DENVER Tuesday was last call for beer bills in the Legislature.
The Senate killed a bill to allow convenience stores to sell full-strength beer, at the request of the bills sponsor.
A week ago, the House killed another beer bill that would have allowed both grocery stores and convenience stores to sell strong beer. Currently, they can sell only 3.2 percent beer.
Sen. Betty Boyd, sponsor of Senate Bill 194, said she had the votes to get the bill out of the Senate when she polled senators more than a month ago.
Apparently over time, for whatever reason, those votes have eroded, Boyd said, just before asking senators to kill her bill.
Liquor store owners and craft brewers opposed the bill, saying it would put liquor stores out of business.
The House vote last week hurt SB 194s chances in the Senate, said Mark Larson, executive director of the Colorado-Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association, a lobbying group for gas stations.
Larson said he hopes his allies will take the issue to the ballot.
Well come back and fight another day, said Larson, a former state representative from Cortez. At this point, I am sick of the liquor stores whining and crying about how our three or four cooler doors are going to put them out of business.
But liquor store owners were satisfied with another year of victories at the Legislature.
After four years of overwhelming opposition to out-of-state interests attempts to hurt Colorado small businesses, its time to put this issue out of its misery, said Jeanne McEvoy, president of the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association.
Separately Tuesday, the Senate gave initial approval to SB 60, which would let restaurants serve beer of any strength, including low-alcohol beer. An amendment on a bill last year told state inspectors to make sure only food stores not liquor stores or restaurants sell low-alcohol beer.
SB 60 still has to pass a final Senate vote and make it through the House.
Also Tuesday in the Senate:
With no debate, senators passed a bill to strengthen the states case against lawsuits over the water used by gas and oil wells.
House Bill 1286 tells the courts to give deference to state water regulators, who adopted maps last year to show when gas and oil wells need to be given greater scrutiny to make sure they dont injure the water rights of nearby landowners.
Farmers and ranchers have sued the state over the rules, saying they are a giveaway to the gas industry.
HB 1286 passed 35-0, and the bill is now on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Also with no debate, the Senate passed SB 208, which sets up a merger between the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the state parks division. It passed 34-1 and is now headed to the House.
Reach Joe Hanel at firstname.lastname@example.org.