These are all of the law enforcement and corrections bills proposed in the 2021 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 or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, Major, Medium, Minor+, 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.

House

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

MEGA

MAJOR

MEDIUM

MINOR+

HB21-1030 Expanding Peace Officers Mental Health Grant Program

MINOR

HB21-1015 Security Protections Criminal Justice Personnel

TECHNICAL

Senate

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

MEGA

MAJOR

MEDIUM

MINOR+

MINOR

TECHNICAL

HB21-1015 Security Protections Criminal Justice Personnel (Lundeen (R), Ginal (D)) [Carver (R), Tipper (D)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Expands previous privacy protections for personal information of law enforcement officials and certain human services workers to people in the department of corrections who have contact with inmates

Description:

Exact privacy protections are: class I misdemeanor to knowingly make the personal information of a state or county employee public on the Internet if the disclosure of the information poses a serious threat to the safety of the employee or their family and the individual disclosing it reasonably should know it would cause a serious threat. These employees can also request that other state or government officials remove personal information from the Internet if they feel their safety is threatened.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • These protections are designed to help employees who work in charged situations where violence or retaliation are possible. It makes perfect sense to extend them to people with direct contact with prison inmates

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1015

HB21-1030 Expanding Peace Officers Mental Health Grant Program (Buckner (D), Cooke (R)) [McCluskie (D), McKean (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Expands an existing police officer mental health grant program to including funding for on-scene response services for calls relating to social service needs, and for calls that do not require a police officer at all for either mental health or social service reasons. Program is required to continue to spend the $2 million it had been receiving on its already existing mission. Extra money can go to the new mission. No extra money is appropriated

Description:

The program already could use funds for on-scene response support handling people with mental health disorders. The social service needs and the idea of supporting calls that don’t need police officers at all is new. Allows public safety organizations to apply for the on-scene response grants. Renames the program, which was called “Peace Officers Mental Health Support”, into “Peace Officers Mental Health Support and Community Partnership”. Bill also removes the program’s repeal date, which was September 2027.

Program can also use funds for supporting officer’s mental health who were involved in a shooting or fatal use of force, training and education to teach officers the symptoms of job-related mental trauma and how to prevent and treat it, and peer support programs.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • We ask far too much of our police officers, who must respond to all sorts of situations that really don’t necessarily need a police officer. Recognizing this, many local communities have piloted programs partnering first responders with community organizations that are better equipped to handle calls dealing with mental illness or social service needs
  • Keeping calls that don’t need officers away from them reduces the likelihood of tragedy due to interactions gone wrong and keeps people out of the criminal justice system that don’t necessarily belong there
  • The bill doesn’t alter the funding stream for the existing program, so it will not take any money away from the mental health well-being of police officers

In Further Detail: We simply ask way too much of police officers. They are called to respond to people having mental health episodes, homeless people in distress, and other mental health or social service related issues that are not dangerous and do not require an armed police officer. Too often these encounters can spiral dangerously as officers untrained to deal with people with mental health issues don’t know how to deescalate tense situations. Many communities have recognized this and piloted programs to partner officers with community organizations. Taking things a step further, we know that some of these calls don’t need an officer at all. This also keeps people out of the criminal justice system that don’t belong there. The bill does not at all alter the funding stream for the existing program, so the money spent on police officer’s mental health will not be affected. The legislature is free to add funds later in the session as part of the budgeting process.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This really is a separate concept from taking care of the mental health of police officers and should be its own program, which will allow it to be constructed from the ground-up in a way that maximizes its effectiveness

In Further Detail: This is a worthy concept but it doesn’t have much to do with taking care of the mental health of our police officers and so should be in its own program. When you mix disparate goals together like this, you end up with competing priorities. In this case, the thing we all agree is very important, providing more support to officers on certain types of calls and removing them altogether when appropriate, is getting the short end of the stick. The legislature may provide extra funding to this program or it may not. And the structure of the program could get a more thorough treatment—including criteria for calls that don’t require an officer, procedures for the community program to follow when they are on a call without an officer, and reporting requirements that deal specifically with this issue.


Bottom Line:

  • Issuing relating to responding to calls are a local issue—police departments set their own policies and the governments they answer to should be the ones legislating on the issue, not the state

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1030