Denver’s Auditor sees 85% boost in wage-theft recovery and bill could limit big chains from selling alcohol


New law in Colorado could restrict alcohol sales in large chain grocery stores

Colorado lawmakers today will discuss a new bill that would limit the amount of alcohol that chain grocery stores and convenience stores can sell. The Denver Gazette reports that House Bill 1373, if it becomes law, could affect around 30 large chains. A spokesperson representing the Colorado Independent Liquor Stores United expressed support for the measure, saying that the bill could help half of the 1,600 small stores statewide survive.

This bill comes two years after voter-approved Proposition 125, which was narrowly passed by voters and allows grocery stores as well as convenience sites to sell wine.

Before Prop 125 passed, wine was major revenue source for most liquor stores. House Bill 1373 could affect some of the larger chain stores’ sales. The bill includes how wine and beer will be presented in these stores. It also prohibits these stores from selling beverages with anything more than 14% alcohol.

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Firearms could be banned from schools, colleges, and other “sensitive spaces”

The State Senate has given final approval to a bill that would ban firearms from government buildings. The so-called “sensitive spaces” bill would also ban firearms in schools, colleges, courthouses, and polling places, according to Colorado Newsline. Senate Bill 131 passed on a 21-14 vote yesterday and now goes to the State House of Representatives.

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Denver’s Auditor sees 85% boost in wage-theft recovery

The Denver Auditor’s Office has recovered over $2 million in worker wages through wage theft investigations last year. In response to the new report, Auditor Tim O’Brien is urging the City Council to expand his office’s authority to protect workers. The recovered wages represent an 85% increase from the previous year, according to the Denver Post.

The increase in recovered wages comes from a new civil wage theft ordinance that the Denver City Council adopted last year. The ordinance empowered the Auditor’s Office to charge employers 12% interest on unpaid wages and fines.

A new Civil Wage Theft ordinance, approved last year, is being credited with the increase in recovered wages. O’Brien is now asking the City Council’s Finance and Governance Committee to give the auditor’s office more investigative abilities.

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Denver homeless nonprofit embroiled in wage dispute for youth shelter

Also relevant to Denver’s wage theft ordinance … the city auditor has flagged a case involving underpaid construction workers of a new shelter for the homeless KGNU’s Pam Johnson has more. Denver’s Auditors’s Office says construction crews at Urban Peak, a four-story homeless shelter, were not paid their required wage.

During construction, crews received residential pay rates.  The Auditors Office says that according to a law passed in 2023, workers should have received commercial construction rates, which, in some cases, are about double residential rates.

Various city offices don’t agree on what the wage rates should be for building a homeless shelter. According to the Colorado Sun, the Department of Housing Stability relied on an older legal ruling when instructing the shelter on wage rates.

A hearing with the involved city agencies is expected to result in final direction on the wages within a few weeks, according to the Colorado Sun.

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Louisville going carbon neutral

The City of Louisville hopes to be carbon-neutral by 2050. The Louisville City Council voted unanimously to set that goal, at its meeting Tuesday night, according to the Daily Camera. Being carbon-neutral means that the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere equals the amount being removed.

Louisville has paid a national facilities and energy company to complete a plan to electrify and decarbonize city buildings. The city also hopes to reduce all of its city’s residential, commercial, and industrial energy-related emissions by 2030. They’re aiming for reductions that are 60% lower than a standard set in 2016.

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Reintroduced wolf kills calf

At least one of the wolves reintroduced into the Colorado wilderness last year has killed a calf in Grand County. The Denver Post is reporting that it’s the first known case of one of the wolves killing a domesticated animal since the voter-mandated wolf reintroduction program took effect last December. The calf’s body was found on Tuesday. State wildlife officials confirmed Wednesday that the calf had been killed by one or more of the reintroduced wolves.

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Alexis Kenyon

Alexis Kenyon

Alexis Kenyon is an experienced radio reporter with more than 15 years of experience creating compelling, sound-rich radio stories for news outlets across the country. Kenyon has master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism in radio broadcast and photojournalism. She has worked in KGNU's news department since 2021 as a reporter, editor, and daily news producer. In all her work, she strives to produce thought-provoking, trustworthy journalism that makes other people's stories feel personal. In addition to audio production, Kenyon runs KGNU's news internship program and oversees the department's digital engagement.

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