(April 3) – After years of failed partisan efforts, Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp’s bill to give state agencies the ability to waive penalties for small businesses for minor infractions of state regulations passed the House this morning. The vote was 41-22, with five Republicans joining every Democrat in supporting the common-sense proposal.
“Regulatory reform has been a contentious issues in the legislature for years,” said Rep. Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada. “I’m proud to have developed a compromise with bipartisan sponsorship and support from business, labor and consumer groups.”
Under HB17-1270, also sponsored by Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park, first-violation companies with 50 employees or fewer – about nine out of 10 companies in Colorado — that fail to file the appropriate paperwork, where the aggregate penalty is a fine of $500 or less, could be given 30 days to correct the lapse without penalty. State agencies could waive penalties in a variety of categories, but not in several specified categories, including those involving public safety, wage theft or violations of federal law.
The bill would also urge state agencies to improve public dissemination of rules changes and order a review of the most-violated rules to see if notification and training, or the rules themselves, should be revised.
Business groups such as the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, the Colorado Competitive Council and the Denver Metro Chamber testified in committee in support of moving the bill forward.
But only five House Republicans voted for the bill.
Voting against Colorado small businesses were Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist of Centennial and Republican Reps. Jon Becker of Fort Morgan, Perry Buck of Windsor, Terri Carver of Colorado Springs, Justin Everett of Littleton, Stephen Humphrey of Eaton, Lois Landgraf of Fountain, Tim Leonard of Evergreen, Kimmi Lewis of Kim, Larry Liston of Colorado Springs, Paul Lundeen of Monument, Hugh McKean of Loveland, Clarice Navarro of Pueblo, Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs, Kim Ransom of Littleton, Lori Saine of Dacono, Lang Sias of Arvada, Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch, Yeulin Willett of Grand Junction, Dave Williams of Colorado Springs and Jim Wilson of Salida,
HB17-1270 goes to the Senate, where it also has bipartisan sponsorship.