New policies to combat the opioid crisis, protect children’s health and begin remittance of online sales taxes from marketplace facilitators take effect today

DENVER, CO— Important provisions from Colorado House Democrats’ 2019 legislative agenda, including new policies to mandate opioid prescriber training, prohibit minors from entering cigar-tobacco bars and to begin remittance of online sales taxes from marketplace facilitators became effective today.

Under Section 14 of SB19-228 Substance Use Disorders Prevention Measures, the state licensing board must now establish new rules that require health care providers to complete four new trainings to demonstrate competencies in opioid prescribing, recognition of substance use disorder (SUD), referral for SUD treatment programs and the use of electronic prescription drug monitoring programs. SB19-228, a package of provisions to address the opioid crisis, was sponsored by Rep. Buentello, D-Pueblo.

“From doctors and lawmakers to state licensing boards, everyone has a role to play in addressing the deadly opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across our state,” said Rep. Bri Buentello (D-Pueblo), the prime House sponsor of SB19-228. “Opioid prescribers will now have to demonstrate the competencies necessary to recognize potential substance use disorder in their patients, prescribe opioids appropriately, and ensure access to treatment. I’m working with my colleagues on the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee to advance new legislation to keep combating this crisis with the urgency it demands.”

Also going into effect today is a critical section of HB19-1076 which modified the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act and was sponsored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Janet. The provision prohibits persons under the age of 18 from entering cigar-tobacco bars. Previously, minors could enter cigar-tobacco bars if accompanied by a parent. HB19-1076 also requires establishments to post clear signage that says “Smoking allowed. Children under eighteen years of age may not enter.” House Democrats passed several bills last session to reduce teen tobacco use and protect the health and safety of children.

“Our state is facing an alarming rise in teen tobacco and nicotine use, and we have an urgent obligation to take action to stop this,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Commerce City), the prime House sponsor of HB19-1076. “Children and teenagers should not be exposed to dangerous second hand smoke inside commercial establishments. Starting today, cigar-tobacco bars will have to be crystal clear that these venues are for adults, not minors. I’ll continue working to reduce teen nicotine use and protect the health and safety of Colorado’s children.”

“This new law would not have happened without the tireless work of countless advocates. I’m particularly proud of my constituent who came to testify in memory of her brother who died from opioid use disorder,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer, the co-prime House sponsor of SB19-228. “The desperately needed grant funding in the bill is partly named after him, ‘The Charlie Hughes and Nathan Gauna Opioid Prevention Grant Program.’ I am also pleased to see the new training requirements for prescribers move forward. Nathan’s sister didn’t deserve to lose her brother, but her work will ensure others will live in his memory.”

Finally, out-of-state online market facilitators will begin collecting and remitting sales taxes to state and local governments in accordance with HB19-1240, one of the first state laws enacted in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision. Colorado has taken a leading role on this issue. Wayfairallows states to collect online sales taxes from retailers that do not have a physical presence in the state.

“This new law brings critical revenue already owed from marketplace facilitators, such as Amazon and Google, to state and local governments,” said Rep, Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada), the prime sponsor of HB19-1240 and chair of the Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force. “The law evens the playing field between online retailers and brick and mortar stores, and helps us invest in our state’s future. Tax simplification is essential for small businesses, and I’ll continue working to make it easier for everyone to navigate our sales tax system.”

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