The Tavern League of Colorado Legislative Update
ADVOCATE | EDUCATE | PROMOTE
The 2016 legislative session is entering the homestretch with today marking the 101st day in the 120-day session. A grand total of just under 650 bills have been introduced thus far. With only nineteen days left, we have seen a large number of liquor bills introduced, as well.
After years of anticipation and an extremely contentious campaign, Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver) has introduced draft legislation that would allow beer, wine and spirits in grocery stores and large retail outlets. This legislation contains a number of concessions from both the large retailers and small liquor stores. A compromise on this issue would potentially eliminate the need for Your Choice Colorado to pursue a ballot measure in November. Multiple polls have shown to be favorable for the campaign to sell full strength beer and wine in all retail locations in the state. The Tavern League has taken a neutral position on this issue. Once the bill in formally introduced, I will include a full analysis.
HB16-1151, Alcohol Beverage Expand Penalty Mitigation (Rep. Pabon, D-Denver; Sen. Holbert, R-Parker) was signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper on March 31st. Stay tuned for pictures of the bill signing ceremony. The bill takes effect August 10, 2016. This is a significant step in acknowledging the importance of Responsible Vendor Training and further incentivizes both on and off-premise liquor licensees to train all staff on the safest ways to serve. The Tavern League hosts Responsible Vendor Initial Training Courses once a month and recertification classes as needed. Please contact Stephanie Fransen at 720-231-5777 or Stephanie@thetavernleague.com for information on upcoming trainings.
HB-16-1401, Retail Food Establishment Licenses and Inspections (Rep. Becker, D-Boulder, Rep. Priola, R-Brighton; Sen. Woods, R-Arvada, Sen. Hodge, D-Brighton) has moved through the legislative process fairly smoothly. This bill seeks to increase the annual license fees for retail food establishments, set a phasing increase of three years as well as prohibit counties from spending the increased revenue on anything other than retail food health-related activities. This bill is a result of an extensive stakeholder process of which The Tavern League was a part of. The stakeholder process was initiated during the 2015 legislative session. The original bill sought to take retail food establishment health inspection fees out of statute and directed to the State Board of Health to impose fees by rule. This would have instituted a system with no legislative oversight or means of recourse by businesses. An annual increase was one element of compromise by the retail food community provided counties adopt certain uniform standards of inspection, etc. HB-1401 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee Monday, April 25th. The Tavern League has taken a support position on this legislation.
HB16-1439, Lodging and Entertainment Facility License (Rep. Garnett, D-Denver) is scheduled to be heard in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on Tuesday, April 26th. This legislation seeks to create a new alcohol beverage license for establishments whose primary business is not the sale of alcohol but currently hold tavern licenses. Establishments include bowling alleys, pool halls and movie theaters. The establishments are still required to pay annual licensing fees and go through a licensed wholesaler. The Tavern League has taken a neutral positon on this bill. HB-1439 is scheduled to be heard in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee Tuesday, April 26th.
HB16-1445, Prohibit Persons Under 21 At Liquor Stores (Rep. Ryden, D-Aurora) seeks to make it a crime for a person under 21 to enter an off-premises establishment unless the person is accompanied by someone who is over 21. This bill is extremely straight forward and only applies to off-premises retailers. If passed, this bill would close the gap in allowing minors into liquor stores to purchase non-alcohol items such as cigarettes. HB-1445 is also scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, April 26th in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.
Deadlines are proposed each year to provide a framework for the session. The constitutionally mandated adjournment is 120 days after the start of the session. A few notable upcoming dates:
Friday 4/22 Final passage in house of introduction of all bills referred to the Appropriations Committee in that house
Final passage, including any conference committee report, for any school finance bills
Thursday 5/5 Final passage in second house of all bills referred to Appropriations Committee in that house
Wednesday 5/11 Adjournment sine die
2016 Legislation to Watch
Check out the link below to see bills of interest to The Tavern League. This link will remain the same but the attached page will be updated regularly to reflect new bills of interest that have been introduced and where each bill is in the legislative process.
News from the Colorado Capitol
State Legislature Challenges Weld County’s Restaurant Inspection Grading System
A Colorado House Bill aiming to update restaurant inspection regulations is working its way through the legislative process. The bill is the result of an extensive stakeholder process.
Fort Lyon Bill Passes Senate Committee
Legislators disagree over amendments on a bill regarding the Fort Lyon facility, a center for homeless veterans located in Bent County.
Industrial Hemp Gaining Traction in Colorado’s Agriculture Scene as Viable Crop
Hemp is putting down roots into the state’s agriculture scene, and as it grows, so will the already budding acceptance of the crop.
DID YOU KNOW?
The on-premise alcohol industry:
Employs over 190,000 people in Colorado.
Accounts for over $6.2 Billion in sales annually
Generates over $430 Million in local and state sales tax
70% of on-premise alcohol sales are from independent local owners