Senate committees end two worker-related bills

Despite advances in other areas, measures to improve transparency for gig workers and factor dependents on unemployment insurance fail.

Senate committees end two worker-related bills

Colorado Senate committees postponed two bills Tuesday night that were intended to assist Colorado workers indefinitely, despite the fact that other committees and chambers at the state capital had advanced them.

Senate Bill 23-098 titled "Gig Work Transparency" would have required companies such as Uber and Lyft that operate in Colorado to provide detailed information before each transaction. This information would include how much money the customer is paying, what the company will take and how much the driver will get.

Sen. Robert Rodriguez, of Denver, introduced the legislation in Feburary. He argued that lack of transparency leads to confusion and frustration among drivers and hinders their ability make informed decisions. The bill was supported by unions and advocacy groups, but six tech companies with their representatives and representatives of those companies asked legislators to either amend it or oppose.

DoorDash launched an ad campaign statewide against the bill. A consortium of Colorado business groups sent a letter asking legislators to vote against it, claiming that it was "bad for workers and businesses".

The Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Technology approved the bill with some amendments along party lines and sent it to the Senate Finance Committee, who killed it by a vote of 5-2 last night. Two Democrats went against the bill across party lines. Senators were unable to provide specific details in opposition to this bill that was considered late in session.

House Bill 23-1078 was another measure that aimed to increase compensation for unemployed workers who have dependents from $35 per dependent, per week, beginning in 2026. The bill passed the House, but was voted down by the Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Technology on a 5-4 vote last night.

Business groups opposed this proposal citing concerns over the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is still $1 billion short in terms of fiscal solvency. Due to the shortfall in funding, employers will be required to pay a surcharge to cover the deficit between 2024 and 2025. This is expected to cost an average company with 10 employees $1,400. They are currently paying the highest possible rates to ensure that more money goes into the fund.

Rachel Beck, Executive Director of the Colorado Competitive Council, told the Denver Business Journal in January that it is not the right time to raise unemployment benefits - especially when employers are facing inflation and labor shortages.

The bills, which were backed by progressive Democrats and advocacy groups, are among many that addressed workers' concerns this session.

Some of these bills were killed by committees early in the session, such as a proposal that employers post their work schedules two-weeks in advance. Some worker-related bills, including one that would update Colorado’s definition of sexual harassment, are still being debated in the General Assembly. They could be headed to the Governor's desk.

Insiders claim that the Colorado General Assembly may continue to work on Monday, despite its scheduled adjournment on Saturday. Many bills are still awaiting approval.