DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado lawmakers passed 10 bills during the three-day special legislative session that addressed relief efforts for COVID-19 in the state.
Initially, 37 bills were introduced. In total, four Senate bills passed and six House bills passed. These bills are designed to help businesses and residents affected financially as a result of the pandemic.
The Senate bills headed to the governor's desk include:
- SB20B-001 COVID-19 Relief Small And Minority Businesses Arts Organizations
- This bill provides roughly $57.1 million in funding mainly for small businesses that were affected by the pandemic.
- $37 million goes towards small businesses in counties that are subject to or in compliance with public health orders. That includes restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms.
- $7.5 million for eligible arts, culture, and entertainment artists, crew members, and organizations.
- $6,780,000 to help the Department of Public Health and Environment contract with county or district boards of health to provide funding in place of annual licensing fees to certain retail food establishments.
- $4 million to minority-owned businesses.
- SB20B-002 Housing And Direct COVID Emergency Assistance
- $44.5 million will be transferred to the housing development grant fund to provide emergency housing assistance to individuals and households who have experienced financial strain as a result of the pandemic.
- SB20B-003 Money For Energy Utility Bill Payment Assistance
- $5 million to the energy outreach Colorado low-income assistance fund, this provides direct utility bill payment assistance to low-income households.
- SB20B-004 Transfer To Make Money Available For COVID-19 Emergency
- $100 million will be transferred to the controlled maintenance trust fund. The governor will have the ability to transfer this money to the disaster emergency fund for public health and emergency response expenses associated with the pandemic.
The House bills passed include:
- HB20B-1001 Grants To Improve Internet Access In P-12 Education
- This bill creates the connecting Colorado students grant program, which offers local education providers grants to provide broadband service and other technology for increased internet access for students, educators, and other staff.
- HB20B-1002 Emergency Relief Programs For Child Care Sector
- This bill creates two relief grant programs
- The child care sustainability grant program provides financial support to licensed providers in Colorado, including those that are in danger of closing as a result of the pandemic. The grant offers awards starting at $500 up to $35,000.
- The emerging and expanding child care grant program provides financial assistance to new or existing providers to expand access and availability of licensed providers in the state. The grant offers rewards starting at $3,000 up to $50,000.
- HB20B-1003 Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program
- This bill extends the current provisions of the food pantry assistance grant program from December 30, 2020, to February 28, 2021. The grant awards $25,000 to $35,000 to food banks and food pantries, including faith-based organizations.
- HB20B-1004 Qualified Retailer Retain Sales Tax For Assistance
- This bill allows a temporary deduction from state net taxable sales for qualifying bars, breweries, restaurants, and food trucks in the state, allowing those businesses to keep part of the sales tax.
- HB20B-1005 Local Authority To Impose Food Delivery Fee Restrictions
- This bill restricts fees imposed by a third-party food delivery service. It's designed to help restaurants struggling financially because of the pandemic in counties where indoor dining is prohibited at a capacity of at least 50% or below.
- This limits the amount of the fee a third-party delivery service can charge a restaurant.
- Restrict the ability of a third-party food delivery service to reduce the compensation rate or tips resulting from a fee limit.
- Require any fee or commission charged to a restaurant to be disclosed to the customer.
- Restrict a third-party food delivery service's ability to service a restaurant without consent.
- HB20B-1006 Insurance Premium Tax Payments And Credits
- This bill adjusts how calendar quarter estimates of the tax on insurance premiums are calculated. It allows the payment for the first calendar quarter of a year to be adjusted.
- Companies that have overpaid on its estimated premium tax liability to claim a refund.
- Allow a taxpayer to claim a small business recovery tax credit or an affordable housing tax credit against estimated premium tax payments and provides the transfer of small business recovery tax credits among affiliates.
For a more in-depth look at the bills passed, click here.
The bill filed by state Sen. Rob Woodward (R) and state Rep. Rod Bockenfield (R) aimed to terminate the authority granted to Gov. Jared Polis under the state's current emergency disaster declaration did not pass.