These are all of the Legal System bills proposed in the 2018 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, pros, and cons are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium and Minor. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!).

House

Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:

MAJOR

HB18-1059: Require 911 Call KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB18-1132: Increase Department of Corrections Reimbursement to County Jails SIGNED
HB18-1178: Hold Colorado Governments Accountable Sanctuary Jurisdictions KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

MEDIUM

HB18-1057: Disclosure of Information for Asset Recovery SIGNED
HB18-1078: Court Programs for Veterans SIGNED
HB18-1243: Civil Rape Shield Law SIGNED
HB18-1261: Colorado Arbitration Fairness Act KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
HB18-1262: Arbitration Services Provider Transparency Act KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
HB18-1398: Statute of Limitations Domestic Violence Torts SIGNED

MINOR

HB18-1028: Attorney General Deceptive Practice Court Order SIGNED
HB18-1041: Crime of Cruelty to Certified Police Working Horse SIGNED
HB18-1051: Statutory Provisions Extinguish Unattended Fires SIGNED
HB18-1066: Clarify Sexually Exploitative Material Discovery SIGNED
HB18-1077: Penalty for Burglary of Firearms SIGNED
HB18-1117: Self-Service Storage Facility Personal Property Liens SIGNED
HB18-1131: Court System for Remote Participation in Hearings KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
HB18-1200: Cybercrime Changes SIGNED
HB18-1252: Unlawful Sale of Academic Assignments SIGNED
HB18-1264: Changes to Revenge Pornography Crimes SIGNED
HB18-1314: Drone Interference with Public Safety Operations SIGNED
HB18-1317: Exempt Nonprofits for Use of Electronic Gaming Machines KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB18-1353: Defense Counsel in Municipal Court Grant Program SIGNED
HB18-1408: Clarifying Rape from Sexual Assault at Sentencing KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

HB18-1028: Attorney General Deceptive Practice Court Order

SIGNED

Currently if someone does not cooperate with an investigation by the attorney general or a district attorney regarding  potentially deceptive trade practice, the AG or DA can seek a court order requiring compliance but only for terminating or preventing a deceptive trade practice. This bill adds investigation as another option.

Pros

It’s highly limiting for this court order to only allow termination or prevention as possibilities. It can prevent an investigation into a trade practice if people decide not to cooperate. It still requires a judge to agree.

Cons

This bill will allow fishing expeditions. A court order should be reserved for more than just a hunch.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1028

HB18-1041: Crime of Cruelty to Certified Police Working Horse

Adds cruelty to a certified police horse to the separate crime already defined for cruelty to a service animal or cruelty to certified police working dog. A person who reports this crime in good faith is granted immunity from civil liability.

SIGNED

Pros

Certified police working horses fit this category perfectly so this bill’s addition makes sense.

Cons

It's not necessary to add this category, anyone who is cruel to a police horse is already committing a crime under other statutes.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1041

HB18-1051: Statutory Provisions Extinguish Unattended Fires

From Wildfire Matters Review Committee. Changes penalty for leaving a campfire unattended and one for leaving a campfire not fully extinguished from class 2 petty offense to class 3 misdemeanor. Removes provision requiring counties to post notice about unattended campfires.

SIGNED

Pros

Wildfires cost the state of Colorado millions of dollars each year. CU found that 30% of all wildfires from 1992-2012 in the state were caused by humans. Clearly current penalties are not enough of a deterrent for sloppy camping procedures and the increase should help some people think twice before leaving a campfire.

Cons

The maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a $750 fine is too much for a crime of negligence like this. It’s not like this is about arsonists or people setting fires on purpose. Changing the penalty is not likely to change careless behavior and this has the potential to be too draconian.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1051

HB18-1057: Disclosure of Information for Asset Recovery

Allows those who are legally judged creditors to retrieve, through a court proceeding process, the name and address of the debtor’s current employer or employers from the state’s wage and employment information. The debtor must be an individual and has the opportunity to contest this request in court. The creditor must pay fees that will cover the administrative cost to the state (these can be recouped in litigation against the debtor). The creditor must follow federal regulations for protecting the debtor’s information and is subject to a $1,000 fine for failure to do so.

SIGNED

Pros

Creditors frequently face difficulties in retrieving funds from debtors, even after a court has ordered it. This allows them another avenue to retrieve the money they are legally owed, as even the threat of contacting an employer might be sufficient.

Cons

This is an unacceptable invasion into the debtor’s life, who might lose their job and thus their ability to pay off any debts. It is also an unacceptable risk of further disclosure by the creditor of the debtor’s personal information, despite the $1,000 fine.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1057

HB18-1059: Require 911 Call

Makes it a crime to not call 911 if an individual knows another individual needs 911 assistance. Crime is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor unless the individual who needs aids dies, in which case it is a class 6 felony.

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Pros

Sadly, this law is necessary. It is named “Eric’s Law” after Eric Ashby, who was abandoned by his companions while white water rafting. Eric was swept away and last seen clinging to a rock. His companions did not call for help, got in Eric’s car, drove home, and did not report anything for ten days. Eric’s body was found a few weeks later. This is not the sole incident in the state, and while we might wish we lived in a world where we didn’t need to make it a crime not to report, we don’t.

Cons

Of course no one wants tragedies like the one that happened to Eric Ashby, but this law goes too far. There are many instances where someone could help someone else, and while we wish they would, they do not. How many times have you driven past someone broken down on the side of the road? This law would make it a crime not to call 911.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1059

HB18-1066: Clarify Sexually Exploitative Material Discovery

Clarifies a change made last year to sexually exploitative material laws, which expanded the types of people who, if they possessed such material in the performance of their duties (think cops and lawyers) could not be charged with a crime. This bill clarifies that the discovery process has not changed and defense and defense personnel are not allowed to receive copies of the materials.

SIGNED

Pros

Just fixes an error in last year’s law, which did not intend to change discovery procedures.

Cons

Perhaps the law should be changed so that defense and defense personnel can receive copies to better do their jobs.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1066

HB18-1077: Penalty for Burglary of Firearms

Usually burglary is a class 4 felony, but there are special circumstances that can increase it to class 3 felony: burglary of a dwelling or when the object is a controlled substance. This law adds a new circumstance: if the objective of the burglary was one or more firearms, firearm parts, firearm accessories, or ammunition. The bill also increases the fines for the crime.

SIGNED

Pros

Stealing deadly weapons, their accessories, or the ammunition required to use them is more dangerous than the usual burglary and thus requires a stronger punishment.

Cons

We are trying to move to less punishment in the criminal justice system, not more. This is a move in the wrong direction, however well-intentioned.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1077

HB18-1078: Court Programs for Veterans

Court must ascertain if a defendant is a veteran or currently serving in the armed forces at his or her first appearance in court. Court shall inform any veteran or active duty member that they may be entitled to receive mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, or other services.

SIGNED

Pros

Veterans and military members have access to quite a few services that they may be unaware of. This is a great way to help someone who might be struggling and get them the resources and help they need.

Cons

This is too much of a burden on the courts and will slow things down too much.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1078

HB18-1117: Self-Service Storage Facility Personal Property Liens

Modifies laws governing liens that owners of self-service storage facilities can put on occupants. It spells out the late fees that can be charged, allows the rental agreement to limit the aggregate value of the property stored in the facility, and specifies that the property may be sold at an online auction to satisfy the lien.

SIGNED

Pros

Previous law allowed both the owner to take advantage of no statutory late fees to greatly jack these up in any lien even if they were not in the rental agreement and did not allow the owner to limit the value of what was stored in the property or utilize online auctions to recoup their money.

Cons

This ties the hands of the rental owner if circumstances change regarding late fees.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1117

HB18-1131: Court System for Remote Participation in Hearings

From County Courthouse and Jail Funding and Overcrowding Committee. Directs department of justice to operate a program that allows county and district courts to conduct telephone or internet based remote proceedings. Must allow a two-way audio and video connection, and instructions for creating rules and a bidding process for the technology.

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Pros

There are proceedings where the defendant or prisoner is not physically required to be present. This would eliminate the time and expense of transporting these defendants and prisoners, as well as facilitate proceedings where dockets are overly full.

Cons

This may slow things down more than speed them up. Connection breakdowns, non tech-savvy people trying to use it, the common practice of people talking over each other in conference call situations. All of this may hurt the cause of freeing up court dockets more than it helps.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1131

HB18-1132: Increase Department of Corrections Reimbursement to County Jails

From County Courthouse and Jail Funding and Overcrowding Committee. Puts the amount department of corrections is required to reimburse county jails into law, at $108.78 per day, rather than leaving it up to the general assembly to decide each year. Last year it was $54.39, so this doubles the fee.

SIGNED

Pros

The current fee just doesn’t cover costs. That’s the reality, and what happens when this gets left to the general assembly to appropriate each year is that the money required gets chipped away to get spent on other things. This forces the assembly to spend what is needed.

Cons

That doubling of money has to come from somewhere else in the state budget. This bill removes the flexibility of the assembly to determine what is really required every year and act accordingly with the entire state’s budget in mind. Somehow we’ve managed to have county prisons at the lower number.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1132

HB18-1178: Hold Colorado Governments Accountable Sanctuary Jurisdictions

Puts a measure on the 2018 ballot would punish any state or local jurisdiction with so-called sanctuary laws regarding illegal residents. It makes it a crime to participate in any sanctuary actions with individuals as well as jurisdictions subject to civil liability for any crimes committed by any illegal residents in that jurisdiction. The bill also requires any official to report anyone they suspect is an illegal to the federal immigration and customs office. It also makes it a class 4 felony to render assistance to an illegal in a sanctuary jurisdiction, defined as creating a sanctuary jurisdiction or protecting any illegal in a sanctuary jurisdiction.

*This bill has been sent to the House’s “kill” committee, state affairs*

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Pros

Our system of government holds that federal laws are supreme over state or local laws. Anyone who violates federal immigration laws or does not uphold their duty to report illegal residents is therefore violating federal law, no matter what the state or local laws say. Therefore so-called sanctuary cities are in violation of federal law and are illegal. Furthermore, these policies encourage illegal immigrants by giving them a safe place to be, where they know local officials won’t turn them over to federal agents. This bill makes it functionally impossible to have a sanctuary city, due the immense liability and penalties, and will put an end to this extra-legal practice.

Cons

This bill rests on an improper understanding of what so-called sanctuary cities are. They are a public safety measure, pure and simple. When illegal residents fear going to hospitals or police, everyone’s public safety suffers as crimes go unreported and injuries and illness go untreated at earlier stages. There is already a large backlog of immigration deportation cases and federal agents are already supposed to prioritize illegals who commit crimes over others. So-called sanctuary cities do not protect illegals who commit crimes, so not turning people over to ICE isn’t materially affecting the immigration system in this country. If the federal government believes these cities are violating the law, then the federal government needs to take action. The fact that is has not, despite virulently anti-illegal immigration individuals in charge, speaks volumes.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1178

HB18-1200: Cybercrime Changes

Changes term “computer crime” to cybercrime and adds using a computer, computer network, or computer system to arrange a situation where a minor can engage in prostitution and using a scanning device or encoding machine to steal credit card information as cybercrimes. Changes lowest level of cybercrime from class 2 to class 1 misdemeanor and higher levels to class 5 felony.

SIGNED

Pros

We need to keep up with times, unfortunately. Cybercrime is becoming more prevalent and the penalties need to become stiffer.

Cons

This runs contrary to the criminal justice reform movement, where we recognize that we went overboard with sentencing in response to crime.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1200

HB18-1243: Civil Rape Shield Law

Creates a presumption that an accuser’s past sexual history is not relevant and inadmissible in a civil proceeding involving alleged sexual misconduct unless it is evidence of the victim’s prior or subsequent sexual conduct with the defendant or it is evidence offered for the purpose of showing the alleged act or acts were not committed by the defendant.

SIGNED

Pros

Slut-shaming is a common tactic for those accused of sexual misconduct. Not only it is irrelevantly prejudicial (one’s unrelated sexual activity has nothing to do with being the target of sexual misconduct) but it also produces a chilling effect on victims, who do not want every detail of their lives dragged through the mud. The exceptions allow the defendant to show, if possible, that either they didn’t do it at all or that there is a larger pattern of sexual contact between the victim and the defendant that is exculpatory. Note that past sexual history is quite different from past claims of crimes.

Cons

Someone’s past sexual activity and conduct is relevant to determining if they are a liar who is trying to smear someone’s good name. This bill prevents defendants from fully defending themselves.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1243

HB18-1252: Unlawful Sale of Academic Assignments

Makes it illegal to sell academic assignments or answers to exams for higher education institutions, class 3 misdemeanor.

SIGNED

Pros

Believe it or not this is actually perfectly legal right now in Colorado. The person buying the material could face disciplinary consequences from the academic institution, but not the seller. Obviously that needs to change, and Colorado would join numerous other states in making this a crime.

Cons

This is over criminalizing behavior we disapprove of, the way to stop cheating is to punish the cheater, not the enablers.

From the other side:

What about high schools, we should include selling material for use in lower levels of education in this criminal definition as well.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1252

HB18-1261: Colorado Arbitration Fairness Act

For all arbitrations required by a predispute arbitration agreement (except for collectively bargained agreements), ethical standards are established for arbiters (must act without bias or harassment, must require attorneys to abstain from harassment in proceedings, must not be swayed by any outside influence). Requires arbiters to disqualify themselves if their impartiality might be reasonably questioned and disclose any potential conflicts of interest. Any party may challenge the impartiality of the arbiter in court no later than 30 days after arbiter disclosure. Court will appoint an arbiter if they agree.

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Pros

This is about fairness and transparency. Arbitration clauses are too ripe for abuse right now, which is a big problem because they are becoming more popular. In essence, if people are forced into arbitration through a contract (and thus cannot use the courts), we need to make sure they are being given the same sort of fair proceeding we would expect from a judge, who in this case is being replaced by the arbiter.

Cons

This is a huge burden on the arbiters, who have to maintain an extensive list of potential conflicts at all times, and a backdoor alley into the courtroom from lawyers who might want to increase their legal fees by challenging arbiters.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1261

HB18-1262: Arbitration Services Provider Transparency Act

Requires arbitration service providers to publish a report each quarter, which must be freely available to the public on their website. Report must contain all of the following for arbitration proceedings for the previous five years: whether the arbitration provider was chosen by a predispute arbitration clause, the name of the non-consumer party if they are a business and if they were the defendant, nature of the dispute (with 12 categories given, including “other”), who won, what the victory was (with seven different options), amount of claim and amount rewarded (if any), the total number of previous times the non-consumer party has been in a dispute before this arbitration service company, total number of previous times the non-consumer party had been in a mediation with this arbitration services company, attorneys in the dispute, dates of engagement for services, arbiter appointed, and arbiter’s ruling, how the hearing (if any) was conducted, the name of the arbiter and fees for the case.

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Pros

This is about fairness and transparency. Arbitration clauses are too ripe for abuse right now, which is a big problem because they are becoming more popular. In essence, if people are forced into arbitration through a contract (and thus cannot use the courts), we need to make sure they are being given the same sort of fair proceeding we would expect from a judge, who in this case is being replaced by the arbiter. Being able to determine if there are any troubling patterns with arbitration companies and non-consumer parties is a big part of this. The result of a lawsuit is publicly available, these results should be available too.

Cons

All of this work is going to cost these companies money, which they are going to pass on in the form of fees that may make arbitration more expensive. It also may have a chilling effect on the actions of arbiters, who will be well aware of their past decisions and may not want to rule in favor of either side too often or risk losing business.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1262

HB18-1264: Changes to Revenge Pornography Crimes

Currently Colorado criminalizes posting nude images of another person for harassment purposes or monetary gain. This bill adds images of sex acts that do not include nude images, removes the requirement that the defendant intended to inflict severe emotional distress, removes the exception to the crime that the image relates to a newsworthy event, and clarifies that appropriate law enforcement and prosecutorial personnel can view the image in the course of their usual business.

SIGNED

Pros

Revenge or blackmail porn doesn’t have to be nude to be effective. And the current standard of needing intent to harass AND inflict serious emotional distress was too high a bar. The news event goes without saying: you have to clear the bar of intending to harass, intimidate or coerce the target, there’s no reason to exempt “newsworthy” events.

Cons

Allowing yourself to be photographed in this manner in the first place should remove your reasonable expectation of privacy. If you don’t want nude or compromising images of yourself out in the public, don’t allow them to be taken.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1264

HB18-1314: Drone Interference with Public Safety Operations

Creates a new criminal offense of obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical service provider, rescue specialist or volunteer with a drone. Makes it a class 2 misdemeanor.

SIGNED

Pros

Sadly, this is necessary. As we get more and more drones in the state, the chances of people using them in a manner that gets in the way of public safety rises. We need a mechanism to deal with this specific scenario and the bill provides it.

Cons

We already have a law for obstructing each category listed here and it is the same class 2 misdemeanor. Now it does not include operating an unmanned airplane. But is doesn’t include a lot of other things too that might fall into the law, that’s the whole point of creating a law like this: you don’t need to spell out every possible violation.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1314

HB18-1317: Exempt Nonprofits for Use of Electronic Gaming Machines

Exempts nonprofits with a bingo/raffle license from prohibition on using electronic gambling machines.

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Pros

Nonprofits that are allowed to hold bingo/raffle type of games shouldn’t be prohibited from using electronic machines to help raise money.

Cons

Electronic machines can go far beyond simple games of bingo and this exclusion puts no limits on what these nonprofits can do.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1317

HB18-1353: Defense Counsel in Municipal Court Grant Program

Creates a grant program to help municipalities deal with the costs associated with the need to provision counsel to defendants in their first appearance in municipal court.

SIGNED

Pros

The sad reality is that the sixth amendment right to an attorney is violated all the time in municipal courts across the country. The downsides to this are obvious, frequent guilty pleas without the advice of counsel. Another bill in the state legislature looks to fix that problem, but does not address the issue of funds for these municipal courts which need more resources to provide more counsel.

Cons

The entire state is being asked here to bail out these municipalities who first are engaging in the practice of denying people their constitutional right to an attorney if they cannot afford one, and then second claim poverty when we ask them to step up to the plate. Some self-sufficiency is needed here.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1353

HB18-1398: Statute of Limitations Domestic Violence Torts

The current statute of limitations for domestic violence are just the same as other acts involving personal injury (2 years from the occurrence) or assault and battery (1 year). This bill sets the statute at six years from the last act or six years after the accuser is able to psychologically or emotionally acknowledge the act and resulting harm. This is for civil suits only, nothing to do with criminal court. The accuser has the burden of proof to show that were psychologically or emotionally unable to acknowledge the abuse to qualify for the additional time.

SIGNED

Pros

It is widely acknowledged that victims of domestic violence have a hard time coming to grips with what is happening to them, even after they have removed themselves from the situation. Many blame themselves and don’t want to bring harm to their abuser. Many are also ashamed and do not want to admit what has happened. They need more time to get clear of the situation and we owe it to them to provide it. In some cases the abuse is so bad that the individual cannot really even acknowledge or understand that it occurred, in which case the clock needs to start when they are able to reach this understanding.

Cons

This opens a big can of worms as the psychological or emotional states are very vaguely defined and most definitely will be open to interpretation. The more time that passes between the events and any court proceedings, the harder it becomes to disentangle what actually happened. People’s memories fade, witnesses cannot be located or are deceased, physical evidence gets destroyed. This bill falls on the wrong side of the “right” amount of time to allow between an event and any court action.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1398

HB18-1408: Clarifying Rape from Sexual Assault at Sentencing

If a defendant is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime and the court finds that an act of sexual penetration or intrusion occurred, the court shall enter a finding of rape and state it on the record.

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Pros

Language matters. When we hide behind fancy legalese or colorless terms we lose some of the power of dubbing someone a rapist, rather than someone who committed sexual assault, which covers a wide range of potential offenses.

Cons

We don’t need to add window dressing onto crimes. Say what they are, sexual assault, not charge them up with additional language.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1408

SB18-055: Increase Surcharge for Trafficking Children

A person convicted of a crime against a child must pay a surcharge to the clerk of the court for the judicial district in which the conviction occurs. This bill adds human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude to the definition of crime against a child and increases the penalty from $1,500 to $3,000 in this case.

SIGNED

Pros

It sort of goes without saying that human trafficking of minors for sexual servitude is a crime against a child, and one the most heinous ones imaginable. This bill fixes the omission of this crime from the surcharge requirement and increases the surcharge to account for the terrible nature of the crime.

Cons

There is no reason to increase the surcharge penalty for just this case, either all the penalties should be lifted to $3,000 or they should all stay at $1,500. All crimes against children are terrible, and while some are more terrible than others, all should have the same surcharge.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-055

SB18-056: Civil Jurisdiction of County Courts and Filing Fees

Increase the limit on civil actions in county courts from $15,000 to $35,000 and also increases some fees for district and county courts.

SIGNED

Pros

This merely updates an old statute to keep up with the times, both in the value of damages and the fees.

Cons

This increase is greater than mere inflation and will result in more civil actions for higher amounts in our county court system.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-056

SB18-058: Failure Report Child Abuse Statute of Limitations

Makes failure to report child abuse or neglect one of the crimes where the statute of limitations begins to run upon discovery of the act, rather than commission of the act.

*This legislation has been sent to the Senate “Kill” committee, State Affairs*

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Pros

It is unreasonable to expect that someone would report child abuse or neglect before they know about it, so starting the clock on the statute of limitation should begin upon discovery.

Cons

This has the effect of greatly extending the statute of limitations on child abuse and neglect, potentially into strange situations. What happens if you discover the abuse 20 years after it happened?

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-058

SB18-060: Protective Orders in Criminal Cases

Adds two new potential protective order options for courts in domestic violence and other similar cases: prohibiting threatening, harming, or stealing an animal owned or kept by alleged victim or witness; ability to transfer wireless telephone rights and financial responsibilities to the petitioner.

SIGNED

Pros

Both of these are common sense additions to the protective order options for courts. Animals unfortunately can become the target of an abuser’s rage and frequently couples bundle their wireless phones under one plan and one name. This allows a victim to keep their phone and contract with the wireless carrier but gain independence from their abuser. It is important to remember that these are court ordered options, which means a judge must agree to them.

Cons

A protective order for animals is either unnecessary as most of the actions are crimes in their own right, or problematic as exactly who owns the animal in a domestic situation is not always clear. The wireless order may cause the alleged abuser to suffer financially from the changes to the wireless plan.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-060

SB18-062: Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation

Voids any snow removal agreements that require one party to indemnify the other for damages, hold the other party harmless for damages, or provide for the defense of the other party in a liability lawsuit.

SIGNED

Pros

There have to be consequences if a company causes damage while doing its contracted work. If in the course of removing snow they cause damage to structures or cars, the company cannot waive the long contract that most people do not read or fully understand and say “sorry we totaled your car through our negligence, but you signed away your rights to sue.” There is a long history of unenforceable contract law in this country, this bill merely builds on that.

Cons

This is the nanny state at work. If you want to be able to sue for damages, read the contract and refuse to do business with the company that tries to get out responsibility. The free market is more than capable of handling this, people will refuse to contract with snow removal companies if these kinds of clauses are included and those companies will either change or lose business. The government isn’t here to protect people from doing stupid things, if you cannot be bothered to read through a contract and make sure you understand it, that is your fault, not the business.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-062

SB18-068: False Reporting of an Emergency

Current law makes it a crime to falsely report to authorities. It is a class 2 misdemeanor. This bill expands that concept by adding a special category for falsely reporting an emergency, when the false report includes imminent threat to the safety of a person or persons with a deadly weapon. This would be a class 1 misdemeanor unless the false report results in a building or transport evacuation, bodily injury to another, in which case it is a class 6 felony. If it results in serious injury it would be a class 4 felony, and it becomes a class 3 felony if it results in death.

SIGNED

Pros

Unfortunately some pranksters think it is funny to call in bomb threats or other fake mass-danger situations. This is drain on our resources and a potentially deadly situation. Just last year a man in Kansas was killed by police as a result of a prank phone call. This prank is wide-spread enough to even have a nickname: swatting.

Cons

This may have a chilling effect on 911 reporting if people are worried they will get in trouble for making a mistake.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-068

SB18-084: Protection Minor Victims of Human Trafficking

Further protects minors who are sexually exploited. Sexually exploited definition is clarified to include anyone younger than 18 who has been victim of human trafficking or engaged in prostitution related activities. Bill also establishes that anyone younger than 18 who engages in conduct that would be prostitution if they were an adult is the victim of human trafficking and must be referred to appropriate social services department.

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Pros

The old language gave the age of the individual as option to use as a defense against prostitution (and other crimes), this just flat out states what we all know: minors who commit acts that are considered prostitution are victims and needed to be treated as such.

Cons

This bill removes all flexibility in terms of dealing with this issue. A 17 year-old who decides to commit prostitution on his or her own with no one else encouraging, forcing, or rewarding this behavior, would be considered a victim of human trafficking under this law. We need more flexibility for the extreme cases.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-084

SB18-089: Elements of the Crime of Hazing

Amends criminal act of hazing to include emotion and psychological, as well as physical harm. Extends crime definition to include adult organizations and actions that occur on private or public property. Adds the ability for the defendant to claim that they were forced to commit the hazing act and were thus also a victim of hazing.

*This bill has been assigned to the Senate “kill” committee, state affairs*

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Pros

The previous statute basically just deals with student organizations and physical harm. Hazing goes so far beyond this and this bill recognizes that. It also recognizes that sometime people participate in these activities because they have to.

Cons

This bill is way too broad with the emotional and psychological harm aspect, as extreme embarrassment and dignity are not things that should result in someone being charged with a crime. Life is tough sometimes and we can’t make every negative social interaction a crime.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-089

SB18-109: Authorize Audio-Video Communication Notarial Acts

Establishes the ability to notarize electronic documents via tamper-proof systems that use real-time audio-video communications.

KILLED ON HOUSE CALENDAR

Pros

Our lives are going digital and electronic documents that require notarization should be able to be notarized without needing to seek out a notary in person. It’s just common sense.

Cons

Tamper-proof systems don’t really exist and seem unlikely to in the future. It’s just the way things are. Requiring in-person notarization keeps the process from being hacked. We only require notaries for really important documents, just the kind of things that may be attractive to hackers.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-109

SB18-119: False Imprisonment of a Minor

Moves false imprisonment of a minor from class 2 misdemeanor to class 5 felony (the penalty for higher levels of false imprisonment) and removes the doctor-client and spousal immunity privilege for refusing to testify in these cases.

SIGNED

Pros

Crimes committed against children are serious and require serious penalties. Moving this from a high level misdemeanor to a low level felony makes sense. Spousal and doctor privilege already cannot be invoked in cases of child abuse, this is a natural extension. No one is going to be locking up parents for routine actions of discipline, this isn’t happening right now with the class 2 penalty.

Cons

False imprisonment is a broad category that can cover things like locking the victim in a room, which is something that is routinely done to misbehaving children. The law already provides an upgrade to a class 5 felony if force or the threat of force was used and if the detainment was for 12 hours or longer. The current penalty for lower level offenses works fine.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-119

SB18-123: Asbestos Trust Claims Transparency Act

Federal bankruptcy law allows companies with asbestos liability to put any future liabilities into trusts. But plaintiffs can sue both solvent companies and trusts. This bill requires plaintiffs to provide sworn statements of all asbestos trust claims filed by the plaintiff or on their behalf. These statements are admissible evidence in any case. Defendants in asbestos cases may seek discovery from asbestos trusts and juries are allowed to decide that exposure related to the asbestos trust was the substantial factor in any harm suffered. Defendants can also petition the court to require the plaintiff to file a claim against an asbestos trust instead, they must show the claim is reasonable and will result in more damages received from the trust than legal fees spent.

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Pros

Asbestos claimants frequently seek out solvent companies from which they can extract more damages than trusts that have limited funds. The lack of transparency to the courts harms state employers, who end up paying more than their fair share in damages. This bill rectifies that situation by making sure that the solvent entity is the one causing the damage requiring the claim and if that is not the case, making sure the trust is the one paying out.

Cons

This slants things far too much in favor of asbestos-liable companies with deep pockets. They’ll have the ability to use their lawyers to tie up plaintiffs in all sorts of discovery to determine the one other time they may have been exposed to asbestos so they can try to pass the buck. It may have a chilling effect on these lawsuits proceeding forward in the future.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-123

SB18-140: Motor Vehicle and Vulnerable Road User Penalties

Makes it a class 1 misdemeanor to either seriously injure or kills a vulnerable individual (multiple different categories including pedestrians, skaters, bicyclists, police officers, emergency services personnel) while driving in a careless manner. Also must attend a driver improvement school and lose your license for six months.

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Pros

It is already a crime to drive in a careless manner, this takes that existing violation and applies to injuring someone, where the current standard to be charged with a crime is the more difficult to prove “reckless manner” which requires proof that the driver consciously disregarded a risk. In other words, being a bad driver is a real defense. For cases of “bad driving” we need to make sure the bad driver is getting the proper training they need.

Cons

We already have laws to deal with seriously injuring or killing someone with your car. This is all about overly punishing a driver who made a honest mistake and like most people, will think about that mistake more often than any driver improvement school could ever make them. Punishing them with the highest level misdemeanor is over the top.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-140

SB18-167: Enforce Requirements 811 Locate Underground Facilities

While the law requires people to call 811 to get underground utilities properly marked prior to any excavation, the federal government has informed the state that its enforcement of this is inadequate and could result in federal funds being withheld from the state. The bill creates a commission which has rule-making and enforcement authority around this law. A review committee on the commission determines whether violations have occurred and recommends action, including potential fines. Also requires all underground facilities installed after 2019 to be electronically locatable.

SIGNED

Pros

This gets us in the right place with the federal government and makes sure state funds are not at risk. We also have this law for a reason, to prevent even more costly damage to underground facilities.

Cons

This goes too far in creating another bureaucracy to deal with an issue that frankly has not yet resulted in any action here in Colorado from the federal government.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-167

SB18-172: Horse Racing Licensee Alcohol and Drug Testing

Adds to the responsibilities of the Colorado racing commission to designate categories of license holders that are subject to for-cause or random testing for drugs and alcohol.

SIGNED

Pros

Horse racing is an inherently dangerous sport. Jockeys and other people working with horses have been injured before, during, and after horse races occasionally resulting in death. As a result of these risks, it is critical that people working with horses must be free of any substances that might impair their judgement, reflexes or ability to control a horse. Unfortunately some people in the industry have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, this bill implements a system to better protect everyone involved.

Cons

This is a vast government intrusion into private industry. Many industries can be dangerous if people doing the work are impaired, but we do not have government mandated drug and alcohol (a legal substance) testing.  We rely on employers, who can be legally liable for their employees.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-172

SB18-212: Increase Juror Compensation

Increases compensation for serving on a jury or grand jury from $50 per day max to the minimum wage+$1 times eight hours per day.

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Pros

If we want people to actually want to serve on juries, then we need to make sure they can afford to. $50 per day is laughable compared to just the minimum wage. This should make juror service more attractive to someone who loses pay if they serve. The fiscal note also estimates it will cost less than $1 million extra a year to implement.

Cons

Serving on a jury isn’t supposed to be amount a monetary thing, and if someone really cannot serve because of the economic hit, we probably want them out working anyone. Those are the kind of jobs that aren’t going to be understanding about jury duty anyway.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-212

SB18-223: Autopsy Reports Death of a Minor

Makes the autopsy report in the death of a minor confidential and only disclosable by court order except to the deceased’s family, law enforcement (including district attorney), defense teams in criminal cases as part of discovery, and state reporting agencies that collect data on violent deaths in the state.

VETOED

Pros

The death of a child is one of the great tragedies in our society. We do not need to make things worse by having the autopsy report publicly available to be paraded around in the media. Their desire to publish salacious details should not outweigh a family’s pain. All relevant parties that need access to the material are covered by the bill and if a family believes their child's death needs more attention for any reason, this bill leaves that choice up to them.

Cons

This isn’t about pain, it is about sunshine. No one disputes that this is an immense tragedy, but the notion that the public has no right to know because the victim was a minor flies in the face of our American system. It’s nice to trust that law enforcement and the judicial system are going to do the right thing, practice unfortunately leads us in quite a different way. Imagine a teen shot by police: under this law the autopsy report would be concealed from the public and we would have no way to access it with a civil lawsuit and have to trust whatever conclusion the police itself and the district attorney come to. Recent experience should show that they do not deserve that trust.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-223

SB18-252: Competency to Proceed Evaluations and Services

Makes numerous changes to the process for determining competency to proceed in a criminal case. The most noteworthy include: Reducing the time frame that the prosecution or defense may request a second competency evaluation from 14 to 7 days, if the defendant is eligible for bond they must be released on condition they cooperate with the evaluation unless the court deems them a danger to themselves or others or is unlikely to appear, bond must not have monetary conditions if the offense is below a felony (except for victim’s rights crimes), some of the requirements the competency report must contain (if they can be restored to competency within allowable time frame, information on previous evaluations, if they meet criteria for civil certification). The bill also outlines the procedure after a determination of how restoration services should be applied and a periodic review requirement from the court for defendants deemed incompetent to proceed.

KILLED IN SENATE

Pros

Requiring money for bond for small-time crimes is one of the most insidious ways the criminal justice system is titled against the poor. These folks do not have the financial ability to come up with the money, which keeps them in jail. This kills their ability to earn a living, so many will cop a plea just to get out of jail. This risk is particularly strong for someone who may not have the competency to proceed to trial.

Cons

This means the default is bail without monetary conditions for misdemeanors for anyone who requires an evaluation of competency and if we are unsure that someone is competent enough to proceed to trial the last thing that we need to do is give them more leeway. Bail exists to give people a reason to show up in court. Remove it, and more people might decide to take their chances with running away.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-252

SB18-257: Penalty For Driving Under Restraint

Increases penalties for driving when you are not allowed to due to an alcohol conviction. First-offense penalties increased from minimum of 30 days in jail and maximum $1,000 fine to 60 days and $2,000. Second or subsequent from 90 days with max of 2 years and $2,000 maximum fine to 120 with no maximum limit and $4,000. Makes it a class 5 felony to drive with this restraint and be the proximate cause of someone else’s death.

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Pros

Authorities suspect alcohol or drug impairment resulted in 196 deaths in 2016 in Colorado and the number is rising. Bad enough that someone would do this in the first place, those who continue to drive after being caught and banned from the road for a period of time deserve harsh punishment. This should deter at least some people from driving while under restraint.

Cons

Driving while under restraint is not the same as driving while drunk. Someone has to get pulled over for this to be discovered, so if the person is drunk the police will be able to handle the offense as a DUI or DWI and then the number of prior offenses will of course ratchet up the penalty. As we try to move away from being one the most heavily imprisoned populations on the planet, part of that is ceasing to view jail as punitive and understanding that prison is one of the worst places to try to change your life.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-257

SB18-278: Increase Penalty For First Responder Assaults

Increases the penalty for assault on a first responder from a class 4 to a class 3 felony, which increases the sentence from 5 to 16 years to 10 to 32 years.

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Pros

Assaulting a police officer or firefighter is one of the most serious crimes someone can commit, attacking the very people who put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe. The current penalty is not severe enough.

Cons

A five year prison sentence is already pretty stiff indeed for getting into an altercation with a police officer (and let’s be real, that’s what this is mostly about). Assault is knowingly causing bodily injury to another person, so pushing a police officer into a wall, for instance, makes you eligible for this crime. All of this runs counter to the widely accepted notion that we rely too much on prison to solve our societal problems.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-278