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23381951DB29C6818725825E006E91A5 Hearing Summary


Date Mar 28, 2018      
Location SCR 352

SB18-199 - Amended, referred to Senate Finance

02:17:46 PM  

The committee was called back to order after a brief recess.  

Senators Martinez Humenik and Priola, co prime sponsors, explained SB18-199, concerning increasing the penalty for assault on a peace officer.   Senator Martinez Humenik provided an overview of current law and penalties and emphasized that there needs to be a higher level of respect for peace officers.  

Senator Priola provided statistics about the increase in police officer assaults.   He made statements in support of the bill and peace officers in general.

Discussion followed regarding deterrence and whether increased penalties prevent crime.  The committee also asked questions about the fiscal note and made comparisons between current law and the bill.  Concerns were raised about third degree assault penalties and underlying circumstances.  

02:40:15 PM  

Ellis Armistead, representing himself as a former legal investigator, spoke in opposition to the bill.  He voiced concerns about the enhanced penalties, participarly about elevating minor assaults to a felony level.  

A brief overview of Mr. Armistead's background and education was distributed (Attachment A).  

02:46:13 PM  

Carrie Thompson, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, testified against the bill. She reiterated that statutes are already in place that respond to assaults on police officers.  She discussed mandatory minimum sentences and relayed that the bill goes against the progress Colorado has made toward sentencing reform. 

02:55:30 PM  

Lisa Miller, representing the Office of Attorney General, testified in favor of the bill.  She discussed her work as a chief investigator.  She acknowledged that it is important to keep perpetrators off the street, especially those who assault police officers. 

Cynthia Kowert, representing the Office of Attorney General, spoke in favor of the bill.  She discussed the appropriateness of longer sentences for these types of assaults.  

Chris Creighton, Fiscal Analyst with Legislative Council, clarified the fiscal note and discussed that it needs to be revised.  

03:03:51 PM  

George Brauchler, District Attorney of the 18th Judicial District, spoke in support of the bill.  He discussed accountability, an increase in the number of assaults on police officers, and checks and balances.    

03:06:20 PM  

Tom Raynes, representing the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, spoke in support of the bill.  He explained that certain crimes, such as assaults on police officers, warrant harsh mandatory minimums.  He assured the committee that district attorneys practice due diligence and would not bring forth frivolous cases.  He answered questions from the committee about why his organization was not part of the discussion before the bill was drafted.  

03:18:50 PM  

Michael McIntosh, Sheriff of Adams County, spoke in support of the bill.  He discussed the changed narrative over the years and the increasing risk that police officers face during the course of their jobs.  He answered questions about sentence lengths, building bridges with the community, and third degree assaults.  

03:34:21 PM  

Senator Martinez Humenik made closing remarks.  She emphasized that there is a peace officer shortage in the state, and this bill sends a strong message of support.  

Senator Priola distributed and explained Amendment L.002 (Attachment B).  

03:39:33 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.002
Moved Cooke
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan Yes
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 4   NO: 1   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
03:39:56 PM  

Senator Fields proposed a conceptual amendment that would eliminate 3rd degree assaults from the bill.  The bill sponsors did not support it.   Senator Gardner ruled against the conceptual amendment. 

Committee members provided their reasons for supporting or opposing the bill.  

03:47:10 PM
Motion Refer Senate Bill 18-199, as amended, to the Committee on Finance.
Moved Cooke
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Final YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details