Gov. Jared Polis signed dozens of bills into law this week, including measures to create a statewide recycling program, improve election security and pass tough environmental regulations.
House Bill 1355 aims to increase the state’s abysmal recycling rate by creating a recycling program funded by dues from companies that produce plastic packaging, primarily retailers and beverage companies. The program would provide free recycling services to communities across the state.
“For too long, plastic manufacturers have placed the responsibility for handling plastic – recycling and disposal – on the shoulders of individuals and local communities,” said Rex Wilmouth, senior program manager for Environment Colorado. “Now, when manufacturers are held accountable for plastics that cannot be reused or recycled easily, they will stop producing so many of them in the first place.”
HB-1355 was one of the most controversial bills of the year, passing the legislature on the last day of the session after more than a dozen changes, including exemptions for small businesses, newspapers , agricultural employers, state government, local governments and non-profit organizations.
Other contentious bills signed into law this week included Senate Bill 153which aims to improve internal election security measures, and House Bill 1273that establishes clear penalties for threatening or doxxing election workers.
“While Colorado is a leader in election administration, as Secretary of State I will always work to expand access, strengthen security, and respond to emerging challenges,” said Secretary Jena Griswold, who supports bills. “I greatly appreciate the hard work of the Colorado Legislature this year in furthering the mission of protecting our democracy for every eligible voter in Colorado, regardless of political affiliation, race or zip code.”
Both bills passed largely along party lines with Democrats in favor and Republicans in opposition, particularly SB-153, which was a direct response to alleged security breaches. by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters. Peters, a Republican, denied the allegations and described them as an effort to prevent her from running for secretary of state.
Also this week, Polis signed a series of environment-focused bills, such as Senate Bill 193which is investing more than $111 million to improve air quality; House Bill 1244who sets emission control regulations; House Bill 1362who funds the adoption of electrical appliances; House Bill 1345which limits the use of “chemicals forever”; House Bill 1159which uses recycled raw materials; Senate Bill 51, which reduces emissions from built environments; and, Senate Bill 118which encourages the use of geothermal energy.
He has also signed several bills to fight and prevent forest fires, including Senate Bill 2 to fund volunteer firefighters and House Bill 1132 regulate prescribed burns. House Bill 1012, House Bill 1011, Senate Bill 7 and House Bill 1007 fund forest fire mitigation and awareness efforts.
“Our strong actions to improve our air quality, prevent the spread of fires and help communities affected by natural disasters rebuild quickly will help ensure we have a cleaner, healthier and safer Colorado for generations to come. come,” Polis said as he signed the invoices. .
Other bills aimed at combating homelessness have also been signed into law, such as House Bill 1304 investing $178 million in affordable housing; House Bill 1377 for $105 million in grants for homeless support projects; House Bill 1378 build a homeless resource center in the Denver metro area; and, Senate Bill 211 to transform Watkins’ Ridge View Youth Services Center into a homeless recovery campus.
A trio of bills aimed at protecting the rights of wheelchair users were also approved: Bill 1031 requiring manufacturers of electric wheelchairs to provide parts, software and tools to carry out repairs; House Bill 1290 improving Medicaid rules for repairing mobility devices; and, House Bill 1253 require car rental companies to provide an online option to obtain a vehicle with suitable equipment.
Other notable bills signed into law this week were Senate Bill 200which funds $10 million in grants for rural hospitals; Senate Bill 5which allocates $3 million in behavioral health support for law enforcement; Senate Bill 151, which discusses safe wildlife crossing projects; and, Senate Bill 168that improves backcountry search and rescue operations.
Polis also signed the following invoices this week:
- House Bill 1356 donates $35 million to non-profit community organizations impacted by COVID-19
- House Bill 1409 contributes $20 million to the Community Revitalization Grant Program
- House Bill 1406 allows restaurants to deduct up to $70,000 of taxable net sales
- Senate Bill 232 creates the Middle-Income Housing Authority
- Senate Bill 182 creates the economic mobility program
- Senate Bill 57 supports victims of violent crime who suffer from brain damage
- Senate Bill 205 regulates cannabis-related products that can cause intoxication
- House Bill 1380 creates statewide systems to deliver services to low-income households
- Senate Bill 34 establishes a complaint process for address and business name fraud
- Senate Bill 172 creates the Colorado Rural Health Care Workforce Initiative