These are all of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Marijuana bills proposed in the 2020 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, Major, Medium, Minor+, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

HB20-1001 Nicotine Product Regulation (Bridges (D), Priola (R)) [Mullica (D), Larson (R)]

AMENDED: Moderate

PASSED

Appropriation: $2,559,317
Fiscal Impact: Difficult to estimate, possibly slight increase in revenue in first full year then slight decrease in year 2

Goal: Raise the minimum age someone is allowed to buy nicotine products from 18 to 21 to comply with new federal law and make it harder for retail outlets to evade or fail to uphold this requirement.

Description:

  • Raises the minimum age someone is allowed buy nicotine products from 18 to 21 to comply with new federal laws.
  • Requires all retailers to obtain a license if they want to sell nicotine products and requires a separate license for each retail location.
  • Removes the criminal penalty to someone underage attempting to purchase nicotine products.
  • Prohibits new retail locations for nicotine products within 500 feet of a school, prohibits retail locations that sell vaping products from advertising them in a manner visible from outside the store and from delivering them directly to customers
  • Greatly increases the fine amounts for violations of the law and adds escalating prohibition on selling nicotine for repeat offenders.
  • Prohibits retailers from permitting a person under 18 to sell nicotine products.
  • Increases the number of compliance checks required at each location to two a year, as feasible with existing fees. These are to be coordinated with local authorities.
  • Removes already limited ability to have cigarette vending machines Narrows existing exemption allowing cigarette vending machines to only apply to gaming establishments

Additional Information:

Does not prohibit employees who are over 18 but under 21 from handling nicotine products. If local authorities also require a license, state is to set its own license renewal date to match local authority. Retailers may use a joint application with a joint application fee for multiple locations. State licensing authority has the ability to sanction and revoke licensees, who have the right to appeal decisions. Fine increases for selling to underage consumers are as follows:

  • $250-$500 for first offense within 36 24 month period
  • $500-$750 for second offense within 36 24 month period, prohibition on selling nicotine for 7 days
  • $750-$1,000 for third offense within 36 24 month period, prohibition on selling nicotine for 30 days
  • $1,000-$15,000 for fourth or subsequent offenses within 36 24 month period, prohibition on selling nicotine for up to 3 years

Fines for operating without a license are:

  • $1,000 for first violation
  • $2,000 for the second violation within 36 24 month period
  • $3,000 for the third or subsequent violations within 36 24 month period and prohibition from applying for a nicotine license for three years

The state will hold back 10% of civil penalties received to reimburse families for the cost of lung cancer screenings provided to minors.


Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For: The federal law on this changed last year, so the state needs to change its own laws to comply (and it actually became illegal to sell nicotine to anyone under 21 in the state once the federal law changed). But it is a good idea anyway, 19 states plus DC have already done this. A 2015 study from the Institute of Medicine found that raising the legal smoking purchase age to 21 could prevent about 223,000 premature deaths (and this was BEFORE the vaping crisis hit). This is because delaying when people can start smoking is critical, for much the same reason we try to delay people from drinking alcohol: the brain is still developing at this age, most critically in the area of decision-making. But it is all the more critical for a highly addictive product like nicotine. About 90% of daily smokers report first using cigarettes before 19. About 250 kids under 18 become regular smokers each day in the country. And when it comes to vaping, 28% of high schoolers reporting using e-cigarettes in the previous month in a 2019 study, up a whopping 8% from the same study in 2018, with middle school (!) usage climbing from 5% to 11%. The reason why raising the age to purchase up to 21 should prove effective is that is essentially removes the ability for any high school student to legally purchase nicotine for their underage friends. Which brings in the second part of this bill, we have to crack down on retailers and make it much more difficult for people to evade or fail to enforce this law, which cracks down on the second major avenue for those underage to acquire nicotine. Licensing allows us to better hold retailers accountable and withhold the privilege of selling a dangerous product to those that prove they cannot handle it. Keeping these products away from schools (and 500 feet is very close, just over 1 ½ football fields) and keeping stores from advertising vaping products should also help cut-down on underage use.

Arguments Against:

Much like alcohol, the notion that by banning something we are going to keep it out of kids’ hands is fool-hardy. And given the highly addictive nature of nicotine, kids who get hooked are going to find a way. The 250 kids under 18 becoming regular smoker stat says it all. Those under 18s couldn’t legally buy cigarettes before, but they were still getting them. And most certainly they were not all getting them from high school buddies who were 18. Of course we need to follow federal law and change the legal purchase age to 21. But we should not institute the measures on retailers that this bill does. From school buffer zones (which when they overlap against each other makes legal real estate much harder to come by) to harsh penalties and licensing requirements, this bill is likely to have negative effects on some retailers selling nicotine products at all. Coloradans that smoke are already second-class citizens, we do not need to pile on by making it difficult for them to find places to purchase nicotine products. Retailers used to get credit for making good-faith efforts to prevent underage sales, like employee training and ID card scanners. That is also now gone.


There is nothing we can do to combat a federal law, but this law is wrong. If you are old enough to vote and fight and die for our country, you are old enough to smoke. Change the minimum age because we must, but leave it at that and hope that those 18-21 who are voting, serving in the military, and otherwise leading adult lives, find ways around the law.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1001

HB20-1040 Concealed Handguns On School Grounds [Neville (R)]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Allow people with valid permits to carry concealed handguns on school grounds.

Description:

Removes the limitation on carrying concealed handguns (by people with valid permits to do so) on school grounds.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

The elimination of the ability to have concealed guns at schools means the only people with guns at schools are bad guys, which leads to the unfortunate shootings that have become all too common being worse as there is no one the scene to intervene. A good guy with a gun on the scene could nip many of these situations in the bud, as we have seen several times in the last year where the death toll could have been higher but for the immediate intervention of a bystander who had a gun. Someone has to have a valid permit in order to do this, so they have already been vetted by the state, to carry a gun around in public situations. There are also many teachers with concealed carry permits that would like to protect their students if the need ever arose. We already trust folks with these permits, let’s let them help protect our kids.

Arguments Against:

Introducing guns into schools is a recipe for disaster. Civilians are not trained to assess and react to active shooter situations and may be just as likely to shoot innocent bystanders as the gunman. At the shooting at the STEM school last year a security guard who was not supposed to have a concealed weapon mistakenly shot at a responding police officer and missed, wounding two students. In addition, this lack of training may result in a tragedy where a concealed carry individual believes someone has a gun when in fact they do not. It is also nearly impossible for police reacting to the scene to suss out who the good guys and the bad guys are, which can (and has) led to police shooting a bystander who was trying to help. This happens far too often with trained police officers already. Since Columbine, police training to react to these mass shooter incidents has improved greatly and they are more likely to resolve any active shooter situation in the best manner possible. Civilians are also more likely to be sloppy with their guns, leaving them in bathrooms or classrooms for others to find (this has happened in other states). In addition, while it is true that permit holders are vetted, we don’t allow them in the state capitol, where the legislators work, so let’s keep them out of schools.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1040

HB20-1055 Vintner's Restaurant Alternating Proprietor (Bridges (D), Priola (R)) [Garnett (D), Liston (R)]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Allow those with a vintner’s restaurant license to also apply for permission to manufacture wine in distinct alternate areas.

Description:

Allows those with a vintner’s restaurant license to also apply for permission to manufacture wine on alternating proprietor licensed premises, which are a distinct area from the original license location, but does not allow them to sell to the public at that alternate location.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Breweries, wineries, distilleries, limited wineries, and brewpubs all can already do this. It does not make sense to exclude vintner’s restaurants from this group, just because they combine two activities at the one location. This give wineries greater operating flexibility and does not disadvantage the public or other liquor license holders in the process.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1055

HB20-1080 Remove Residency Requirement For Marijuana License (Gonzales (D), Marble (R)) [Gray (D), Van Winkle (R)]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Repeal residency requirement for licensure application for managers and employees with day-to-day operational control of marijuana businesses.

Description:

Repeals requirement that all managers and employees of a medical or retail marijuana business with day-to-day operational control must be Colorado residents when they apply for licensure.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

We have already recognized that this is a bit silly by creating an exemption for people in a marijuana-based workforce development or training program (which this bill also removes since it would no longer be necessary). Someone working day-to-day in a business in Colorado lives in Colorado. We don’t need to require them to be a resident the moment they are applying for licensure.

Arguments Against:

The residency requirement helps us ensure that residents from states where marijuana is illegal are not participating in our legal marijuana businesses.


This is yet another step toward making marijuana businesses like any other Colorado business. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level and although the federal government is turning a blind eye for now, that may not last.

Auto-Repeal: None

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1080

HB20-1099 Repeal Ammunition Magazine Prohibition (Marble (R)) [Saine (R), Humphrey (R)]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Repeal ban on high-capacity magazines.

Description:

This bill repeals the ban on high-capacity magazines and the requirement that that some magazines manufactured in Colorado after July 1, 2013 be stamped as such.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

The high-capacity magazine ban is an infringement on the 2nd Amendment rights of Colorado citizens. The framers did not carve exceptions into the 2nd Amendment and if a Colorado citizen wants to use high-capacity magazines they have the Constitutional right to do so. Furthermore, criminals do not follow laws that is why they are criminals, so this ban won’t help prevent tragic incidents of mass shootings because someone who wants to commit a mass shooting isn’t going to make sure they obtain their weapons legally. There are numerous ways around this ban, so the only effect is to keep law-abiding citizens who already weren’t going to shoot anyone from using them. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, so the solution to mass shootings is in people, not guns.

Arguments Against:

This ban was put into place after the Aurora theater shooting, where the shooter was able to fire 30 bullets without reloading. It of course is still on the books, which tells you all you need to know about its constitutionality. There is no need for any gun owner to fire so many bullets without pause, the only reason to do so is if you want to kill as many people as possible before you have to stop firing. Just last year in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman opened fire. Police had him down within 32 seconds. 32 seconds, it would be nearly impossible to have a faster response time, even if so-called good guys with guns were on the scene instead of police. And yet the gunman was able to fire 41 shots within that 32 seconds, killing 9 people and injuring 14 others. He did not have reload and he did not have to switch guns. Ohio does not have a ban on high capacity magazines. Any loopholes in the enforcement of the law should be closed, not used as a justification for ditching it altogether. The fact that criminals will try to evade the law isn’t a reason to not have it. By that logic we shouldn’t have any laws at all, since criminals won’t try to stick to them.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1099

HB20-1168 Deadly Force Against Intruder At A Business [Sandridge (R)]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Expand the rights of citizens to use deadly force against intruders from just own homes to also include place of business.

Description:

Expands the rights of citizens to use deadly force against intruders from just own homes to also include place of business. This right extends to anyone who works at the business.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Citizens should be able to defend themselves and this is a natural extension of that right from our home to our work. If a citizen finds him or herself in the unfortunate situation of experiencing peril at their work, they should be able to defend themselves without facing criminal charges. It is important to remember that this law only applies when there is unlawful entry, you cannot use it against someone strolling into a store during business hours, and where the individual feels justified fear, so you couldn’t use it against an intruder who had their hands up for instance.

Arguments Against:

These so-called castle doctrine laws give citizens more rights than police to use deadly force and it is always almost impossible to disprove them, no matter the circumstances, because of the clause in the law that says fear of any harm, no matter how small, is grounds for killing another human being. We have ample evidence from the police themselves that even when you put trained individuals into high stress situations they can quite easily experience unjustified fear and tragically shot someone unnecessarily. And that’s the police. In a business, it’s easy to see how this could go off the rails very quickly with much larger amounts of foot traffic from strangers.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1168

HB20-1217 Sunset Marijuana Financial Services Cooperatives (Moreno (D)) [Gray (D), McKean (R)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Repeal the marijuana financial services cooperatives law, as recommended by the department of regulatory agencies.

Description:

Repeals the marijuana financial services cooperatives law, as recommended by the department of regulatory agencies.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

This was supposed to facilitate the development of state-chartered financial institutions that would provide banking to the marijuana industry but since it is predicated on getting access to the Federal Reserve System, there has been no activity in it. It seems unlikely that this will change without wholesale legalization or at least allowing banking for marijuana industries at the federal level, which would completely remove the need for a program like this.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1217

HB20-1271 Repeal Red Flag And Amend 72-hour Hold (Cooke (R), Smallwood (R)) [Saine (R)]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: About $240,000 a year

Goal: Repeal extreme risk protection order gun removal bill passed last year and change standard when someone can be put in an involuntary 72 hour mental health hold from imminent danger to extreme risk.

Description:

In essence repeals the extreme risk protection order gun removal bill from last year (also known as the “red flag” bill), which allows for a family or household member or law enforcement officer to petition a court for a temporary extreme risk protection order that would remove firearms from an individual for 364 days or until the individual can prove to the court they are no longer a risk. Bill removes the penalty for having a weapon when under a protection order, so the order becomes pointless as it is unenforceable.

Changes the standard for when person can be put an involuntary 72 hour mental health hold from imminent danger to themselves or others to extreme risk, which the bill defines as a credible and exigent threat of danger to themselves or others through actionable threats of violence or death as a result of current mental state.

Additional Information:

Current law requires that the petitioner must establish by the preponderance of the evidence that an individual poses a significant risk to self or others by having a firearm or by getting a firearm. The individual in question has access to an attorney at the state’s expense, not a public defender but someone from a pool of private attorneys who have agreed to participate. The court must hold the hearing in person or by telephone the day the petition is filed or the next court day. If a temporary protection order is granted, another hearing must be held within 14 days to determine if the order should be continued. A continued order is in effect for 364 days. The individual under the order can petition once during the 364 days to have it removed, here the burden is on the individual under the order to prove they are no longer a risk, but there is discretion left to the judge to order future hearings if the judge thinks there is a strong possibility the order could no longer be necessary before it expires. The petitioner can request the order be extended before it expires. Upon expiration or lifting of the order, all of the individual’s firearms must be returned.


Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

There is no requirement that someone actually does something to lose their constitutional right to bear arms under the current law, only the hurdle that others think they might do something. We live in an innocent before proven guilty society and there is a cost to having that freedom. There is also a cost to living in a society where your rights can be taken away for things you might do instead of things that you have done. We cannot travel down that road, no matter how noble the intentions. In addition, the law shifts the burden of proof onto the individual whose rights are being violated after the initial protection order is granted. Someone who wants to get their constitutional rights back has to prove they are “worthy” of them, not the people trying to continue to deny an individual the right to bear arms. This law opens up broad avenues to discriminate against those with behavioral health disorders who are not dangerous but still struggle with mental health problems. It also provides no avenue for someone who has had their constitutional rights abridged to get any help. The state simply swoops in and takes someone’s guns away, then waits for the situation to “get better” without any designated aid to the individual. And we are already seeing the law abused, as in one high profile case earlier this year when a woman tried to get a police officer’s guns confiscated. Fortunately that case did not go through but it illustrates the dangers of a law like this. Multiple counties in the state oppose the law and say they will not enforce it. We need to get rid of it. For involuntary mental health holds, the current standard is too loose and as a result we have a lot of these involuntary holds, over 40,000 of them in 2017. Any doctor or social worker can just say they believe someone is a danger to themselves or others and away someone goes for 72 hours. An investigation into at behavioral health facility in Johnstown last year found the facility abusing this law in order to get insurance money (they were just sued again earlier this year for similar practices). An involuntary hold is quite literally taking away someone’s freedom for 72 hours against their will. We need a higher standard.

Arguments Against:

This is about saving lives. We’ve all asked, in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting and many others, why no one stepped in when it seemed so obvious that there was such clear danger. The unfortunate answer is, it wouldn’t have mattered with something like extreme risk protection orders. If Nicholas Cruz lived in Colorado and people were concerned he would become violent with his firearms, it was not possible to take them away from him, by any avenue, until after he commits a crime. Here in Colorado deputy Zackari Parrish, was killed by a mentally unstable man that the local authorities knew was unstable and armed. And then there are the numerous successful suicides by gun, which may have not been successful with alternatives like pills. Deputy Parrish, and many others, might still be alive today if when people see something and say something, we can actually do something about it. This was a bipartisan bill supported by numerous state sheriffs. It contains numerous safeguards for the rights of the accused individual and relies on a judge to administer the final ruling. The high profile case earlier this was a perfect example of the law working. No guns were removed from the person accused and the case was thrown out. These red flags laws exist in other states, including now in Florida, so this is not a novel experiment nor a “blue state” one. For the mental health hold, the proposed threshold of actionable threats is too low as we are not always going to be dealing with someone in a sound enough state of mind to voice an actionable threat but it still may be possible to glean from their behavior that they are a danger to themselves and others. Any standard can be abused by bad actors, the solution is not to remove the standards but the bad actors (that facility in Johnstown is operating on a provisional license right now, shut the place down if necessary). Our current standard is fine (in fact there are those that believe the current threshold is too high, a probable sign that is in the sweet spot of just right).

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1271

HB20-1278 Protection Orders Issued Against Domestic Abusers (Fields (D)) [Duran (D), Singer (D)]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE (Corona related)

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Not yet released

Goal: Create a process for individuals who must give up their firearms as a result of a domestic violence charge or protective order to tell the court about their guns, as well as close some loopholes in current law and tighten sheriff storage requirements.

Description:

Under state law, someone with a domestic violence conviction or who is subject to a domestic protection order is barred from possessing a gun. This bill requires such an individual to state in court or complete an affidavit in court stating the number of firearms in their immediate possession or control and their location. These statements cannot be used in any other civil or criminal case against the individual. False statements are subject to perjury charges. Individual must also complete a form with this information. This information is to be given to the individual’s county sheriff. Bill adds an exclusion for weekends and holidays for the timelines in which an individual must relinquish their guns but reduces the extra time a court may allow for someone unable to comply from 72 hours to 24 hours.

Adds the ability for local sheriffs to store the firearms in a storage facility (individual can either sell their guns, give them to the sheriff for safekeeping, or give them to a private individual facilitated by a licensed dealer).

If the guns go to a private individual, that person must complete an acknowledge form of the law, along with the consequences of non-compliance, and affirm they can legally possess the weapons. Private party cannot live at same residence as individual who must give up the guns. Sheriffs must prescribe manner in which guns are transferred and may charge a reasonable fee for doing so.

Court must then conduct a hearing to ensure individual has relinquished their guns. Bans sheriffs from testing or examining guns stored with them without a proper search warrant. Bans private individual from giving guns back without a written statement from law enforcement acknowledging the guns may be returned.

Additional Information:

If the individual does not possess any guns, they must complete a form declaring this, which also is then given to the county sheriff. If the individual sells their weapons to licensed dealer, that dealer must provide them with a signed affidavit acknowledging receipt. Bill allows sheriffs to seek a matching incentive fee from the state for storing firearms (they already can charge the individual for this). Allows sheriff to waive storage fees for the indigent. If storage fees are not paid within one year of the individual’s prohibition on having the weapons expires, the sheriff may send a notice to the last known address that if the fees are not paid within 90 days the sheriff takes legal possession of the guns. The sheriff may then dispose of them however they like. Gives immunity for anyone storing the guns for any damage done to them that was not willful or due to gross negligence.


Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

This is actually mostly a federal law we are adding to, although there are some state-specific elements to it. And it is law for an extremely good reason: most of the women killed by guns in this country are killed by their domestic partner and in more than half of mass shootings in this country, the shooter killed an intimate partner as part of the carnage. Every month an average of 52 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner in this country. Nearly 4.5 million women who are alive today report they were threatened by an intimate partner with a gun. States that restrict access to guns by abusers have seen a 13% reduction in intimate partner homicides Right now we don’t have a good way of enforcing this because we don’t actually require the individual who must relinquish their guns to say what guns they have and where they are. The Denver district attorney’s office has one investigator spending all of his time just trying to figure out which people who are legally required to give up their guns actually have them, including digging through social media feeds. This bill fixes these process problems, as well as some other issues with storage (including protecting the rights of the individual to unwarranted examination of these guns), and some rather large loopholes around surrendering the weapons to private individuals. States that require proof the guns actually were relinquished see a further drop of 16% in intimate partner homicides. This is quite literally a life and death matter and we need to make sure it is done right.

Arguments Against:

While this is based on federal laws, our laws in fact go beyond the federal level in allowing guns to be taken based on misdemeanor domestic violence charges and based on protective court orders, including temporary restraining orders before the case has been heard by a judge. The fact is that we have a 2nd amendment right to bear arms in this country, and while our constitutional rights can be constrained by other people’s rights, misdemeanors should rise to the level of this kind of constraint and certainly not temporary orders before a judge has even ruled on a protection order.


The entire concept, including the federal law, is an infringement on our right to bear arms. People are falsely accused in some cases (and even falsely convicted in some) and we should not take away their rights. Murders are of course tragic, but in some cases people probably would have found a way to kill their partner anyway and maybe even with a gun they either hid or obtained illegally. We take risks as a society all the time, it is the price of freedom that some people can abuse it. We cannot refuse to adhere to federal law but we can refuse to care about it. So if the current system doesn’t have a process for actually getting these guns, then good, let’s keep it that way.


If we are taking a look at this we also need to close the boyfriend loophole. This allows people are not cohabiting to keep their guns, even if they meet all of the other conditions required. 23 other states have already closed this loophole. 20 states also allow law enforcement to remove firearms when they arrive at the scene of a domestic violence incident (they are returned after a length of time has passed). Colorado does not. Colorado also does not prevent those convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses from accessing guns (felony convictions are part of the federal law). Nine other states do this.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1278

HB20-1311 Electronic Funds Transfer Wholesaler Deliveries (Holbert (R)) [Garnett (D)]

KILLED ON HOUSE CALENDAR

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Clarify that liquor-licensed drugstores can use other non-credit instruments to pay wholesalers, including bank drafts, money orders, or any other electronic funds transfer.

Description:

Clarifies that liquor-licensed drugstores can purchase from wholesalers using things other than cash, like a bank draft, money order or any other electronic funds transfer. Keeps the prohibition on using credit and still requires purchase to be made upon delivery.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

We have a lot of ways of making payments in 2020 that do involve credit but also do not involve cash. They are secure and guaranteed (the money comes right of the bank account). The law is not clear, however, that these forms of payment are acceptable, so this bill makes it clear they are.

Arguments Against:

There is also no reason to clarify the liquor-licensed drugstore section of statute in this manner and not do an identical clarification of the retail-liquor store section. They currently are identical.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1311

HB20-1319 Prohibit Sale Of Flavored Nicotine Products (Fields (D), Priola (R)) [Caraveo (D), Becker (D)]

AMENDED: Significant

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Needs new fiscal note due to amendment

Goal: Ban sale of flavored cigarettes, tobacco products, and nicotine product (including e-cigarettes) and products that are added to nicotine and tobacco products to produce a flavor other than tobacco in shops that do not require proof of ID to enter.

Description:

Bans sale of flavored cigarettes, tobacco products, and nicotine products (which includes e-cigarettes). Also bans sale of products intended to be added to these nicotine and tobacco products to produce a flavor other than tobacco. Shops where ID must be shown (and you must be 21) are exempt. Products fall into these bans by having retailers or manufacturers:

  • Make a public statement or claim that the product produces a flavor or smell other than tobacco
  • Use text or image on product label, package, or signage that explicitly or implicitly indicates the product produces a flavor or smell other than tobacco
  • Taken any action directed toward consumers that a reasonable person would expect would cause consumers to believe the product produces a flavor or smell other than tobacco

Specific flavors mentioned as being banned include: fruit, menthol, mint, wintergreen, chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, honey, or any candy, dessert, alcohol beverage, herb, or spice.

Penalties are a $250 fine for first offense, $500 for a second offense in a 24 month period, $1,000 for a third offense in a 24 month period and a 7 day prohibition for the retailer selling any tobacco or nicotine products, between $1,000 and $15,000 for a fourth violation in a 24 month period and a 15 day sales ban, and $15,000 for fifth or subsequent violation in a 24 month period with at least a one year sales ban.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

The partial verdict is in: e-cigarettes are dangerous and we do not want our children to become hooked on them. Each pod of a Juul, for instance, contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. And we know that nicotine is highly addictive. Nearly all vaping products contain nicotine (99%) even when they are labeled as nicotine free. We know vaping products contain dangerous chemicals, including those linked to lung scarring and unregulated heavy metals. And then of course we had the spate of deaths due to what appears to have been tainted products last year. And Colorado has the highest teen vaping rate in the entire country at 27%. Vaping among kids didn’t really catch on until all of the flavors came on to the market, and then it exploded. Because of course beyond the “cool” factor the tobacco flavor wasn’t a popular draw. But if it also tastes good, then look out. In many ways we are doing a complete rerun of our experience with cigarettes, except of course that we’ve been much more proactive about jumping on vaping. But we’ve got the same excuses about lack of long-term evidence of health risks (which would be impossible at this point), that adults like flavors too, and that it damages businesses to regulate. Everything we heard from big tobacco and the same playbook of trying to hook kids on the product. In fact Juul, the dominant player in the market, is owned by tobacco giant Philip Morris. So don’t be fooled by the notion we are “helping” big tobacco by cracking down on vaping. As for smaller businesses, that’s the risk you take if center your business on a product that is a health threat. The bill still allows stores that require proof of age to enter, so most vape shops and tobacco stores will be fine. Anyplace kids can shop will not, which is the entire point. For people attempting to quit smoking, there is decidedly mixed evidence as to how much vaping helps, and if the argument is that vaping is less dangerous than smoking (which is the belief at the moment, but we really don’t have enough information about vaping to say that for sure), then this bill should do nothing to prevent someone from vaping instead of smoking. They just can’t have kid friendly flavors. It also remains a bit dubious to say that you are fine if you are vaping instead of smoking and the FDA does not recommend e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking. We are not the first state to ban these products and the federal government has also made a partial ban (that doesn’t cover additive products like this bill does). Note that the big decrease in revenue is mostly about people buying less tobacco products (note that if they buy different tobacco products we'd still get the revenue). This is a very good thing.

Arguments Against:

It is easy to say that an adult addicted to cigarettes should just use tobacco flavored vape products but that is likely to make it harder for some people to move from one product to the other. Having the flavor makes the vaping product more attractive and thus more likely for the adult to want it rather than the cigarette. And while the jury may still be partially out on vaping, particularly with long-term effects, it is decidedly in on cigarettes. We know cigarettes are incredibly damaging to your health and to the health of people around you. It has been a long-term project in this country to reduce smoking and while vaping is not a perfect solution, it is a partial one. It is extraordinarily difficult for many people to kick the nicotine habit, so a potentially less dangerous alternative can be helpful. This bill will also damage a lot of small businesses in the state who sell vaping products, as the vast majority of their sales are the flavored products. It is also important to note that it is illegal to sell vaping products to minors, just like any other nicotine product. So a step-up in enforcement would seem to be in order. This bill will make it extremely difficult for anywhere other than a vape shop to sell these products and in effect gives these shops a monopoly. That is not only not fair to drugstores and grocery stores (who are still required to verify age prior to purchase of any tobacco product), it is unreasonable for adults who want these products and now must go to these specific stores.


Vape shops should not be exempt, our long experience with tobacco is illustrative here: ID requirements do not stop teens from getting their hands on this stuff. We should not be ruled by how much revenue might be lost--this is about health care not state revenues.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1319

HB20-1328 Outdoor Emergency Marijuana Contingency Plans (Rodriguez (D), Bridges (D)) [A. Valdez (D), Esgar (D)]

AMENDED: Minor

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Not yet released

Goal: Allow marijuana cultivators with outdoor crops to protect them from adverse weather.

Description:

Requires the state to set rules for the process and procedures for marijuana cultivators to file contingency plans for outdoor cultivation facilities when there is a threat of adverse weather or other event damaging to the crop based on it being outside. This must be done by the end of the year. Before then, cultivators may take any reasonable and necessary action to protect their outdoor crop due to adverse weather. This does not violate any state or local regulations unless it can be proven the action was not reasonable or was not related to adverse weather.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Like any crop grown outdoors, when marijuana is grown outside it is at risk to adverse weather. Many horticulturists around the state take measure to prevent loss or damage to crops due to adverse weather but marijuana growers cannot right now, because doing so could violate local or state regulations. If it is legal to grow the crop and the cultivator is licensed, then of course they should be able to take the same measures as anyone else growing a crop. The bill does require the state to set up rules and procedures around this, but in the meantime just lets these growers protect their crops.

Arguments Against:

This remains a federal crime. Everyone growing marijuana in this state is violating federal law and there is no guarantee the federal government will continue to look the other way. Until it is no longer a federal crime we should not be continuing to normalize it in Colorado and we certainly should not give anyone free reign until the state has written rules and procedures governing exactly what can and cannot be done.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1328

HB20-1355 Secure Storage Of Firearms (Bridges (D), Hansen (D)) [Duran (D), Mullica (D)]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Not yet released

Goal: Require guns to be securely stored when a juvenile or resident who is not allowed to legally possess a weapon is present and requires gun dealers to provide a trigger locking mechanism with each new gun sold.

Description:

Requires anyone owning a firearm to store it securely when there is either a juvenile or resident of the premises who cannot legally possess a firearm. This can be accomplished with either a secure gun safe which the juvenile or ineligible resident does not have the ability to access or with a locking device on the weapon itself (again the juvenile or ineligible resident cannot have the ability to unlock it). Locking mechanisms include a lock that opens with a key, combination or biometric data. People who carry the weapon on their person or in such close proximity that they can easily retrieve are exempt, as are antique weapons. It is a defense if a juvenile gains possession of a gun to use it in self-defense or to defend livestock. Violation is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Every licensed gun dealer must provide a locking device with each gun sold. Again antiques are exempt. They must also post in a conspicuous location a notice developed by the state describing the secure storage law. Violation of this section is an unclassified misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.

State must develop an education campaign around this law, including each aspect of it as well as printed materials for law enforcement, health care providers, and gun dealers. Gun dealers must be provided an information sheet with a detailed description of the secure storage law. It may also provide information about programs that assist gun owners with cost of procuring locking devices, safes, or other secure containers. State may use mass media commercials for this education campaign. It may solicit grants and donations. State is not to appropriate more than $50,000 annually. State is to add an option to the income tax voluntary donation form for this education campaign. This is to run on the form for five straight years once there is a spot for it, then it repeals.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: Voluntary tax donation, five years after it gets on form

Arguments For:

Every year in this country we lose about 75 children in this country due to accidentally firing a gun. This ranges from toddlers shooting themselves (which happened in Salida in 2016) to teenagers messing around and accidentally shooting their friends. In 2016 guns were the second most common cause of death for children and adolescents. This also includes suicides, the cause of death for 38% of gun-related deaths for minors in 2017. And this is happening in no other developed country on the planet. Over 90% of all the firearms deaths (including murders) in the entire industrialized world occur in the US. Survey data indicates that only 54% of gun owners in this country with children in the house securely lock their guns in some manner. Research has indicated that the #1 gun safety method for decreasing suicide and unintentional deaths is requiring them to be locked. As for the notion of home defense, the one study that this notion tends to rest upon has been fairly widely debunked (among other things it had mathematically impossible numbers of guns used defensively in burglaries, more than the number of burglaries committed while someone was in the house and awake). More recent attempts at studying the issue have found fewer than 1,600 verified defensive gun uses and an estimated 3,200 total defensive gun uses in the entire country per year (and not all of these are legal). Because gun research has been stymied at a large scale level in this country we don’t have one true number on how often a gun is used against the residents of a house rather than an intruder. But the vast majority of research suggests it is far more often, with increases of over 40% for homicides and over 200% for suicides when a gun is in a home. Of course securing the gun won’t stop all of these homicides or suicides as some are committed by the same person who would have access to what is needed to unlock the weapon. But it would have a large impact, particularly on kids. And the corresponding “drop” in ability to defend the house at a moment’s notice is not supported by the vast majority of the data. Meanwhile the technology around biometric locking mechanisms (which prevent the trigger from being pulled) has advanced greatly, so that even the self-defense refusal to secure a gun argument is starting to become irrelevant. Let’s not forget that the split-second home invasion scenario also requires the gun to be loaded and essentially at hand for the owner. Extremely unsafe by any measure. Unless of course you can lock the gun from firing. Even the NRA, on its website, touts trigger locks (not biometric but simple locks) as an affordable method of securing a gun, noting that some locks are free with community programs and that most new guns are sold with a trigger lock in the box. So part two of this law, requiring gun dealers to provide a locking device, is not an onerous requirement either. This law is also not unique, many other states have similar versions already (and Massachusetts has a much stricter one). Finally, nearly 20,000 guns were stolen in four years in Colorado. The best way to keep a gun from being stolen is to secure it.

Arguments Against:

Biometric locks remain pretty expensive so it is better to focus on other locking mechanisms, all of which take time to unlock and would make it harder for someone to defend themselves in an emergency. Which as even the arguments for section notes, happens. It may not happen as much as some of the upper ranges a few studies have found but it may happen slightly more often than the arguments for section suggests because not all self-defense uses are reported to police so there must be some extrapolation and estimation involved. It remains a perfectly valid (and 2nd amendment protected) decision to buy a gun to protect yourself and your home and family. This bill dictates to law-abiding gun owners how they keep their constitutionally protected property in their own homes.


This bill may be largely unenforceable except after a tragedy has already occurred. No one is going to be checking homes and it does not appear anyone is going to be checking gun dealers. So violators of the law may go largely undetected.


We need to go further. Massachusetts requires all guns to be locked in the manner this bill allows when they are not in use. Massachusetts also has the lowest firearm death rate in the nation, by a fairly significant margin (Colorado is #20 at 14.3 per 100,000 people, Massachusetts is 3.4). We need similar laws here.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB1355

HB20-1356 Lost Or Stolen Firearms (Danielson (D)) [Sullivan (D), Jaquez Lewis (D)]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Require anyone who believes their firearm is lost or stolen to report it to the police within 48 hours.

Description:

Requires any firearm owner who reasonably believes that a firearm has been either lost or stolen to report this to a law enforcement agency within 48 hours after discovery. First violation of this law is a petty offense with a $25 fine while second or subsequent violations are a class 3 misdemeanor. This does not apply to a licensed gun dealer. Any law enforcement agency that receives a report of a lost or stolen firearm must enter all available descriptive information into the national crime information center database.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Nationwide nearly 40% of lost or stolen guns are not reported. And a gun is stolen in the US every two minutes. These guns generally go straight into illegal gun markets where they can end up in the hands of criminals. And the vast majority are never recovered, around 11% nationwide. A study estimated that 19,630 guns were stolen in Colorado between 2012 and 2015. Stolen guns were involved in nearly 200 crimes in Denver and Aurora between 2013 and 2015. Of course securely storing your gun is the prime way to keep it from being stolen, but that is the subject of a different bill. This bill is about what happens when a gun is stolen. Knowing about the theft allows law enforcement to spot trends, deploy resources, and try to get illegal weapons off the streets. Not having mandatory reporting also allows individuals to act as straw purchasers: buy guns for those who cannot legally buy them. Then when the guns are used in connection with a crime to simply say the gun was stolen. A version of this law already exists in other states and the first time penalty is extremely mild. Subsequent offenses can be used to crack down on straw purchasers. We are trying to change basic behavior here, not punish victims. We have heard for years that is not guns that kill people, but people who kill people. Anyone who genuinely believes that should be behind mandatory reporting of stolen weapons.

Arguments Against:

You can dress it up any way you want but this punishes the victim of a crime. And the second offense carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail. We aren’t going to stop crime by penalizing crime victims. Gun theft is obviously a large problem but the steps from: police knowing about the theft to recovering the weapon before it is used in a crime are fairly opaque. Police can already zero in on straw purchasers by tracing guns used in crime back to them. Of course people should report if their weapon is stolen, but we should not punish someone who doesn’t.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB1356

HB20-1424 Social Equity Licensees In Regulated Marijuana (Gonzales (D), Marble (R)) [Coleman (D), Soper (R)]

AMENDED: Significant

PASSED

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Tweak the existing marijuana accelerator program by expanding it to retail marijuana, renaming it a social equity license, allowing any social equity licensee to obtain a regular license without needing an accelerator partner, and expand its definition to include those with previous marijuana convictions.

Description:

Expands the accelerator license for marijuana to retail stores and changes the name to social equity license. Clarifies that a social equity licensee does not have to operate on the same premises as their accelerator endorsee (someone with a regular license mentoring the social equitee). Allows anyone who qualifies for a social equity licensee to apply for regular licenses beginning next year, including the accelerator endorsee permits. Social equity qualifications are: Colorado resident, have not had disciplinary action against a license by the state, own at least 51% of the marijuana business, and have hit one of the following criteria: lived for at least 15 years in an opportunity zone or disproportionate impact zone, applicant or applicant’s family member was arrested or convicted of a marijuana offense (new in this bill), or their household income did not exceed the state’s threshold for the program (new in this bill).

Allows the governor to pardon anyone convicted of a marijuana violation of up to 2 ounces before it was made legal without them having to apply and without seeking comment of judges or district attorneys.

Additional Information:

This program was created in 2019 and has not yet been implemented. The bill delays implementation until next January.


Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

This program is an important step towards increasing diversity in the exploding marijuana industry and was created last year. In Denver, 75% of owners of marijuana businesses are white and so are 68% of employees, despite whites being 55% of Denver’s population. This is a widely known, nationwide problem. But the law that passed last year excluded retail marijuana establishments, which doesn’t make sense, and pigeon-holed off these licenses into a separate, hand-holding category that is totally unnecessary. There is nothing magical about operating a marijuana license that requires someone with experience to hold your hand. Finally, it is important to understand that moving people out of the gray market and into the licensed marketplace remains an important task in Colorado. Part of that is allowing people to use their skills legally. So those who have marijuana convictions (which is no longer a crime in Colorado) should be able to take advantage of this program. There are similar program in seven other states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Those who were convicted of something we no longer consider a crime should be given the ability to be easily pardoned.

Arguments Against:

This remains a federal crime. Everyone growing or selling marijuana in this state is violating federal law and there is no guarantee the federal government will continue to look the other way. Until it is no longer a federal crime we should not be continuing to normalize it in Colorado and we certainly should not give anyone free reign until the state has written rules and procedures governing exactly what can and cannot be done.


We should not put our thumbs on the licensing scale. An open field for all and no attempts at prioritization based on anything other than the application itself.


Fiddling with the governor's pardon power is a really big thing to tack on to a bill, especially when we remove the consultation with judges and DAs. We also already have the ability to seal these records.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1424

HB20-1427 Cigarette Tobacco And Nicotine Products Tax (Fields (D), Moreno (D)) [Caraveo (D), McCluskie (D)]

AMENDED: Moderate

PASSED

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: $82.7 million next year, $167.6 million the year after

Goal: To ask voters to increase sales taxes on cigarettes and nicotine products and use the funds raised to buttress the general fund initially, then mostly for preschool programs with some going to health care programs related to tobacco.

Description:

Refers a ballot measure to the 2019 ballot that raises the cigarette tax by $0.09 per cigarette (total of $1.80 per pack), increases the tax on tobacco products by 22% of the manufacturer’s list price, and creates a nicotine product tax (any ingestible product that is not a cigarette, tobacco product, or FDA authorized drug) at 62% of the manufacturer’s list price, as well as a licensure requirement to sell nicotine products which costs $10 a year. Also establishes a minimum tax for moist snuff at $2.26 per 1.2 ounce can. All taxes are phased-in over seven years. Also reduces the amount of sales tax vendors are allowed to keep when they submit taxes on-time from 3.33% to 1.6% for tobacco products and the discount cigarette vendors get on tax stamps (placed one each pack) from 4% to 0.4%. Bill expands entities that must collect tax to include out-of-state delivery sales (which are taxed as wholesalers). Bill sets minimum price for cigarettes at $7.50 a pack and $75 a carton by July 2024 (this is also phased in).

Additional funds collected, $82.7 million in 2020-21, then $167.6 million the next year and $166.1 million the year after that, are all exempt from TABOR requirements (so they don’t count toward the state’s revenue cap) and almost all go to the general fund at first and are designated for the education budget, with $25 million diverted to rural schools (55% of that to large rural schools and 45% to small ones) this year, $30 million next year, and $35 million the year after that. With $11.2 million going to the housing development grant fund and $500,000 to the eviction legal defense fund in each of the next three years and $5.5 million and $11 million going to the state’s tobacco fund in the first two years (which is then spent on Medicaid, CHIP, primary care, and tobacco education programs primarily), and just $0.6 million and $1 million going to the new Preschool Programs Cash fund. This changes in 2023-24, with $143 million going to the Preschool fund that year. Preschool cash fund is directed to spend money to expand and enhance the state preschool program in order to offer at least 10 hours per week of voluntary preschool free of charge to every child in Colorado during the last year before kindergarten. Any remaining funds after this goal is met are to be spent on providing additional preschool for low-income families and children at risk of entering kindergarten without being ready for school.

Additional Information:

Exact tax phase-is is as follows:

  • Per cigarette: $0.055 per cigarette increase until July 2024, then another $0.015 increase until July 2027, then the final $0.02 increase to reach the full $0.09 increase ($0.10 final tax)
  • Tobacco product tax: $10 increase until July 2024, then another 6% until July 2027, then the final 6% to reach the full 22% increase (42% final tax)
  • For new nicotine product tax: 30% until July 2022, then another 5% until July 2023, then another 15% until July 2024, then another 6% until July 2027, then the final 6% to reach the full 62% new tax
  • For moist snuff: $1.48 for a 1.2 ounce can until July 2024, then $1.84 until July 2027, then $2.26 thereafter
  • For minimum pricing: $7 a pack and $70 for a carton until July 2024 and then $7.50 for a pack and $75 for a carton thereafter.

For selecting preschool programs to receive funding, the state must ensure it:

  • Allows for parent choice
  • Ensures school-based and community-based programs that meet quality and program standards are able to participate
  • Supports and strengthens the diversity of providers
  • Supports schools with high-quality programming that helps prepare kids for kindergarten
  • Coordinates with existing early childhood systems and initiatives, funding streams, and advances alignment with K-12 systems
  • Has opportunities for evidence-based parent, family, and community engagement
  • Evaluates program effectiveness

State is allowed to use funds to recruit, train, and retain early childhood care professionals; to expand or improve the staff, facilities, equipment, technology, and physical infrastructure of licensed preschool programs; and conduct outreach to parents and families. It may also pay a third-party entity to administer the program.

Anyone who violates the minimum prices for cigarettes is subject to a $500 fine for the first violation within a 5 year period, $1,000 for the second, and $1,500 for any subsequent violations.


Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

The first thing this does is tax vaping juice at the same rate as cigarettes, with is entirely appropriate since they are not only nicotine delivery vessels (just like cigarettes), not good for your health and addictive (like cigarettes, even if not as bad), they are also increasingly owned by tobacco companies and we have the worst . As for raising the taxes on cigarettes themselves (and other tobacco products), cigarettes and nicotine are perhaps the most harmful entirely legal drug available in the United States. We want less people to use them and if higher prices helps bring that about, wonderful. If not, then people who are greatly increasing the likelihood they will need expensive healthcare in their future should contribute to lowering the cost of health care for all of us, in addition to other critical state priorities like early childhood education. These out-of-school opportunities provide essential academic and life skills for children and youth but frequently are out-of-reach for lower income families that cannot afford to send their kids to them. All of this, of course, requires voter approval.

Arguments Against:

Taxing vaping products at this level may send people online or to other resources to secure them, since obviously prices will rise. Pennsylvania instituted a steep excise tax on these products in 2016 and many smaller stores ended up closing due to shifting procurement channels. So-called sin taxes can be popular but they can also be difficult for a product as addictive as nicotine. Many users find it extremely difficult to quit, and may not simply decide that because it has all gotten more expensive they will (or if they try, will even be able to quit). They may instead decide to spend less money on other things like groceries, outings with family, or supports for their children and families.


Sales taxes are regressive by nature, they hit lower-income families harder than wealthier ones since everyone pays the exact same amount. So this tax is regressive and will hurt low-income Coloradans the most. We need to find other ways of increasing taxes on wealthier Coloradans to fund things like early childhood education and not pick a “sin” tax because we think that has the best chance of getting voter approval.


In the list of critical state spending priorities, out-of-school education opportunities should be behind K-12 education (owed hundreds of millions by the state), our water fund (tens of millions of dollars a year short of what we need), and transportation (billions of dollars in shortfalls). The transfers to state education that take place over the first three years should continue thereafter.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1427

SB20-032 Employee Age To Sell Alcohol Retail Liquor Store (Holbert (R), McKean (R)) [Esgar (D)]

AMENDED: Very Significant

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Allow those over 18 but under 21 to sell alcohol in a licensed retail store with supervision of someone over 21. Allow those over 18 but under 21 to have contact with alcohol in a licensed retail store.

Description:

Allow those over 18 but under 21 to sell alcohol in a licensed retail store with supervision of someone over 21. Allow those over 18 but under 21 to have contact with alcohol in a licensed retail store.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

It doesn’t make sense to allow those who are over 18 but under 21 to sell alcohol in the other environments (such as restaurants) but not at retail stores. There is nothing magical about a retail store that is so different from other environments that means that supervision by someone over 21 is not doable. People who work in a liquor store have to be able to touch the liquor. They still can't deliver it or sell it.

Arguments Against:

The reason for having this restriction in the first place is that many retail store environments leave more opportunity for evasion of supervision, given the large size of the store and lower number of total employees than something like a restaurant.


We shouldn’t allow anyone who isn’t old enough to legally consume alcohol to sell it in any environment, regardless of supervision. The temptations are just too great.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-032

SB20-053 Retail Liquor Stores Additional Licenses (Bridges (D))

KILLED BY SENATE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Put liquor stores on the same footing as drug stores when it comes to number of liquor licenses an individual can own.

Description:

Removes the requirement that liquor stores owners be Colorado residents to obtain additional liquor licenses and changes the number of additional licenses they can obtain to match drug stores. These additional licenses are all scaled through until 2037, so it is a gradual ramping up. Currently liquor stores can get only get three additional licenses after 2027. This bill changes it to five total by 2021, 8 by 2022, 13, by 2027, 20 by 2032, and unlimited number after 2037. Just like drug stores looking to add more stores, liquor store license owners are required to purchase and then merge at least two licenses within the same licensing jurisdiction into one if they are looking to add a third (or more) location. Allows state to set a fee for this transaction, but cannot be higher than $1,000. Bill also prohibits liquor stores from using self-checkout, must ID everyone purchasing liquor (previously had to look under 50) and requires they maintain certification as responsible alcohol vendors.

Additional Information:

Licenses for purchase and merge must be pre 2016. If there are more than two within the allowed radius (1,500 or 3,000) then the store looking to expand must purchase all of them. If there are none, the store must looking to neighboring jurisdictions.


Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

We should not treat drug stores and liquor stores differently in this multi-location respect. The rules surrounding how far away from an existing liquor store you are allowed to request a new license (1,500 feet or 3,000 in small towns) are still in effect so one company can swoop in and put an existing store out of business. The same rules apply for expansion: have to buy out two to expand one, so we won’t be increasing the number of liquor stores in the state (quite the contrary if any of them expand). It was also not necessary to require Colorado ownership of these multi-location stores, we don’t do that with nearly all businesses in the state. Not being allowed to use self-checkout is obvious, we need a human being checking for proper ID. Drug stores already have this requirement. And we shouldn’t fuss around with age when thinking about checking ID, just check everyone.

Arguments Against:

Drug stores and liquor stores are quite different, drug stores must sell at least 20% food so they, by dint of sheer physical space, are not going to be offering as much liquor for sale. And so while the rules for expansion might have the same limits, the effect may be quite different. A variety of different types of liquor stores are good for consumers, as different owners will have different emphases, whereas one owner with multiple stores is more likely to set up the same thing in a different spot. Drug stores on the other hand, with more limited space, are more likely to be homogeneous to begin with.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-053

SB20-097 Unemployment Insurance Marijuana-licensed Business (Holbert (R)) [Van Winkle (R)]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Allow third-party leasing employment companies owned by marijuana companies to continue to employ front-line marijuana workers and provision their wages and benefits.

Description:

Designates employee leasing companies that are at least 50% owned by a company with a marijuana license as not a common paymaster for purposes of the Colorado Employment Security Act.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Employees who work in the marijuana industry cannot claim their income for purposes of getting loans, etc. So employers have set-up third-party leasing employment companies to employ the folks who do not touch the plants so these frontline employees can claim their income for banking and lending purposes. Direct employees of marijuana companies also can’t get health benefits or 401ks, so this third-party arrangement allows employees to get labor benefits. This bill enshrines this practice into law, as it had been questioned by the state department of labor which thought that the company’s themselves should be the employers. It simply allows this arrangement to continue, which allows these front-line employees to continue to work in the industry and live normal lives in our banking and lending world. It will also allow unemployment payments and benefits to work properly for these companies and employees.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-097

SB20-086 Alcohol Beverage License And Permit Expiration (Williams (D), Holbert (R)) [Snyder (D), McKean (R)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Negligible

Goal: Allow a fee for alcoholic beverage license renewals.

Description:

Allows the department of revenue to set and collect a fee for applications for license or permit renewals for both alcohol and fermented malt beverages. Also allows department to use any reasonable method to notify licensees of license expiration (current law is must use first-class mail).

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

We almost always have fees associated with licensure. It’s how we pay for the oversight required. Renewal of alcohol licenses should be no exception.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-086

SB20-110 Penalties For Liquor Law Violations (Williams (D), Holbert (R)) [Snyder (D)]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Appropriation: $45,838 None
Fiscal Impact: Nets out to about zero

Goal: Increase fines for liquor law violations by licensees.

Description:

Liquor licensees may currently chose to pay a fine instead of having their license suspended or revoked by the state liquor board for violations of the law. This bill gives the board the power to fine licensees initially, without their having to ask for a fine in lieu of suspension or termination and increases the fine range from $200 to $5,000 to $500 to $100,000 (it is supposed to be the equivalent of 20% of gross sales from alcohol in the time period of proposed suspension but must be in this range). Fines for first violations cannot exceed $5,000. Allows the state to determine how it gets paid these fines (previously had to be cash or certified check or cashier’s check).

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

The current fine structure is not sufficient to cover the real loss of 20% or even close to it in many cases, so the intent of this law has gone awry. This makes it far too easy for violators of the law to choose the small fine and not be overly worried about changing behavior. This new structure, including the ability to pre-emptively fine, should do a better job of keeping stores in line.

Arguments Against:

Licensees should not have the option to buy their way out of trouble. Note that the law leaves the choice up to the licensee not the state. This is backwards and increasing the fines is not enough of a change.


This is far too drastic an increase in the upper end, better to aim for a measured increase and see how that performs.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-110

SB20-154 Bring Own Wine Into Restaurants (Donovan (D))

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Require all restaurants that sell wine to allow customers to bring one bottle of wine in themselves to drink.

Description:

Requires restaurants that sell wine to allow customers to bring one bottle of wine in themselves to consume (so long as they are 21), unless the customer has already done so in the last 24 hours, the restaurant believes the customer is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the restaurant has stopped serving food for the day, or the restaurant believes the customer is violating alcohol age consumption laws. Bill also allows customer to reseal their own wine and leave the restaurant with it (as is already allowed for a bottle of the restaurant’s wine).

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

This isn’t really an economic thing, as most customers will have to pay a fee for the customer to bring the wine into the restaurant (and they had to pay for it in the first place) so no one is going to coming out way ahead economically. This means we probably won’t see a mass rush of people bringing their own bottles and hurting a restaurant’s profit margins (although it is nice to make a tidy $35 or so without parting with any of your inventory). This is about people who enjoy wine and have wines of their own they would like to consume at a nice meal. It enables them to have the option, no matter the restaurant, to do this. Restaurants remain free to charge whatever they want for this service, and if a restaurant really wants to discourage it they can charge a high fee.

Arguments Against:

Some restaurants do allow this, for a fee, but some don’t. We should not force this on a restaurant, it is a valid operating decision to go in either direction. Customers are then free to frequent restaurants that do allow this if they wish or if it is not a big deal, go to restaurants that do not allow it. Wine sales are a key profit engine for restaurants, who often lean on all alcohol sales to make up for very small profit margins on food (especially when you consider all of the labor and equipment required to make a restaurant work). So they can (and will) charge a fee for a customer to bring their own bottle. When you factor in the fee with the price the customer paid for the wine in the first place, suddenly it may not be so economically attractive anymore. Many restaurants put enormous energy into creating their wine programs to pair specifically for the food they offer. We should not force them to allow customer wines if they don’t want to.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-154

SB20-177 Hard Cider Definition (Donovan (D)) [Woodrow (D)]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Change definition of hard cider to align state law with federal law for alcohol by volume and allowed carbon dioxide.

Description:

Changes definition of hard cider by increasing upper end of allowed alcohol by volume range from 7% to 8.5% and the allowable amount of carbon dioxide from 0.392 grams per hundred milliliters to 0.64.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

This aligns Colorado law with federal law.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-177

SB20-194 Brew Pub Retail Sales Malt Liquor Sealed Container (Bridges (D), Fenberg (D)) [Gray (D), Van Winkle (R)]

PASSED

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Allow brew pubs to sell its manufactured beer in sealed containers at any of its locations for off-premises consumption, regardless of which location the beer was manufactured at.

Description:

Allows licensed brew pubs to sell its beer manufactured at a different licensed location in sealed containers to the public for off-premises consumption. The two locations must have at least 50% of the same ownership.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

This is pretty straightforward. Brew pubs can sell their beer in sealed containers for off-premises consumption right now, so long as the beer is manufactured at the same facility. But there are some brew pubs that have multiple facilities manufacturing different beers. It doesn’t make sense to exclude them from this allowance simply because of the setup of their manufacturing. This bill rectifies this by ensuring that if the separate locations are truly owned by the same folks, they can sell their beer at any of the locations.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB194

SB20-197 Aligning State And Federal Law On Hemp (Fenberg (D)) [Marble (R)]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Appropriation: $55,620
Fiscal Impact: Negligible

Goal: Align state law with federal law on hemp, including increased testing, new reporting requirements, additional illegal acts and associated civil fines, requiring a separate registration for research and development growing operations, increased authority for the commissioner of agriculture to administer these laws, and some additional language changes.

Description:

Aligns state law with federal law on hemp. This includes:

  • Requiring authorized samplers to collect and test samples from each hemp lot. Crops cannot be harvested until a sample is collected. State to collect any fees necessary to cover associated costs
  • Creating new reporting requirements, including keeping records for at least three years for all hemp lots. State may request all reports and records required for registration, including confidential data or business information. This information may be shared with federal, state, or local law enforcement unless the state believes the disclosure would cause harm or would be in contrary to public interest. In this case this information may be redacted
  • Making it illegal to: cultivate hemp without a valid registration; harvest crop in excess of the time allowed after sampling; refuse to comply with a cease-and-desist order; fail to comply with rules around hemp cultivation; make false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations; or impersonate any officer or inspector. Penalties set by state but cannot exceed $2,000 per day. Specify that someone cannot be criminally prosecuted for failing to obtain registration, failing to provide a legal description of the land producing hemp, or producing cannabis above 0.3% THC legal threshold but below 0.5%.
  • Eliminating authority to grow hemp for research and development purposes under the standard industrial license but authorize creation of a separate registration and waiver requirement for research and development purposes
  • Giving commissioner of agriculture subpoena power, power to issue cease-and-desist orders, and requires free and unimpeded access to facilities upon consent or via an administrative search warrant
  • Requiring all key participants (executives) provide a criminal background check from the FBI
  • Changing appointing authority for the industrial hemp advisory committee from the legislature to the state agricultural commission and removes a representative from the attorney general’s office
  • Adopting federal definitions

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Hemp was made legal by the federal government in 2018 and the government released its regulations last fall. So it is time to bring Colorado into compliance with these laws. The concept of thumbing our nose at the federal government for an activity that is legal, rather than one that is federally illegal, probably is not going to fly. The federal government is unlikely to turn a blind eye to our activities the way it currently does for federally illegal marijuana production and sales. And the changes in this bill are not super onerous, yes a separate registration would be required for research and development and the inspection routine is more rigorous. But on the whole this shouldn’t change too much of how the hemp industry operates.

Arguments Against:

We already violate federal law when it comes to the rest of our marijuana laws in the state, these changes have the potential to chill participation in the industry, especially when it comes to the disclosure requirements and potential increased costs of registration to cover all the increased inspections. We should keep doing our own thing and ignore the federal law.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB197

SB20-203 Repeal Metered-dose Inhalers As Vaporized Delivery (Gonzales (D), Marble (R)) [Gray (D), Sandridge (R)]

KILLED ON SENATE CALENDAR

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Negligible

Goal: Remove requirement that state treat marijuana metered-dose inhalers the same as a vaporized delivery device for purposes of regulation and testing.

Description: Currently the state is required to treat marijuana metered-dose inhalers the same as a vaporized delivery device for purposes of regulation and testing. This bill repeals that requirement.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

These things are, in fact, different. One uses a fine mist (the inhaler) and the other uses heat source and a delivery mechanism. They should not be treated the same in regulations.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-203

SB20-213 Alcohol Beverage Retail Takeout And Delivery (Bridges (D), Priola (R)) [Larson (R), Roberts (D)]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Permanently allow takeout and delivery of alcohol from restaurants with some stricter restrictions that get automatically relaxed during a disaster emergency.

Description:

Allows those with licenses that allow them to sell alcohol for on premise consumption to sell alcohol for delivery or for takeout for consumption off-premises. Alcohol must be in a sealed container. Alcohol may be sold by the drink. Requires a specific permit, which the bill also directs the state to create, except during a disaster emergency declared by the governor. Again except during a disaster emergency, limit of 750 mL or 26.4 fluid ounces of wine and spirits or 72 fluid ounces of beer or hard cider. And again, except during a disaster emergency, the seller cannot derive more than 50% of its food and alcohol beverage revenue from takeout and delivery orders. Delivery may only be done by employees over the age of 21 and must have completed server and seller training for alcohol. State is to set rules on the types of containers that may be used, for the permit required, fees for the permit, and any other matters it deems necessary.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: July, 2022

Arguments For:

We have basically been experimenting with a limited version of this thanks to the governor since Coronavirus hit. And it turns out that allowing restaurants to deliver alcohol or sell it with takeout orders does not in fact harm public safety. Quite the contrary really, with people drinking at home rather than at a restaurant. It provides a good service. This bill allows this to continue in normal times with appropriate guardrails limiting the amount of alcohol that can be delivered, requiring a permit, and insuring the delivery is done by a qualified adult. And during times like these, it appropriately relaxes these restrictions which helps restaurants stay in business and helps consumers get access to the adult beverages of their choice.

Arguments Against:

It is far too early to say that allowing this does not harm public safety. First, we are not in true normal times right now, with people moving around as they normally would. So we cannot truly say we know that this would not cause an increase in drinking and driving, as the person consuming the alcohol is away from the eyes of the restaurant employees (this would apply in particular to takeout orders).

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB213