Thirty new laws hit the state statute books in Colorado today, dealing with everything from fines for violating park and wildlife laws to felony "sexting" with children, to stricter regulations on sale of nicotine to minors, to banning e-cigarettes indoors.
The new laws taking effect Monday are among the 460 adopted by the General Assembly in the 2019 session. They include:
- House Bill 1026, which increases fines for violations of Parks and Wildlife laws. That includes failure to not have a personal flotation device when using a stand-up paddle board, and a new crime, for occupying a campsite without a permit. Both are class 2 petty offenses that carry a penalty of $50. Gov. Jared Polis signed the law on June 3.
- House Bill 1030 creates the crime of unlawful electronic sexual communication (or "sexting"), a class 6 felony. The law prohibits a person who is in a position of trust with a minor from communicating electronically using explicit sexual conduct. Offenses carry a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000 along with potential jail time. The law's fiscal analysis said 41 men were convicted for similar offenses between 2016 and 2018. Polis signed the measure on May 6.
- Local governments will gain authority to put tighter restrictions on the sale of nicotine to minors, under House Bill 1033, which also goes into effect on Monday. The law, signed on March 28, local governments, including cities and counties, can pass regulations on the sale of tobacco to minors that are more restrictive than state law. Counties can also impose a special county special sales on nicotine, with voter approval.
- House Bill 1076 adds e-cigarettes to the list of smoking products that cannot be consumed indoors. The law, signed by the governor on May 29, also increases the distance required between buildings and where someone can smoke from 15 feet to 25 feet.
- House Bill 1266 restores voting rights to parolees. The law requires the Department of Corrections' division of adult parole to notify parolees of their voting rights, how to register or update voter registration and how to obtain voter information, including ballots.
- Coloradans sued for expressing their First Amendment-protected opinions will be able to fight back, under House Bill 1324. The law is known as an anti-SLAPP, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Polis signed the bill on June 3.