Although the “red flag law” has received the most attention in Lake County, there are more than 400 new laws that also went into effect on January 1 in Colorado.

The “red flag law” will allow family members and law enforcement to request that guns be seized from people who are ultimately deemed to be a threat to themselves or to others.

An article in this issue of the Herald Democrat updates where local law enforcement officers stand in regard to enforcing this law.

Following several public meetings, the Lake County Board of Commissioners decided not to declare Lake County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.” Had it done so, the law would not have been enforced here.

County Sheriff Amy Reyes is opposed to it, but both she and Police Chief Saige Bertolas said they would enforce it if faced with such a request.

Because of widespread opposition to the law, it is sure to be challenged in court this year.

Other new laws that might be of interest to local residents include the following:

• In 2020, 3.2% beer will be replaced by full-strength beer on grocery-store shelves.

Liquor and wine will still only be available at liquor stores.

• The state’s minimum wage went up to $12 per hour on Jan. 1.

In November 2016, Colorado voters approved Amendment 70, a plan to raise the wage for any non-tipped worker in the state from $8.31/hour to $12/hour in steps by 2020.

Incidentally, Denver is the first Colorado city to set its own minimum wage. The new law takes the Denver minimum wage from $12.85/hour in 2020 to $15.87/hour by 2022.

Other Colorado municipalities are also allowed to set their own minimum wage, thanks to another new law.

•Colorado residents who can’t prove they’re in the country legally can now use a Social Security number to get a driver’s license.

Previously, those individuals had to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to get their license.

The new law also gives undocumented people an option to renew licenses online.

• Coloradans will pay more for hunting, fishing, camping, boating, and visiting state parks this year.

As two examples, the annual fee for a fishing license has increased from $25 to $33. For big game, the license fee went from $250 to $300.

For boaters, there is a new $25 fee for an ANS (Aquatic Nuisance Species) stamp.

•Medical practices now have to let the patient know if treatments are covered by their insurance. This should alleviate surprise charges for out-of-network procedures.

• Lawmakers have put a cap on insulin prices. The average cost of insulin has been about $400 a month. This law, the first in the nation, creates a cost cap of $100 a month for people using insulin who have Type 1 diabetes.

• A new law will allow transgender Coloradans to change the gender on their birth certificates to correspond with their gender identity. It also removes the publication requirement, making the process safer and more private.

• Starting this year, the First Step program will give every child born or adopted in Colorado a $100 contribution to their CollegeInvest 529 college savings account. The program is funded and administered by CollegeInvest without using taxpayer dollars.

• Individuals can now rent their cars to other individuals for a fee. Records must be kept if this is done, and the rented car must be insured and contain numbers to call for roadside assistance.

• Marijuana home delivery is now legal in the state, but does require the local jurisdiction to approve this service.

Since the law is new, the City of Leadville has not yet had a chance to consider it.

Now we can all sit back and see what additional laws the legislature will come up with in 2020.

Marcia Martinek

Herald Editor

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