Jul 1, 2013 11:18 AM by Maddie Garrett
July 1st marks a day nationwide when new state laws typically go into effect. For Colorado, that includes 44 bills that were passed in the most recent legislative session that will become law Monday. But among those dozens of new laws, few have garnered as much attention as our state's new gun laws.
Most notably are two laws, one that limits most ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and another law that requires universal background checks, including for private and online gun sales.
House Bill 1224 deals with the ammunition magazine limits. Under HB 1224, existing magazines that are considered "large capacity," over 15 rounds, will be grandfathered in, and people who already own them can keep and use them, as long as they maintain long-term possession and do not sell or transfer the magazines. But newly produced clips will have to be date-stamped and in compliance with the 15 round ammunition limit.
However, the magazine limit law is already under fire and being challenged by dozens of Colorado sheriffs in court. There are questions about how effectively HB 1224 can be enforced, and confusion over removable base plates that can increase the amount of ammunition the gun can hold. The sheriffs challenging the law will appear in court on July 10, 2013. They are seeking to temporarily block the magazine limit while their lawsuit proceeds.
As for the universal background checks, House Bill 1229 states that all private sales of firearms are subject to a background check conducted by a licensed firearms dealer. But retailers themselves are not mandated by law to do these background checks. Instead, they will fall to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). CBI says they are gearing up for the expected increase in background checks and have hired on additional staff to address any surges.
In addition to the gun bills signed into law, there are several other noticeable laws going into effect July 1:
HB 1317 - Marijuana safety. While the law took effect in May, July 1 is a major deadline. The State Department of Revenue has released detailed regulations on how the drug is grown and sold. The department released more than 60 pages of rules Monday, even though retail sales won't start until January and the newly released rules don't apply to medical marijuana shops. The rules require labels to include potency, expiration dates, and a disclaimer that pot isn't legal outside Colorado and hasn't been safety-tested.
SB 18 - Job seeker credit protection. Prohibits an employer from accessing the credit history of job applicants if the information is unrelated to the job.
HB 1004 - Career assistance. Sets up a three-year grant program and a study of current labor pool requirements and qualifications. It is mean to boost the state's workforce.
SB 252 - Renewable energy. Requires rural electricity co-ops to double the amount of electricity, from 10% to 20%, they get from renewable sources by 2020.
HB 1144 - Tobacco taxes. The law does not increase cigarette taxes, but it doesn't lower htem either. It makes permanent the state sales tax on tobacco.
HB 1154 - Crimes against pregnant women. Makes the unlawful termination of a pregnancy a felony crime. The law sets parameters on how to punish people who hurt a pregnant woman that results in the loss of a fetus.
SB 23 - Government liability. Raises the state's liability limits from $150,000 for a single occurrence to $350,000 for a single occurrence. The law deals with lawsuits against the state.
SB 127 - Help for seniors. Increases the amount of state sales tax that goes to the Older Coloradans Cash Fund from $8 million a year to $10 million a year. The fund helps pay for things like nutrition, transportation and legal services.
Sunset Extensions. Several program extensions also take effect Monday, including extensions for pedestrian boards like the Water and Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board and the Board of Mortgage Loan Originators.