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Vaping is prohibited indoors, parolees can now vote: 30 new laws went into effect today

The list also includes several criminal justice reform laws, a law that closes a sexting loophole and one to simplify the name of Western State Colorado University.

DENVER — In the 2019 legislative session in Colorado, 454 bills were signed into law. 

Thirty of them go into effect Monday, July 1. 

Here are some of the most interesting:

H.B. 19-1076: Clean Indoor Air Act Add E-cigs Remove Exceptions 

Under the new law, vaping was added to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which already prohibited smoking indoors in most public places. 

The change comes as Colorado high school students are found to vape twice as much as the national average. Evidence shows that strong smoke-free policies reduce the likelihood that young people will start smoking, according to the Colorado Department of Health. 

The new law also increases the distance from public entrances where people can smoke or vape from 15 to 25 feet. Studies show to completely avoid exposing others to secondhand smoke in an outdoor area, a person who is smoking may have to move as far away as 25 feet.  

RELATED: Vaping banned indoors in Colorado starting Monday

H.B. 19-1266: Restore Voting Rights Parolees

People who are on parole in Colorado are now "eligible to register to vote and to vote in any election."

Now, in Colorado, the only criminals exempted from voting are those currently serving felony convictions.

People on probation, inmates awaiting trial and inmates serving time for misdemeanors also have a right to register to vote and vote. The new law added parolees to that list.

RELATED: Governor Polis signs multiple criminal justice reform bills into law

H.B. 19-1030: Unlawful Electronic Sexual Communication

Adults “in a position of trust” are now prohibited from sending sexual messages, whether that be online or through text, to 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds. 

Previous law allowed for such communication, even from a teacher or coach, if photos and videos were not included.

The bill had bipartisan support, but something weird happened in committee that politics guy Marshall Zellinger said he'd never seen before: after a Senate committee killed the bill on a 3-2 vote, the nay votes — Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) and Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) and Sen. Robert Rodriguez (D-Denver) all switched their votes. 

RELATED: Colorado lawmakers kill, then resurrect bill that would prohibit sexting teens

RELATED: Bill to close sexting loophole would leave sexting loophole

RELATED: Adults sexting with high school-aged teens is legal in Colorado

S.B. 19-223: Actions Related to Competency to Proceed 

Senate Bill 19-223 focuses on helping people found not competent to stand trial because of mental illness get treatment sooner.

The bill summary online says it would also require the following:

  • Develop an electronic system to track the status of defendants for whom competency to proceed has been raised.
  • Convene a group of experts to create a placement guideline for use in determining where restoration services should be provided.
  • Partner with an institution of higher education to develop and provide training in competency evaluations

RELATED: A look at Colorado's 8 new laws related to mental health

H.B. 19-1250: Sexual Assault While in Custody or Detained 

This new law closes a loophole in law involving sexual assault while in custody or detained.

Current law says that victims cannot consent to sex with an officer while "detained in a jail, prison, or hospital." But that doesn't cover everywhere a potential victim may interact with an officer of the law.

HB-1250 adds three more instances where an officer cannot claim consent as a defense against a sex assault charge:

1. When the peace officer encounters the victim for the purpose of law enforcement or in the performance of the officer's duties;

2. When the peace officer knows at the time of the unlawful sexual conduct that the victim is the subject of an active investigation; or

3. When the peace officer makes any show of authority in connection with the unlawful sexual conduct.

The other big change is that it would classify sex assault by an officer as a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

S.B. 19-232: Campaign Finance Enforcement

Voters will now have access to more information about where campaign money really comes from. 

Before the law changed, anyone could find how much candidates spent on their campaigns using the state's campaign finance website, but there's a lot of money it couldn't trace. 

Now, companies that contribute to political campaigns will have to provide more detail, like owners and shareholders. 

RELATED: There's a new push to add transparency to money in politics

Here is the full list of laws that went into effect Monday:

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