Session Recap

After 120 days, the second regular session of the 74th Colorado General Assembly has ended. Colorado is known for having one of the most productive state legislative sessions in the country when looking at the percentage of bills introduced versus passed into law. Of the 778 bills introduced this session, 365 passed both houses and were sent to the governor for final approval 

Some key themes of this legislative session include filling gaps left by previous federal and state legislation, a sweeping regulatory artificial intelligence measure, and advancing the energy transition and State climate goals. 

Filling a Gap 

House Bill 24-1379 fills a regulatory gap left by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v. EPA. This allows the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment to oversee industries and minimize damage from pollution to streams and wetlands from dredged or fill materials resulting from construction activities, pursuant to the Clean Water Act

Senate Bill 24-081 was passed to close a gap by expanding the 2022 Colorado ban on the sale of goods that contain PFAS to include new items such as water-resistant outdoor apparel, cookware, dental floss, menstrual products, ski wax, and artificial turf that contain intentionally added PFAS. Toxic PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” do not break down in the environment, contaminate drinking water and soil, and are harmful to fish, wildlife, and humans. 

In contrast to the 2020 proposition and ballot measure for voters to decide whether the state would reintroduce gray wolves, Senate Bill 24-171 establishes a framework to authorize the restoration of the North American wolverine in Colorado upon U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorization. The North American wolverine was listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act in November 2023 and must receive a designation of a “nonessential experimental population” in Colorado for the reintroduction to take place. 

Artificial Intelligence 

A first-of its’ kind comprehensive Artificial Intelligence regulatory bill was signed into law by Governor Polis. Senate Bill 24-205 establishes consumer protections by regulating developers to use reasonable care to avoid algorithmic discrimination towards users in “high-risk" -- those used in decision-making -- AI systems. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published a Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights in October 2022, outlining five principles to guide the development, design, and use of AI systems, however, no federal legislation has been enacted. Polis hopes that the law will help continue the conversation on regulation of AI at both the state and federal levels. The law doesn’t take effect until 2026, and the long timeline allows the legislature to consider additional guardrails and legislation around AI without limiting technological advancements. Without federal regulations, states must fill in the gaps to regulate a quickly growing industry, as seen in the hundreds of pieces of AI legislation introduced across the US this year.  

Another law targeting the use of AI-generated deepfakes in election communications, House Bill 24-1147 expands the authority of the Fair Campaign Promises Act to impose civil penalties for distribution of deepfakes of candidates seeking elected offices. AI-generated deepfakes can spread misinformation and many states are enacting similar laws to regulate Artificial Intelligence in elections.  

Senate Bill 24-084 tasks the state Attorney General to prevent and combat misinformation and disinformation by establishing an initiative to encourage respectful engagement and discourse, and collaborate with the Department of Education and other organizations across the state to develop resources to facilitate productive conversations.  

You can find some of The Institute’s resources on Navigating Misinformation, and the Roadmap to Better Decisions on our website.  

Another AI bill trying to get ahead of the evolving industry to protect Coloradans from misuse and harm, House Bill 24-1468 reconfigures the existing Task Force for the Consideration of Facial Recognition Services. The original task force was established in 2022 to study how government agencies will use these technologies, and the associated bill limited the use of facial recognition technology by schools until 2025. The new legislation expands the task force to include studies on Artificial Intelligence and biometric technology use not just by governments, but other entities, and is renamed to the Biometric Technology and Artificial Intelligence Policy Task Force. The report on findings is due by February 1, 2025, and will include policy recommendations for the Governor’s office.  

Climate & Energy  

As technologies for combatting climate change are developed, a new law expands the authority of the Energy and Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) to regulate activities related to the underground sequestration of carbon dioxide. Often referred to as Carbon Capture and Sequestration, the bill allows for the ECMC to regulate this method of storing carbon underground in geologic formations, like porous rocks. Amended from its introduction, the signed law does not allow for ECMC to have regulatory oversight over the use of direct air capture technology, but instead keeps regulation within local governments.  

Learn more about the latest carbon capture technologies in our Climate Interventions series.  

In order to support progress on the State’s climate goals, Senate Bill 24-214 created the Office of Sustainability within the State Department of Personnel. The new office is tasked with implementing environmentally sustainable practices within state agencies and higher education institutions.  

Other bills related to energy development in the state include Senate Bill 24-212, which requires the Energy and Carbon Management Commission to provide technical support for renewable energy projects at the request of local and tribal governments. Senate Bill 24-207 requires utility providers to make an increased amount of solar energy available to customers beginning in 2026. Plus Senate Bill 24-218 aims to modernize state energy distribution systems to meet the implementation targets for decarbonization in the state, and also establishes a grant program for a line worker apprenticeship program.  

We will continue to follow the regulatory and science policy issues that come along with the development and proliferation of artificial intelligence, transitioning the energy sector, managing our natural resources, and more. Thank you for reading. 


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