In November 2016, Colorado citizens voted for Amendment 70, which raises the state minimum wage. The minimum wage is the lowest wage that can be paid to most workers under the law. Since July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees has been $7.25 per hour. The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The federal minimum wage law supersedes state minimum wage laws only where the federal minimum wage is greater than the state minimum wage. Alternatively, in states like Colorado, where the state minimum wage is greater than the federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage prevails, and employees are entitled to the higher minimum wage.
Amendment 70 posed the following question to Colorado voters:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution increasing the minimum wage to $9.30 per hour with annual increases of $0.90 each January 1 until it reaches $12 per hour effective January 2020, and annually adjusting it thereafter for cost-of-living increases?
The Amendment passed by 55.4% resulting in the state minimum wage rising from $8.31 per hour to $9.30 on January 1, 2017. Because the Amendment raises the rate in stages, each year since has seen an increase, as shown in the following table.
The minimum wage reached $12 in 2020, so from now on, the minimum wage will adjust based on the annual cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The cost-of-living adjustment increases by .24 for 2022.
In May of 2019, Colorado lawmakers passed House Bill 19-1210, which gives local jurisdictions the power to set their own minimum wage, subject to certain restrictions. The bill went into effect on January 1, 2020. For more information, view the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment fact sheet on Authority of Local Governments to Enact Minimum Wages.
Effective January 1, 2022, Colorado will raise its minimum wage rate to $12.56 per hour. Counties should begin paying all minimum wage employees the new rate of $12.56 for regular employees and $9.54 for tipped employees unless and until they enact a local minimum wage law. For more information, contact CTSI at 303 861 0507.
A PDF version of this Technical Update is available here.
In November 2012, Colorado residents voted to legalize marijuana leading to numerous legal marijuana grow operations opening throughout the state. These legal grows are regulated by and subject to state law; however, counties are still encountering illegal grows that must be cleaned up and destroyed. These unregulated grows can pose health hazards to county employees tasked with their removal because unknown pesticides and animal repellents may be present on the plants, or mildew and mold may be present in poorly ventilated grow houses.
County employees tasked with cleaning up an illegal grow should use proper personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect them from exposure to unknown chemicals or hazardous mold and mildew spores. While some counties have access to hazmat teams to deal with these types of clean-ups, other counties rely on county employees such as those on road and bridge crews to clean up illegal grows. All employees coming into contact with illegal grows should use proper PPE equipment. Should a county employee, especially a CDL license holder, be tasked with clearing an illegal grow, any accidental contamination should be documented.
An environmental hazard assessment should be made before clearing an illegal grow to determine what kinds of PPE are required. Recommended PPE and the potential hazards to consider are listed below:
According to the CDPHE, employers are required to train each employee to whom they provide PPE to conduct their work activities. The following information must be included in this training:
Illegal marijuana grows continue to be a problem, and Colorado counties should ensure that employees cleaning up these grows wear proper PPE. For more information, contact CTSI at 303 861 0507.
A PDF of this Technical Update is available here.
Although we missed seeing you in person, we had a great time getting to know some of you over videoconference at this year's Newly Elected Officials Seminar. If you missed it, or would like to see it again, please first download the packet below and then click play on the video.
In 2018 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that distracted driving accounted for 2,841 driving-related fatalities. Defined as any activity that takes a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving, distracted driving is an ever-increasing problem as more and more technology creeps into our vehicles, dividing our focus. Texting, cell phone use, eating, changing the station on the radio, or even carrying on a conversation all count as distracted driving. There are three types of distractions while driving:
Many common activities people engage in while driving can be distracting. One of the biggest and most risky is cell phone use, which causes visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. According to insurance claim data, 19% of auto accidents in 2019 were caused by phone-based distractions.
People tend to think that they are good at multitasking, especially while driving; however, study after study has found that the brain cannot give full attention to more than one task at a time. Driving is a complex task that requires the full focus and attention of every driver on the road. Distracted driving can cause life-changing injuries, and it can be fatal.
The best way to avoid distracted driving is to limit distractions before putting the vehicle in drive. Plan your route before starting the trip, as even GPS navigation systems can be a distraction. Set the radio, climate controls, etc., before driving. Do not eat while driving. If you are taking a long trip, plan to stop for food and rest breaks. Put cell phones out of sight and out of reach. Set your cell phone to send an automatic text informing anyone who texts that you are driving and will contact them later, or better yet, turn off your cell phone while in the car. According to one study, using a cell phone while driving reduces your focus on driving by 37%.
Counties can help prevent distracted driving by establishing clear procedures for what is and is not acceptable behavior in county vehicles, such as banning employees from cellphone use while driving. Make safe driving a priority with training plans that encourage employees to pull over if they need to make a phone call, check a map, send a text, or engage in other potentially distracting activities.
Auto accidents pose an enormous risk to the county pools and endanger county employees. Implement clear policies that discourage distracted driving in county vehicles. In addition, provide training to county employees about the risks of distracted driving. CTSI offers several safety videos on distracted driving, including “Hang up and Drive” and a Defensive Driving Refresher webinar. Members will need to login to view the videos. For more information about the dangers of distracted driving or for information on implementing a fleet safety program, contact CTSI Loss Control at (303) 861 0507.
A PDF of this Technical Update is available here.
CTSI prides itself on its dedication and service as it helps Colorado counties navigate the insurance market and benefit from shared resources with the power of pooling. As part of that effort, CTSI welcomed three new staff members in June. These three new faces will help CTSI continue to maintain excellent, personalized service for its members.
Rhonda Curran joined CTSI as a Risk Analyst. Rhonda spent 29 years at Willis Towers Waston doing actuarial and risk management. In 2016, Rhonda switched to development and fundraising for nonprofit organizations, most recently at Recovery Café Longmont. In addition to her 30 years of experience in the insurance actuarial and risk management field, Rhonda also holds a BA in economics with a concentration in statistics from the University of Connecticut as well as professional credentials as a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Risk Management (ARM), and Associate in Reinsurance (ARe). Rhonda is a native of Connecticut and has called Colorado home for 28 years. She is looking forward to working on a variety of projects for CTSI.
Kim Morgan is replacing Lisa Stoner, who recently moved to our Worker’s Compensation department, as the CTSI Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. Kim is a native of Colorado and has over 25 years of experience in office administration. In her role, Kim will be the voice on the phone for many CTSI members as she greets callers and directs them to the proper department. Kim is looking forward to helping CTSI continue to grow and to getting to know the CTSI membership.
Dylan Patterson, another Colorado native, joined CTSI from Chipotle, where he handled general liability claims for their more than 2,800 stores. Dylan has over 20 years of experience as a claims adjuster and is looking forward to handling new types of claims and getting to know the CTSI staff and membership.
CTSI is happy to welcome our three new staff members and congratulate Lisa Stoner on her new position with the organization. CTSI is proud of our continued growth as we adapt to meet the needs of our member counties. For more information on CTSI contact at (303) 861 0507.
James Buchanan Adams III, CTSI Property & Liability Senior Claims Examiner, passed away on April 25, 2020. James was a valued member of the CTSI team for over 13 years. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, James grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He moved to Littleton, Colorado, with his family in 1989 and enjoyed the many outdoor activities Colorado has to offer. His co-workers at CTSI remember him for his kindness, his sense of humor, and the knowledge and professionalism he brought to his work. Colorado’s counties, as well as CTSI staff, greatly benefitted from James’s long experience in insurance litigation, both from his skill managing cases and from his readiness to share what he learned with his team members. James enjoyed working with CTSI’s county members and was a wonderful presence in the CAPP Department. He will be greatly missed.