155 New Laws Are On The Colorado Books. Here’s a look at 10 Of Them

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Photo: The Colorado Capitol, view from west side with statue
The Colorado Capitol.

You can now collect the rainwater that falls on your house. Your kid’s private data is better protected at school. And key hospital staff now have to submit to background tests. Here’s a look at those three laws and seven more among the 155 that are now on the books in Colorado.

Rain barrels are now legal:

This law ends a long debate at the Capitol over rain water collection. It allows homeowners to keep up to two barrels of rain that falls off their roofs for things like watering lawns and gardens. The issue had long-been tied up over water rights, as agricultural groups worried that farmers’ water access would suffer. More: Six steps to rain barrel success.

Student data privacy protection:

The issue of student data privacy has become a big one, as technology evolves in the classroom. As student information enters the Internet, student data becomes vulnerable. This law aims to protect student data privacy by creating a privacy definition that keeps up with evolving technology. It prohibits contract providers from selling student’s personally identifiable information, and from using that information in targeted advertising. This effort received unanimous bipartisan support at the legislature.

Mail-order prescriptions for Medicaid participants:

This law allows Medicaid recipients to receive prescriptions for chronic illnesses delivered by mail. This could help some people who may not have the resources or physical ability to pick up medications on their own.

Hospital staff background checks:

Changes to an existing law that regulates surgical assistants and surgical technologists were put in place on the heels of a case involving Rocky Allen. Allen, who is HIV-positive, worked as a tech at Swedish Medical Center, where he caused a health scare by swapping fentanyl-filled syringes intended for patients. The law requires fingerprint background checks on these workers and employers must report failed drug tests to state regulators. It also continues a 2010 law that initially put regulations in place, which was spurred by the case involving Kristen Parker. She infected many people with Hepatitis C for actions similar to Allen’s.

Immunity in cases of drug overdoses:

Colorado, like the rest of the nation, is grappling with the fallout of climbing opioid addiction, whether it involves heroin, or prescription painkillers. There are times when someone overdoses on these dangerous substances, and the people they are with may resist calling paramedics out of fear of being arrested. This new law may help save lives by shielding people from arrest for reporting drug overdoses.

Fantasy sports leagues regulated:

About 800,000 Coloradans play fantasy sports games online. Many play daily contests for money. This law is part of a national push to regulate a multi-billion industry that made headlines last year for allegations that included insider trading at two major fantasy sports operators. The law puts in place consumer protections and requires background checks on game operators.

Boosting job opportunities for veterans:

This law uses marijuana tax money to help pay for a pilot program that aims to expand career services for veterans and their spouses. Workforce centers throughout the state may apply for grants that will be used to boost employment programs for veterans.

Workforce protections for pregnant women:

Employers must now provide “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant women. This includes more bathroom breaks, comfortable seating arrangements and transfers to a lighter duty job position, if one is requested.

First-time homebuyer savings accounts:

There are no new laws that make Colorado a more affordable place to live. But this law aims to help people trying to finance their first home by allowing them to set up tax-free savings accounts that can be used for closing costs or a down payment.

Tax credit boost for wildfire mitigation:

In an effort to encourage wildfire mitigation around homes, this law increases the amount a property owner can deduct on income taxes for costs associated with those efforts: up to $2,500 in tax credits for creating fire defensible spaces around structures.

Easing epic waits and long trips to the DMV?

A pilot program was put in place through a new law that aims to make life a little easier on folks who have to file vehicle paperwork. It allows kiosks to be set up at some county clerks offices, where people can do things like register vehicles and renew driver’s licenses. This could help residents – especially those living in rural areas – from having to travel far distances and wait in line for DMV services.

It’s officially OK to hunt in pink:

Colorado is now the second state in the nation, behind Wisconsin, to allow pink hunting gear. Prior to the law, hunters were required to wear fluorescent orange as a safety precaution while hunting. The law aims to encourage female hunters.