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s_jud_2018a_2018-04-25t13:39:35z4 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For HB18-1391

SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Apr 25, 2018      
Location SCR 352



HB18-1391 - Amended, referred to Senate Appropriations

02:58:36 PM  

The committee recessed. 

 

 

 

03:14:06 PM  

The committee was called back to order. 

 

Senators Martinez Humenk and Kerr explained HB18-1391, concerning the prevention of sexual misconduct on higher education campuses.  Senator Martinez Humenik reported that the bill is the result of many months of stakeholder engagement.  She noted that the bill presents no conflicts with federal law and does not create any new layers of bureaucracy.  Senator Kerr further emphasized that the bill creates a clear and transparent process for reporting sexual assault in higher education institutions across the state.  The bill also addresses other related issues, such as retaliation, sexual history, and fairness. 

 

The following attorneys representing higher education institutions came to the table for questions:  Jeannette Gray Gilbert from Regis University; Michelle Mitz-Huchinson from Colorado School of Mines (Mines); and, Erica Weston from the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU Boulder).   They each briefly explained how their respective schools handle claims of sexual misconduct. 

 

03:19:41 PM  

Cari Simon, an attorney representing survivors of sexual assault on a national level, spoke in support of the bill.  She discussed rates of sexual assault and provided instances of students suffering a downward spiral after a sexual assault. She discussed the need for students to have equal rights in filing a claim or appeal.  She stressed that the protections in the bill are necessary.  

03:23:47 PM  

Lynn Hall, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill.  She shared her personal story of sexual assault while in the Air Force Academy.  She explained the differences between how civilian and military higher educational systems handle sexual misconduct.  She answered questions about the preponderance of evidence standard, panels versus a single fact finder, and victims counsel. 

 

03:33:23 PM  

Patty Imhoff, representing herself, testified in support of the measure.  She told the committee about her daughter's experience while attending a university on the East Coast.  She described how hard, long, and expensive the process was through the university.

03:35:56 PM  

Michael Imhoff, representing himself, spoke in support of the measure.  He also discussed his daughter's situation and encouraged the committee to support the bill because it keeps the process more affordable and expedient.  He explained why criminal charges were not pursued in his daughter's case. 

03:42:34 PM  

Kendall Fowler, representing herself, testified in favor of the bill.  She shared a personal college experience and the difficulties of having to live in close proximity to her perpetrator.  She discussed the magnitude of the problem and urged the committee to better address the issue.

03:45:59 PM  

Jessica Higgins, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She shared a personal college experience and discussed the barriers to reporting a sexual assault. 

03:49:50 PM  

Raana Simmons, representing the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, spoke in support of the bill.  She emphasized the need for a fundamentally fair process to address sexual misconduct.  She also discussed how sexual assault interferes with access to education.

03:54:28 PM  

John Clune, an attorney who represents victims of sex crimes at colleges, spoke in favor of the bill.  He discussed his experience with representing victims in hearings-based, investigatory models at colleges and universities.  He emphasized the need to make the process equal and not so hostile.  He discussed preponderance of the evidence versus clear and convincing evidence.  Mr. Clune also noted the small percentage of rape cases tried in the criminal justice system.  

 

The committee asked questions about the process of reporting an incident and what happens thereafter, transfer students, and removing those from campus who have the potential to re-offend.   Further discussion was had regarding cultural change, the differences between panel and investigator models, hearsay evidence, cross examinations, sexual history, and the role of the university in the adjudication process. 

04:24:06 PM  

Erica Weston from CU Boulder and Michelle Mitz-Hutchinson from Mines returned to the table for questions.   They expounded upon their respective models for handling sexual assault complaints.   CU Boulder uses two investigators for each complaint with the disposition decided by a panel model.  Mines uses an investigatory approach where the dean makes the ultimate decision regarding the violation and subsequent sanctions.  They also discussed appeals processes. 

The committee asked questions about what happens when different conclusions are drawn, time frames from the time of reporting to the pronouncement, victim rights, interface with federal law, and burden of proof.   Committee members also raised concerns about the investigation and prosecution taking place in the same office. 

04:54:33 PM  

The committee recessed. 

05:45:47 PM  

The committee was called back to order. 

 

Senators Martinez Humenik and Kerr made closing remarks.  They emphasized that the bill encourages a more streamlined reporting process and transparency, as well as reflects stakeholder agreement. 

 

Senator Gardner introduced and distributed Amendment L.005 (Attachment A) which included the option of using clear and convincing evidence as the burden of proof.  The bill sponsors disagreed with the amendment. 



05:57:54 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.005
Moved Cooke
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
05:57:58 PM  

Senator Gardner introduced and distributed Amendment L. 008 (Attachment B), which added the word "truthful".  Committee members expressed concerns that language in the amendment may have a chilling effect in reporting sexual assaults, as well as give the impression that the victim is not believable.  The bill sponsors did not support the amendment.



06:08:56 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.008
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
06:09:56 PM  

Senator Gardner distributed and explained Amendment L. 013 (Attachment C), concerning prior sexual conduct. There was no opposition to the amendment.



06:09:58 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.013
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram
Fields
Kagan
Cooke
Gardner
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
06:11:48 PM  

Senator Gardner distributed and explained Amendment L. 014 (Attachment D).  Some committee members had concerns about the amendment raising the burden of proof and complicating the process.  The bill sponsors did not support the amendment.

 

 



06:28:53 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.014
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
06:29:33 PM  

Senator Kerr thanked those who particpated in the process, but said that he could not support the bill as amended. He emphasized that the amendments changed the original intent of the bill.  Senator Martinez Humenik also expressed concerns about the amendments. 

Committee members made statements in support of or opposition to the bill, as amended. 

The committee took a brief recess.

 

06:29:34 PM  

The committee was called back to order. 



06:52:25 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 18-1391, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations.
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Coram Yes
Fields Yes
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Final YES: 4   NO: 1   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS