Jobs, rules and home-baked goods move forward in statehouse

Aspen Farmers Market by beautifulcataya | Flickr via Creative Commons

Delicious homemade food ruled the week in the Colorado legislature along with some decidedly more bureaucratic bills to help advance the state’s entrepreneurial sector.

Here’s how the legislative process shook out during the week of Jan. 23:

HB12-1002 CLEAR Act & Application Permit Rules
Amends current law to require state agencies to adhere to rules in effect on the date a new or renewed permit is submitted or grandfather them under current law while a pending rule change is under consideration, unless there are compelling health and/or safety issues.

The amended bill passed the House Economic Development and Business Committee Thursday on a 12-1 vote after a marathon discussion over technical questions. Committee democrats extracted a promise from sponsor Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) to fix the bill before it hits the House floor next week for its first vote.

HB12-1027 Sale of Nonpotentially Hazardous Foods From Home Kitchen
Allows a person to produce and sell homemade food to consumers.

The likely winner of the most unappetizing bill title this session passed the House Economic and Business Development Committee on a unanimous 12-0 vote after striking the definition of a home kitchen for “producing nonpotentially hazardous food for sale.” The bill’s protections also sidestep the production of foods “infused with medical marijuana or otherwise adulterated.” Guess that leaves the fatal and intoxicating food sectors in limbo. The bill moves to the House floor for a second reading and voice vote.

HB12-1044 Startup Technology Transfer Program
Establishes a program to provide grants of up to $750,000 to accelerate commercialization of technology research and discoveries.

The bill was tabled Tuesday after lead sponsor House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) fell ill. It’s back on the House Economic Development and Business Committee’s Jan. 31 agenda.

HB12-1055 Rename the Registration Division
Amends the name of the Colorado Division of Registrations to the Division of Professions and Occupations.

The gutted bill eventually passed the House Economic Development and Business Committee Tuesday on a unanimous 13-0 vote after ample time was spent by committee members planting their ideological flags on the scourge of government bureaucracy. It moves to the House for a second reading and voice vote.

HB12-1061 Skills for Jobs Act
Requires the Dept. of Higher Education to produce annual report that analyzes degree/certificate production and workforce gaps.

The lightly amended bill passed the House Education Committee on a unanimous 13-0 vote with a new mandate to also provide the data to public school districts and secondary private schools and to use 2-year projected data as the more commonly available reporting norm. The bill was broadly supported by education leaders and business interests—a rare occurrence in the statehouse. It moves to the House floor for a second reading and voice vote.

SB12-048 Locally Produced Food
Creates the “Colorado Cottage Food Act” to exempt small, home-based producers from retail food licensing requirements and requires producers to be certified in safe food handling and processing.

This Senate bill goes a bit further than HB12-1027. It defines regulated products (basically no dairy- or meat-based items), applies only to producers who earn less than $5000 in revenues per year for each food type produced and exempts schools and nonprofits from liability for serving or producing un-inspected food. Pot brownies go unmentioned in the bill language. It moves to the Senate floor for a second reading and voice vote.

SB12-094 State Sales Tax on Food
Amends definition of non-taxable foods to include those marketed as “convenience” or “prepared” foods.
The bill sailed through the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on a unanimous 6-0 vote. Fear not, your 7-Eleven burrito will soon be non-taxable. It moves to the Senate floor for a second reading and voice vote.

Bill calendar for the week of Jan. 30, 2012

SB12-005 Business Retention and Expansion Program
Mon., Jan 30 | Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee

HB12-1007 Regulatory Analysis Requirement For Rules
Tues., Jan. 31 | House Economic Development and Business Committee

HB12-1044 Startup Technology Transfer Program
Tues., Jan. 31 | House Economic Development and Business Committee

SB12-058 Venture Capital Advisory Board
Wed., Feb. 1 | Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee

HB12-1088 Use of Deadly Force at a Business
Thurs., Feb. 2 | House Judiciary Committee

HB12-1071 Portable Electronics Insurance
Thurs., Feb. 2 | House Economic Development and Business Committee

HB12-1127 Eliminate Unemployment Insurance Premium Rate Increase on New Businesses
Thurs., Feb. 2 | House Economic Development and Business Committee

SB12-053 Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act
Thurs., Feb. 2 | Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Get more info at Tekhne’s Colorado bill tracker.