Every July 1, when the state government resets its coffers with the new fiscal year, a slew of laws goes into effect. We asked Paul Teske, dean of the University of Colorado Denver’s school of public affairs, to break down three regulations that are reshuffling the rulebooks.

Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention (HB 22-1326)

Issue: Fentanyl killed more than 1,400 Coloradans in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Objective: Put stricter penalties on dealers while equipping victims and those who misuse substances with more support.

Plan: The state will reimburse hospitals for preemptively providing overdose medication and will give $6 million in grants to community groups for free test strips and syringe disposal equipment. Plus, possessing between one and four grams will now be a level four drug felony.

Teske’s Take: “This is partly a perceived course correction since the fentanyl crisis has gotten worse since 2019 [when the state de-felonized the possession of certain drugs for personal use].”

(Read More: Is Colorado Bringing Back the War on Drugs?)

Colorado Privacy Act (SB 21-190)

Issue: Companies have been tracking and selling users’ internet data without their knowledge.

Objective: Give Coloradans power over their private information.

Plan: Any company that operates in the state and logs the personal data of more than 100,000 consumers (or sells the info of more than 25,000) must allow individuals to opt out of data collection. Coloradans will also be able to view and edit their personal details.

Teske’s Take: “There could eventually be some overlap with future federal bills, but for now, it’s a way to make surebusinesses are being held accountable for what they do with our data.”

Universal Preschool Program (HB 22-1295)

Issue: In Colorado, the cost of public preschool averages more than $17,000 per year.

Objective: Make pre-K more affordable for families across the state.

Plan: Up to 15 hours of public pre-K per week (out of 35 hours for most full-day programs) will now be free, saving parents and guardians up to $6,000 annually. The state will pay for the subsidies by increasing the tax on nicotine products: Expect to pay $2.64 (currently $1.94) per pack by 2027.

Teske’s Take: “A lot of recent research shows that investments in preschool programs really pay off down the road when kids graduate from K–12 and give back economically.”

This article was originally published in 5280 July 2023.
Barbara O'Neil
Barbara O'Neil
Barbara is one of 5280's assistant editors and writes stories for 5280 and 5280.com.