From financing for charging stations to protecting parking spots, Colorado has a truckload of new laws aimed at boosting electric vehicles.
Gov. Jared Polis signed five bills Friday in a ceremony attended by fellow Democrats, including environmental activists.
"Electric vehicles are a great choice, a cost-effective choice," the governor said after arriving as a passenger in an electric vehicle that parked in front of a charging station at the Carla Madison Recreation Center in Denver.
"They will be even more usable when people know they can take them to the mountains on the weekend. They can use them if they want to visit their parents in Bennet, and we have a great state and often it includes putting some mileage on your car."
The governor said that even those who don't own an electric vehicle benefit as more people plug in, both in cleaner air and pressure on gas suppliers to lower fuel prices to compete.
Friday Polis signed:
- Senate Bill 77, which would allow utilities to recoup their investment in charging stations and other infrastructure from overall ratepayers. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and Angela Williams, D-Denver, with Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver.
- House Bill 1298, which sets a fine of $150 with a $32 surcharge for parking a regular vehicle in front a spot with a charging outlet. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, and Priola.
- House Bill 1321, a measure that applies to all rental vehicles, allowing those who rent cars or trucks to use electronic devices to check for a valid driver's license, instead of inspecting the information in person. The bill was sponsored by Reps. James Coleman, D-Denver, and Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, with Priola.
- House Bill 1159, which extends a state tax credit for electric vehicles, which were scheduled to expire in 2022, to 2025. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Longmont, and Matt Gray, D-Broomfield, with Sen. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge.
- Senate Bill 239, which instructs the Department of Transportation to meet with stakeholders to assess the impacts of electric vehicle technology and report back to the legislature. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, with Hansen and Gray.
Polis made the environment a major plank of his campaign platform to win the governorship last November, and he's delivered mightily in his first term thanks to Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate.
On Thursday Polis signed a package of bills to put a regulatory vice on carbon emissions and curb the use of fossil fuels, a key ingredient of climate change.
Polis and Democrats in the legislature this year also gave local communities more say in where oil-and-gas operations locate. Senate bill 181 also reconfigures the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and gives the regulatory panel new orders to put public health and safety above benefits to energy companies.