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2020 Legislative Session: Bills We’re Watching February 17,2020

This is a running list of the bills we are watching in the 2020 Colorado legislative session. Check back for updates. Updated 2/17/2020

BILLS WE SUPPORT

House Bill 1055: Vintner’s Restaurant Alternating Proprietor
Sponsors: Rep Garnett (D-Denver) and Rep Liston (R- Colorado Springs)
This bill would allow vintner’s restaurant licensees to apply for permission to manufacture their products on alternating proprietor licensed premisesThis means a vintner’s restaurant licensee would be able to manufacture their wine at one of their locations and sell it for off-premises consumption at all of their locations. This same provision exists for brew pubs and other manufacturers in Colorado. We support this.

Senate Bill 78: Dogs on Restaurant Patios
Sponsor: Senator Donovan (D- Edwards)
This bill would allow dogs on patios if certain conditions are met. These conditions are very similar to existing regulation. We support this.

House Bill 1023: State Address Data for Sales and Use Tax Collection
Sponsors: Rep Kraft-Tharp (D- Arvada) and Rep Van Winkle (R- Highlands Ranch)
This bill establishes a hold harmless provision for businesses that use the State’s geographic information system database to determine the sales and use tax rates for different jurisdictions, with the requirement that the database be at least 95% accurate. This prevents businesses from being held liable for any miscalculations or incorrect sales tax payment if they are using this database. We support this.

Senate Bill 90: Limit Liability for Food Donations to Nonprofits
Sponsor: Senator Winter (D-Westminster)
Senator Winter introduced SB-90, which limits criminal and civil liability for food donations to nonprofits, in an effort to get more restaurants to donate leftovers. We support this.


BILLS WE OPPOSE


Senate Bill 110: Penalties for Liquor Law Violations
Sponsors: Senator Williams (D- Denver) and Senator Holbert (R- Parker)
This bill would increase the fines to businesses that violate their liquor licenses. Under current law, fines are calculated based on liquor revenue of the establishment and capped at $5,000. Under this law, the cap on fines would be lifted, and the violations would be equal to the estimated 20% of a business’s liquor revenue during the period of proposed suspension, ranging from $500-$100,000. We oppose, and we are working with the Liquor Enforcement Division and other stakeholders to propose an amendment.

Senate Bill 86: Alcohol Beverage License and Permit Expiration
Sponsors: Senator Williams (D- Denver) and Senator Holbert (R- Parker)
This bill would allow the state licensing authority to charge a fee for liquor license renewals. Their argument is that this additional fee would allow them to take in more revenue, thereby stabilizing the fluctuating costs of new liquor license applications. We are opposed.

House Bill 1025: Sales Tax Exemption Industrial and Manufacturing Energy Use
Sponsors: Representative Benavidez (D- Adams County) and Representative Snyder (D- Manitou Springs)
This bill would require restaurants that wish to take the utility tax credit to install a separate meter that would measure the utilities used for food production. The way the bill is currently drafted, there is some question on how to comply with the law, and the price for meters isn’t listed although we have heard costs ranging from $5K-$20K per meter. We are opposed.

House Bill 1233: Basic Life Functions in Public Spaces
Sponsors: Representative Melton (D-Denver) and Representative Benavidez (D-Adams County)
This bill would prohibit a government entity from restricting “basic life functions” in public spaces or living in a registered vehicle unless the government entity can offer adequate shelter space to that individual. “Basic life functions” include standing, sleeping, sheltering etc. An individual may pursue civil action against any government entity that violates this restriction. We are opposed.


BILLS ON WHICH WE ARE NEUTRAL

House Bill 1089: Employee Protection Lawful Off-Duty Activities
Sponsor: Rep Melton (D-Aurora)
This bill prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for the employee’s lawful off-duty activities that are lawful under state law even if those activities are not lawful under federal law. Yes, this means marijuana. And yes, you’ll still be able to have a policy that will allow you to discipline/terminate someone if they are impaired on the job. We’re currently neutral.


INDEFINITELY POSTPONED BILLS

Senate Bill 10: Repeal Ban on Local Government Regulation of Plastics
Sponsor: Senator Donovan (D- Edwards)
This bill would have repealed the ban of local governments to regulate the use or sale of plastics any way they see fit. We were opposed to this and worked with the large coalition formed in opposition to this bill. After we testified in committee along with these groups, pointing to the patchwork of regulation and potential unintended consequences because of the breadth of the bill, the committee voted to postpone the bill indefinitely.

Senate Bill 154: Bring Own Wine into Restaurants
Sponsor: Senator Donovan (D-Edwards)
This bill would have required hotel and restaurant licensees to allow customers to bring one bottle of wine onto the licensed premises for consumption. The licensee may deny the customer their bottle of wine only if the customer has brought one to the establishment in the last 24 hours, the customer is intoxicated, the licensee is no longer selling food for the day, or if the licensee believes the customer has committed unlawful acts in violation of the license. We were opposed, and this bill died in committee.


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