May 6th Update

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Senator Kevin Grantham - District 2

The end of the session is providing no shortage of important topics. Unfortunately, as you know, all of them are being decided on the wrong side of the issue.

First, the good news… HB 13-1301 is a bill that would create a task force to look at the future of Colorado’s Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC). PTAC helps those who are looking to bid government contracts. These centers, headquartered in Colorado Springs, have helped bring a tremendous amount of contract work to Colorado. During the last three years, its clients have reported being able to receive either prime or subcontractor contracts valued at $1.75 billion and create or retain over 35,000 jobs. All of this was done on a $792,000 budget, which is a very impressive return on investment. This is a good bill and I voted “yes” on it; PTAC also supported it.

Now the neutral…Currently the General Assembly is tackling the complexity that is marijuana regulation. The “consensus bill,” SB 13-283, is a collection of recommendations coming out of the Amendment 64 Task Force that was agreed upon by almost everyone. Among them were 1) regulating marijuana like alcohol for purposes of possession and open container laws, 2) regulating it like tobacco for possession on school property, 3) requires peace officer advanced training for “roadside impairment driving enforcement,” among a number of other provisions.

HB 13-1317 is the “non-consensus” marijuana regulatory package bill. It has a lot of provisions, among them: 1) restricting out-of-state purchasers to ¼ ounce per transaction; 2) repealing the current “vertical integration” model, which requires that dispensaries grow a minimum percentage of the marijuana they sell; 3) allows local jurisdictions some leeway in licensing marijuana businesses; and 4) a version of DUID, driving under the influence of drugs, a very controversial provision, which may be severed from the bill to keep it from being killed.

HB 13-1318 is the bill that establishes the taxing structure for marijuana, contingent on voter approval this November. It establishes a 15 percent cap on the sales tax and a separate 15 percent cap on the excise tax. Both of those taxes, if approved, would allow the legislature to adjust the taxes for marijuana without future voter approval, as long as they do not exceed the 15 percent caps.

HB 13-1325 is a newly introduced bill that seeks to take the DUID provision of 1317 and make it stand alone, in hopes of helping that bill have a better chance of passing. DUID has failed every time it has been introduced in the legislature up to now, so it will be interesting to see if a proposal passes this time around.

Finally, the bad…HB 13-1303 is an “election reform” bill that only makes the existing weaknesses in our election system much more exploitable through provisions like same-day voter registration. Everyone knows voter fraud happens. The question is, however, how we respond to it. The solution to the issues we face is not creating a more Swiss-cheese-like elections system but making it more difficult to commit fraud through stronger identification requirements and other reforms. This is an awful bill, but if voter fraud is your thing, it’s a great bill.

If you have any thoughts or feedback, you know you are always welcome to let me know.


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