Reflections from Prosper CO on the Legislative Session

The Denver Metro Chamber took 79 stances throughout the 2022 legislative session on bills impacting Colorado’s business climate, health and wellness, education and infrastructure. Additionally, the Chamber focuses on Prosper CO’s goals and missions to guide some of their policy work. There were several pieces of legislation that were followed closely by the Chamber and Prosper CO that helped advance women and people of color and aligned with the Chamber and Prosper CO’s commitment to equitably growing Colorado’s economy.

Here are some of the bills that Prosper CO was watching throughout the session, along with the justification for their stance and the bill’s outcome.


HB22-1051 Mod Affordable Housing Tax Credit

The Chamber supports HB22-1051: The Chamber recognizes that the lack of affordable workforce housing slows Colorado’s economic growth, undermines our ability to attract and retain talent, and poses a significant challenge to employees across the state. The affordable housing tax credit is a proven, effective and efficient solution to this problem, and we support the expansion and continuation of this program. We acknowledge, however, that the affordable housing crisis in Colorado is a multifaceted issue and will need a symmetrical response.

Outcome: Passed

HB22-1282 Innovative Housing Incentive Programs

The Chamber supports HB22-1282: Developers play a pivotal role in creating affordable housing. This bill allows them to access vital state funds so that Colorado's vibrant and competitive workforce can afford to live and work in the state.

Outcome: Passed

HB22-1304 State Grants Investments Local Affordable Housing

The Chamber supports HB22-1304: Providing grants to non-profits and local governments is an effective way to increase housing inventory. We support the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to address this critical issue, allowing Colorado to remain a competitive place to do business.

Outcome: Passed

SB22-146 Middle Income Access Program Expansion

The Chamber supports SB22-146: This bill supports a continuum of housing for the often-overlooked “missing middle.”  At a time when housing prices are skyrocketing, this bill creates an opportunity for our workforce to access affordable housing. The fund has previously proven to be effective, and we applaud the legislature for continuing a viable program without re-inventing the wheel.

Outcome: Passed

SB22-159 Revolving Loan Fund Invest Affordable Housing

The Chamber supports SB22-159: By ensuring eligible recipients have access to favorable lending rates, Colorado is better positioned to retain a vibrant workforce despite rising housing prices. The revolving loan mechanism is a long-term solution that will positively impact affordable housing for many years to come.

Outcome: Passed

Jobs & Small Business Development

HB22-1002 Fifth Year High School Concurrent Enrollment

The Chamber supports HB22-1002. Colorado’s workforce shortage is one of the most critical issues facing businesses today. By expanding eligibility to participate in ASCENT, this bill broadens educational and workforce opportunities for students. This bill also aligns with the Chamber’s Prosper CO efforts, because it helps remove financial and institutional barriers that might keep students from pursuing higher education.

Outcome: Failed

HB22-1009 Continue Workforce Diploma Pilot Program

The Chamber supports HB22-1009. The Chamber believes that this bill benefits both local businesses, as well as adults who were unable to receive their high school diploma. Businesses will experience an increase of qualified workers in the region, which will help meet hiring needs, and adults in need of a career.

Outcome: Failed

HB22-1098 Department of Regulatory Agencies Barriers To Practice Regulated Professions

The Chamber supports HB22-1098.This bill falls under the Fair Chance Hiring Act, which the Chamber has supported in the previous years as part of its Prosper CO work. We believe that people with criminal histories deserve a fair and transparent process when applying for jobs, registrations, licenses and certifications related to their career goals. This bill will benefit both people with criminal histories, as well as businesses that are struggling to meet hiring needs. The Chamber supports the removal of the antiquated and unnecessary barriers that stand between a person and their right to join the workforce.

Outcome: Passed

HB22-1230 Employment Support And Job Retention Services

The Chamber supports HB22-1230: We appreciate efforts to help businesses address the lack of talent in a competitive labor market. This bill creates opportunities for businesses to access much-needed talent while also creating opportunities for employees to re-enter the workforce and find good-paying, meaningful jobs.

Outcome: Passed

HB22-1310 529 Account Apprenticeship Expenses

The Chamber supports HB22-1310. We appreciate the expansion of qualified distributions to support workforce development, and we value putting into statute flexibility for students pursuing nontraditional education models or career training.

Outcome: Passed

HB22-1366 Improving Students’ Postsecondary Options

The Chamber supports HB22-1366: Colorado has a steadily declining rate of completion for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), currently at 43.4%. This bill equips teachers and other education professionals with the tools they need to help students navigate a complex federal application process. It is essential that Colorado invest in and develop local talent, and the low rate of completion disproportionately hurts low-income students and students of color who might be eligible for FASFA dollars. The Chamber supports this bill because it works toward economic goals identified by Prosper Colorado and our various talent initiatives.

Outcome: Passed

SB22-050 Work Opportunities For Offenders In Department Of Corrections

The Chamber supports SB22-050: When people who are imprisoned receive training and reskilling during their incarceration, they are better prepared to join the workforce and experience fewer barriers when released. This bill creates an opportunity to reengage a neglected segment of the workforce and equips them with the skills that employers are seeking, which is critical as many businesses are experiencing workforce shortages.

Outcome: Passed

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records

The Chamber supports SB-099: This bill comes as Colorado is in the midst of a widespread labor shortage. In July 2021, an all-time high of 7.7% of jobs in Colorado were unfilled according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This bill helps address the labor shortage by removing a barrier to employment, education and housing for residents with qualifying criminal records.

Outcome: Passed

SB22-140 Expansion of Experiential Learning Opportunities

The Chamber supports SB22-140: Colorado is currently experiencing a labor shortage, and we recognize that alternative pathways into the workforce are necessary to fill job vacancies and create a sustainable workforce pipeline. We support this bill because it creates the infrastructure necessary to upskill and reskill Coloradans as business needs evolve.

Outcome: Passed

SB22-163 Establish State Procurement Equity Program

The Chamber supports SB22-163: This bill is congruent with our Prosper CO initiatives to support minority entrepreneurship and lift up BIPOC businesses. We believe this is a good step to closing the statewide gap in procurement opportunities, so we have a more equitable system in place to support all business owners. We applaud the state legislature for prioritizing these initiatives.

Outcome: Passed

Overall, the majority of Prosper CO’s priorities for the session passed the legislature and are in their final phases of approval. We saw wins with several bills were passed this year to help increase the availability of workforce housing and incentivize developers. There were also strides taken in fair chance hiring with the passing of several bills that help formerly incarcerated people reintegrate into the workforce and upskill to receive better work opportunities.

We did see a few losses as well with the failures of HB22-1002 and HB22-1009, which would have expanded education opportunities and removed barriers to employment for those following a non-traditional route through the education system.

There’s still plenty to keep an eye on this year, as election season is only six months away. Prosper CO and the Denver Metro Chamber continue to monitor the legislature for any issues that could impact our effort to make Colorado’s economy equitable for all.

Read more about Prosper CO’s policy objectives or see all of the Denver Metro Chamber’s stances for the 2022 session.