Regulatory reform and more top the agenda this legislative session.
If you still haven’t made your New Year’s resolutions, Coloradans, now is the time to put contacting your elected officials on the list. This legislative session, “Democrats will continue to run bills aimed at making it harder on small business owners to recruit and retain workers,” says NFIB Colorado State Director Tony Gagliardi.
The Colorado General Assembly convenes Jan. 13. Here’s what small business owners are hoping for.
1. Fewer minimum-wage regulations.
State law requires Colorado’s hourly minimum wage to be adjusted for inflation each year. For 2016, the jump was relatively small—from $8.23 to $8.31 an hour—but any minimum-wage increase is burdensome for small business owners. This year’s agenda items “include allowing local governments to adopt their own minimum wage standard,” Gagliardi says.
2. The freedom to check a job applicant’s background.
“Employers not being able to ask about an applicant’s criminal history” is a major issue Colorado small business owners hope to fight this year, according to Gagliardi. Colorado has “banned the box” since 2012, barring employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal background before conducting an interview.
3. Regulatory reform.
“NFIB members look forward to being able to pass a regulatory reform bill that has been an annual effort for the last five years,” Gagliardi says.
Colorado’s dense regulatory climate can be suffocating for small business owners. Last year, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015 (House Bill 1065), which would have given small business owners a written warning rather than a fine for first-time regulation offenses, died in the House State Affairs Committee.
“It’s time we practice what we preach and start having government work with businesses instead of against them,” then-Rep. Libby Szabo, who introduced the bill, said in a statement at the time.