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2021 Colorado Legislative Session

Jun 25, 2021

During the 2021 Colorado legislative session, Colorado Nonprofit Association followed numerous bills before the Colorado General Assembly.

Check out our bill tracker to see which bills we are watching, their current status, and our positions.

The Association took positions on the following introduced state bills: 


HB 21-1054 Housing Public Benefit Verification Requirement

What the bill does: The bill creates a public or assisted housing benefit exception to the requirement that an applicant for state or local public benefits verify lawful presence in the United States.

Fiscal impact: No significant impact on state expenditures and revenues. 

Our view: We support this bill to get rid of unnecessary requirements to verify lawful presence for state housing assistance programs. The bill does not affect federally-funded housing programs.

Status: Signed by Governor


HB 21-1108 Gender Identity Expression Anti-discrimination 

What the bill does: 

  • Modifies the definition of sexual orientation and adds gender expression and gender identity to statutes prohibiting discrimination against members of a protected class.
  • Prohibits discrimination based on gender expression or gender identity in areas including employment, housing, financial services, healthcare, funeral arrangements, participation in public services, education, youth services, criminal justice, and transportation.
  •  Expenses paid by a taxpayer to a private club that discriminates based on gender expression or gender identity are not tax deductible.
  • Residential properties exempt from property taxes for charitable purposes are also prohibited from discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity.

Fiscal impact: No significant impact on state expenditures and revenues. 

Our view: We support this bill to protect Coloradans from discrimination on the basis of gender expression or identity.

Status: Signed by Governor

HB 21-1175 Donate to Nonprofit in Lieu of Traffic Fines

What the bill does:

  • Allows individuals to donate time or money to a nonprofit instead of paying part of a traffic fine
  • Requires the person to contact the court to determine the amount of the fine eligible for donation and provide proof of the donation to the court or a notarized statement of volunteer time (hours volunteered at minimum wage).

Fiscal Impact: Increases state expenditures by $27,000 and 0.3 FTE

Our View:  The Association opposed 1175 for several reasons. First, incentivizing people to donate to escape a legal punishment is contrary to the free and voluntary spirit of charitable giving. Second, the process of making such donations would likely be complicated for the donor. Third, the bill wouldn't stop disproportionate traffic stops and fines for BIPOC communities. Fourth, the bill would likely increase financial burdens for local governments. 

Status: Postponed Indefinitely by House Finance Committee


HB 21-1247 Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment (CDPHE) Pay Grantees Up Front 

What the bill does:  Allows CDPHE to pay up to 25% of a grant upon execution or renewal of the grant agreement..

Fiscal impact: No additional state funding needed to make this change.

Our view: This change makes it easier for smaller nonprofits, including those primarily led by and serving BIPOC populations, to manage state grant funds from CDPHE. Typically, nonprofits must have several months of cash on hand to carry out state grant programs because the grantor reimburses expenses after they occur. Providing partial funding in advance will reduce strains on grantees' cash flow.          

Status: Signed by Governor

HB 21-1266 Environmental Justice for Disproportionately Impacted Communities

What the bill does:

  • Creates an environmental justice ombudsperson and advisory board to propose recommendations to address environmental justice inequities and to make mitigation program grants.
  • Requires the Air Quality Control Commission to engage with disproportionately impacted communities on proposed state actions.
  • Modifies the mission of the Colorado Energy Office to include support for transition for a low carbon, clean energy economy.
  • Establishes a per ton fee for greenhouse gas emissions, clarifies emissions targets for oil and gas industries and utilities, and establishes a tradable tax credit program.

Fiscal impact: Increases state revenues by $3M annually. Increases state expenditures by $3 to $3.9M annually. Increases state FTE by over 20 each year.

Our view: 1266 benefits communities throughout Colorado by establishing a task force to ensure state public policies advance environmental justice. The bill takes important steps to ensure that all voices are heard in rulemaking and regulatory hearings as current process often have barriers to participation for rural and BIPOC communities. The Association's position of support is based on these aspects of the bill as we did not get the chance to evaluate the amendments placed late in the session that established greenhouse gas emission fees.   

Status: Signed by Governor

HB 21-1285 Funding to Support Creative Industries

What the bill does: Provides funding to support creative arts industries as follows in 2021-2022:

  • $5M to the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media cash fund for film production incentives
    • $3.5M to an arts relief program
    • $1.5 million to a nonprofit administering grants to certain cultural facilities with programming for, and board representation from, historically marginalized and under-resourced communities.
  • $12M to the Creative Industries cash fund
  • $1M to the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media cash fund

Fiscal impact: Transfers up to $18 million to various cash funds supporting the arts, film, and media.

Our view: Provides needed funding to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those focusing on communities that have 
been historically marginalized and under-resourced.

Status: Signed by Governor

HB 21-1311 Income Tax

What the bill does

  • Increases Colorado Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 20% of the federal EITC. Currently, this is 15%. 
  • Funds implementation of the state's Child Tax Credit for individual taxpayers up to $75,000 and joint filers up to $85,000.
  • Establishes an itemized deduction cap for taxpayers with annual incomes of at least $400,000. Caps deductions at $30,000 for individuals and $60,000 for joint filers.
  • Limits the deduction for contributions to a 529 savings account via CollegeInvest to $15,000 per account
  • Modifies state tax deductions for business and corporate income, capital gains, and insurance premiums

Fiscal Impact: Increases state revenues by $39.5M in 2021-2022 and $57.2M in 2022-2023. Increases state expenditures by $1.6M in 2021-2022 and $953,000 in 2022-2023. Increases FTE by 12.1 in 2021-2022 and 13.2 in 2022-2023. 

Our View: The Association supported how 1311 enhances Colorado's EITC and finally funds the CTC. These policies will support the economic mobility of many families in Colorado, which is especially important to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We also expressed concerns about paying for these policies in part by taxing donations in excess of the itemized deduction caps in 1311. These taxpayers contributed more than half of all charitable giving on federal returns in 2018 and we expect many taxpayers will reduce their giving to fit under the cap. Because of these unintended consequences, many states have exempted charitable giving from proposed dollar caps on itemized deductions.  

Status: Signed by Governor

SB 21-001 Modify COVID-19 Relief Programs for Small Business

What the bill does: Allocates $4M to a relief program for small businesses in economically distressed areas administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development.

Fiscal Impact: No fiscal impact.

Our View: We supported SB 21-001 because it expands COVID-19 relief funds available to small businesses and nonprofits that serve BIPOC populations and rural communities. 

Status: Signed by Governor

SB 21-073 Civil Action Statute Of Limitations Sexual Assault

What the bill does:

  • Removes the limitation on bringing a civil claim after Jan. 1, 2022 for sexual misconduct against a child
    • This includes claims brought against a person or entity who is not the perpetrator, as well as derivative claims
    • Currently, the statute of limitations is 6 years and is tolled when the victim is a person under disability or in a special relationship with the perpetrator.
  • Expands economic damages that may be recovered after a plaintiff alleges sexual misconduct 15 years or more after turning age 18

Fiscal impact: No significant impact on state expenditures and revenues. 

Our view: We support expanding civil remedies and protections for children who are survivors of sexual misconduct. This includes civil suits against businesses, nonprofits, and institutions that know about sexual misconduct of employees or their volunteers and fail to address it.  

Status: Signed by Governor


SB 21-077 Remove Lawful Presence Verification Credentialing

What the bill does: 

  • Removes state requirements to verify the lawful presence of applicants for issuance or renewal of a license, certificate, or registration.
  • Allows state agencies to request documents needed to verify an applicant's identity
  • Does not affect requirements to verify lawful presence to access federal public benefits

Fiscal impact: No additional funding needed to carry out the bill. 

Our view: State law currently requires verification of the lawful presence of all applicants for credentials. If SB 21-077 passes, then certain state agencies may determine which documents are needed to verify an applicant's identity and whether lawful presence must be verified for the particular credential. This legislation removes unnecessary barriers to economic mobility for people seeking professional licenses.  

Status: Signed by Governor


SB 21-088 Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act

What the bill does:

  • Allows adults who endured sexual misconduct as a minor to bring new civil actions toward the actor and an organization if misconduct was known or should have been known.
  • An organization may be liable for failing to take steps to reasonably address the situation or monitor or exclude the actor from contact with minors.
  • The organization is not liable if the organization’s action to remedy the situation was reasonably adequate to address the risk, the organization evaluated if remedial action was effective, or participants were apprised of potential risks.
  • Survivors may seek damages from an entity operating a youth program, or an educational entity operating an educational program, or a district preschool program where the victim was a participant at the time at the time of the sexual misconduct. 
  • This statutory cause of action applies retroactively for any victim having endured sexual misconduct as a minor prior to, on, or following 1/1/22.

Fiscal impact: $15 million increase of state expenditure and 10.7 FTE to handle cases filed against government agencies. 

Our view: We support expanding civil remedies and protections for children who are survivors of  sexual misconduct. This includes civil suits against businesses, nonprofits, and institutions that knew about sexual misconduct of employees or volunteers and failed to take reasonable action to stop it.  

Status: Signed by Governor


SB 21-181 Equity Strategic Plan Address Health Disparities

What the bill does:

  • Authorizes grant awards to positively affect social determinants and help community organizations reduce health disparities in underrepresented communities through policy and system changes
  • Requires the office of health equity to issue a report with relevant data and recommended strategies to begin to address such inequities.
  • Requires a state agency work group to develop a health equity strategic plan to ensure cross-agency collaboration in addressing social determinants of health.

Fiscal impact: Increases state expenditures by $170,000 and 1.5 FTE

Our view: 

  • Developing a strategic plan for health equity will ensure that Colorado takes a concerted approach to reducing health disparities. This includes focusing on the social determinants of health to address the root causes of health inequities. 
  • SB 21-181 also provides funding to strengthen the ability of nonprofits to reduce health disparities by working with underrepresented communities to identify and implement necessary changes to systems and public policy.
  • Creating lasting change means not only investing resources in how individuals are served but also in addressing whole systems that lead to disparities.   

Status: Signed by Governor

SB 21-190 Protect Data Privacy

What the bill does:

  • Applies to an entity that conducts business in Colorado and either 
    • controls or processes the personal data of 100,000 or more consumers per year; or
    • derives revenue or receives a discount on the price of goods or services from the sale of personal data and processes or controls the personal data of 25,000 consumers or more.
  • Allows consumers to exercise certain rights by submitting a request to the controller including opting out of data processing, right to access and modify data, and right to data portability. 
  • Identifies duties for controllers including providing privacy notices, specifying purposes for data use, collecting the least amount of data needed, securing personal and sensitive data, obtaining consumer consent, and avoiding discrimination in processing data.
  • Authorizes the CO Attorney General to issue violation notices and enforce the law.

Fiscal Impact: Increases state expenditures by $323,691 and 2.0 FTE.

Our View: SB 21-190 addresses an important issue for all of Colorado's consumers. The challenge with a bill like this is achieving a balance between protecting consumers and avoiding unnecessary burdens of compliance for businessesAlthough most nonprofits will not be affected by 190, some nonprofits will use considerable resources to secure consumer data and respond to requests to modify collected data. Other states that have passed similar laws either exempted nonprofits entirely or limited the scope to companies that process and profit from sales of data. Legislators did not opt to amend the bill to minimize burdens on nonprofits with large amount of personal data.   

Status: Signed by Governor

SB 21-199 Remove Barriers to Certain Public Opportunities

What the bill does:

  • Eliminates the state law prohibiting state and local governments from providing state and local public benefits to individuals not lawfully present.
  • Repeals specific requirements that individuals must be lawfully present when applying for a professional licenses, public works contracts, and local business licenses.
  • Prohibits the General Assembly from appropriating additional funding in FY 2021-22 for the purposes of providing state or local benefits to individuals who are not lawfully present.
  • Specifies that state agencies must request any additional funding through the annual budget process starting in FY 2022-23. 

Fiscal impact: Increases state expenditures by $178.000 in '20-21 and $63,000 in '22-23

Our view: Removes burdensome requirements for nonprofits to verify the lawful presence of applicants for state and local public benefits. State law has required nonprofits to perform these verifications if state and local agencies are unable to do so.  

Status: Signed by Governor 

SB 21-282 Continue Small Business Destination Sourcing Exemption

What the bill does: Delays implementation of destination sourcing for Colorado's businesses until Feb. of 2022. Destination sourcing refers to requiring businesses to collect sales taxes based on the location of the buyer rather than that of the business. 

Fiscal impact: No fiscal impact

Our View: Because implementation of destination sourcing will require nonprofits to make numerous changes to how they conduct sales, additional time will help ease the burden of compliance.

Status: Signed by Governor