Boulder will now ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products, the latest election update from the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office confirmed.
The Humane Clothing Act, which initially had been too close to call, hung on to its lead, passing with 51% of the vote.
Formally known as Ballot Question 301 and informally as Fur Free Boulder, the measure makes it unlawful to “manufacture, sell, display for sale, distribute or trade for monetary or nonmonetary consideration any fur or fur product” in Boulder.
“Boulder is leading the way in making a more compassionate world for animals,” campaign organizer Brent Johannes said in a statement. “This historic act will usher in a new wave of animal rights legislation, and we hope to soon see a statewide ban considered.”
Though it bans the manufacture and sale of fur products, the measure includes a number of exemptions. For example, the ballot language states it would not apply to used or secondhand products, nor would it apply to animal products other than fur such as leather or wool.
Additionally, it excludes fur items that are used for sacred or religious purposes in Indigenous cultures, namely those that fall under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Fur Free Boulder organizers believe the measure will have minimal impact on local businesses and have viewed the measure largely as a symbolic one. They hope its success will inspire other cities and towns or the state as a whole.
“This is further evidence that ordinary people want to see animals protected, not abused,” Johannes said.
However, a number of local small businesses say the suggestion that the measure won’t impact them is false and they worry the measure may have unintended consequences.
Laurel Tate’s business survived the 2008 financial crisis and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now, she is worried Ballot Question 301’s success will have a negative economic impact on her downtown Boulder boutique.
Two Sole Sisters, the shop Tate co-owns with her sister, carries a number of products with fur, including hats with fur pompoms and fur-lined gloves, as well as some more ambiguous products made with other natural fibers.
“This is how I pay my mortgage,” she said. “It’s very, very frustrating and disheartening.”
Tate said she is in a holding pattern right now, waiting to hear more from the city about how it intends to enforce the measure.
“I’m curious how the city is going to interpret the measure and how they are going to roll out the measure in a legal way,” she said.
Currently, the Humane Clothing Act is set to go into effect on Jan. 1. However, Tate said there is precedent for an injunction that would allow an extension so local retailers such as herself can sell the merchandise they already have in stock.
Initially, the Boulder Chamber didn’t take an official position on the measure. However, it later decided to oppose it, expressing concerns about unintended impacts on local retailers that carry products such as shoes, boots and hats that incorporate certain natural fibers.
Now that the measure has passed, the Chamber is planning a webinar for businesses looking for clarification and to avoid unnecessary impacts from the measure.
Thursday’s update from the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office solidified the results of the other ballot measures as well as the City Council race.
Boulder reelected incumbent Mark Wallach, who led the race for its entirety and ended in the top position with 13% of the vote. The four new City Council members are Matt Benjamin, Nicole Speer, Lauren Folkerts, all of whom garnered 12% of the vote, and Tara Winer, who received 11% of the vote. Winer will serve a two-year term, while the remaining candidates will serve four-year terms.
Although Bedrooms Are For People, a measure that would have relaxed Boulder’s occupancy limits, narrowed its loss, the measure ultimately failed with 52% voting in opposition.
Let the Voters Decide on Annexation of CU South, a measure that would have forced a vote on the CU South annexation agreement, also failed with 57% in opposition.
Voters overwhelmingly supported extending the city’s Community, Culture, Resilience and Safety tax, a 0.3% sales tax funding capital infrastructure projects. They also agreed that Boulder could take on up to $110 million in debt in order to finance those projects faster.
If you go:
What: Boulder Chamber webinar on Ballot Question 301’s business impacts
When: 11 a.m. Nov. 30
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