losing Recovery Act funds because of federal deadlines. The state would have to get written approval from the Attorney General and other officials to use this process.