Colorado Senator Pushes for Mandatory Posted Notices for Restaurants without Sick Days

Colorado state Senator Jessie Ulibarri is looking to push forward new legislation that requires restaurants who do not provide five paid sick days to their employees to post a  public notice that informs their customers. Citing the growing food safety concerns in light of the recent Chipotle crisis, Ulibarri claims that restaurant workers are currently forced to chose between their economic and health interests, and often end up coming to work sick, thus risking infecting fellow staff and customers.

"If employees are not offered paid time off when they're sick, then we, as the public, should know," Ulibarri explained to ABC7. "If we know there's dairy in our food or gluten in our food, we should know if there's influenza in our food." Read More

Colorado-based Representative Seeks to Lessen National Food Regulations

Boulder based US Representative Jared Polis is seeking support for a series of legal measures that would lessen the degree of food regulations nationwide. Partnering with Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, the duo are looking to launch several bills that would lessen the legal restrictions on foods such as beef, milk, kombucha and hemp.

One current bill the congressmen are pushing for is known as the PRIME Act, which would allow states to sell non-USDA slaughtered beef directly to consumers and retailers without the beef having ever been inspected by the USDA. Additionally, the duo are also championing the "Milk Freedom Act" and the "Milk Interstate Freedom Act" which would allow for raw milk to be legally sold in all 50 states.

 "You shouldn't have the federal government telling you what you can and can't eat," said Polis. Read More

Denver Restaurants Looking to Allow for On-Site Marijuana Consumption

In 2012, Marijuana became legal in Colorado yet despite legislation permitting its recreational use, the substance is still banned in many public gathering places and within establishments such as restaurant and bars. Yet recently, the same group that got marijuana legalized in the first place are now pushing for a new ballot measure known as "The Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative" that would allow for locals to use the substance in restaurants and bars, with some restriction, much like with the consumption of alcohol.

Elsewhere, many chefs have already been experimenting using marijuana in their cooking, will onsite consumption be next? Learn more about the ballot measure here

Proposed taproom regulations cause Colorado breweries and restaurants to face off

Brewery

The Colorado Legislature introduced a bill this week that seeks to increase regulations on the state’s growing number of taprooms and breweries.  Relatively standard, House Bill 1217 would require any brewery looking to sell their beers on site to notify local authorities of their intent and local licensing authorities would then have 30 days to submit comments to the state which would be considered in the decision to approve or deny the taproom’s license.

Yet while the bill wouldn’t grant local authorities any new authority to approve or reject applications, the Colorado Restaurant Association, or CRA, has entered into the discussion looking to possibly amend the bill to include more protections for local restaurants.  

Claiming that the growing number of Colorado food trucks have begun partnering with local taprooms  that have adversely affected nearby restaurants, CRA president and CEO Sonia Riggs has argued that any location selling alcohol on site should be subject to the same regulations governing taverns and bars.  Riggs hopes to work to amend the bill to implement such changes and has already begun asking for taprooms to collect signatures from local communities and to offer food to customers as bars are required to do.  

Yet brewers have countered with the argument that restaurants and taprooms run separate business models and breweries are already subject to separate limitations and requirements, such as serving only the beer that the brewery produces and the requirement to get approval of their beers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Read more on the ongoing legal battle between Colorado’s breweries and restaurants here