CO Senate debates Democrats’ bid preference bill

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The Colorado Senate is debating a proposal to give bidding preferences to companies that employ local workers for state projects.

It’s a centerpiece of the Democrats’ job-creation plan this session, but it lacks Republican support and has gotten strong opposition from business groups.

The bill being debated Tuesday would give a bidding preference to companies for state service and construction contracts worth more than $1 million if they prove at least 90 percent of their employees are Colorado residents. The companies would get an additional edge in bidding if they provide health care and retirement benefits.

Democrats say the bill is a way to reduce the state’s unemployment rate. Senate Democrats have enough votes to pass the measure but its prospects are dim in the Republican-controlled House.