Jerry Kopel

Egg Safety; Community Colleges Lose Gambling Money; Lottery Player Demographics


April 4, 2009

By Jerry Kopel

Colorado's executive branch has treated people who eat eggs pretty negligently.

Now however the Department of Regulatory Agencies Sunset research staff and legislators Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village and Rep. Randy Fischer, D- Ft. Collins recognized the need to protect egg eaters from former loopholes in Colorado's egg inspection laws, through SB 127 which has been signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter.

According to DORA, the Agriculture Commission recognized its duty to stop large sales of bad eggs, but the legislature had not given the agriculture staff the authority to include inspection of vehicles transporting eggs as the way to find bad eggs before they reach the consumers.

DORA had found virtually no regulation concerning transportation of eggs from wholesalers to the retailers. From now on, they both, as well as others, will be called dealers. Of course, loopholes were known about in all recent previous administrations.

Cutting down on the number of different license/types was part of DORA's successful goal as well as urging the legislature to expand authority over "the sanitation of temperature required of vehicles used to transport eggs in all of the delivery process."

DORA recommended the agriculture commissioner have control over rules on both transportation, refrigeration, and processing of eggs, as well as criteria for licensing dealers. There had to be authority to inspect vehicles used during business hours to make sure the protection offered in the vehicles actually safeguarded the eggs being transported. SB 127 does that.

Exempt from regulatory law, if they want exemption, are persons producing and selling at retail less than 250 dozen eggs per month.


Did you read the actual language now in the constitution before you voted to expand hours, games and bets for limited gaming:

"Annual adjustment in connection with distributions to limited gaming fund recipients listed in subsection (5) (b) (II) of this section (Kopel: That is the replacement on 28 percent to State Historical Society (SHS) and 50 percent to general revenue) to reflect the lesser of six percent of, or the actual percentage of, annual growth in gaming tax revenue attributable to this section (7). (Kopel: This section divides up the new money.)

House Bill 1272 rewrites the meaning of "annual adjustment" to reflect in the first year (2009-10) "the payment shall equal six percent of the first year's limited gaming revenues attributable to extended limited gaming". So if the true figure is two percent, the payment to the SHS would still be six percent.

Payments for subsequent years follows the constitution language until we get a new definition of "limited gaming tax revenue attributable to extended limited gaming" meaning:

"all limited gaming tax revenue in excess of the amount collected during fiscal year 2008-09" adjusted as follows:"

There is a new 2008-09 base which is three percent greater, not six percent greater as the adjusted base, and each year thereafter there is a lesser of three percent based on an actual lesser sum adjusted percentage for the prior fiscal year.

Joanne Ditmer in the Denver Post wrote an excellent column on the House committee vote on dividing the extended limited gaming law money pointed out "proponents of the November vote promised the historic fund would continue to get its share of "old" limited gaming proceeds and a small portion of new expanded proceeds."

The gaming commission could license some slot and other games as $5 or under games, but I don't believe that will happen.

I read Ditmer's column to mean "it won't be possible to determine old and new proceeds, so it is worth reiterating SHS would be based on a base started with the 2008-09 funding bumped up by three percent, capped with no more than three percent or lesser amounts for future base adjustments after 2009-10.

With another possible $200 million deficit on top of what is already expected, the attempts by community colleges to get a big sum on top of what they might have received without gaming expanding will likely meet doom in a special session after the regular session ends in May.

The bill now awaits the governor's signature.

* * *

The state auditor has found that attempts to compare trends in lottery ticket purchases nearly impossible for more than a few years of experience, based on different approaches taken by "trackers".

The entire "section" for comparison of players and income began in 1987, then was repealed in 2000 in a secretive manner, brought back into the statutes in 2002. There it was done in a manner to avoid comparisons, making it difficult for me and other columnists to spot what was happening among lottery players.

I had for many years written of concerns the lottery players were poor and minority, young and old.

The auditor's report for fiscal 2007 showed one out of five players earned less than $40,000. One out of four refused to disclose their income and 43 percent earned $40,000 to $100,000.

In fiscal year 2007, 84 percent of the players were white/non-Latino and seven percent responders were Hispanic/Latino. One out of five was a high school graduate and 47 percent had a college graduate or postgraduate degree.

Only seven percent were under 25 years of age and one out of three were 55 or older.

(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)

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