Colorado Farm Bureau is rolling into a new and exciting year, which means the 2022 Colorado Legislative Session is right around the corner. The legislature will gavel in on Wednesday, January 12, and will stay busy for the next 120 days. We anticipate another hard-fought and fast-paced session, especially with it being an election year. Here is an inside look at what we are expecting to see under the golden dome this coming session.

The first big issue is animal welfare. There is already one legislative effort that is looking to replace exemptions and codify animal husbandry standards in the agricultural industry. This is a high-priority issue, and CFB will be working closely with our agriculture coalition to protect Colorado agriculture and the livelihoods of CFB members. There are whispers of other bills; however, it is unclear at this time what those draft bills look like or what they address. Staff will watch this issue closely and keep members updated on any changes.

Next, water will be back, and the golden dome will be flooded with water-related bills. While a working group analyzing Colorado’s anti-speculation doctrine did not have any recommendations to change current law, there are a number of legislators looking to run bills concerning Investment Water Speculation. Next, we will see a bill that would utilize federal money to address compact compliance in the Rio Grande and Republican River watersheds. Finally, we are anticipating bills that address water efficiency savings, recreation in channel diversions and mapping Colorado’s headwaters.

We also expect more labor-related bills. The first anticipated bill is not directed at agriculture, but it could impact the way we treat our independent contractors. Additionally, the labor activists were just as unhappy with how the SB21-087 overtime rules were drafted as we were. Thus, we anticipate a legislative effort to change overtime to 40 hours per week and 12 hours per day. Lastly, the legislature will be taking a hard look at tax credits and exemptions. We will be watching for any changes to agricultural-related tax credits and exemptions.

So, what can CFB members do to help? Please answer the call for opportunities to testify on bills, fill out those Action Alerts and join CFB for membership update calls. These are impactful tools we use to tell legislators what farmers and ranchers need and what works for Colorado Agriculture. If you are not currently receiving Policy Watch emails and would like to, please reach out to the state office. We appreciate your support!