Legislature Passes New Protections for Consumers, New Regulations for Businesses

The 2024 Colorado Legislative Session is over and Gov. Jared Polis is steadily signing the bills sent to him after a whirlwind final week that saw dozens of bills secure final passage. Among those bills awaiting the governor’s signature are several bills that will have a direct impact on businesses and the consumers they serve in Colorado. 

On the business side this year were several efforts to protect consumers and employees, along with efforts to put guardrails on certain technologies.  

New Regulations 

Some of the new regulations are industry-specific, like a bill regulating towing carriers. Others will apply more broadly, like the bill increasing protections for minor workers in the state. 

Industries that face new regulations include firearms merchants, delivery companies, towing companies, transportation network companies and debt-related services. 

One of the more contentious bills to become law this year involved firearms. Senate Bill 24-066, titled Firearms Merchant Category Code, will require payment networks to use the “merchant category code for firearms,” established by the International Organization for Standardization,  to firearm sales from firearm merchants for sales after Sept. 1. The bill applies to merchants whose highest gross revenue or expected gross revenue comes from the combined sale of firearms, firearm accessories or firearm ammunition in Colorado. 

The teeth of the bill come through the Office of the Attorney General, which has the power to enforce the bill. If a violation isn’t cured within 30 days of notification, merchants could face a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation or an injunction or equitable relief that prevents a further violation. 

Towing companies have been under fire in Colorado for the past several years, and House Bill 24-1051 will increase regulation on the industry if the governor signs it. The measure authorizes the Public Utilities Commission to now suspend or revoke a towing carrier permit for certain violations. 

In addition to new reporting requirements and task force rules, the bill also forbids a towing carrier from patrolling or monitoring property to enforce parking restrictions on behalf of the property owner and requires a towing carrier to return a vehicle to the place it was towed from if the vehicle was towed in violation of the state statute. 

In the realm of vehicles, another bill, SB24-075 will require transportation network companies to comply with new transparency requirements and deactivation and suspension procedures. Companies operating in this space are required to develop a driver deactivation and suspension policy by May 1, 2025, that complies with the bill. In addition, the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics is tasked with certifying a driver support organization to represent and support drivers through deactivation and suspension procedures. 

The transparency requirements in the bill also show consumers how much the company is paying to a driver for the trip, and it will require the company to provide various disclosures about the payments to the driver as well. 

Two bills will affect companies across industries in the state of Colorado. One bill will have major ramifications to companies employing between 51-100 employees in a calendar year.

Effective Jan. 1, 2026, SB24-073 will change the definition of small employer, for the purposes of providing health insurance coverage. The change comes in the form of lowering the upper threshold from 100 to 50. 

The other will increase the penalties for violations of the Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act of 1971. HB24-1095 will also require the penalties collected to be deposited into the wage theft enforcement fund. 

New Consumer Protections 

Several new consumer protections will also become law. HB24-1378 provides consumers with new protections around ticket sales and resales. Operators and resellers will now be required to guarantee refunds to purchasers of tickets under circumstances outlined in the bill. Operators will also be prohibited from denying event access to individuals who bought tickets through a reseller. 

The bill further adds new deceptive trade practices in the selling and reselling of tickets. Notably, selling a ticket to an event without disclosing the total cost of the ticket, including fees, and increasing the price of a ticket once it has been selected for purchase, with the exception of adding delivery fees, will be classified as deceptive trade practices. 

HB24-1121 is the newest edition to Colorado’s Right to Repair laws. The bill expands the statutes to digital electronic equipment, with exemptions for certain types of equipment, including certain vessels, motor vehicles, medical devices other than powered wheelchairs, safety communications equipment, fire alarm systems and certain construction- and energy-related equipment. 

The measure also adds a prohibition on certain parts for electronic equipment manufactured and sold or used in the state after Jan. 1, 2025. Manufacturers are prohibited from using parts that would prevent an independent repair provider or owner from installing or enabling an otherwise functional replacement part, reduce the functionality or performance of digital electronic equipment or cause digital electronic equipment to display misleading alerts or warnings about unidentified parts. 

Another hot-button issue the legislature took on this year was artificial intelligence. SB24-205 is one of three measures around artificial intelligence the legislature worked on this session. This measure would put certain protections in place around high-risk artificial intelligence systems and give consumers certain rights related to companies’ usage of the technology. 

Deceptive trade practices will also get additions in debt-related services. HB24-1380 defines taking any legal action on a debt against a consumer if the debt collector, collection agency or debt purchaser doesn’t comply with specified laws governing legal actions by collection agencies and seeking or supporting a warrant or otherwise promoting the arrest or detainment of a consumer in connection with an action to collect or attempt to collect a debt as deceptive trade practices. 

New and Improved Rights for Employees  

A complementary bill to SB24-075, HB24-1129 will add new protections and transparency for delivery network company drivers. The bill adds a similar payment transparency requirement and institutes new requirements on contracts the company may provide to drivers and merchants. The bill also adds new rules around deactivation. 

Workers will also have new rights and protections on employee agreements. HB24-1324 follows the Federal Trade Commission’s ban of noncompete agreements and regulates when an employer can recover the expense of educating and training a worker. 

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