It’s “T” Time: New Laws in 2018
By Kathy Bedell, © Saguache Today
It’s “T” time for 2018, so here are some new Colorado laws on the books, that Saguache Today wanted readers to be aware of as you head into the New Year.
Take Home Pay. Starting in 2018, minimum wage in Colorado will go up to $10.20 an hour. Following a 2016 voter-approved ballot measure, minimum wage will continue to rise every year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2020. The minimum wage for tipped employees will go up to $7.18 per hour, so be sure to double check those pay stubs and make sure you’re earning what you’re due!
Texting Sexual Images. Guess they’re still talking about what’s appropriate when it comes to sharing, and the laws are always adjusting to keep pace with the technology. In 2018, for Colorado teens it seems the consequences for sexting will be contracting a bit. A new law lessens the consequences teenagers could face if they are caught texting sexual images to juveniles. Prior to the new legislation, teens were charged with sexual exploitation of a child, which is a class 3 felony. The new law would lower the punishment, giving prosecutors the ability to file misdemeanor charges instead of felony charges. It also would not require those found guilty (i.e. teens) to register as sex offenders.
Times Visiting a Dispensary in a Day. If you’re the kind of neighbor that keeps track of who’s coming and going from Saguache County’s marijuana dispensaries, then the new anti-“looping” measure could bring new meaning to your nosey-neighbor tendencies. Colorado is cracking down on “loopers,” not to be confused with the “daptards.” According to Colorado marijuana officials, looping is where someone goes into a dispensary repeatedly during the same day to buy marijuana.
The modified “new” rules limit sales to a single transaction per person, per day. And heads up to any local budtenders because it also punishes the establishments that sell marijuana to people if employees know, or should reasonably know, that the person has already purchased their limit. There’s also been a “loop-hole” fixed in the language of the law, prohibiting not just the sale, but the transfer of retail marijuana to people who have already purchased the legal limit.
In other pot news for 2018, all you home-growers should note the following change: as of January 1, 2018, all residences will be limited to a maximum of 12 plants unless certain requirements are met. Beforehand, growers found a sizeable “go-around” as the prior measure allowed up to six plants in each house per person (18yrs+) living there. Since the Saguache County MJ Regs more or less, follow the state regulations, this new change will apply locally as well.
Transparency in Pricing for Hospitals. If you’ve ever had a hospital stay or visit, you understand that the true pain sets in once the bill arrives. Fortunately legislators found a remedy to that with the newly enacted Transparency in Health Care Prices Act, requiring providers to put together a list of the prices for at least 15 of the most common services it provides to patients. In addition, health care providers must provide a list of the 25 most used services, diagnosis-related group codes and the 25 most used out-patient CPT codes for billing.
And finally, if you’re wondering how much Saguache County elected officials are making these days, this is what the Colorado legislature determined for 2018. Which brings readers back, full circle to the increase in minimum wage to be earned by hard-working Coloradoans. Or does it? Looks like that circle still has a long way to go when it comes to the wage gap between the people doing the work, and the folks running the show. Happy New Year!