Government Actions Discriminating Against Businesses/Wedding Cake Bill (Oppose – Preemption)

Government Actions Discriminating Against Businesses/Wedding Cake Bill (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1290 (Baxley) and HB 871 (Fant) create the Free Enterprise Protection Act. The legislation, filed in response to a business refusing to make a wedding cake for a wedding reception in Colorado, broadly defines discriminatory actions by governmental entities against businesses. The definition includes provisions such as government action to alter the tax treatment of a business; an action that denies, delays or revokes a business' exemption from taxation or other tax benefits; an action that withholds, reduces, excludes, terminates, denies or makes unavailable a grant, contract or subcontract; or any action that excludes a business' access to property, facilities or charitable fundraising campaigns. The legislation prohibits a governmental entity from taking discriminatory action against a business on the basis of the internal policies of the business entity, including, but not limited to, personnel and employee benefit policies that are in compliance with state law. Additionally, the bills also prohibit a government discriminatory action because of the business' exercise of a right guaranteed under the state or federal constitutions, including, but not limited to, the rights of freedom of expression and free exercise of religion. Therefore, the legislation could potentially preempt some city regulations, such as human rights ordinances. (Cruz)