First-day bills target short-term rentals, deceptive-trade-practice lawsuits

Lobbyists, including many that represent business organizations, gather outside the Colorado Senate chamber during the 2023 legislative session.

Of all the bills introduced by Colorado legislators on the first day of the 2024 session Wednesday, none is likely to stoke as much response from business interests as the long-anticipated measure to recategorize many short-term rental homes as commercial properties.

The measure, which came out of the Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning Tax Policy on a Democratic-led party-line vote in October, states that any property renting in increments of less than 30 days to visitors for at least 90 days a year would pay property taxes at the 29% assessment rate of non-residential properties. That would nearly quadruple the existing tax bills of homes that that now are assessed at the 7.15% rate of residential properties, and it has led many short-term-rental operators to say they’ll pull their properties from the market and business leaders in mountain towns to warn such a move could crush their tourism base.

But while the swift introduction of Senate Bill 33 — which is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Chris Hansen of Denver and which sponsoring Democratic Rep. Mike Weissman of Aurora said recently could be “heavily amended” — was expected, other first-day offerings were not.

Colorado state Sen. Chris Hansen discusses a bill on the Senate floor during the 2023 session.

New proposals could impact everything from the ease of filing deceptive-trade-practice lawsuits to the permanence of restaurants selling to-go alcoholic beverages to the requirement of employers to hang suicide-prevention education posters in their workplaces. And while The Sum & Substance will dive into each of these bills in more depth in future stories, here is a high-level view of some of the first-day bills at the Legislature that could have the greatest impacts on businesses.

Legal Issues in first-day bills

  • House Bill 1014, sponsored by Weissman and Democratic Rep. Javier Mabrey of Denver, would establish that evidence a person has engaged in an unfair or deceptive trade practice constitutes a significant impact to the public. Such a change could be very big in legal terms. Proof of significant public impact is needed to constitute a Colorado Consumer Protection Act violation, which in turn allows attorneys to seek treble damages and attorney’s fees that often are significant enough to be the difference between a lawyer taking or declining a case. A similar provision — specifying a defective product or service did not have to have a significant public impact to constitute a CCPA violation — was stripped from a bigger bill last year after opponents claimed it would encourage construction-defects lawsuits on single-family homes.
  • SB 41, sponsored by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Robert Rodriguez of Denver and Republican Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen of Monument, would require companies that process the data of children to take extra steps to safeguard the data, and it would bar sale or use of the data for any purpose other than the stated reason it’s collected. The bill is a follow-up to the Colorado Privacy Act that the duo passed in 2021 to give consumers more control over their online data.


  • HB 1004, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Jennifer Bacon of Denver and Shannon Bird of Westminster, would bar state regulators from considering license applicants’ non-violent criminal convictions that are more than three years old. Sponsors said in a news release that they hope to strengthen Colorado’s workforce and reduce recidivism by ensuring Coloradans who have served their time can acquire professional credentials and succeed in their careers.
  • SB 12, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Julie Gonzales and James Coleman of Denver, would create a pilot program to offer payments up to $3,000 to individuals leaving Department of Corrections facilities who participate in workforce-training programs after incarceration.

Affordable Housing

  • HB 1007, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Manny Rutinel of Commerce City and Mabrey, would bar local governments from enforcing non-familial residential occupancy limits unless those limits are tied to a minimum square footage required for public health and safety. Gov. Jared Polis’ wide-ranging 2023 land-use bill included a provision to do just this, but that bill died on the final day of the last session.
  • SB 2, sponsored by Sen. Dylan Roberts, D-Frisco, would allow local governments to offer property-tax incentive programs to address housing and economic development issues. For example, cities and counties could offer tax credits or rebates for property owners who convert short-term rentals into long-term rentals and boost the availability of workforce housing, according to a news release from Senate Democrats.

First -day retail and workplace regulations

Colorado House Majority Leader Monica Duran discusses her coming wage-theft bill on Friday at the Capitol.

  • SB 20, sponsored by Roberts, eliminates the July 1, 2025, repeal date on the law allowing restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with customer orders or to allow to-go customers to purchase such drinks, and it makes the allowance permanent. State officials first permitted the practice in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic when they banned indoor dining.
  • HB 1008, sponsored by Democratic House Majority Leader Monica Duran of Wheat Ridge and Democratic Rep. Meg Froelich of Greenwood Village, would allow construction workers who don’t receive promised wages from a subcontractor to demand them from a general contractor. The sponsors first announced the bill, which largely mirrors a local ordinance approved early last year by Denver City Council, at a news conference on Friday.
  • HB 1015, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Vigil, D-Colorado Springs, would require employers to display suicide-prevention education posters in their workplaces and include suicide-prevention education notices in documents provided to employees. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment would be responsible for making the posters and notices available.

Health Care

Colorado state Reps. Andy Boesenecker and Karen McCormick discuss their bill to study a single-payer health-care system in 2023.

  • HB 1075, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Karen McCormick of Longmont and Andy Boesenecker of Fort Collins, would require the Colorado School of Public Health to analyze the potential for implementing a single-payer universal health-care system in Colorado. A similar bill died on the Senate calendar at the end of the 2023 session.
  • HB 1005, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Chris deGruy Kennedy of Lakewood and David Ortiz of Centennial, would health insurers to include primary-care providers as participating providers in all their networks, including narrower networks. Insurers are likely to fight the proposal as interference in their contracts with providers, but sponsors said in a news release that it “would allow patients to continue to see their preferred doctor.”
  • HB 1025, sponsored by Froelich, would require all individual and small-group health plans to cover fertility diagnosis and treatment, as well as fertility-preservation services. An existing state law requires such coverage only one year after the federal government determines that coverage for fertility services does not require defrayal of costs by the state; this would remove that provision and demand coverage start in January 2025.