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Gazette Premium Content Forty-four state laws take effect Monday; more coming in August

By Megan Schrader Published: June 29, 2013

Forty-four laws passed during the 2013 legislative session take effect Monday, but only a handful have attracted as much attention as the two gun bills that have riled up Colorado Springs politics.

Monday is the start of the new fiscal year and a time when many laws take effect; however, another 115 laws will take effect Aug. 7, which is 90 days after the adjournment of the 2013 General Assembly.

Here are some of the more prominent new laws as of Monday:

Renewable energy

Two of the state's rural electric cooperatives will have new renewable energy standards to meet by 2020.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed SB252 after long consideration, raising the new mark of energy that must be generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar from 10 percent to 20 percent.

The two energy companies affected by the law - Intermountain Rural Electric Association and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association - opposed the measure, saying it would raise the rates of their utility customers.

Hickenlooper signed the law saying it would be an important step toward reducing the state's carbon emissions while investing in renewable energy, but he also stipulated strict enforcement of a cap on rate increases to limit the hit to the wallets of ratepayers.

Government restitution

The Lower North Fork fire victims had little recourse against the government agency that is suspected of igniting the blaze that destroyed 22 homes and killed three people in Jefferson County.

State law capped governmental liability at $150,000 per person, or a total of $600,000 per incident.

The prescribed burn that raged out of control in March 2012 caused millions in damages.

Beginning Monday, the state will face heftier penalties for acts of negligence with the rates jumping to $350,000 for an individual or $990,000 for any single incident. While the law does little for those who lost their homes and loved ones in the Lower North Fork fire, the budget approved last legislative session did include additional funds for the victims.

Crimes against pregnant women

For three consecutive years, lawmakers tackled the issue of what to charge a criminal with when an unborn baby is killed in a homicide, assault or drunken-driving crash.

HB1154 added the crime of unlawful termination of pregnancy to the books but says the law doesn't confer "personhood" to a fetus.

The law is a sore subject among Republicans who support the idea of charging criminals who kill unborn children with additional crimes but also push to have abortions made illegal.

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Contact Megan Schrader: 719-286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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