Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1014 into law on February 28, 2019. HB19-1014 brings sweeping changes to the health department inspection process and associated civil penalty and enforcement actions that could result from violations and non-compliance.
The bill, sponsored by Colorado State Representatives Johnathan Singer, Shannon Bird, and Colorado State Senator Joann Ginal, and supported by the Colorado Restaurant Association, brings much needed efficiency to the civil penalty and enforcement process; prior to HB19-1014, the method by which health departments were required to conduct enforcement processes and assess civil penalties was difficult and time consuming for health departments, and confusing for retail food owners and operators to follow without the use of a flow chart and paper or electronic tracking and notification methods from the health department. Additionally, HB19-1014 enables health departments to focus their efforts and interactions with operations that need the most help in a timely and impactful fashion, while also providing a benefit of fewer inspections to those food operations which are able to meet and maintain compliance with the retail food regulations.
The law takes effect in January 2020, unless a referendum petition is filed within 90 days after final adjournment by the general assembly, which would then require voter approval in November 2020.
House Bill 19-1014:
· Clarifies the situations that can create an "imminent health hazard";
· Repeals language that separated violations found during inspections into critical and noncritical violations;
· Clarifies that it is unlawful to continue to operate a retail food establishment that has had its license or certificate of license suspended;
· Removes the minimum amount for a civil penalty and establishes the maximum amount as $1,000;
· Provides that a retail food establishment that is found to be in violation during 4 out of 5 inspections during a 12-month period is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 and license suspension; and
· Adds unpaid license fees to the list of items on which a retail food establishment can spend an assessed penalty.
If you would like more information on this law, or need assistance in health department compliance and violation remediation or food safety consulting for your restaurant, grocery store, or food manufacturing operation in the Denver area, please contact us at email@example.com or call 303-408-7969