Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Many New Laws Taking Effect Today

A long list of bills enacted into law by the General Assembly this year went into effect today. The 125 measures range from consumer protection to environmental protection and from renewable energy to education. The new laws include:

HB 1178 increases the odds of catching email spammers by providing state enforcement authority similar to federal authority against unwanted e-mails. Colorado consumers can now take complaints to local authorities. (Rep. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora; Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora)

HB 1160 will allow nearly one million more Coloradans participate in the burgeoning renewable energy market by allowing them to generate homegrown energy from wind turbines and rooftop solar panels while remaining on the utility grid. This new law also gives customers credit when their meter runs backwards from their production of wind and solar power. (Rep. Judy Solano, D-Brighton; Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont)

HB 1280 protects water rights of those owners leasing or lending unused to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. (Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins; Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village)

HB 1223 aims to identify dyslexia early in a child's educational career so that those afflicted with the learning disorder can overcome the disability in school. New training and technical assistance will help teachers address dyslexia and other literacy challenges. (Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs; Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora)

HB 1207 requires the state to purchase environmentally friendly products – such as energy efficient light bulbs and recycled paper products – whenever feasible. It allows the state to consider both the initial cost and the expected life-span of a product. (Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins; Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Larimer County)

SB 129 requires that beverages sold on public and charter school campuses meet nutritional and health standards aimed at reducing obesity and advancing general health. Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley; Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorn)

SB 73 aims to lower the cost of college textbooks by imposing new disclosure and product separation requirements on publishers. (Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins; Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder)

SB 159 lowers the threshold for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) to .08 from .10. It also expands boating under the influence to include all vessels, not just motorboats or sailboats. (Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon; Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder)

HB 1265 allows counties to increase the income eligibility ceiling for child care assistance to 85% of the state's median family income. (Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora; Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder)

SB 123 allows more five-, six-, and seven-year-olds to get a free lunch at school. (Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder; Sen. Paula Sandoval, D-Denver)

HB 1407 requires insurance companies to pay double damages if they are found to have unreasonably failed to pay on a claim on a timely basis. (Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver; Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver)

HB 1385 requires creation of a consumer shopping guide for health insurance on the Colorado Division of Insurance web site and requires insurance brokers to tell customers how much commission they make on each policy they sell. (Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield; Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village)

HB 1228 prohibits insurance agents and companies from selling misleading insurance policies. (Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden; Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver)

SB 16 provides money for free and low-cost health screenings and education through the 9Health Fair, a volunteer-run, community-initiated program. (Rep. Debbie Benefield, D-Arvada; Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial)

SB 58 requires the state to develop an action plan for dealing with the difficulties encountered by those confronted with Alzheimer's disease. (Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley; Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood)

HB 1225 raises the Business Personal Property Tax exemption from $2,500 to $7,000. (Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton; Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction; Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora; Sen. Steve Ward, R-Littleton)

HB 1261 aims to encourage the growth of the airplane industry by authorizing a “Fly-Away Tax Exemption” allowing new or used aircraft to be sold without collection of Colorado sales tax. (Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction; Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins)

HB 1380 reduces tax burdens by creating a “Single Factor Tax” which allows businesses to pay one tax – based on sales – rather than pay based on multiple factors, allowing them to put more resources back into their businesses. (Rep. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge; Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder)

SB 170 gives the state's 11 Downtown Development Authorities a 20-year extension on their tax-increment financing contracts. (Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction; Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins)