House Dems choose punitive fines over cooperation with small business

House Republican Leader Patrick Neville – Castle Rock (HD 45)

DENVER—Earlier today, House Democrats killed the third Republican attempt to help small businesses manage the growing burden of government regulations. Senate Bill 276, sponsored by House Republican Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), was a bipartisan bill that would have required state agencies to give a small businesses a period of time to cure a first-time minor violation of a rule instead of imposing a fine.

The bill would have directed state agencies to notify small businesses in writing of the violation, and include steps to cure the violation within 30 business days. The bill defined ‘minor violation’ as a violation that included operational or administrative matters, such as record keeping, retention of data, or filing of reports. Any matters that placed the safety of the public, employees, or others at risk was excluded.

“Even after Republicans agreed to drastically lower the size of eligible businesses, Democrats still couldn’t support legislation that helps small businesses avoid fines and penalties for minor first-time violations,” said Neville. “Coloradans need to know that Democrats had multiple opportunities to show they support small businesses this session, but ultimately they were unwilling to give up the revenue from fines that fund so many of their pet projects.”
During the committee hearing, the AFL-CIO expressed its opposition to the bill over concerns it would encourage small businesses not to pay taxes. However, Neville promptly advised them to read the language in the bill specifically excluding activities required by state and federal law – such as paying taxes.
Republicans were surprised to see the bipartisan Senate Bill sent to the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee rather than the Business Committee, and even more disappointed when Democrats killed the motion to move the bill back to the business committee.
In addition to Senate Bill 276, House Democrats killed Senate Bill 1 and 186, both of which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support and were widely supported by the business community.