Aurora is advancing payments for lobbying claims and gross sales tax exemptions for menstrual merchandise
AURORA | Aurora lawmakers first gave OK during a study session on Monday to develop plans to exempt menstrual products from sales tax, extend a temporary price cap for companies that supply technical foods, and implement strict disclosure requirements for lobbying.
The board shot down possible ethics rules, drawn up by Council members Nicole Johnston and Juan Marcano, that would have established a new ethics board of experts to hear and enforce possible ethical violations among city officials, including city council members. A committee of three retired judges is currently handling such cases.
Lawmakers like Dave Gruber and Francoise Bergan feared that the city council would fill the new ethics committee with politically motivated personalities. But Johnston eventually agreed that the rules would benefit from a different look from sponsors and a judge.
Councilors Allison Hiltz and Curtis Gardner have jointly sponsored a bill to reduce sales tax costs when cashiers call tampons, Menstrual pillows, sanitary napkins, panty liners, menstrual sponges and menstrual cups. It would cost the city about $ 230,000 and help women suffering in the economy during the pandemic, Hiltz said.
The plan is being moved to the Council Chamber for an official vote, along with an extension of the city’s price cap for third-party grocery shipping apps GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.
Legislators introduced the rule last year to help companies in trouble. Instead of expiring on March 31st as originally planned, this rule will stay on the books until June 30th. At least one of the delivery giants, DoorDash, responded to the rule this year through price increases at customers.
Gardner, who also co-sponsored the bill, said the slow roll-out of vaccines will likely keep companies under personal dining capacities that will encourage customers to bring take-away or delivery meals.
And enough lawmakers gave initial approval to support Angela Lawson’s lobbying ordinance. The comprehensive rules would require lobbyists to register their clients and income with the city, which would be released to increase public confidence in the government, Lawson said.
Lobbyists trying to abide by or disobey the rules could lose the ability to influence city officials on matters from development to zone rules, permits, and city contracts. They would have to provide detailed quarterly reports on their activities and financial motives, or face potential disqualification and a fine of up to $ 2,500 per charge.
The rules would apply to lobbyists and the city council, but also to city administrators, city staff, board and commission members, presiding judges, and more. The town clerk would decide whether the rules had been broken and pass judgments.
Elsewhere, lawmakers first approved a plan that diverted $ 575,000 in marijuana sales tax revenue towards homelessness program expenses.
All legislators, with the exception of Gruber, approved a resolution that subsequently reaffirmed the freedom of speech for LGBTQ residents in subway districts a Sentinel report last week; and after a close vote of 6 to 5, the city council will send a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to terminate a federal contract with private immigration detention centers, including the GEO Inc. facility in Aurora.