Current law authorizes the general assembly to prescribe the conditions and manner under which a witness may be summoned to attend, to produce documents, or both, before a committee, or to either the house of representatives or senate. Joint rule 33 of the Colorado legislative joint rules of the senate and house outlines the current mechanism by which the general assembly exercises its investigatory authority and issues subpoenas.
The bill authorizes the executive committee of the legislative council (executive committee) to create ad hoc investigatory committees and grants the executive committee the power to subpoena a witness, to take testimony under oath, and to assemble records, documents, and other evidence by subpoena duces tecum. The bill also requires the executive committee, if it decides not to issue a subpoena under its own discretion, to issue a subpoena if 30% or more of the voting members of an ad hoc investigatory committee, created by the executive committee, vote to require the executive committee to do so.
The bill requires a subpoena issued by the executive committee to include:
- The name of the issuing body;
- The authority under which the subpoena is issued;
- The subject of the inquiry and a command to the person to whom it is issued to attend and give testimony at a time and place specified in the subpoena; or
- A command to the person to whom the subpoena is directed to produce books, records, documents, or other tangible evidence as the executive committee may require.
The bill requires service of process to be made by a sheriff, the sheriff's deputy, or any other person who is at least 18 years of age and not interested in the proceeding. Service must be made by delivering a copy of the subpoena to the person named in the subpoena not later than 48 hours before the time specified for appearance in the subpoena unless, for good cause shown, a majority of the executive committee authorizes service within the 48-hour period.
The bill allows any person subpoenaed by the executive committee to seek relief by providing the executive committee with a written statement indicating how such disclosure would be illegal or unduly oppressive or burdensome. The executive committee may consider any relief request but is not obligated to do so if it determines that the potential impact of the subpoena outweighs the burden imposed on the person subject to the subpoena. Any person who is issued a subpoena and is denied a request for relief by the executive committee may request that a district court in the county where the subpoena was served, the county of the residence of the witness or custodian served, or the city and county of Denver quash or limit the scope of the subpoena. The bill also permits any person who is subpoenaed by the executive committee to be represented by legal counsel.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)