Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
April 18 –24, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus

Colorado’s Rain Barrel Bill Is Only the Beginning of The West’s New Water WarsPolicy-Bits41816

  • On April 1 the state legislature passed a bill to permit residents to catch rain and it appears that Hickenlooper will sign it making Colorado the last state to stop outright bans of the barrels. However, it was only able to pass due to 2 amendments, one that guaranteed rain barrels would not technically be considered a water right and promising to study the effect on existing water rights. More than ¾ of Western population lives in cities which are expected to grow by more than 10 million over the next 30 years. Farmers and outdoors industries are rightly scared they will end up losing their livelihoods to such outsized pressure. This is just one piece of the complicate water puzzle but something to watch as the state grapples with our first statewide water plan. https://goo.gl/khZWj
  • Water is literally the lifeblood of our economy, without it growing cities, booming agriculture and other industries like energy which all contribute to Colorado’s varied economy would be in trouble. In the Rocky Mountain West we need to be aware that water is scare and the costs will most likely go up for new development rights.

New National Transit Map Will Highlight America’s Commuting Gaps

  • As part of their Ladders to Opportunities initiative the Department of Transportation (DOT) is working with transit agencies to create a national transit map to identify gaps where workers cannot take transit to job opportunities. Currently only ~50% of the public can get to work by transit, while ~45% of households have zero access to transit. The first iteration of the National Transit Map should be released this summer. https://goo.gl/gDeYzl
  • This effort could be very helpful to local partners as we explore these issues.

Per the ‘16 Job Happiness Index, Denver: Home of America’s Least Happy Worker

  • According to Indeed Hiring Lab’s “Job Happiness Index 2016”, http://goo.gl/RCXG34 released last month, Denver workers have the lowest levels of job satisfaction in the country. “In fact,…it also ranked last for management, work/life balance and job security”. For some, the top result may be surprising given that just last year Forbes magazine ranked Denver as the best city to live for its “diverse economy, highly educated labor force and outdoor recreational opportunities” and just last week is was reported that Denver’s unemployment rate was only 3.3%, the lowest level since February 2001. And yet Denver has a higher concentration of disgruntled workers than troubled Detroit or Providence, which had the country’s worst job market in 2014. In comparison to other measures of well-being, job satisfaction is something that can be found by people living in wealthy and poor countries alike. http://goo.gl/fpprHQ
  • Compensation consistently ranks as the least significant factor when it comes to considering what makes people happy at work, on the contrary job satisfaction hinges on if an individual has a sense of purpose or a belief that future opportunities will arise. This tale from the field shows that despite the bounties of living in the Rocky Mountain west, all the innovation being done and the booming economy there is something missing from the local work culture and to remedy the situation wouldn’t take more money simply better management.