11 New Colorado Laws Go into Effect in July, Including Laser Regulation
While we talk about Colorado's laws quite frequently here, it's rare that we actually get the chance to highlight any new laws. It's not so much that they aren't making any new laws; it's just that most new laws that get made aren't really that interesting. Let's be honest: there isn't enough coffee in the world to keep you from falling asleep if the conversation ever turns to the zone. Yes, the day-to-day workings of government are usually best used as an antidote for insomnia. At least, that's how I felt until I heard that they're regulating lasers now...
After the close of a not-at-all-slow legislative session in Denver, we have 11 brand-new laws going into effect in July, and one of those laws concerns the stuff of Star Wars and Flash Gordon. Who says you don't have anything to look forward to in the summer, these days?
Bad News for the Laser Lobby, Good News for Planes
To be fair, SB23-095 has less in common with lightsabers than that ethics class you slept through in college. The new law has now made it a class 6 felony to knowingly point a laser device at an aircraft. Starting July 1st, you face a potential penalty of up to 5 years in federal prison, along with 1 year to 18 months in state prison. Suddenly, being the annoying guy with the laser pointer doesn't seem as funny as it used to.
There are exceptions to this laser-aiming rule, such as for emergency signaling, though I doubt most of the more than 300 laser incidents that happened in Colorado in 2022 would have qualified. If they had, that would mean there are a few hundred people stuck in the mountains that we forgot about, and I don't think we did.
You Now, Officially, Have the Right to Remain Silent. Officially.
Things that go 'zap' weren't the only thing on the minds of Colorado lawmakers, this year. Did you know that the concept of the 'Miranda Warning' - which we understand as depicted in every show about cops ever - was not actually a law in the Centennial State? Like a lot of legal precedence in America, this concept was actually based solely on the 1966 Supreme Court decision of "Miranda v. Arizona".
In an effort to actually write some of these things down so that, you know, they're written down, HB23-1155 has now made it state law that statements you give to police cannot be used against you in court if you have not been advised of your rights. Unfortunately, my proposal to reverse the decision of Batman v. Superman remains pending.
A Whole Lot of Boring
As mentioned above, there are a total of 11 new laws taking effect in July. These are just two of them, and unless you're some kind of legal fanboy, they're also the only interesting ones. SB23-097, for example, seems to apply a "three strikes and you're out" approach to Colorado car theft, which I assume would be interesting to you if you are an active car thief. For the rest of us, though, it just elicits a big yawn. Most of the laws taking effect fall into that category, though if you're interested you can find a full rundown from the good folks at KDVR.
This isn't about the usefulness of these laws, mind you, just about how interesting they are to think about. I'm no mechanic, but I know how important an engine is to a motor vehicle. That being said, it is my recurring nightmare to get caught in conversation with someone who would want to talk about engines, because that's not my thing. There's nothing wrong with being important, but ultimately uninteresting.
If you don't believe me, just ask this guy: