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s_jud_2018a_2018-04-18t13:37:03z2 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For HB18-1256

SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Apr 18, 2018      
Location SCR 352



HB18-1256 - Amended, referred to Senate Appropriations

02:33:22 PM  

Senator Gardner explained HB18-1256, concerning the continuation of the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) and Commission (CCRC).  He encouraged the reauthorization and funding of the entities but suggested revisions to address concerns. 

He next distributed and explained Amendments L.004, L.005,  L.006, and L.007 (Attachments E - H).  L.004 concerns how appointments are made.  L.005 deals with the complaint process and allows for either party to request a trial in district court.  L.006 addresses transparency, and L.007 requires a legislative audit. 

Senator Gardner emphasized that he is open to discussion and recognized that the changes will most likely result in a conference committee.  He answered questions about the amendments, particularly the one regarding the proposed changes to committee membership and appointments. 

02:44:53 PM  

Pedro Gonzales, representing himself and testifying through an interpretor, spoke in favor of the bill as amended.  He discussed his background, and the need for the CCRD to be bi-partisan, transparent, and fair.  

02:54:19 PM  

Ivone Santos read a letter of support on behalf of Hector Rosell and used an interpreter to do so.  The letter detailed Mr. Rosell's hardships in Cuba and concerns about racism, discrimination, and due process. 

03:02:42 PM  

Rigoberto Mendez, representing himself as an interpreter, spoke in support of the bill, as amended.  He discussed his personal experiences with discrimination and the need to defend the marginalized.  He expressed concern that the charging party has more rights than the accused in current civil rights cases, and the amendments address this disparity.

03:06:51 PM  

Dorothy Ostrogorski, representing the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of reauthorizing the division and commission.  She discussed that it provides a practical process for resolving civil rights disputes.  She had not seen the amendments before the meeting and had no comments on them. 

03:09:37 PM  

Deborah Johnson, representing the City and County of Denver and the Denver Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of reauthorization and the proposed amendments.  She emphasized that the CCRD protects against frivilous law suits and discussed the composition of the commission. 

03:14:52 PM  

Jim Smith, representing Good Business Colorado, supported the bill and did not comment on the amendments.  He reported that the the CCRD is a necessary and free resource for Colorado businesses to avoid the costs and distraction of litigation. 

03:17:50 PM  

Luba Fridnerova, representing herself as a small business owner, testified in favor of the bill.  She emphasized that the CCRD helps to create an atmosphere of dignity and respect. 

03:21:00 PM  

Iris Halpren, representing the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, spoke in support of a clean version of the bill.  She discussed administrative procedures and also raised points that the proposed changes may be perceived as attempts to rein in the commission.  She explained that no other boards or commissions in the state are regulated to the degree that the amendments propose.  In answer to a question, she expressed the opinion that the amendments are a political move in response to unpopular civil rights decisions made by the commission. 

03:25:11 PM  

Jill Wildenberg, public policy director at the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, spoke in support of an unamended version of the bill.  She also read testimony from Michael Hildalgo, lead pastor at Denver Community Church, who was unable to make the hearing but wanted to express his support for a clean version of the bill.

03:28:01 PM  

Christiano Sosa, representing The ARC of Colorado, spoke in support of the bill.

03:34:19 PM  

Iman Jodeh, representing the Colorado Muslim Leadership Council and the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, testified in favor of the bill without amendments.  She discussed her experiences as a small business owner and how the Muslim community depends on the CCRD.

03:37:27 PM  

Amanda Henderson, representing the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, spoke in support of the bill without amendments.  She discussed her work with the CCRD and the need to protect it as it currently stands.  She reported that she has not heard any justification for the amendments and noted that the commission is already intentionally diverse. 

03:40:13 PM  

Dilpreet Jammu, representing the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, testified in favor of the bill without amendments.  He discussed his Sikh faith and his efforts with the Department of Motor Vehicles to allow turbans on driver license pictures.  He stressed that any last minute changes to the commission may cause confusion and unecessary questions. 

 

03:52:56 PM  

Celena Martinez, representing herself, spoke in support of an unamended version of the bill.  She provided a personal account of a hostile work environment.

03:56:05 PM  

Shelby Ramirez Martinez, representing 9 to 5 Colorado, spoke in favor of the bill.  She provided a personal example of discrimination in the workplace and how the CCRD helped in resolving the dispute. 

03:58:51 PM  

Joe Megyesy, representing One Colorado, spoke in support of a clean reauthorization of the commission.  He feared the proposed amendments would drive litigation.

04:03:06 PM  

Elisa Moran, representing the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), spoke in support of the bill without amendments. She discussed her work and anti-semitism. She explained that Amendment L.005 forces claimants to go to court and may chill the rights of individuals to pursue their claims.

04:06:08 PM  

Ashley Wheeland, representing the Womens Lobby of Colorado, spoke in support of an unamended version of the bill.  

04:08:06 PM  

Emma Shinn, representing the Colorado LGBT Bar Association, spoke in support of a clean version of the bill.  She discussed her military service.  She also expressed concerns about Amendment L.004 and the number and background of the proposed members.  She also stated that L.005 may increase dockets and associated costs by forcing a complainant into uneven bargaining. 

04:10:14 PM  

Jean Noffles, representing the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), supported the bill and the extension of the CCRD.  She discussed issues particular to older Coloradans.

04:13:55 PM  

Bill Levis, representing AARP, spoke in support of the bill without amendments.  He expressed concerns about an eight member deadlock, as proposed in the amendment, and stated that an annual report is unnecessary because the CCRD already is required to do so.

04:16:31 PM  

Omar Montgomery, repressenting the NAACP, testified in support of a clean re-authorization of the bill. He discussed the CCRD's role in bad and unfair business practices.  He feared the amendments would be the first step in eroding the protections provided by the CCRD. 

04:21:11 PM  

Emma Davis, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill.

04:22:49 PM  

Charlotte Olena, representing New Era Colorado, spoke in favor of the bill.

04:24:12 PM  

Erik Bradberry, representing the Colorado Education Association, spoke in favor of the bill.

04:25:43 PM  

Emma Davis returned to the table after experiencing technical difficulties.

04:29:25 PM  

Clayton Wire, representing the Colorado Plaintiffs' Employment Lawyers Association, spoke in favor of the bill without amendments.  He expressed concerns about gridlock with an eight member board, as proposed in Amendment L.004.   He also discussed the expense of going to court, including attorney fees, and other issues relating to denying rights to those with insufficient means. 

04:32:11 PM  

Barry Roseman, representing the Colorado Plaintiffs' Employment Lawyers Association, testified in favor of the unamended version of the bill.  He brought up constitutional issues, including separation of powers.  He also discussed increased court costs and difficulties in tracking lawsuit statistics. 

04:34:40 PM  

Mr. Wire and Mr. Roseman answered questions from the committee regarding attorney costs, time needed to secure an attorney and get him or her up to speed, and success rates of pro se litigants. 

04:37:11 PM  

Karla Gonzales Garcia, representing the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, spoke in support of the bill unamended.  She discussed increased rates of harassment and violence against minorities. 

04:39:59 PM  

Betty Boyd, representing the American Association of University Women, spoke in support of the bill without amendments.  She expressed particular conerns about an eight member board and deadlock. 

04:43:16 PM  

Brad Bergford, representing the Commission for the Protection of Constitutional Rights, testified in support of the bill and the amendments,  He explained that the amendments offer a balance, as well as provide much-needed legal expertise on the commission. 

04:45:32 PM  

Jenna Ellis, representing Colorado Family Action, spoke in support of the bill and the amendments.  She claimed the amendments were well within the purview of the sunset review process and supports access and equity on a trial level.  She also said that changing the board composition ensures non-partisan legitimacy.  She answered questions from the committee regarding the opt-out provision in Amendment L.005 and said it provides procedural due process for both parties. 

04:50:13 PM  

Lindsay Rasmussen, representing herself as a student, spoke in support the of bill.  She expressed relief that the CCRD will continue to be funded in some fashion.   

04:56:22 PM  

Reverend Tammy Williams, representing the NAACP and the Above Waters Project, spoke in support of the bill without amendments.  She reported that the amendments are diluting power and responsibility away from the CCRD. 

04:58:52 PM  

Victor Galvan, reprsenting the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, supports the bill without amendments.  He discussed natural disasters and the difficulties people face because of their nationality. 

05:05:01 PM  

Valerie Schlecht, representing Colorado Cross-Disabilty Coalition, spoke in support of the bill without amendments. She expressed concerns about the 21-day time limit to find a lawyer and the commission appointment process.

05:09:37 PM  

Karen Jefferson, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill without amendments.  She stated that the CCRD is helpful to small businesses and is working as intended.

Prepared testimony by Professor William Wegner opposes the bill on constitutional grounds (Attachment J). 

05:11:20 PM  

Senator Gardner made closing remarks.

Senator Gardner also spoke to some of the concerns raised in the committee and emphasized that the amendments are intended to increase public confidence and depoliticize the process.  He noted his willingness to refine the amendments with members of the House. 

Senator Cooke distributed Amendment L.010 (Attachment I).  He explained that it decreases fines.  Senator Gardner considered it a friendly amendment. 



05:21:58 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.004
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


05:22:34 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.005
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


05:23:11 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.006
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


05:23:27 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.007
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram
Fields
Kagan
Cooke
Gardner
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection


05:23:52 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.010
Moved Cooke
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


05:24:21 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 18-1256, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations.
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields Yes
Kagan Yes
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Final YES: 5   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS