These are all of the law enforcement and corrections bills proposed in the 2019 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, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about 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.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. 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!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

HB19-1073 Law Enforcement Information Sharing Grant Program (Fields) [Benavidez]

AMENDED: Technical

PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Creates a grant program to assist local law enforcement agencies in gaining access to the Colorado Information Sharing Consortium (CISC). Uses $1.9 from the marijuana tax cash fund to fund the program.

Long Description:

Creates a grant program to assist local law enforcement agencies in gaining access to the Colorado Information Sharing Consortium (CISC). Grants are one-time and can be used for to pay for computer hardware, software, and programming costs necessary to connect to the CISC. Uses $1.9 from the marijuana tax cash fund to fund the program. The CISC, created in 2014 and now consisting of 68 of the 333 eligible agencies, acts as a facilitator between state law enforcement agencies, proving for secure and efficient data sharing. CISC complies with federal data security requirements and the information shared complies with federal regulations.


Arguments For:

Law enforcement personnel interact daily with a wide variety of people, from law-abiding citizens to frequent offenders to individuals suffering from mental health challenges, sometimes without complete or adequate information to determine who presents a risk, who does not present a risk, and who needs mental health services. It is safe and secure. And this isn’t like Facebook sharing your personal data, it’s only stuff that is relevant to law enforcement. The more law enforcement agencies that participate in CISC, the better benefits to the entire state. Getting rural and cash strapped agencies into the program is what this bill will do.

Arguments Against:

We should not create a giant big brother database of Colorado’s citizens. While this does pose an obstacle for law enforcement, it is more imperative to protect the privacy of our citizens. This bill is going in the opposite direction of where we should be headed, which is to disband CISC altogether.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1073

HB19-1080 Benefits for First Responders with a Disability [Bockenfeld]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED HOUSE

Short Description:

Grants retired first responders with an occupational disability obtained on the job free lifetime small game hunting and fishing licenses and a free columbine pass for entrance into state parks. Also allows them to participate in a property tax work-off program, which usually requires reaching the age of 60.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The least we can do for first responders who have given their health for all of us is to provide them free access to the peace and beauty of our state, including hunting and fishing which so many of them enjoy. It also makes sense to allow them early access to the property tax work-off which is designed for people with disabilities.

Arguments Against: 

While we obviously appreciate all our first responders do, this is too generous: free hunting and fishing and access to state parks for life.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1080

HB19-1115 Assault on Detention Workers (Fields) [Liston]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

Short Description:

Adds person providing emergency care at a detention facility to the definition of emergency medical care provider and then adds emergency medical care providers to the list of potential emergency responder victims of assault in the first or second degree.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

It makes sense for emergency medical care providers to be included with emergency medical service providers, firefighters, and peace officers as a special class of citizens when considering assault charges. All of them provide public service in emergency situations. And of course being in a detention facility is no reason to exclude a person providing emergency medical care from the definition.

Arguments Against:

The bill will disproportionately affect those with mental health conditions, as they are most likely to have lashed out at a person providing them care. Recent studies have shown that about 1/2 of those in Denver jail facilities have an identified mental health issue and that 85% of those who attacked a deputy were on an active mental health alert. Broadening out the penalties here aren't going to help anyone, we need to make our jails safer, not more punitive.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1115

HB19-1119 Peace Officer Internal Investigation Open Records [Coleman]

AMENDED: Moderate

PASSED HOUSE

Short Description:

Makes the internal investigation file of a police officer for in-uniform or on-duty conduct that involves a member of the public subject to an open records request. The custodian of the file may first provide a summary, but if after reviewing the summary the requester wants the full file, it must be provided. On-going criminal cases can be denied until the case is complete and all personal identifying information as well as a long-list of other information that might compromise public safety or the safety of the officer will be redacted. The custodian can deny file inspection if there is an ongoing criminal investigation or case against an officer that is related to the subject of the internal investigation. Only applies to cases in the future.

Long Description:

Makes the internal investigation file of a police officer for in-uniform or on-duty conduct that involves a member of the public subject to an open records request. The custodian of the file may first provide a summary, but if after reviewing the summary the requester wants the full file, it must be provided. On-going criminal cases can be denied until the case is complete. The full list of redacted information is: social security numbers, tax IDs, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers; identifying information for confidential informants, alleged victims of sexual offenses, and juveniles; personal contact information for the police officer; any information prohibited for public release by state or federal law; medical or mental health information; witness contact information; any video interviews if an official transcript is available; any video that raises substantial privacy concerns; any non-final disciplinary recommendations; specific information that would reveal confidential intelligence information or security procedures of a law enforcement agency; specific information that would compromise the safety of a peace officer, witness, or informant; specific information related to public safety that is unique to the case that would contrary to the public interest to release; identifying information of officers who volunteered information to the investigation but were not a subject of it; compelled statements by officers who are the subject of a criminal investigation directly related to this case. The custodian is instructed to redact the least information possible in the final redaction case of public interest. If anything is redacted the requester may ask for a written explanation. The custodian can deny file inspection if there is an ongoing criminal investigation or case against an officer that is related to the subject of the internal investigation. Only applies to cases in the future.


Arguments For:

This is all about sunshine. As it stands now, the police investigates itself, decides on its own internal punishment, and gets to keep all of that information from the public. It’s far too often the case that police officers can hop from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, doing a poor enough job in each spot to warrant never working in field again, simply because there is not enough sunshine on their employment history. This bill simply makes sure that the public can obtain the results of an investigation, with reasonably redacted information, so someone is watching the people empowered with awesome responsibilities in our society. Right now, custodians deny requests left and right with no real explanation and no accountability, except in Denver, where a version of this law is already in place and working just fine.

Arguments Against:

There are good reasons we allow the police to investigate themselves and it’s not like it’s buddies checking in on each other. An entire division is dedicated to the task and they take their jobs seriously. Only someone trained as a police officer can understand how the sometimes conflicting responsibilities to protect citizens from each other and police from citizens can interact in a job where the expectation is you do it perfectly every time.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1119

HB19-1124 Protect Colorado Residents from Federal Government Overreach [Benavidez]

Short Description:

Prohibits any state agency or subdivision from using any public funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of civil immigration laws. This prohibition does not apply to assisting the census bureau, investigations of hate or bias crimes, information for national statistical research, information available under the Colorado Open Records act, and cooperation and/or assistance with a court order. Law enforcement officers can participate in coordinated activity with federal agencies but cannot disseminate information about the national origin or immigration or citizenship status of any individual except as required by law. Prohibits the state from entering into any contracts that would require an employee to assist or indirectly assist in enforcement of civil immigration laws. Bans federal immigration authorities from physical access to secure areas of corrections and law enforcement facilities for interviews or enforcement of civil immigration law without a court order. Requires any individual in these facilities to be advised of their constitutional rights before conducing a phone or video interview with federal authorities. Bans law enforcement officials from detaining or arresting an individual, or providing their information to federal immigration authorities, based on a civil immigration detainer (keeping someone eligible to be released solely because of their immigration status), administrative warrant, final order of removal or deportation, or any other alleged violation of civil immigration laws. Law enforce must still cooperate with a court order.

Long Description:

Prohibits any state agency or subdivision from using any public funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of civil immigration laws. This includes assisting or cooperating in an official capacity with any investigation, detention, or arrest related to alleged violation of civil immigration laws; requesting or disseminating information about the legal status of an individual; initiating any law enforcement contact for the sole purpose of determining an individual’s immigration status or arresting or detaining an individual solely on the basis of their immigration status. This prohibition does not apply to assisting the census bureau, investigations of hate or bias crimes, information for national statistical research, information available under the Colorado Open Records act, and cooperation and/or assistance with a court order.

Law enforcement officers can participate in coordinated activity with federal agencies but cannot disseminate information about the national origin or immigration or citizenship status of any individual except as required by law. Prohibits the state from entering into any contracts that would require an employee to assist or indirectly assist in enforcement of civil immigration laws. Also prohibits any intergovernmental agreements with the federal department of homeland security. Bans federal immigration authorities from physical access to secure areas of corrections and law enforcement facilities for interviews or enforcement of civil immigration law without a court order. Requires any individual in these facilities to be advised of their constitutional rights before conducing a phone or video interview with federal authorities. Bans law enforcement officials from detaining or arresting an individual, or providing their information to federal immigration authorities, based on a civil immigration detainer, administrative warrant, final order of removal or deportation, or any other alleged violation of civil immigration laws. Law enforce can still cooperate with a court order.


Arguments For:

When illegal residents or families with 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. When illegal residents or families with illegal residents fear sending a child to school, the state suffers. 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 the federal government isn’t materially affecting the immigration system in this country. Federal immigration enforcement is not the job of the state of Colorado and we should not be using our resources to do it.

Arguments Against:

This makes Colorado a sanctuary state, Immigration is handled by the federal government, not by the states. The state cannot refuse to participate in the immigration policies of the federal government because it does not like them. This would be just as true of a state trying to deport people against the wishes of the federal government. It is also a crime to be in this country illegally. We have a whole set of laws relating to people who actively aide criminals, and this bill in effect would the entire state of Colorado an accessory. It might also make Colorado a magnet for people who are in the country illegally, increasing the number of illegal residents in the state and increasing the burden on social services agencies.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1124

HB19-1130 County Sheriff Qualification Training Requirements (Cooke, Fields) [Liston, Hooton]

KILLED ON HOUSE FLOOR

Short Description:

Currently county sheriffs are required to obtain a peace officer certification within one year of taking office. This bill changes this by requiring county sheriffs to have a valid or provisional certification in order to be nominated, elected, or appointed to office.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Anyone wanting to be a county sheriff should be at a minimum provisionally certified before we even think about having them in the office. One year is a very long time, with numerous potential crimes, to wait to be sure someone can do this job.

Arguments Against:

This may make it harder on some small, low-population, rural counties. What if they cannot find someone with a certification who wants to be sheriff but can find someone who is willing to get the certification if he or she gets the job?

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1130

HB19-1158 Sheriff Enforcement Dangerous Dog Statute [Lewis]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Short Description:

Requires county sheriffs to investigate alleged violations of unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog. If a victim believes the sheriff is not investigating then can file an affidavit with a judge, who can then require the sheriff to appear in court and explain their behavior. The judge can then order the sheriff to investigate and if they refuse, the sheriff must reimburse the county for all general funds received in the last fiscal year from the state.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This is a safety issue. Dangerous dogs can be transferred to other people out of county or out of state and no one is the wiser. Some people are afraid to go out in their neighborhoods because of dangerous dogs. Yet somehow no one is being prosecuted. There have been zero sentences in the last three years for injury caused by a dangerous dog.

Arguments Against:

The problem isn’t that sheriffs aren’t investigating these things, the problem is resource allocation. This bill is overly punitive for a situation sheriffs don’t have enough control over. We need a better comprehensive solution.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1158

HB19-1224 Free Menstrual Hygiene Products in Custody (Winter) [Herod]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED HOUSE

Goal: To allow all women who are incarcerated free access to menstrual hygiene products.

Description: Requires all local and county jails in the state to provide free menstrual hygiene products to female inmates who need them.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Two years ago the legislature mandated free menstrual hygiene products for state jails. This would extend that to all jails. About 20% of all inmates in the state are women and their access to these products is appalling. Jails are inconsistent about when people in custody have access to these products, sometimes the free products are only available on certain days of the week, sometimes they are available for purchase at high (for an inmate) prices, and sometimes commissary privileges take time (or are taken away). Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to negative health outcomes, including serious infections, toxic shock syndrome, and other abnormalities. This is a fundamental health care right for women and we must ensure it is available for all.

Arguments Against:

We do not provide free menstrual care products to women who are not in jail, so why would do so for women who have broken our laws to such a degree that they are locked up in a corrections facility? We can solve the access problems at commissaries without just handing these products out. We require inmates to purchase toothpaste and toothbrushes, menstrual hygiene products should be on the same level.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1224

HB19-1235 Limit Encryption of Dispatch Radio Communications [Van Winkle]

Goal: To allow the public free access to law enforcement radio communications except in very specific circumstances.

Description:

Requires all state and local government entities to broadcast dispatch radio without encryption so it can be monitored by commercially available radios except for tactical or investigative communications in certain circumstances. Governments can also elect to encrypt their communications if they provide an online audio stream which must be delayed by no more than 180 seconds. Furthermore, the government must make its broadcast channels publicly available and indicate which ones are encrypted. Department of Corrections and Department of Youth Services are exempted.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Historically these types of radio communications have been available to the public, and the news media in particular has relied on them for reporting leads. Advances in technology have eroded this setup. The government should function in an open manner whenever possible and this bill protects against legitimate needs to encrypt communications.

Arguments Against:

Technology cuts both ways. You can now download free scanner apps on your phone, and the Pueblo police cited specific examples of criminals using apps to evade police in vehicular pursuits and avoid officers altogether when it announced it was encrypting its radio communications two years ago. Pueblo is sharing its codes with media, so it is possible to create a law that allows media to perform its duties without giving criminals the keys to the store. The exceptions in the bill are simply inadequate for day-to-day police operations.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1235

HB19-1244 Expand Peace Officer Mental Health Support Program (Fields, Gardner) [Coleman, Carver]

Goal: To expand access to the peace office mental health support program.

Description:

Currently only county sheriff’s offices and municipal police departments may apply for a grant from this program. This bill expands access to all law enforcement agencies in the state as well as statewide associations of police officers and former police officers and organizations that provide mental health services to police officers that have at least one former police officer on board of directors. Also expands grant usages to include assistance in development and implementation of policies to support officers involved in shooting or fatal use of force, training and education programs to help officers identify, prevent, and treat job-related mental trauma, and peer support programs.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

It doesn’t really make sense to limit this program to only some law enforcement agencies. In addition, bringing in support organizations both meets the spirit of this program and may make it more effective by bringing trained outside resources to bear on the problem. And the mental challenges our police officers face are vast. They are exposed to some of the worst of humanity and are frequently placed in some of the highest stress situations imaginable. And most of them are armed with deadly weapons. So the mental well-being of our police officers is one of the most important things we can devote resources to.

Arguments Against:

Broadening the pool in this manner without also broadening the money may make it more difficult for the two types of organizations this program was designed for. County and municipal departments usually have less resources that state patrol, the department of corrections, the state bureau of investigation, campus police, or division of parks and wildlife. The idea behind this program was to help the departments that needed it the most, now they are thrown in with everyone else.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1244

HB19-1250 Sexual Assault While In Custody or Detained [Herod]

Goal: To increase penalties for police officers abusing their position of power to sexually assault people.

Description:

Creates the crime of unlawful sexual conduct by a police officer. The unlawful conduct must occur doing the officer’s official duties as a police officer or if the officer knows the victim is a subject on an investigation or if the officer makes any show of authority in connection with the conduct. This increases the penalty for sexual assault from a class 4 felony to a class 3 felony and unlawful sexual contact from class 1 misdemeanor to class 4 felony. An officer convicted of one of these crimes must register as a sex offender. An officer convicted of a class 3 unlawful sexual conduct felony is subject to lifetime sex offender supervision. The officer cannot claim consent as a defense.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

This gets at the heart of the extreme power dynamic that some police officers have unfortunately abused to get sex or sexual contact. Consent in this scenario is impossible: the officer has the power to arrest the individual. “Letting someone off” in exchange for sexual favors is assault, even if the victim agreed to it. This is the exact same standard we apply to sexual harassment in the workplace, another situation where extreme power dynamics can make consent impossible, and with minors who by law cannot consent to sex or sexual contact with an adult. You can’t start an argument about the consent because it is literally impossible to consent in this situation. The power dynamic completely dominates the situation. This crime is also much more serious than a standard sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact because of the power over freedom that officers enjoy. That is why we need the stronger penalty and it actually fits right in with the other class 3 felony sexual assault definitions which include (offender causes submission by threatening future retaliation or by using physical force, offender sustainable impairs victim’s cognitive ability).

Arguments Against:

We have the tools to deal with this under current law. Threatening to arrest someone is a threat of retaliation, so we can fit that crime into already existing definitions. And consent should not be barred entirely as a defense. The defense should be free to present the case that the alleged victim consented to the sexual act without any coercion by the police officer and that the sexual act had nothing to do with the defendant’s job as a police officer. The prosecution is free to argue otherwise and the jury decides.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1250

SB19-091 Support Peace Officers Involved in Use of Force (Fields, Cooke) [Singer]

AMENDED: Technical (requires repassage in Senate)

PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Requires law enforcement agencies to develop policies to support officers involved in a shooting or fatal use of force, including pre-incident training and preparation, support for the officer at the scene, post-incident support and services, guidelines for temporary leave or duty reassignment, and guidelines for return to duty. Policies must be completed by the end of this year.

Long Description:

Requires law enforcement agencies to develop policies to support officers involved in a shooting or fatal use of force, including pre-incident training and preparation, support for the officer at the scene, post-incident support and services, guidelines for temporary leave or duty reassignment, and guidelines for return to duty. Policies must be completed by the end of this year. The pre-incident training and preparation includes training and education about both normal and problematic post-traumatic reactions commonly associated with officer-involved shootings. Support at the scene includes potentially having a peripheral officer at the scene to report impact or request supportive services. Post-incident support and services includes the ability to extend services to an officer’s family and significant others, and the officer of course, when warranted. Also includes at least one confidential post-incident intervention with a qualified mental health professional in a timely manner, ongoing confidential mental health services from a qualified mental health professional, and some form of peer support. Post-incident duty guidelines include: guidelines for temporary leave or appropriate reassignment (with involved officer’s agreement); reintegration plans that may include an officer returning to the scene, firing their weapon at a range, and a graded re-entry with a partner; and on-going supportive mental health services.


Arguments For:

Experience has shown that providing support, training, and reintegration strategies can promote positive outcomes following an officer-involved shooting. This is about providing a safe environment for an officer to recover after a shooting, one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through. We can still use other tools at our disposal if the incident itself needs to be investigated. None of this would preclude any investigation into the incident or an agency from requesting a formal fitness-for-duty evaluation if there was serious concern. But as of now, we don’t have a framework for helping the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for us and this bill provides that.

Arguments Against:

The bill’s directives are too vague and allow each agency to come up with its own policy, rather than finding policies that work the best and having all agencies use the same one. Local conditions aren’t variable enough to understand what the best way to support an officer involved in a shooting are. We can certainly design exceptions for smaller agencies with fewer resources, but let’s start with the best and work from there.

This bill not only fails to deal with the elephant in the room, that we are increasingly aware of the unwarranted violence police officers sometimes inflict and the cover-ups that occur afterward, but it has the potential to make that situation worse by letting law enforcement agencies design policies that could result in greater ability for individual officers and their units to evade scrutiny after an officer-involved shooting. By all means we should get these officers the help that they need, particularly if they are not at fault in the incident. But we must address this in a comprehensive way that also allows us to shed more light on these incidents and weed out the bad apples in law enforcement.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-091

SB19-163 Sunset Cold Case Task Force (Pettersen) [Galindo]

PASSED A SENATE COMMITTEE

Goal: To continue the cold case task force.

Description:

Continues the cold case task force through 2032.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

From the state department of regulatory agencies’ sunset review report: “The Task Force provides a useful forum for individuals, including professionals within law enforcement and the public, to have an open dialogue related to cold case investigations. The Task Force also serves as a sounding board for Colorado Bureau of Investigation staff, law enforcement agencies, district attorneys and others related to improving cold case homicide investigations. Finally, the Task Force continues to provide the best practices training related to cold case investigation strategies and practices.”

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-163

SB19-166 Peace Officers Standards and Training Board Revoke Certification for Untruthful Statement (Fields, Gardner) [Roberts]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED A SENATE COMMITTEE

Goal: To remove police officers from the force who have been proven to lie at an official judicial proceeding or an internal affairs investigation.

Description:

Requires the police officer board to revoke certification if the officer made an untruthful statement or omitted a material fact on an official document or while testifying at on official judicial proceeding or during an internal affairs investigation and the board completes a determinative administrative process verifying the falsehood or omission. Appeals process on internal affairs case must be completed. The officer can appeal the determination and can also request reinstatement if the finding of deliberate misstatement is later vacated.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Too often law enforcement looks after its own behind the “blue wall” which can lead to bad cops avoiding punishment or even detection for falsifying paperwork or lying under oath, acts that are frequently done to cover up other misdeeds. This bill creates a process to rectify this situation.

Arguments Against:

This ties the hands of disciplinary boards and forces a one-size fits all punishment, something we as a society are trying to move away from when it comes to sentencing criminals, the people police officers work so hard to keep from harming us. One small error should not be treated the same as an elaborate lie.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-166