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May 11, 2018

2018 Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast: 
On Tuesday, May 22nd the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the annual Legislative Wrap-up Breakfast. The breakfast will feature Western Slope lawmakers who will be discussing what happened throughout the legislative session, the outcomes, and how it will all impact businesses in the Grand Valley. The breakfast will begin at 7:30 AM at the Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Dr. To register online, click here.

Grand Valley Drainage District Election:
On Tuesday, East Grand Valley resident Mary Brophy defeated Palisade resident Dave Edwards, for the open Grand Valley Drainage District board seat. Mary Brophy is a tough critic of the district’s stormwater charge, throughout her campaign she argued that the charge is indeed a tax. Edwards, on the other hand, maintained that the stormwater fee is not a tax, and is a necessary charge that is permissible under the district’s establishing legislation. Mary Brophy will take her seat on the board on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018. For more information, click here. 

SB18-001 Headed to the Governor:
After months of negotiations, SB18-001, “Transportation Infrastructure Funding” is headed to the governor’s desk. On Tuesday, the Colorado Senate voted to unanimously approve a bipartisan compromise that was announced Monday night by Senate President Kevin Grantham and Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran. The bipartisan plan allocates $495 million taxpayer dollars to transportation this year, and $150 million the next. The bill will also ask voters to approve a referendum to issue $2.34 billion in transportation bonds, in 2019. A majority of the transportation funding will be spent on state highway projects. To read more, click here

PERA Bill Passed in Final Hours of 2018 Session:
Late Wednesday night, Colorado lawmakers passed SB18-200, “Modifications to PERA to Eliminate Unfunded Liability”, just before the end of the 2018 legislative session. The bill is intended to address a $32 billion-dollar hole in the Public Employees Retirement Association. Though the bill was sent to a conference committee a week before, a compromise between the approved House and Senate versions of the bill was not made until just hours before the session deadline. The final version of the bill includes a raise in the retirement age to 64 for future state employees, an increase to employee and employer contribution rates, and $225 million a year to pay off the pension system’s unfunded debt. The bill was passed in the House by a vote of 34-29, and in the Senate with a vote of 24-11. For more information, click here.

Senate and House Compromise Over Beer Guidelines:
In another down to the wire compromise, the Colorado legislature approved a bill that will establish guidelines for the sale of full strength beer in grocery and convenience stores, late Wednesday night. In 2016, lawmakers approved a measure to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer, starting January 1, 2019. SB18-243, “Retail Sales Alcohol Beverages” provides the guidelines for those sales. The compromise allows for 18-21 year-olds to sell beer in grocery and convenience stores, as well as liquor stores. The bill also requires that grocery and convenience stores use their own employees to deliver beer. To read more, click here.

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