5:01am

Thu January 17, 2013
Business

Gun Rights, Employee Privacy Among This Year's Business Bills

Just a week into the legislative session, Colorado lawmakers have already introduced more than 100 bills - many of which will impact businesses in the state.

Boulder County Business Report publisher Chris Wood says the diverse mix of bills this year features a few common themes. "A lot of these bills fall into two categories: improving the economy and reconciling the rights of business owners with those of their employees, including employees’ right to privacy," says Wood.

Erin O'Toole speaks with Chris Wood about business-related legislation for Morning Edition

Bills designed to improve the economy will likely include a new assistance program for job-seekers. One privacy-related bill up for debate this session would prohibit employers from requiring workers or applicants to divulge passwords for their private social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter.

Lawmakers will also consider extending the right to use deadly force against intruders to business owners and employees. Similar legislation failed last year.

Interview highlights:

On some of the economic development related proposals debuting at the Capitol...

"In the House, you have what’s been dubbed the Colorado Advanced Industries Accelerator Act, which would authorize a grant program through the Colorado Office of Economic Development. That would be used to promote some of the state’s major sectors, including aerospace, bioscience, energy, information technology and others.

The House also has proposals to finance the state’s Small Business Development Centers, as well as to create a pilot Economic Gardening program to provide assistance to 20 Colorado-based companies."

On bills dealing with employer/employee rights...

"Around the country, some employers are requiring employees to provide passwords to personal accounts, such as those used in social media. House Bill 1046 would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or applicant to disclose a password to a personal account or service. An employer would still be able to investigate an employee if they suspect different forms of wrongdoing.

Another bill would prohibit employers from use of consumer credit information for employment purposes if that information is unrelated to the job."

On the 'Make My Day Better' legislation...

"Think of the old “Make My Day Law,” which allows homeowners to use deadly force against intruders. Up until now, that law has not pertained to businesses, but House Bill 1048 would extend that right to use deadly force against intruders to include owners, managers and employees of businesses.

A similar bill was introduced last year but went nowhere. It will be interesting to see what happens with this version, especially in the wake of the tragic shootings that have occurred around the country, including right here in Colorado."

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