What’s Up for Glass in Colorado? Glass Expo Rocky Mountain™ 2006 Attendees Learn of New Legislation

by Brigid O’Leary and Rebecca Kaspari

DENVER—Attendees to Glass Expo Rocky Mountain 2006 had the opportunity to attend a seminar today delving into the hot topics for members of the glass industry in Colorado and, as it turns out, the hot topics right now are a lot of legislation.

Bill Smith and Corky Kyle told attendees of new legislation being proposed in 2006 that will effect legislation for the flat glass as well as the auto glass industries.

Smith, with Workers Compensation in Colorado, explained to attendees that insurance premiums have increased 15 percent for those that work in shop. In contrast, the premium for mobile work has decreased seven percent. Smith cited the lack of training and education about shop safety and the diminishing use of safety equipment for the divergent percentages.

“If you don’t train [your employees], they will find a shortcut that often is not in their best interest,” said Smith. “The apparent end result will not only be costly to employees but also to your bottom line.”

Additionally, Smith announced that Colorado House Bill 1006 has been introduced to try to “instate more accountability for steering violations.” If passed, the bill would further legislation already in place making it illegal for insurance companies or insurance agents to recommend a shop or store to use for glass repair or replacement.

Corky Kyle, president of the Kyle Group, a public and government affairs advocacy group that represents industries including the glass industry, followed Smith with information about the current legislative session and what’s important for the glass industry. Kyle is also the lobbyist for the Colorado Construction Reform Coalition (CGCA).

Kyle talked about Bill 1077, which would get rid of broad form negligence and create an intermediate “sole negligence.” The bill would require every party with a grievance to pr0ove another party 100-percent negligible to avoid being accountable for the problem.

“If this becomes law, it cauterizes the terms general contractors are using now. It means if you are even one-percent at fault, you will still pay 100 percent of the damages. Why should a glazier be responsible for an excavator?” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The CCRC adamantly opposes this bill because it puts all subcontractors in jeopardy of being held responsible for everyone’s actions on a job. The bill passed committee yesterday in a vote of 7-4, and is now before the House. Should it successfully pass both the Senate and the House, the Governor will most likely sign his approval as well.

Counter legislation supported by the CCRC in the form of Bill 1148 has been introduced and backed by 24 supporters. It would make each person or company responsible for his or her own negligence. A date for the bill to be heard before the legislative bodies has not yet been set.

“The battle on our hands since the other bill came out of committee, I can’t describe it,” said Kyle. “You have to take action when you see these things. The only way we can beat 1047 is to get involved.”

Kyle advised his audience to get involved with lobbyists, to talk to them and make their concerns known, as well as to get involved in the electoral process, especially with 2006 being an election year in Colorado.

To become involved with the CGCA, contact executive director Rebecca Kaspari at rtkaspari@msn.com.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Kyle Group or to contact them for information on working with legislators.

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