House Democrats ask what happened to a vanishing regulatory relief bill in the Senate
Author: Joey Bunch - May 8, 2017 - Updated: July 31, 2017
Remember a few weeks ago when Senate Republicans were looking for a couple of their bills? Well, House Democrats are missing something, too: Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp’s regulatory relief bill.
The caucus put out a video over the weekend asking where the bipartisan House Bill 1270 has gotten off to in the Senate.
“After years of failed partisan effort, my bipartisan bill with Rep. Polly Lawrence and Sen. Don Coram passed the House with strong bipartisan support,” the Democrat from Arvada says in the 55-second video. “That was April 3. It’s a month later and it still hasn’t been introduced in the Senate.”
The bill would give state agencies discretion in dealing with first time offenders of minor offenses if the business has 50 or fewer employees.
It hasn’t been assigned to a committee, and the session ends on Wednesday. Sayonara, regulatory relief.
The shelved bill limited offenses to those with fines of less than $500 or puts people, property or the environment at risk.
The business would have 30 days to address the violation.
Hold the phone, that sounds familiar.
One of Senate Republicans’ most beloved bills, Senate Bill 1 (yup, top of the party’s priority list), did much the same thing, except for businesses with up to 500 employees instead of 50.
Opponents called Senate Bill 1 a “get out of jail free card,” and said 500 employees barely fits the description of a small business. According to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, 49 percent of the state’s employers have fewer than 500 workers.
The SBA uses the 500 figure as a cut-off, and doesn’t break down the numbers to 50 employees, but notes that those who employ less than 100 people is the largest segment, about 36 percent.
That bill was killed in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on March 2, the day before House Bill 1270 was up for a final vote on the House floor.
Who chairs Business Affairs and Labor? Tracy Kraft-Tharp.
We joke about it in the hallways all the time at the Capitol: That building runs on spite and retribution.
And sometimes not so much: those missing bills that senators were trying to track down in their video? Both passed and were sent to the governor.