2023 Colorado Legislative Report

In 2023, CoPIRG supported 17 bills at the legislature on a range of public interest issues that protect consumers, safeguard our public health and improve our quality of life across Colorado.

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Below are the policies we supported at the Capitol in 2023.

The legislature passed seventeen CoPIRG-backed bills including nation-leading policies around Right to Repair, standards for compostable products, reducing pollution from gas-powered lawn and garden equipment, tackling hospital facility fees and accelerating the adoption of e-bikes.

Colorado also became the ninth state (and first state outside of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic) to protect bees and pollinators by limiting neonic pesticides, the second state to close the “rent-a-bank” loophole and the third state to adopt a clean lighting standard.

The state also took more steps to tackle ozone pollution including expanding the nation’s largest fare free transit program to two months in the Denver metro area.

HB23-1011- Consumer Right To Repair Agricultural Equipment. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Brianna Titone and Ron Weinberg
Senate Sponsors: Nick Hinrichsen and Janice Marchman

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1011 will ensure Colorado’s farmers and ranchers have the access to the tools they need to fix their equipment. As more of our stuff, including agricultural equipment like tractors and combines, runs on software, manufacturers are able to lock us out, undermining the repair marketplace and leading to longer delays and inflated repair bills. Right to Repair ensures people have the freedom to get their stuff fixed from whomever they trust.

SB23-266 – Neonic Pesticides As Limited-use Pesticides. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Cathy Kipp and Kyle Brown
Senate Sponsors: Kevin Priola and Sonya Jaquez Lewis

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

SB23-266 will limit neonicotinoids (neonics), a class of insecticides that is partly responsible for the steep decline we’ve seen in a key pollinator in Colorado – bees. Pollinators are critical for Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford melons, apples, alfalfa, tomatoes, pumpkins and so much more. We need pollinators for a healthy food supply and healthy gardens. By removing neonics from retail and garden store shelves, we’ll reduce the number of people who dump them on gardens and lawns.

SB23-253 – Standards For Products Represented As Compostable. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Meg Froelich and Karen McCormick
Senate Sponsor: Lisa Cutter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

SB23-253 will ensure that products sold in Colorado that are marketed as compostable are actually compostable. Due to the rise in contamination, partly from look-a-like products that are not compostable, local composting facilities have scaled back what they are willing to accept, leaving many Front Range residents stuck throwing away compostable cups, napkins, and containers. This bill will help consumers know what’s compostable and support compost facilities’ ability to accept more products because they’ll know what winds up in a compost bin can actually become valuable compost.

SB23-016 – Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Measures. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Karen McCormick and Emily Sirota
Senate Sponsor: Chris Hansen

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

Among many other measures intended to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, SB23-016 contains a provision that will cut harmful ozone pollution by reducing the up-front price for consumers of purchasing cleaner electric-powered lawn and garden equipment by 30%. Transitioning away from dirty gas-powered equipment as quickly as possible is important because, pound for pound, gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers are highly polluting. By fully shifting away from gas-powered lawn and garden equipment, the north Front Range region can achieve nearly one fifth of the reduction needed to come into compliance with EPA health-based air quality standards and this program will make it easier for individuals and businesses to make the switch.

HB23-1161 – Environmental Standards For Appliances. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Cathy Kipp and Jenny Willford
Senate Sponsors: Lisa Cutter and Faith Winter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

By updating emissions and energy efficiency standards for certain appliances, HB23-1161 will cut air pollution, reduce energy and water waste and save consumers money. By setting standards for the amount of ozone-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions produced by common furnaces and water heaters and increasing the efficiency of many other appliances, this bill has the potential to prevent hundreds of tons of ozone-forming pollution each year. The bill also makes Colorado the third state to advance “clean lighting” policy, phasing out the sale of light bulbs containing toxic mercury.

HB23-1294 – Pollution Protection Measures. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Jennifer Bacon and Jenny Willford
Senate Sponsors: Julie Gonzales and Faith Winter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1294 includes several measures that take steps towards addressing ozone from the oil & gas sector as well as other new sources of air pollution. The bill will help communities suffering from pollution by requiring the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation commission to define and address “cumulative impacts” of pollution as well as strengthening the air quality complaint process. Finally, the bill establishes an interim committee to give legislative leaders a chance this summer to dig into the sources of ozone pollution and recommend additional solutions to address the problem.

HB23-1058 – Child-occupied Facility Lead-based Paint Abatement. Vote YES.

House Sponsor: Ruby Dickson
Senate Sponsor: Janet Buckner

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1058 expands the definition of a child-occupied facility for the purposes of lead-based paint abatement. This bill reduces the total daily visit time by a child to a facility to 3 or more hours from 6 or more hours to qualify as a “child-occupied facility.” Lead is highly toxic, especially for young children, and this bill helps expand lead paint abatement requirements to include more facilities that children are visiting for shorter periods of time, helping protect more children from exposure to lead from paint.

SB23-059 – State Parks And Wildlife Area Local Access Funding. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Marc Catlin and Barbara McLachlan
Senate Sponsors: Mark Baisley and Dylan Roberts

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

SB23-059 enables Colorado Parks and Wildlife to use overflow money from the Keep Colorado Wild Pass to help local governments fund access to state parks including route construction, maintenance, and service, bicycle lanes, and shuttle access to support people visiting state parks. This helps mitigate the impact of state park visitors on local communities and better access for Coloradans to connect with nature.

HB23-1272 – Tax Policy That Advances Decarbonization. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Mike Weissman and Junie Joseph
Senate Sponsors: Steve Fenberg and Lisa Cutter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1272 provides a package of significant tax credits aimed at reducing Colorado’s carbon footprint and accelerating electrification of transportation and home appliances. The bill capitalizes on the federal Inflation Reduction Act to layer additional tax credits for Colorado consumers and businesses for electric vehicles, electric trucks, and electric heat pumps for homes and offices. The bill also provides the first statewide point-of-sale electric bike credit as well as tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel.

HB23-1233 – Electric Vehicle Charging and Parking Requirements. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Tisha Mauro and Alex Valdez
Senate Sponsors: Kevin Priola and Faith Winter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1233 helps advance parking and charging for electric vehicles, primarily by directing the state electric board to adopt rules and codes that facilitate EV charging at multifamily buildings beginning March 1, 2024. The bill also prevents local governments, HOAs, and other entities from restricting or forbidding the parking and charging of EVs or installation of EV charging stations.

HB23-1101- Ozone Season Transit Grant Program Flexibility. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Stephanie Vigil and Jennifer Bacon
Senate Sponsors: Nick Hinrichsen and Faith Winter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

Last year, thanks to funding allocated by the state legislature, Colorado implemented the largest fare-free transit month in the country with over 30 agencies offering free rides all August. The goal was to increase transit ridership and reduce ozone pollution from tailpipes during the heart of our state’s ozone season. In the Denver metro area alone, transit ridership jumped 22% (about 1 million additional rides). HB23-1101 builds on that success, increasing the flexibility around the fare-free transit funding, which will result in two months of zero fare transit in the Denver area instead of one. The bill also expands tools for local governments to raise funding for transit operations.

HB23-1134- Require Electric Options In Home Warranties. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Junie Joseph and Cathy Kipp
Senate Sponsor: Lisa Cutter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1134 requires that after January 1, 2024, new or renewed warranties of gas-fueled appliances, water heaters, HVACs, boilers and stoves, must allow the homeowner the option to replace it with an electric version. Burning gas to fuel our home appliances and heat our water contributes to air pollution. In addition, research shows gas stoves emit health-harming pollutants inside homes when in use and they leak toxic chemicals and carcinogens even while off. Gas is also a volatile, expensive fuel, spiking 40% this winter in Colorado. Consumers should have the option to shift away from dirty, expensive gas to fuel our homes.

HB23-1229- Amending Terms Consumer Lending Laws. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Mike Weissman and Javier Mabrey
Senate Sponsor: Julie Gonzales

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1229 adds new consumer protections for borrowers. Currently, federal law allows out-of-state lenders to partner with a bank in another state. This “rent-a-bank” scheme allows them to charge Colorado borrowers the higher interest rates in that state, skirting Colorado’s lending laws. HB23-1229 closes this loophole, ensuring online lenders have to abide by our interest rate caps. In addition, the bill reduces the costs of alternative loans, small loans of $1,000 or less, that have cropped up after Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved capping payday loan APRs at 36%.

SB23-291 – Utility Regulation. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Chris deGruy Kennedy and Matthew Martinez
Senate Sponsors: Steve Fenberg and Lisa Cutter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

SB23-291 was developed after weeks of expert testimony before the Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates. The legislation tackles the high utility bills that every Coloradan experienced this last winter. Many Coloradans rely on gas to heat and power their homes and businesses but the price of gas is volatile and shot up 40% this winter. To reduce costs for ratepayers we need to reduce our reliance on gas. This bill ends a ratepayer subsidy to build gas line extensions to new homes, which cost ratepayers approximately $1,000 per home and deepened reliance on gas. It also no longer allows investor-owned utilities from recovering costs from ratepayers for a wide range of expenses that have little to no value for consumers like lobbying, political contributions and tax penalties. Finally, it better aligns investor-owned utility incentives with ratepayer costs.

SB23-093 – Increase Consumer Protections Medical Transactions. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Mike Weissman and Kyle Brown
Senate Sponsors: Sonya Jaquez Lewis and Lisa Cutter

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

SB23-093 increases consumer protections around medical debt in a number of ways. First, it caps the interest rate for medical debt at 3%. Second, it ensures consumers who are contacted by a debt collector can request documentation around the medical debt they are collecting and stops debt collectors from moving forward if the consumer is within an appeals proceeding. This verification is important because our 2017 Medical Debt Malpractice report highlighted that 63% of medical debt CFPB complaints were about debt never owed, debt no longer owed or discharged in bankruptcy, or never verified as belonging to that consumer. Finally, the bill strengthens enforcement powers for the Attorney General around surprise medical bills, including extending protections and disclosure requirements to cover people who are not using an insurance company to cover medical bills. This disclosure includes requiring medical care providers and facilities to provide a good faith estimate of the costs of a service to self-pay customers and, ultimately, the cost cannot exceed that estimate by 15% or $400 of the estimate (whichever is less).

HB23-1126 – Consumer Reports Not Include Medical Debt Information. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Naquetta Ricks and Ron Weinberg
Senate Sponsor: Tony Exum

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1126 forbids credit reporting agencies from including medical debt in credit reports. This codifies a voluntary change announced by the three national credit bureaus after a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report showed about $88 billion of medical debt sitting on credit reports. Medical debt is not a good predictor of creditworthiness since medical problems are not planned. It is also notoriously inaccurate. Our 2017 Medical Debt Malpractice report found 63% of medical debt complaints to the CFPB were about debt never owed, debt no longer owed or discharged in bankruptcy, or never verified as belonging to that consumer.

HB23-1215 – Limits On Hospital Facility Fees. Vote YES.

House Sponsors: Emily Sirota and Andrew Boesenecker
Senate Sponsors: Lisa Cutter and Kyle Mullica

Status: Passed and Signed by Governor

HB23-1215 tackles the rise of facility fees, which more and more consumers are being charged as hospitals buy up physician practices and add these fees to preventative care. After July 1, 2024, the bill bans providers from charging consumers any facility fees for preventative services in an outpatient setting that insurance companies refuse to pay. It also requires providers to increase the transparency of these fees and sets up a committee to collect and report back on facility fees in Colorado by October 1, 2024. This information will be critical in identifying the full scope, impact and need for facility fees in the future.


Danny Katz

Executive Director, CoPIRG

Danny has been the director of CoPIRG for over a decade. Danny co-authored a groundbreaking report on the state’s transit, walking and biking needs and is a co-author of the annual “State of Recycling” report. He also helped write a 2016 Denver initiative to create a public matching campaign finance program and led the early effort to eliminate predatory payday loans in Colorado. Danny serves on the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Efficiency and Accountability Committee, CDOT's Transit and Rail Advisory Committee, RTD's Reimagine Advisory Committee, the Denver Moves Everyone Think Tank, and the I-70 Collaborative Effort. Danny lobbies federal, state and local elected officials on transportation electrification, multimodal transportation, zero waste, consumer protection and public health issues. He appears frequently in local media outlets and is active in a number of coalitions. He resides in Denver with his family, where he enjoys biking and skiing, the neighborhood food scene and raising chickens.

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