The City of Cripple Creek at their March 20 council meeting heard a quarterly update from lobbyist Sol Malick, who keeps the city apprised of Colorado state issues and represents the city’s interests.
The 120-day legislative session is nearing the end of its term. Malick, formerly a Democrat, said, “the Democrat majority is pursuing a very progressive agenda with bills being rammed through without stakeholders being involved with the process. It’s been really disappointing.” He added that the hope had been for more collaboration between Democrats and Republicans.
“The current state of the state is that Democrats are in control and they are using it to their advantage,” Malick said.
Malick has been monitoring approximately 21 bills of interest to the city and the Pikes Peak region.
Bills that have already been passed by the legislature — the oil and gas 2,500-foot offset (a revisit of Proposition 112 which was defeated by a large margin of voters a few months ago in the 2018 election) and comprehensive sex education reform — are “an affront to local control, especially school boards,” said Malick.
“It’s a pretty dark time for the oil and gas (industries) with (the Democrat majority) waging a war against rural Colorado (citizens) who (depend on those) royalties,” Malick said.
Language regarding the sports betting bill, an issue of major importance to Cripple Creek, has progressed to state that betting will not be open to any locations outside of the three constitutional gaming cities — Cripple Creek, Blackhawk and Central City.
Specifics of the language so far include: no brick-and-mortar registration, state taxing to make it worthwhile, licensing to be per each casino and Gaming Commission oversight.
According to Malick, the desired outcome would be a licensure program that would allow the purchase of sports betting licenses through casinos at the three gaming cities. In that way, any revenue would remain in the gaming designated communities.
Some proponents of sports betting wish to bring it to a statewide vote, with others preferring the legislature to tackle the measure. Malick said that a citizen vote on the initiative is generally more expensive with more work involved and a less predictable outcome.
Another bill affecting the gaming industry is a bill to change the Historic Preservation auditing process of the three statutory gaming cities to include a mandatory audit every five years and allows an auditor to perform an audit of HP fund usage at any time.
House Bill 19-1086, concerning the conduct of plumbing inspections to ensure compliance with existing plumbing law, would require city- and county-employed plumbing inspectors to possess the same qualifications required of state plumbing inspectors and for the entities “to conduct a contemporaneous review of each plumbing project inspected to ensure compliance with the plumbing law, including specifically licensure and apprentice requirements.”
However, (cities and counties) “need not perform a contemporaneous review for each inspection of a project. Each entity shall develop standard procedures to advise inspectors on how to conduct a contemporaneous review. Each entity must post its standard procedures on its public website and provide the director of the division of professions and occupations within the department of regulatory agencies with a link to the web page on which the standard procedures have been posted.”
Other bills affecting the city, and by extension the entire state, include:
• HB 1240, Removal of a 3.3 percent vendor allowance tax incentive, which had the original intent to encourage business investment;
• HB 1076, an addition to the Clean Indoor Act to not allowing vaping indoors and vaping within 25 feet of a business entrance;
• HB 1096, would permit those without a home to sleep or camp on county open space, parked at a curb, at state parks and technically upon the six-foot city easement between a homeowner’s property and the sidewalk;
• HB 1231, requires restaurant replacement (through attrition) of outdated equipment) with Energy Star-rated equipment. This action would discourage recycling as many restaurant entrepreneurs make initial purchases through auctions and used equipment for cost savings.
A “Carbon Emissions Reduction Act” would shut down coal plants and increase energy costs.
“This is the greening of Colorado. They are putting environmental concerns over economics,” Malick said.