State Legislation to Watch
2015 State Legislation: Recap
- Colorado Medical Device Sales and Use Tax Refund: CBSA, in partnership with the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA), proposed the creation of a medical device and clean technology Sales and Use Tax refund for the sale, storage, use or consumption of personal property used in Colorado directly and predominately in research and development. Similar state programs have proven this is an effective incentive to help cultivate industry sectors and encourage companies to further grow and conduct their research and product development within the state. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Westminster) and Jim Wilson (R-Salida) and Senators Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and Chris Holbert (R-Parker). The tax refund is available beginning in 2015 for companies that have less than 35 employees and more than 50 percent of those employees must be in Colorado.
House Bill 15-1180 - Passed
- Substitution of Biosimilar Products in Colorado: Formerly, Colorado law did not allow for the substitution of a biosimilar product with an innovator biologic product. Senate Bill 15-71, sponsored by Senators Cheri Jahn (D-Lakewood) and Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representatives Beth McCann (D-Denver) and Lois Landgraf (R-Fountain), will now allow pharmacists to make substitutions for biologic drugs without prior physician approval. Provisions of the bill, require that pharmacists must keep records of biologic prescriptions filled and that they must communicate to physicians about substitutions made. The bill in Colorado deals specifically with biosimilar drugs deemed interchangeable by the FDA, a designation that has yet to be offered to the biosimilar now on the market, but will allow Colorado patients to receive these drugs as soon as they are available.
Senate Bill 15-71 - Passed
- Prohibited Communication Concerning Patents: Intellectual property is the lifeblood of the bioscience industry, and the protection of a company’s IP and patents are essential to encouraging innovation and the development of new medical technologies and therapies. House Bill 15-1063, sponsored by Representative Dan Pabon (D-Denver) and Senator David Balmer (R-Centennial), will grant the Colorado Attorney General enforcement authority when an assertion of a bad faith infringement claims is imposed. However, the legislation strikes an important balance ensuring legitimate patent infringement cases are able to proceed.
House Bill 15-1063 - Passed
- Innovative Industry Workforce Development Program: Developing a workforce and talent pipeline has become increasingly important for the high-tech industries in the state. House Bill 15-1230, sponsored by Representatives Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) and Mike Foote (D-Boulder) Senators John Cooke (R-Greeley) and Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), offers a program to help in this effort by creating the Innovative Industries Workforce Development Program. The program will reimburse employers with high-level internships and apprenticeships in an innovative industry for up to $5,000 in expenses per intern. An employer may be reimbursed for no more than 10 interns, and at least half of the reimbursement must be used to pay interns. The program will allow Colorado high school or college students or recent graduates enrolling in the program would gain real-world work experience and occupational skills, and employers would provide training tailored to their real-world needs.
- Crowdfunding: The lack of access to capital is an obstacle to starting and expanding small businesses, crowdfunding provides companies with a new avenue to access the capital they need to start or expand their business. Formerly, the use of crowdfunding was restricted within Colorado State Securities Law. House Bill 15-1246, sponsored by Representatives Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs), Dan Pabon (D-Denver), Senators Mark Scheffel (R-Castle Rock) and Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), creates the Colorado Crowdfunding Act allowing Colorado residents to invest in Colorado companies through online intermediaries under a simplified regulatory regime. Crowdfunding cannot begin until the Securities Commissioner in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) adopts rules to implement the bill.
House Bill 15-1246 - Passed
- Expand Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit for Higher Education Projects: Colorado’s job-growth incentive tax credit is typically provided to companies planning to relocate or expand their operations that create 20 new jobs. House Bill 15-1366, sponsored by Representatives Dan Pabon (D-Denver), Yeulin Willett (R-Delta) and Senator David Balmer (R-Centennial), will expand the program allowing startup companies who enter into a partnership with a state institution of higher education and create at least five new jobs access to the incentive. In particular, this bill allows the credit to be refundable under certain conditions and relaxes the requirements to qualify for the credit.
House Bill 15-1366 - Passed
- Agricultural Market Development Grants: Modeled after the Advanced Industry Accelerator Grant Program, House Bill 15-1230, sponsored by Representatives Dave Young (D-Greeley), Jennifer Arndt (D-Fort Collins) and Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Cannon City), would have created the Agricultural Development and Investment Partnership Program. The program included proof-of-concept and feasibility study grants, early-stage capital and business expansion grants, reimbursement of market development and promotion expenses, and funding for broad-based market promotion activities of the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Ultimately the bill was unsuccessful; however, a current effort is underway to propose similar legislation during the 2016 session.
House Bill 15-1320 - Failed
House Bill 15-1230 - Passed
For an in-depth look at other issues during the 2015 Legislative Session, please review the Colorado Legislative Services "End of Session Report"