May 12, 2022

By Kip Kolkmeier

The Colorado General Assembly wrapped up its regular 2022 session on May 11th. Legislators considered over 650 individual bills, and this update summarizes mediation bills and other bills of note that passed.

Three bills passed that referred to mediation services (more description provided below): 

  • Senate Bill 230 requires mediation if county employees reach an impasse in collective bargaining.
  • Senate Bill 19 allows an attorney to review a suppressed court record for mediation.
  • Senate Bill 77 requires disputes under the Interstate Compact for Licensed Professional Counselors to be resolved through mediation or binding dispute resolution.

Other bills of note that passed include:

  • Senate Bill 233 will deliver cash to Colorado taxpayers of at least $400 for single tax filers, and at least $800 to those filing jointly. 
  • Senate Bill 238 will reduce property taxes by $700 million between 2023 and 2024 by limiting property tax assessments. 
  • House Bill 1329 contains the State’s $36 billion budget. The budget increases funding for K-12 education and gives state employees a 3% raise. It also expands efforts to improve public safety and monitor air quality.
  • House Bill 1279 puts in statute the right to abortion and contraception services regardless of how the United States Supreme Court may rule regarding abortion rights. 

There were also bills passed to address water conservation, wildfire mitigation, manufacturer responsibility for recycling, expansion of mental and behavioral health services, and naming Juneteenth as an official State Holiday.

More Detail about the Mediation Bills:

Senate Bill 230 allows county employees to bargain collectively. The bill comprehensively describes the dispute resolution process that the employees’ representative and a county must follow if an impasse arises during the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement. The Division of Labor Standards and Statistics must partner with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to offer training in interest-based bargaining upon the mutual request of an employee organization and the county. If the parties reach a bargaining impasse, either may request mediation. Mediation may continue for up to sixty days unless the mediator determines that mediation is no longer necessary or useful. Mediators must be chosen from those registered with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Senate Bill 19 allows an attorney, with the approval of a person named in a suppressed court record, to review the record for specific purposes. One identified purpose is to evaluate whether the matter is suitable for mediation, or in preparation for mediation between the parties included in the court record.

Senate Bill 77 adds Colorado to an Interstate Compact allowing Licensed Professional Counselors to practice in any state joining the compact. The legislation includes the obligation of the governing Commission to promulgate rules to resolve disputes between states through mediation or binding dispute resolution.

As a service to our members, the MAC regularly monitors state legislation affecting the profession. The MAC provides expert testimony before legislative committees, and advises legislators and legislative staff regarding the value of mediation. The MAC encourages legislators to require mediation where appropriate and seeks to expand opportunities for qualified mediation professionals.