Pabon and Landgraf: Colorado must continue to unleash the sharing economy
Authors: Rep. Dan Pabon, Rep. Lois Landgraf - March 21, 2017 - Updated: March 21, 2017
A few years ago, Colorado triggered a wave of innovation when it became the first state to update its laws so that ride-sharing digital platforms, Uber and Lyft, could continue to thrive while establishing proper safety and consumer protections.
What we know now, two years after that effort, is that it was crucial for Colorado’s economy and lifestyle that our laws continue to keep pace with developments in modern commerce.
Now, Colorado is positioned to lead the nation once again.
This time, Colorado has a chance to update its laws governing pet care access, including dog sitting, boarding, dog walking and in-home check-ins. A growing number of popular online platforms in Colorado are connecting pet owners who need care for their animals with pet lovers willing to provide it in a safe, in-home environment.
The result will make pet ownership easier and more affordable for a greater number of families, while also allowing thousands in Colorado to subsidize their income. These platforms, like DoggyVacay and Rover, are quickly becoming the preferred alternative to anonymous bulletin boards which provide no safeguards.
Today, thousands of pet lovers and sitters in Colorado earn extra money and set their own schedules. Many of the sitters and dog walkers in Colorado are also small-business owners who make an average of $659 annually — translating into more than $3 million in total economic impact last year alone — money that can go to buying groceries, making car and mortgage payments, supplementing retirement or paying off student loans. This is part of a larger movement that is opening doors for economic opportunity for people in middle-to-low income brackets in Colorado and throughout the U.S., and is widely supported across party lines.
A new legislative model is needed — one that reflects the modern economy that these platforms enable. But an outdated and ill-equipped statute is threatening to restrict their growth. That is why we have introduced new legislation to promote this expanded approach to pet care.
Our solution for this problem, House Bill 1228, has several important features. First, it would inject a new layer of professionalism and accountability into the in-home care of pets by requiring that every stay booked online is protected by $25,000 in insurance coverage. Second, it would require safety measures such as 24/7 safety hotlines and access to professional veterinarians. And finally, it would require extensive background checks for those caring for pets.
Without an innovative regulatory approach that moves away from a sole focus on traditional brick and mortar facilities, this newfound access, convenience and entrepreneurial income, is at risk.
Just like Colorado led the nation with ride-sharing legislation in 2014, it is poised to do so again in pet care access. Colorado will once again be at the vanguard of promoting innovation and competition while protecting consumers and ensuring pet safety.
Thankfully, a growing coalition of stakeholders and elected officials are aiming to preserve this new source of pet care options that provide local, safe, reliable and affordable care for dog owners across Colorado. Once again, Colorado will lead the nation in balancing the promise of these new sharing platforms with the security and safety consumers deserve.