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With the new year comes a handful of new laws in Colorado – nineteen new laws taking full or partial effect in the new year. Most new laws typically go into effect in August, 90 days after the end of the legislative session, but all or portions of others often take effect Jan. 1 of the next year.

Coloradans building new homes will have to be offered water-saving options like low-flow toilets and landscaping that goes easy on the H2O. House Bill 1358 requires builders of single-family, detached homes to offer customers the option of water-conserving toilets, faucets and showerheads. The bill even specifies what kinds of fixtures qualify, noting for example that "toilets shall use no more than one and 2 8/100ths of a gallon per flush."

And if builders offer upgrades for appliances and landscaping, they also will have to offer homebuyers water-thrifty dishwashers and Xeriscaping. Though homebuilders opposed the bill, conservation groups and landscapers endorse it. And the new law doesn’t require builders to install the upgrades unless the homebuyer wants them and will pay.

Senate Bill 193 will also take effect, a new law which bars state and private prisons and local jails from using restraints on pregnant inmates during labor and delivery. Restraints can be used only if "medically necessary for a safe childbirth" or if the inmate poses serious risk of harm to herself or the medical staff or poses a substantial escape risk. In no instance, however, can leg shackles or waist restraints be used during labor and delivery.

House Bill 1278 creates an "information officer" in the state Division of Real Estate to advise the public on the basic rights and duties of homeowners and homeowner associations. The "information officer" approach was adopted in place of earlier versions of the bill that had called for an HOA "ombudsman."

And also on the list is House Bill 1202, which requires insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs and to make them available to policyholders at the same price charged for intravenous or injected chemo drugs.

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