Feb 8, 2022 - News

10 intriguing bills at the state Capitol this legislative session

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A month into the legislative session, Colorado lawmakers have introduced more than 300 bills to tackle the pandemic, wildfires, unemployment and other prominent issues.

The intrigue: In between all the seriousness, you'll find plenty of obscure bills across a variety of issue areas.

Here's a look at some of the most eye-opening proposed new laws:

  • Psychedelic drugs: Two Democratic lawmakers want to convene a high-level state panel to study the use of magic mushrooms and other plant-based hallucinogens such as dimethyltryptamine and ibogaine to treat mental health disorders.
  • Porch pirates: If you've had a parcel stolen from your porch, you'd be eligible for a tax credit up to $75 for the purchase of an anti-theft device.
  • Digital license plates: Colorado would allow digital license plates if House Bill 1162 is approved. Only a few states currently permit the technology, which is being pushed by a California company that allows motorists to customize their look.
  • Artificial intelligence: The use of facial recognition software by law enforcement and other government agencies would be subject to new limits and notice requirements.
  • Express lanes: About 48,000 cars drove in the I-70 toll lanes when they were closed and reserved as an emergency shoulder. A bipartisan bill would use the toll camera to send those drivers tickets and prohibit trucks and trailers from using the lanes.
  • Takeout food: If you want plastic silverware or ketchup packets, you'd need to request them under legislation that seeks to cut down plastic from restaurants and food delivery services.
  • Pot on the job: Colorado employers could not take adverse action, such as firing or refusing to hire, against employees for their use of medical or retail marijuana, except in limited circumstances.
  • Local media: To support news outlets, a Democratic lawmaker wants to allow print and digital subscribers to claim a tax credit up to $250 each year. Small businesses could claim a $2,500 tax break if they advertise in local publications.
  • HOA dues: The frustration of rising homeowners' association fees would get addressed in a bill that would limit hikes to 10% a year unless a majority approve larger increases.
  • TV blackouts: Under a bill pushed by the House speaker, cable TV providers and networks would be forced into arbitration when facing contract disputes. It's aimed at the deadlock between Altitude TV and Comcast.

The other side: Keep in mind, many of these off-the-beaten-path ideas may find it difficult to garner broad support.

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