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Agency Discretion Enforcing Rules Small Business

Concerning agency discretion in enforcement procedures for minor violations of certain state rules by small businesses employing no more than fifty employees.
2017 Regular Session

The bill contains a legislative declaration about the difficulties small businesses encounter when attempting to stay current with changing rules and new rules that affect their businesses. The bill identifies 4 specific actions that the executive branch could take to inform small businesses about proposed and new rules.

The bill creates a system that gives state agencies discretion in imposing fines upon a business for a first-time offense of a minor violation. The agency's discretion applies to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees (business).

Unless specifically stated otherwise in statute, a state agency has discretion to give the business an opportunity to cure the violation and then waive the fine if the minor violation is cured or to reduce the penalties or fine.

The opportunity to cure a minor violation does not apply in cases where an agency is required by statute to assess a fine for noncompliance.

The bill defines 'minor violation' as a violation that:

  • Relates to operational or administrative matters such as record keeping, retention of data, or failing to file reports or forms; and
  • Relates to a rule promulgated within the 12 months immediately preceding the alleged violation; and
  • Is enforced by a fine, either in total or in the aggregate, of $500 or less.

'Minor violation' does not include:

  • Any matter that places the safety of employees; other persons; or the public health, safety, or environment at risk; or
  • Violations relating to:
  • The issuance of or denial of benefits or compensation to employees; or
  • Activities required by federal law.

Each state agency shall conduct an analysis of noncompliance with its rules to identify rules with the greatest frequency of noncompliance, rules that generate the greatest amount of fines, how many first-time offenders were given the opportunity to cure a minor violation, and what factors contribute to noncompliance by regulated businesses. The agency shall consider and review what actions should be taken to address the issues identified.

Each principal department containing agencies that issue fines for violations of new rules shall prepare an annual report for the general assembly summarizing the results of its analysis of noncompliance. The principal department shall absorb the costs of preparing the annual reports within existing resources.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)


Under Consideration

Bill Text