Lawmakers spent 120 days earlier this year crafting and wrangling over legislation they hope will shape Colorado a little bit more to their and their constituents’ liking. And for a month after that Gov. Jared Polis toured the state to sign hundreds of bills into law — and to veto a handful.
Here’s a brief rundown of some notable, recently signed legislation. Unless otherwise noted, the below bills are all now law. Some provisions may not kick in until later dates; are funded in future budget years or; become available when programs or departments become operational.
Establish Juneteenth as a new Colorado state holiday
SB22-139 legally recognizes June 19 — known as Juneteenth and marking the emancipation of slaves in the United States — as a state holiday.
Expand behavioral health care services for children
SB22-147 creates the Colorado Pediatric Consultation and Access Program within the University of Colorado. The program aims to help primary care providers identify and treat mild to moderate behavioral health conditions in children.
An office focused on missing and murdered indigenous women and relatives
SB22-150 creates the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives in the Department of Public Safety. It specifically looks at the crisis of violence indigenous women face while establishing best practices on investigating the cases.
Voting from the address of your destroyed home
SB22-152 allows voters whose home is destroyed to continue to vote from that address, if they intend to return to the residence once it becomes habitable.
New security measures for voting systems
SB22-153 requires surveillance of voting systems and key card access to the area and increases penalties for tampering with or giving unauthorized access to voting systems. Requires election election officials to undergo a certification process established by the Secretary of State’s office. Increases penalties for tampering with or giving unauthorized access to voting systems.
New rules around nursing home evictions
SB22-154 requires 30-day notice for involuntary discharges from nursing homes, except in cases with health and safety concerns, and ability to challenge such evictions. Sets new qualifications for facility administrators.
Anti-doxxing laws for certain professions
SB22-171 and HB22-1041 add educators, health care workers, mortgage servicers, child representatives and some non-elected government workers to people who can request to have personally identifying information, such as addresses, pulled from public records. Creates a penalty for people who post a protected person’s information online.
Free public transit to combat high-ozone days
SB22-180 creates at least 30 days of free public transit high-ozone season for the Regional Transportation District and other transit agencies throughout the state. Officials are targeting August for the launch. It also sends money to the Colorado Department of Transportation to expand the Bustang regional coach service.
A Colorado grant and loan program for people rebuilding after a disaster
SB22-206 creates a grant and loan to homeowners and business, government and other entities working to rebuild after a disaster.
Protections for people conceived with donated genetic material
SB22-224 allows donor-conceived people to request information about the person who provided the genetic material for their conception, and limits how many families the donor can contribute to. Takes effect Aug. 10.
Businesses can’t go cashless
SB22-228 requires retailers to accept cash payment. Some businesses are exempted, but the general idea is to accommodate people who can’t pay for things with credit or debit cards. Takes effect Aug. 10.
Employees of large counties can now form unions
SB22-230 allows county government employees to unionize in counties with 7,500 or more residents, and sets out terms for collective bargaining by county unions. It does not create any unions or compel commissioners to accept union contracts. It takes partial effect July 1, 2022, and full effect July 1, 2023.
Flat-rate TABOR refunds
SB22-233 temporarily changes distribution of Taxpayer Bill of Rights refunds from a tiered system, where higher income taxpayers get more money back, to a flat-rate return. It will likely reach or top $500 per taxpayer.
New rules for unemployment insurance payouts
SB22-234 allows people who pay into unemployment insurance to collect it when eligible, regardless of immigration status. Creates criteria for Division of Unemployment Insurance to consider when deciding if it should collect overpaid unemployment.
An effort to slow rising residential, commercial property taxes
SB22-238 caps how much of a property’s value is used when determining property taxes for the next two property tax years. Officials estimate it will save the owner of a $500,000 home about $274 a year and the owner of a $500,000 commercial property about $1,200.
Large employers’ health insurance plans must cover fertility treatment
HB22-1008 Requires health insurance plans offered by large employers to cover fertility treatments. Adds individual and small group plans to include the coverage if federal regulators determine it won’t cost the state money.
Bikes can roll through intersections when they’re clear
HB22-1028 Allows bicycle riders to treat stop signs like yield signs, and stop lights like stop signs, after yielding to right-of-way traffic and pedestrians.
Powered wheelchair users can now fix their own devices
HB22-1031 requires manufacturers of powered wheelchairs to provide know-how and parts to independent repair shops or owners to repair their chairs. It does not require them to divulge trade secrets. Takes effect Jan. 1.
No more state sales tax for tampons, diapers
HB22-1055 exempts hygiene products including for periods, incontinence and diapers from sales tax. Takes effect Aug. 10.
Kids playing alone aren’t necessarily neglected
HB22-1090 clarifies that just because a child is unattended when going to school, the store or playing outside by themselves, it doesn’t mean they’re being neglected. Takes effect Aug. 10.
Mandate minimum insurance payouts for property lost in wildfires
HB22-1111 requires insurance companies to pay out at least 65% of cost of covered items lost in a fire, while extending the time claimants can file itemized receipts for the rest. Insurers must also offer additional living expense coverage. Takes effect Aug. 10.
Parents can more easily adopt their own kids
HB22-1153 makes it easier for parents of children conceived or born through assisted reproduction, such as in-vitro fertilizations, to adopt their children and receive full parental protection. Takes effect Aug. 10.
High school graduates more quickly qualify for in-state tuition at Colorado colleges
HB22-1155 shortens the period high school students must live in Colorado to qualify for in-state tuition at a Colorado college from three years to 12 months.
Housing tax credit for older adults
HB22-1205 will send tax credits of up to $1,000 to certain older adults who are not already benefitting from the senior homestead property tax exemption. Takes effect Aug. 10.
New air pollution regulations
HB22-1244 creates a new regulatory program for hazardous air pollutants, including the ability to designate rules more stringent than those in the federal Clean Air Act.
People can request adaptive equipment in their rental cars
HB22-1253 requires car rental companies to give renters the option of renting a car with equipment helpful to people with disabilities. Takes effect Aug. 10.
A new central agency for coordinating behavioral health services
HB22-1278 establishes the Behavioral Health Administration as the central authority within the Colorado Department of Human Services to coordinate the state’s behavioral health system. Takes effect July 1, with some provisions enacting later.
A right to an abortion is now Colorado law
HB22-1279 codifies the right to abortion into state law.
Mobile home park residents have new protections
HB22-1287 creates new rules around mobile home parks, including requiring the landlord or their representative attend up to two public meetings with residents a year; that landlords are responsible for repairing damages from failure to maintain the park; extend the period in which tenants can offer to buy the park when it is up for sale from 90 days to 180 days; and more. Takes effect Oct. 1.
New department to oversee free preschool and family services
HB22-1295 creates the Department of Early Childhood to serve as a central location for child development and related services, as well as oversee the state’s universal preschool program of up to 10 hours of free preschool a year before kindergarten. Some provisions take effect immediately, with full effectiveness Jan. 9.
141 new behavioral health beds to be sprinkled through the state
HB22-1303 requires adding 16 beds for residential behavioral health treatment at the mental health institute in Fort Morgan and for the state to create, develop or contract with providers for another 125 beds throughout the state.
A slew of new rights for subjects of nonconsensual tows
HB22-1314 creates several new rules around towing, including capping how much the vehicle owner must pay to reclaim the vehicle at $60 (though they still owe the entire fee), new notice requirements and documentation of the vehicle’s condition before towing. Takes effect Aug. 10.
New limits to non-compete agreements
HB22-1317 creates limits around non-compete agreements that restrict employees’ future employment opportunities. Takes effect Aug. 10.
Fentanyl crisis response includes harm-reduction and lower limits for felony charges
HB22-1326 spends $29 million on harm-reduction tools like testing strips for fentanyl and expands drug addiction treatment in jails along with other behavioral health-oriented efforts. It also lowers the limit for felony possession charges of pure fentanyl or fentanyl compounds — meaning a substance with any percentage of fentanyl in it — from four grams to one gram. Takes effect July 1, though some provision enact later.
A limit on so-called forever chemicals
HB22-1345 bars the sale of certain consumer products if they include perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, known as PFAs, that have been linked to groundwater contamination. Products that will no longer be able to have added PFAs include carpets and rugs; cosmetics; fabric treatments; food packaging; oil and gas products; and upholstered furniture.
Statewide recycling paid for with dues from producers
HB22-1355 creates a statewide recycling program paid for with dues paid by producers of products that use short-term packaging such as paper, plastic, glass, metal or flexible foam. Takes effect Aug. 10.
Remote testimony seems here to stay
HB22-1413 establishes rules to allow future legislatures to continue taking remote testimony in committee hearings. This started during the pandemic on an emergency basis, but it’s become such a popular tool for public engagement — particularly by those living far from Denver — that lawmakers want to make it the norm.
Denver Post reporter Alex Burness contributed to this report.
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