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AA393FF9C0D0206B872583A60079E591 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For HB19-1119

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Feb 19, 2019      
Location HCR 0112



HB19-1119 - Amended, referred to the Committee of the Whole


03:11:33 PM  

The committee recessed.

03:19:13 PM  

The committee returned to order. Representative Coleman, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 19-1119, concerning public disclosure of a completed peace officer internal investigation file.  Representative Coleman explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. He confined his remarks to amendment L.002, a strike-below amendment (Attachment D). Committee members received a summary sheet about the bill (Attachment E).

03:24:35 PM  

The following persons testified regarding HB 19-1119:

Mr. Donald Sisson, representing the Fraternal Order of Police, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Sisson explained why the bill would undermine concepts of fairness with regard to police internal investigations. He cited several cases pertaining to internal investigations that have been invoked to support the bill, and discussed the loss of officer privacy as a result of the bill.

Mr. Michael Deedon, representing the Fraternal Order of Police, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Deedon explained how internal investigations operate, and discussed the functioning of these investigations under current law. Mr. Sisson and Mr. Deedon responded to questions regarding how internal investigations operate, and the effect of certain court rulings on these investigations.

03:52:19 PM  

Mr. Sisson responded to questions regarding the release of certain types of statements resulting from police internal investigations. Discussion returned to certain internal investigation criteria resulting from court rulings, and the impact of HB 19-1119 on a police officer's right to privacy. Discussion followed regarding the impact of internal investigations on members of law enforcement and their families, and the adequacy of the current internal investigation process. Discussion turned to the City and County of Denver's current internal investigation process. Mr. Deedon responded to questions about suspects falsifying information, which results in an internal affairs investigation. The committee and witnesses discussed a series of hypothetical scenarios. Discussion returned to certain jurisprudence surrounding police internal investigations.

04:28:10 PM  

Mr. Sisson responded to questions regarding data associated with the veracity of internal investigation police files, and the information divulged by release of files.

04:32:39 PM  

Ms. Denise Maes, representing the ACLU, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Ms. Maes discussed the stakeholder process in crafting the bill, and compromises that have reduced opposition to the legislation. Ms. Maes rebutted assertions made during previous testimony, and discussed the limited scope of the bill.

Ms. Rebecca Wallace, representing the ACLU, testified in support of the bill. She discussed internal investigation cases that the ACLU has litigated. Ms. Wallace explained that litigation is not a solution to the problem, and discussed the stakeholder process that resulted in the bill.  She answered questions from the committee about discussions with law enforcement. Questions were raised about the value of exposing false accusations. Discussion ensued regarding court rulings pertaining to law enforcement internal investigations, and the necessity for the legislation in light of the processes currently in place for release of internal investigation information. Ms. Maes responded to questions regarding Denver's internal investigation process, and the timeline for the process established by HB 19-1119. Ms. Wallace responded to questions regarding a waiver of privacy interests under the bill, and internal investigations in states with laws similar to HB 19-1119. Discussion followed regarding the need for internal investigation disclosure specifically for police officers. Ms. Maes responded to questions regarding the need for disclosure of a full file associated with a police internal investigation, and the position of certain stakeholders on the bill.

05:16:22 PM  

Ms. Margaret Kwoka, representing the University of Denver, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Committee members received a report entitled "Access Denied" (Attachment F). Ms. Kwoka briefed the committee on the contents of the report.

Ms. Brittany Garza, representing the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Garza discussed other states that have laws in place similar to HB 19-1119.

Ms. Shayne Madsen, representing the Independence Institute, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Madsen discussed the stakeholder process that resulted in the bill, and explained that the bill promotes transparency while not being anti-police. Discussion ensued regarding Ms. Garza's findings on internal investigation transparency practices in other jurisdictions.

05:26:57 PM  

Ms. Noelle Phillips, representing the Colorado Press Association, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Ms. Phillips recounted her experience as a reporter attempting to discover information on internal investigations, and the implications of her findings.

Ms. Jill Farschman, representing the Colorado Press Association, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Farschman discussed the importance of transparency and accountability. Ms. Phillips responded to questions regarding the need for the bill in light of Denver's internal investigation records release policy.

05:34:46 PM  

Mr. Jeff Roberts, representing the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Mr. Roberts discussed the benefits of transparency and accountability, and local government denials of record requests by reporters. He recapped certain elements of previous testimony.

Mr. Chris Halsne, representing Fox 31 News, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Halsne discussed the importance of records kept by government entities being transparent, and the role of news outlets in informing the public. He discussed his efforts to attain police internal investigation records, and the role of police. Mr. Halsne responded to questions regarding his attempts to attain internal investigation records, and records that should be kept confidential. Discussion ensued regarding the sufficiency of the release of a summary of internal investigation records, and the ability to redact internal investigation reports. Mr. Halsne responded to questions regarding the process of discovering police internal investigation records.

06:01:19 PM  

Mr. Patrick Pontyondy, representing Common Cause, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Mr. Pontyondy discussed the importance of transparency with respect to police activities, and the benefits of the bill.

06:04:10 PM  

Discussion ensued regarding the merits of amendment L.002.



06:14:08 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.002
Moved Herod
Seconded Galindo
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld No
Carver No
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Sandridge No
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
YES: 7   NO: 4   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
06:14:10 PM  

The committee recessed.

06:15:28 PM  

The committee returned to order. Representative Coleman provided closing remarks in support of HB 19-1119. Various committee members provided their positions on the bill.



06:34:51 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 19-1119, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Herod
Seconded Galindo
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld No
Carver No
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Sandridge No
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
Final YES: 7   NO: 4   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS






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