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Six new Colorado laws that go into effect in the new year

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Sara Wilson

(Colorado Newsline) There are 17 laws that will go into effect in Colorado January 1. Most of them were deliberated and passed during the most recent regular legislative session, which ended in May.

The full list of when laws go into effect is available on the General Assembly’s website. Below are six notable laws that take effect for the first time Monday.

Right to repair: A new right to repair law will allow farmers and ranchers in the state to repair their own equipment, rather than going through costly approved service workers. Manufacturers of equipment like tractors and harvesters must provide manuals, software, parts and tools to owners so they can fix the machinery themselves. This is the first law of its kind in the country, and comes after a 2022 law that gave wheelchair users a similar consumer right to repair.

The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada, Republican Rep. Ron Weinberg of Loveland, Democratic Sen. Nick Hinrichsen of Pueblo and Democratic Sen. Janice Marchman of Loveland.

Incarcerated parents: Senate Bill 23-39 aimed to facilitate communication and time between children and their parents who are incarcerated. The act requires a jail or prison to allow the parent to participate in court proceedings about their parental rights, and it eliminates the parent’s incarceration as a basis for terminating parental rights. Additionally, the law requires the state’s Department of Corrections to designate a family service coordinator to oversee issues related to incarcerated people maintaining a parent-child relationship.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Janet Buckner of Aurora and Democratic Rep. Judy Amabile of Boulder.

Remote participation in evictions: This law will allow renters to participate in eviction court proceedings remotely with a 48-hour notice, which supporters say will reduce the number of default evictions of tenants who cannot participate in person.

“Whether it be unreliable transportation, inflexible work schedules, lack of child care, health conditions or something in between, there are many reasons why someone may not be able to attend their eviction proceedings in person. This important law will help vulnerable Coloradans retain their housing,” Rep. Mandy Lindsay, an Aurora Democrat, said in a statement.

Colorado saw a record 38,700 eviction filings in 2023, up nearly 7% from 2022, as renters grapple with increased cost of living, including surging rents.

The bill was sponsored by Lindsay, Rep. Iman Jodeh, an Aurora Democrat, Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, a Longmont Democrat, and Sen. Tony Exum, a Colorado Springs Democrat.

Pet ownership in housing: This law will cap monthly pet rent at $35 or 1.5% of the tenant’s monthly rent, whichever is greater. It will also limit the refundable security deposit for a pet at $300.

Additionally, it will prohibit insurers from denying house or fire coverage because of the breed of a person’s dog.

It was sponsored by Rep. Alex Valdez, a Denver Democrat, Sen. Faith Winter, a Westminster Democrat, and Jaquez Lewis.

Informed consent: This law will require health professionals to get consent from a patient to perform an intimate exam, such as pelvic exam, before the patient is sedated. Lawmakers and supporters say that unconscious, non-consenting patients can sometimes be subjected to those types of exams even if they are unrelated to the surgery or procedure.

“Too many patients have woken up after a surgery to learn a non-consensual pelvic, prostate, rectal, or breast exam was performed on them, leaving them surprised and traumatized. With this law taking effect, Coloradans can have peace of mind that they won’t undergo exams that they did not consent to,” bill sponsor Rep. Jenny Willford, a Northglenn Democrat, said in a statement.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Lorena Garcia, an Adams County Democrat, Willford, Winter and Jaquez Lewis.

Plastics ban: Some provisions of a 2021 law take effect January 1, including a ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and Styrofoam cups and takeout containers at restaurants. Many restaurants will need to pivot to more environmentally-friendly options, such as paper or biodegradable products. Stores will still be able to offer recyclable paper bags for a fee, and stores with three or fewer locations in Colorado will be exempt from the plastic bag ban.

That law was sponsored by Rep. Lisa Cutter, a Littleton Democrat, Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, former Sen. Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat, and Valdez.

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