These are all of the legal system 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.

HB19-1030 Unlawful Electronic Sexual Communication [Soper]

AMENDED: Significant

PASSED HOUSE

Short Description:

Creates the crime of unlawful electronic sexual communication, when a person in a position of trust electronically communicates sexually explicit content to a minor, so long as the minor is at least four years younger and between ages of 15 and 18. Position of trust is defined elsewhere in statute as a parent or someone acting in place of a parent. Includes communication over computers or computer networks, telephone or data networks, text messages, and instant messages. Crime is a class 6 felony, 1 year to 18 months in prison and fine of $1,000 to $100,000.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Sexual predators will attempt to groom their potential victims through exposing them to sexually explicit material after gaining a position of trust. No minors should be sent this material. Current law only protects those under 15, this extends the law up to age 18.

Arguments Against:

Position of trust is generally pretty liberally applied as someone responsible for the child’s health, welfare, education, or supervision. This makes it a class 6 felony for an 18 year-old to send sexually explicit messages to a 17 year-old if the 18 year-old is a position of trust, like an older brother with a slightly younger brother where nothing nefarious is intended and the communication is not out of the ordinary in their relationship. The prohibition on sexually explicit material in text form is overly broad and could sweep up all sorts of communication that is not grooming or nefarious.

Four years is too wide a gap, we don't want 20 year-olds sexting 16 year-olds.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1030

HB19-1092 Animal Ban for Cruelty to Animals Conviction (Ginal) [A. Valdez]

AMENDED: Significant

PASSED HOUSE

Short Description:

Bans a person convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty from owning an animal of any kind for 5 3-5 years, a person convicted of felony animal cruelty from owning an animal of any kind for 10 years, and the court may ban a juvenile adjudicated a delinquent for an animal cruelty crime from owning any kind of animal for 5 years. The court may remove or not require either ban if the defendant's treatment program recommends against it. Also provides a mental health program as a court-ordered treatment possibility. If an animal is killed due to the underlying crime, court is mandated to require a comprehensive evaluation to determine the causation. Punishment is an unclassified misdemeanor of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for the second or subsequent violations.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Under current law a person can be convicted of animal cruelty one day and go buy an animal the next. It makes sense that we should not immediately hand a helpless animal over to someone convicted of cruelty to animals. The clock starts after conviction, so the rehabilitation period is defined and the same for any individual, regardless of any incarceration.

Arguments Against:

This is too draconian and one-size-fits all. There is no room for the sworn statement of a treatment provider that the individual is rehabilitated and again ready to own an animal. There is no room for the court to exercise judgment based on the type of cruelty the individual was convicted of, their remorse (or lack thereof), and any mitigating factors.

This has no teeth. There is no database for someone selling an animal to easily lookup someone’s status and of course no requirement to do so. The only time we are likely to discover that someone has violated the requirements of this bill is when the person is again being cruel to animals. And now it has no defined punishment for violating the court order.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1092

HB19-1128 Lottery Intercepts (Fields, Smallwood) [Kraft-Tharp, Saine]

From the Legislative Audit Committee

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED HOUSE

Short Description:

Allows lottery winnings to be intercepted for payment of outstanding criminal court fines, fees, costs, or surcharges.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Common sense here, if someone owes the state money for criminal activity, we should not be sending them any lottery winnings until they have paid up.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1128

HB19-1144 Court Facility Dog for Child Witness Testimony [Sullivan]

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Allows judges to permit a trained court facility dog to accompany a child under 12 who is testifying. The judge must determine that the testimony would result in serious emotional distress or trauma for the child and must instruct the jury on the role of the dog.

Long Description:

Allows judges to permit a trained court facility dog to accompany a child under 12 who is testifying. The judge must determine that the testimony would result in serious emotional distress or trauma for the child and must instruct the jury on the role of the dog. The judge can order the dog removed at any point. A written motion must be filed at least 14 days prior to trial to be valid.

Arguments For:

Testifying in court can be a traumatic experience for a child, particularly when testifying about abuse. Having a trained dog (and these dogs are well-trained) at their side is something many experts recommend and have found to be an effective tool to help keep a child as calm as possible under the circumstances.

Arguments Against: 

There is numerous case law around the subject of comfort for the witness, that should be our guide not statutory regulation, which includes dogs being allowed in the court room in some instances. There are also other alternatives for comfort to animals, testimony from chambers or comfort items hidden from the jury. These are decisions for the courts, not for the legislature.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1144

HB19-1148 Change Maximum Criminal Penalty One Year to 364 Days (Gonzales, Coram) [Herod]

PASSED

Short Description:

Changes maximum jail penalty for class 2 misdemeanor, misdemeanors without a fixed penalty, and municipal ordinance violations from one year to 364 days.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This extra day carries great weight with US immigration laws and can be the difference between being removed from and staying in the country. This change ensures that non-citizens convicted of less serious charges will not be subject to deportation. To be clear, this is about people who are here legally, but not citizens of the United States.

Arguments Against:

Non-citizens who commit crimes certainly should be subject to deportation, whether it’s a minor crime or not. Being here is a privilege and these people forfeited it by breaking the law.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1148

HB19-1155 Additions to Definition of Sexual Contact [Michaelson Jenet, Carver]

WARNING: DESCRIPTION IS GRAPHIC

PASSED

Short Description:

Adds knowing emission or ejaculation of semen onto the victim and knowingly causing semen, blood, urine, feces, or other bodily substance to contact the victim if that contact is for sexual gratification or abuse to the definition of sexual contact for defining a sex crime.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Some sexual predators get off not on touching their victims (which is already covered in the definition) but on using bodily fluids in the manner the bill describes. This is no less a violation of the victim and deserves to be treated in the same manner as physical contact.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1155

HB19-1167 Remote Notaries Protect Privacy (Rodriguez) [Duran, Carver]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Allows notaries to remotely notarize electronic documents so long as they use a system that conforms to standards established by the secretary of state.

Long Description:

Allows notaries to remotely notarize electronic documents so long as they use a system that conforms to standards established by the secretary of state. This can be done for an individual outside of Colorado so long as the remote notarization does not violate the laws of the place the individual lives. Anything related to elections and wills is forbidden. Notarizations must occur in a real-time session in a piece of technology that requires secure authentication and it must enable remote presentation of the proof of the individual’s identity if the notary does not personally know them. It also must be tamper-evident, meaning that it will display evidence of being altered. The bill also goes into detail on precisely how the notarization session must proceed.


Arguments For:

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.

Arguments Against:

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 HB19-1167

HB19-1180 Correcting the Definition of Police Working Horse [Geitner] TECHNICAL BILL

PASSED

Short Description:

Fixes the definition of working police horse, previous definition included “certified” but there is no certification for working police horses.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1182 Attorney General Representation of Department of Revenue in License Appeals [McCluskie, Roberts]

PASSED HOUSE COMMITTEE

Goal: To require the attorney general to represent the state in department of revenue license appeals.

Short Description:

Requires the attorney general to represent the state in department of revenue license appeals. Someone from the attorney general’s office can appear remotely by any court authorized means of electronic participation.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Our current setup is unique and unusual. The Attorney General represents all of the other state agencies in the appeals process. With modern technology it does not make sense to continue to put the brunt of this work on our counties. Most of this work can be done electronically. This change is supported by DAs and the Attorney General.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1182

HB19-1220 Court Facility Dog During Witness Testimony [Sullivan]

AMENDED: Moderate

PASSED HOUSE

BILL IS VERY SIMILAR TO HB19-1144

Goal: To increase usage of support dogs for witnesses who need them when testifying.

Description:

Allows judges to permit a trained court facility dog to accompany a witness who is testifying if the preponderance of the evidence suggests it is necessary and there is no other valid means of comforting the witness. The judge must instruct the jury on the role of the dog. The judge can order the dog removed at any point. A written motion must be filed at least 14 days prior to trial to be valid.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Testifying in court can be a traumatic experience for someone who has suffered abuse and must testify about it. Having a trained dog (and these dogs are well-trained) at their side is something many experts recommend and have found to be an effective tool.

Arguments Against:

There is numerous case law around the subject of comfort for the witness; that should be our guide not statutory regulation, which includes dogs being allowed in the court room in some instances. There are also other alternatives for comfort to animals, testimony from chambers or comfort items hidden from the jury. These are decisions for the courts, not for the legislature.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1220

SB19-014 Organized Retail Theft Prevention (Coram) [Carver]

AMENDED: Significant

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Creates a new classification for theft from a retail location, called retail theft with special circumstances, a class 5 felony1 misdemeanor. This is when someone either at the time of theft has something that is designed to overcome security systems (like lined bags or tag removers) or utilizes an organized effort of multiple people with the intent of reselling items, acts in concert with two or more people to receive items they know were stolen, acts as an agent for an individual or people stealing from a retailer as part of a organized plan, or recruits people to an organized theft. Also requires secondhand gift card dealers to keep electronic records.

Long Description:

Creates a new classification for theft from a retail location, called retail theft with special circumstances, a class 5 felony1 misdemeanor. This is when someone either at the time of theft has something that is designed to overcome security systems (like lined bags or tag removers) or utilizes an organized effort of multiple people with the intent of reselling items, acts in concert with two or more people to receive items they know were stolen, acts as an agent for an individual or people stealing from a retailer as part of a organized plan, or recruits people to an organized theft. The court may consider if the accused is a repeat offender, used specialized devices to evade security systems, or if the property stolen is usually resold. The crime can move to a felony if the individual has a previous conviction for this crime of three or more separate times within a six-month period. The felony type depends on the total amount stolen: $2,000-$5,000 is class 6, $5,000 to $20,000 is class 5, $20,000 to $100,000 is class 4, $100,000 to $1,000,000 is class 3, and over $1,000,000 is class 2. Also requires secondhand gift card dealers to keep electronic records.

Arguments For:

We aren’t talking about petty shoplifting here but organized intent to steal from retail locations, frequently with the idea of reselling these items later. Without this new criminal definition, these crimes would be left to simply the value of the articles stolen and that may rarely rise to a felony level (over $1,000) and may frequently be what is commonly called petty theft (under $500). We need a way to distinguish a professional criminal intent and operation, especially with how popular (and easy to steal and resell) gift cards have become, and that is what this law does.

Arguments Against:

This runs contrary to our fairly consensus view that we currently over punish for crimes and that our prisons are grossly overpopulated. A group of 19 year-olds who organize together to steal $20 worth of gift cards to resell later should not be treated like felons but that is exactly what this law would require. We currently rate the crime at the value of the item(s) stolen, not the intent or sophistication of the crime. It’s a good system and we should not change it.

The original version of this bill did a better job of cracking down on this type of theft. The amended version is too toothless to make a difference.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-014

SB19-036 State Court Administrator Reminder Program (Lee, Cooke) [Benavidez, Carver]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Requires state court administrator to create and run a reminder program to remind criminal defendants to appear at their scheduled hearings.

Long Description:

Requires state court administrator to create and run a reminder program to remind criminal defendants to appear at their scheduled hearings. Court administrator is to issue a request for proposal to choose a third-party vendor to develop and operate the program, but it may decide to develop the program itself without a third-party vendor. Administrator must prioritize the use of text messaging, but may use other methods such as e-mail and telephone, with at least two texts sent. Administrator must report back on the effectiveness of the program.

Arguments For:

The goal here is to significantly reduce the number of defendants who end up in jail solely because of a failure to appear in court. While we’d like to live in a world where people don’t forget to come to court, that just isn’t the case. Keeping people out of our jail system for stupid reasons is a good goal, and program, to have.

Arguments Against:

The state should not be spending money to protect people from their own negligence. If someone cannot be counted upon to appear in court when asked, that this their problem and failure, not the taxpayers.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-036

SB19-043 Increasing Number of District Court Judges (Lee) [Herod, Carver]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Short Description:

Increases the number of district court judges in the 1st, 8th, 10th, 13th, 17th, 18th, and 21st districts by one and the number of judges in the 4th and 19th by two, and the number in the 2nd by four.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This just takes into account the workload requirements of the various districts in the state.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-043

SB19-047 Remove Unauthorized Persons from Vacant Land (Hisey) [Buentello]

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Extends the procedures that are used instead of an eviction to remove unauthorized people from residential property to also remove unauthorized people from vacant land.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The same procedures that work to allow property owners to evict unauthorized people from actual housing will work to allow them to evict unauthorized people from vacant land. No one has the right to squat on land that does not belong to them, even if it is not being actively used. We cannot ask property owners to bear the brunt of the problem of homelessness. The procedure gives the person the ability to defend themselves in a court hearing so it is fair.

Arguments Against:

This could present a problem for homeless individuals, who already have great difficulties in finding a place to sleep. We have to consider this problem in the real world, not an idealized one, and we can’t simply wish the homeless out of existence or constantly drag them into court. Without real housing solutions for them, closing down vacant lots could significantly narrow the options for some of these people.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-047

SB19-049 Statute of Limitation Failure Report Child Abuse (Fields) [Michaelson Jenet]

AMENDED: Moderate (requires repassage in Senate)

PASSED

Short Description:

Changes the statute of limitations for failure to report child abuse by mandatory reporter from 18 months to five 3 years.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Eighteen months is not always enough time for prosecutors. This bill was sparked by a case in the Cherry Creek School District where by the time prosecutors were aware of the failure (a clear one, not a case where there was confusion about what was actually going on), 18 months had already gone past. The case squeaked through on some legal chicanery (the prosecutor argued that the statute reset every day, because the administrators have an obligation to report every day) that may not survive appeal and certainly will not be replicable everywhere. Mandatory reporting in schools is a mess, as a Denver Post investigation found last year, with at least three lawsuits settled with millions of dollars in fines paid out by school districts. We owe it to our children to have a wider standard here.

Arguments Against:

This does nothing to fix the problems with failing to report that the Post identified, which is that many of the mandatory reporters don’t know the law and are not given any training. A 2015 survey by the Department of Human Services found that 70% of mandatory reporters didn’t know they were mandatory reporters. And even from those that did, 30% didn’t know what the proper steps to report were. There also can be delays while administrators determine the actual facts of a case. The case that this is all based upon, in the Cherry Creek district, has moved forward under the current law.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-049

SB19-050 District Attorney Office Salary (Gardner)

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Changes how district attorneys and assistant district attorneys are paid from a combination of statutes and county commissioner board decisions to tying the salaries to judges in the district. Also changes who pays the salary, requiring the state to pay a large percentage of ADA salaries.

Long Description:

Changes how district attorneys and assistant district attorneys are paid from a combination of statutes and county commissioner board decisions to tying the salaries to judges in the district. DAs would have a minimum salary set at the level of a full-time district judge in their district. ADAs would be set to a minimum of the salary of a full-time county court judge. The DA would be able to designate one chief deputy, whose salary would be set to a minimum of a full-time district magistrate. Also changes who pays the salary, requiring the state to pay 80% of ADA salaries and 50% of chief deputy salaries. State already pays 80% of district attorney salaries. Bill also requires each county board of commissioners to make a one-time, irrevocable decision to require any ADA hired after the decision to become a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement Association. If this is done, then the state would pay 80% of the employee contribution. Existing employee contributions would continue to be paid by the employee.


Arguments For:

Larger counties in the state are doing fine with the current scheme but smaller rural counties can struggle. The district attorney in the third district last year refused to take up some cases after Huerfano and Las Animas counties were unable to meet his budget request. We need to offload the burden from the counties and onto the state, which can easily afford the extra money in its budget. Public safety should come first.

Arguments Against:

Colorado does just fine by its DAs. That third district issue is much more complicated than the district attorney is making it out to be. The counties say they will not provide him with more money until he accounts for what he has already spent and say he did not attend budget hearings and is refusing face-to-face meetings. In other words, it has nothing to do with our statewide funding mechanisms and everything to do with a local political spat. The fiscal analysis conducted by the nonpartisan Legislative Council says that the bill would cost the state over $6 million a year by 2021. This is half money saved from the counties, although of course we are also increasing salaries in some cases.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-050

SB19-071 Child Hearsay Exception (Fields) [Roberts]

AMENDED: Technical

PASSED

Short Description:

Expands the exception for under 13 child hearsay to admit an out-of-court statement made by a child from domestic violence and child abuse cases to any proceeding where the child is alleged to be a victim or any proceeding where the child describes all or part of an offense of unlawful sexual behavior.

Long Description:

Expands the exception for under 13 child hearsay to admit an out-of-court statement made by a child from domestic violence and child abuse cases to any proceeding where the child is alleged to be a victim or any proceeding where the child describes all or part of an offense of unlawful sexual behavior. These are all only admissible if the court determines that the circumstances of the statements provide sufficient reliability and the child either testifies or is unavailable as a witness and there is corroborative evidence.


Arguments For:

Courts surroundings are intimidating for anyone, let alone a child. In trying to elicit a complete statement from a child, a prosecutor may appear to put words and ideas into the child’s mouth. This exception allows the child to still tell their story in a way that does not violate the rights of the accused. It makes sense to expand it to instances where the child him or herself is a victim, the most traumatic experience possible, or where they can provide key evidence of unlawful sexual behavior.

Arguments Against:

Hearsay is a critical component of our legal system because it directly involves the right of the accused to confront their accuser. In a case of hearsay, the defense (or in some cases the prosecution) is not able to directly confront the statement and ask questions about it, in other words to test it under cross-examination. None of this is possible if the child does not testify at all, the jury is not able to see the child as a witness and make a determination of reliability. In our zeal to protect children we cannot lose sight of the rights of the accused.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-071

SB19-084 Revised Uniform Law Remote Notarization (Gardner)

From Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Enacts the 2018 amendments to the "Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts", drafted by the Uniform Law Commission, which authorize notaries public to perform a notarial act on behalf of an individual who is not in the notary's physical presence. To do this a notary must use an electronic system that conforms to standards established by rules of the secretary of state, including using communication technology and keeping an audio-video recording of the notarization for at least 10 years.

Long Description:

Enacts the 2018 amendments to the "Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts", drafted by the Uniform Law Commission, which authorize notaries public to perform a notarial act on behalf of an individual who is not in the notary's physical presence. To do this a notary must have personal knowledge of the individual’s identity, have satisfactory evidence of identity of remotely located individual by oath or affirmation of a witness, have used two different types of identity proofing, and created an audio-visual recording of the notarization. For individuals outside the US, the act of making the statement or signing the record must not be prohibited by the foreign state. The technology must conforms to standards established by rules of the secretary of state. Notaries must pre-clear their recording technology with the secretary of state before performing any remote notarizations.


Arguments For:

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.

Arguments Against:

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 SB19-084

SB19-088 Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (Gardner) [Tipper]

From the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws

AMENDED: Moderate (requires repassage in Senate)

PASSED SENATE AND HOUSE COMMITTEE AMENDED

Short Description:

Replaces the current unclaimed property act with a uniform version as adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2016 with state-specific amendments. In addition to promoting uniformity among states, this revised version also responds to current transactions and practices, particularly electronic records.

Long Description: N/A

Arguments For:

This is a clear adoption of a national standard for unclaimed property and just brings Colorado in line with other states (and where other states will be) when it comes to the nuts and bolts of unclaimed property: what it is, how it should be handled, and what the system is for claiming it or disposing of it. It is important for us to keep our laws up-to-date with changing technology so that they are equipped to handle all situations.

Arguments Against:

Updating the law is fine, but Colorado shouldn’t be taking some cookie cutter solution from a national conference just so our laws are nearly the same as a bunch of other states.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-088

SB19-100 Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act (Gardner)

From the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

Short Description:

Adopts the Uniform Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act, which grants individuals whose body is shown in whole or in part in an intimate image and has suffered harm from the disclosure or threatened disclosure of that image without their consent to a cause for civil action and, if the court rules for them, recovery of the greater of economic and noneconomic damages or $10,000, as well as the amount equal to the gain made by the defendant from the image(s), and punitive damages and legal fees. There is a four six year statute of limitations. This replaces the state’s current, similar law.

Long Description:

Adopts the Uniform Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act, which grants individuals whose body is shown in whole or in part in an intimate image and has suffered harm from the disclosure or threatened disclosure of that image without their consent to a cause for civil action and, if the court rules for them, recovery of the greater of economic and noneconomic damages or $10,000, as well as the amount equal to the gain made by the defendant from the image(s), and punitive damages and legal fees. There is a four year statute of limitations. This replaces the state’s current, similar law. Differences between current law and this law include: the inclusion of the threat to disclose images as cause for a lawsuit, inclusion of money made by the defendant off the image(s) as potential awards to the victim, the four six year statute of limitations (which does not start until the person is an adult, regardless of when the action occurred), the ability for the plaintiff to use a pseudonym in the lawsuit, and that the victim’s consent to the creation of the image or previous disclosure of the image or if the image was in a public place does not establish consent for the defendant.


Arguments For:

The proposed law is simply better than what we currently have. Including the money made of off posting the image, the right to use a pseudonym, inclusion of threatening to disclose as a right to sue, closing potential consent loopholes, all of these strengthen our current law and should be adopted. The statute of limitations is for when the action could be reasonably discovered, so it prevents someone from being fine with this sort of image being in the public and then changing their mind years later.

Arguments Against:

We do not have a four six year statute of limitations for civil actions. Abusive relationships are frequently not logical and orderly, it can take years for someone to realize the hold another person has over them and be free of it. In these cases the victim should be able to take action and get money and injunctive relief, even if it is years later. If the defendant feels this is a case of seeking revenge for something the alleged victim was fine with at the time, then the defendant is free to present that argument at trial.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-100

SB19-105 Colorado Uniform Directed Trust Act (Rodriguez) [Tipper]

From the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws

PASSED

Short Description:

Replaces current state law dealing with the administration of directed trusts (an investment trust where the trustee is directed by other trust participants in administering it) with a uniform state law version, amended to fit Colorado statutes.

Long Description:

Replaces current state law dealing with the administration of directed trusts (an investment trust where the trustee is directed by other trust participants in administering it) with a uniform state law version, amended to fit Colorado statutes. The bill includes provisions on judicial proceedings, trust directors’ powers, duties and liabilities of trust directors and directed trustees, and powers that are excluded from the bill.


Arguments For:

Our current laws just don’t have the detail required to deal with the various possibilities of directed trusts. Having a defined trust director (with defined flows of information involving the position) and defined judicial proceedings is an update we need. Plus our law will be more aligned with other states in the country.

Arguments Against:

Our current law is fine, there is no need to have a trust director, the trustees can work out this process of control on their own or if not, through our existing law.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-105

SB19-109 Adjust Damages Limitations for Inflation (Fenberg) [Garnett]

PASSED

Short Description:

Adjust the limitations of damages for unlawfully serving alcohol, for noneconomic loss or injury, and for wrongful death to account for inflation and automatically adjusts these every two years in the future as well.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Anytime we can put automatic inflation adjustments into dollar amounts that should scale with inflation, we should do it. The alternative is to constantly find these things in statutes and adjust them. It is unclear that this will actually cause insurance rates to rise, North Carolina has no caps on these damages and the lowest insurance rates in the nation.

Arguments Against:

It is not a slam dunk that these penalties should always increase with inflation. In addition, having to find them and adjust them manually means we have to revisit the core decision on the amount. It’s possible we’ll find that it no longer makes sense and need to be raised or lowered dramatically.

Raising these damages may cause a rise in insurance rates.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-109

SB19-175 Serious Bodily Injury Vulnerable Road User Penalties (Foote) [Roberts]

Goal: To increase penalties to drivers who cause serious injury to vulnerable people on or around roads.

Description:

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 a year. The department of revenue must consider issuing a restricted license to someone who needs to drive for work.

Additional Information:

Vulnerable road user is defined as:

  • Pedestrians
  • People engaged in roadwork along a roadway
  • Someone providing emergency services within a right-of-way
  • A police officer outside of their vehicle performing their duties in a right-of-way
  • Person riding or leading an animal
  • Person lawfully using a crosswalk, public right-of-way, or shoulder
  • Person riding any kind of bicycle, tricycle, or other pedal-powered vehicle
  • Farm tractor or other farm equipment
  • Skateboarder
  • Roller- or in-line skater
  • Person riding a scooter, moped, or motorcycle.
  • An animal drawn, wheeled vehicle
  • Someone in a sled
  • Someone in a wheelchair or other personal assistive mobility device
  • A baby stroller or non-motorized pull wagon


Arguments For:

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 injuring someone while driving badly. For cases of “bad driving” we need to make sure the bad driver is getting the proper training they need until they are safe to be on the roads again.

Arguments Against:

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 an 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 SB19-175

SB19-182 Repeal the Death Penalty (Williams, Gonzales) [Arndt, Benavidez]

PASSED SENATE COMMITTEE

Goal: To end use of the death penalty in Colorado.

Description:

Repeals the death penalty for any offenses charged in Colorado after July 1, 2019.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

The country is moving away from employing the death penalty, as evidenced by the recent repeal of the death penalty in seven states and the fact that a total of twenty states now do not impose the death penalty in their criminal justice systems. In addition, three states, including Colorado, have imposed an effective moratorium on the death penalty. This trend reflects a growing belief that the death penalty is not an effective penalty in a modern criminal justice system. The first problem with the death penalty is that as of 2015 for every 10 people who have been executed since 1973, one person has been exonerated from death row (national statistics). That is an unacceptable risk of the state putting to death an innocent person, and in fact, the odds are that an innocent person has been executed since 1973. The second problem is that the racial bias that pervades the criminal justice system finds a home here too. Study after study has found that the race is a significant factor in determining whether or not the death penalty is applied to a defendant. The third problem is that there absolutely no evidence that the death penalty provides any criminal deterrence, despite numerous studies of the subject. The fourth problem is that using the death penalty costs the state far more money than a life sentence. Colorado was found to spend about 15% more on death penalty inmates than on those in the general population. And while there are some victims’ families that find closure through the death penalty, there are others that do not. One set of victims should not gain precedence over the other, all things being equal and all things are decidedly not equal in this case.

Arguments Against:

The reason we have the death penalty is simple and it goes beyond cost considerations or deterrence. It is about justice. Justice for the victims and justice for society in cases where the underlying crime was so heinous that it merits the strongest possible response. As for deterrence, while there is evidence that the death penalty deters crime, it is important to note how hard this would be to prove. You would need to have individuals admit that they would have committed a crime but did not due to the death penalty (merely using crime statistics brings in a host of other variables). If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. DNA evidence has been an enormous factor in exonerations. We obviously have DNA now and did not in the past, so this should not be a factor in the future. And for the racial problems, this calls out for reform of our justice system, not changing our punishment structure.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-182

SB19-185 Protections for Minor Human Trafficking Victims (Fields, Lundeen) [Landgraf]

Goal: To protect minor victims of human trafficking from prosecution for their activities.

Description:

Creates immunity from prostitution-related offense if probable cause exists to believe that a minor was a victim of either human trafficking of a minor for involuntary servitude or for sexual servitude. Gives an affirmative defense for these victims for any non-level 1 felony criminal act if the minor can prove they were forced or coerced into engaging in the criminal act. Bill also establishes that anyone younger than 18 who engages in conduct that would be prostitution if they were an adult must be referred to appropriate social services department and if the officer suspects they may be a victim of human trafficking that the violation be reported to appropriate county or state levels.

Arguments For:

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. And that frequently minors in these situations are forced into other illegal acts and should be able to use their status a victim of human trafficking as a defense.

Arguments Against:

It can be extremely difficult to demonstrate human trafficking and many cases may fall outside of this bill's narrow scope of prostitution done by a minor leading minors who should not be charged and punished to continue to suffer.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-185

SB19-187 Commissions on Judicial Performance (Lee, Gardner)

Goal: To make some changes to how judges are evaluated by commissions on judicial performance and how vacancies on the commissions are handled.

Description:

Removes senior judges (retired judges who have temporarily returned to judicial duties) from evaluation by state commission on judicial performance. Clarifies language on people who are given surveys for performance evaluation and removes people for whom the judicial department does not have contact information. Clarifies the commission can use a matrix or scorecard to create evaluation and removes requirement that performance evaluation contains a performance standard threshold. Changes vacancy appointment on state or district commissions that are still open after 45 days from governor to state commission.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

We don’t need to go through all of the evaluation trouble for a retired judge who is just filling in temporarily.

Arguments Against:

In general you don’t want a commission appointing its own members, so the current law giving this duty to the governor instead of the state commission makes more sense.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-187