Weekly News from COBRT - January 15, 2019
January 15, 2019
Jared Polis was sworn in Tuesday as Colorado's 43rd governor, expressing optimism about the state's future in his inaugural address. The Democrat took the oath of office alongside his partner, Marlon Reis, the state's new first gentleman, under sunny skies on the West Steps of the State Capitol in Denver. The 43-year-old former Boulder congressman and tech entrepreneur now leads a state government dominated by his fellow Democrats, who hold all statewide government offices and control both chambers of the Legislature. 

Jared Polis took the oath of office as Colorado's 43rd governor under bright skies Tuesday, offering an address that was short on policy plans but long on promises that the former Democratic congressman will work to incorporate diverse ideas into his administration. In a ceremony where both prayers and poems incorporated criticism of the current federal government, Polis offered outreach to try to heal the increasing partisan divide and said that he will work especially to try to find ways to help people be able to afford health care, their homes and their children's educations. After taking a selfie of the crowd with his cell phone and tweeting it out to begin the speech, the Boulderite seemed during the roughly 15-minute address to go out of his way to assuage fears that his liberal viewpoints will shut out the voices of those with different political viewpoints, offering an ear to those who are willing to work with him on improving education, increasing health-care access and strengthening the state's renewable-energy industry. 

It was about a decade ago when leadership at Arrow Electronics needed to make a critical decision that would carry the business into the future: either continue selling components and grow the customer base, or be part of the design and future of where those parts were going. CEO Michael Long chose the latter and the investment in engineers is bearing fruit. Sales at the Centennial-based business are up 21 percent from two years ago and profit is up 33 percent. 

Legislative Republicans have put forward the first transportation-funding plan of the 2019 session - a somewhat modest effort to add less than $200 million to an allocation already slated for next year's budget in an effort to find some bipartisan consensus on the subject. Sen. John Cooke, a co-sponsor of that bill, also offered another measure, Senate Bill 53, that would bar the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission from adopting formally the low-emissions-vehicle mandates that the group voted to move forward on late last year. The Greeley Republican and Senate assistant minority leader acknowledged, however, that he doesn't see that bill passing, despite his desire to uncouple Colorado's emissions standards from those of California, as the AQCC plan would do.  

The Catalyst Space Accelerator is now recruiting for our third cohort, to begin in April 2019, focused on innovative Resilient Commercial Space Communications. Catalyst Space Accelerator is seeking established startups and small businesses with commercial solutions to expand, enhance, reinforce, and improve current space communication capabilities. The focus will be on developing novel concepts and prototypes for solutions that will support complimentary and trusted solutions for space communication.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that it will alter the system it has used to rate members of Congress to give credit for actions other than votes on legislation, such as showing "leadership" and being bipartisan. Chamber President Tom Donohue said that the change was necessary because the level of dysfunction in Congress was sapping confidence for business and posing a threat to the growth of economy. Too much time in Washington is "governing by crisis," he said.  

Gov. Jared Polis used his first State of the State Address Thursday to lay out plans for an overhaul of Colorado's tax system that would reduce costs for individuals and small businesses by eliminating a number of incentives and tax breaks currently offered to larger companies. Polis, inaugurated just two days ago as the successor to term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper, also called for efforts to bring down "outrageous" health-care costs, fund free full-day kindergarten for the entire state and move the state toward 100 percent renewable energy while empowering local governments to have more say over oil and gas drilling. As a whole, the Democratic governor's speech was a wide-ranging and ambition-filled address, covering everything from full funding of the Colorado Water Plan to increased support for workers wanting to unionize. 

It looks like the other shoe is about to drop for Colorado's business community in the 2019 legislative session following the Democratic Party's sweep of state government - and takeover of the legislature - last Nov. 6. The election's blue tide has given cause for unease in some quarters of commerce and industry over what might come next. The anxiety may be especially acute for the state's oil and gas industry - ever in the crosshairs of green-landing Democrats - despite the industry's success in defeating a proposal on the November ballot that some say would have all but shut down drilling on non-federal land statewide. 

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, who is known as one of the fathers of the internet and is a Gallup Senior Scientist. We discussed Gallup's BP10, what it takes to be a builder, and the three "key players" in the development of any organization: Expert, Conductor and Rainmaker. Vint added some insights on AI and technology to close out the interview. 

The Administration should ensure that new export control regulations governing emerging technologies reinforce U.S. strengths in innovation and global competitiveness, Business Roundtable said in comments submitted Thursday to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the Department of Commerce. In November 2018, BIS issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking asking for comment on developing new criteria to identify emerging technologies essential to U.S. national security. "Business Roundtable urges the Administration to work with industry to ensure that the criteria carefully consider the essential national security and competitive value of different technologies as well as the issue of how potential export controls could affect U.S. technological leadership," the comment letter said. Any new controls should be narrowly targeted and coordinated with allies, Business Roundtable added, allowing them to be adopted quickly by multilateral export control regimes.

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