Unexplained Death of Bipartisan Regulatory Reform Bill

(May 9) – After weeks of silence from Senate Republicans, Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp’s bipartisan regulatory reform bill to cut red tape for small business and give state agencies the ability to waive penalties for minor infractions was killed without explanation by the Senate Appropriations Committee in less than a minute.

“I can’t understand why a bill that’s good for small business, good for our economy and has bipartisan support was kept in the dark for so long and then unceremoniously killed,” said Rep. Kraft Tharp, D-Arvada. “I hope the Senate leadership can explain to Colorado small businesses why they turned their backs on this solution.”

HB17-1270 was also sponsored by Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park, Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver. The bill would have given first-violation companies with 50 employees or fewer – about nine out of 10 companies in Colorado —30 days to correct the lapse without penalty when the aggregate penalty is a fine of $500 or less. Under the bill, state agencies could waive penalties in a variety of categories, but not in several specified categories, including 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.

HB17-1270 was the last chance for meaningful regulatory reform this legislative session. It passed out of the House with a 41-22 vote on April 3.

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