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16749F2FF7BFEF4A872586C000636D93 Hearing Summary


Date Apr 23, 2021      
Location HCR 0112

HB21-1272 - Amended, referred to the Committee of the Whole

12:06:02 PM  

Representative Bradfield, bill sponsor, introduced HB21-1272. The bill provides the Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman (Ombudsman) in the Judicial Department with additional access to information for investigations, and exempts the Ombudsman from subpoena or testifying in a civil or criminal proceeding in which they are not a legal party.

Investigative authority for the Ombudsman. Under current law, the Ombudsman investigates any report or complaint made by or on behalf of a child relating to any action, inaction, or decision of any public agency, or any provider that receives public money, that may affect the safety or well-being of a child. This bill gives the Ombudsman additional authority to access information, records or documents necessary to conduct an investigation into a complaint, without cost if electronic records are not available. Upon request, all entities in the state must provide the Ombudsman with access to information related to an investigation, including but not limited to:

  • the Division of Youth Services in the Department of Human Service (DHS);
  • the Child Fatality Prevention Review Team in the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE);
  • the Office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics in the CDPHE;
  • coroner’s offices;
  • law enforcement agencies;
  • hospitals;
  • courts; and
  • state licensed out-of-home placement providers.

The bill also requires the Child Fatality Review Team in the DHS and child fatality local review teams under the CDPHE to provide their final reports and findings to the Ombudsman.

Legal protections for the Ombudsman. The bill exempts the Ombudsman and any employee or person acting on their behalf from providing oral and written testimony in a civil or criminal proceeding in which the Ombudsman is not a legal party. The bill also protects information, records and documents that have been requested and reviewed by the Ombudsman from subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding in which the Ombudsman is not a legal party.

12:13:30 PM  
Representative Cutter, bill sponsor, gave opening remarks on the bill.
12:13:45 PM  

Child Protection Ombudsman Stephanie Villafuerte, The Office of Colorado's Child Protection Ombudsman, testified in support of the bill. Elizabeth Montoya, representing herself, testified in support of the bill.  Dr. Becky Miller Updike, Colorado Association of Family and Children's Agencies, testified in support of the bill.  Ombudsman Villafruerte answered questions from committee members.

12:34:44 PM  

Deputy Child Protection Ombudsman Jordan Steffen, The Office of Colorado's Child Protection Ombudsman, answered questions from the committee.

Submitted written testimony can be found in Attachment C.

12:36:32 PM  

Representative Cutter introduced and spoke on amendment L.001 (Attachment D).

12:37:21 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.001 (Attachment D)
Moved Cutter
Seconded Sirota
Michaelson Jenet
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
12:37:22 PM  
Representative Cutter and Representative Bradfield gave final comments on the bill.
12:37:47 PM  
Committee members gave final comments on the bill.

12:39:30 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 21-1272, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Cutter
Seconded Bradfield
Bradfield Yes
Cutter Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
Holtorf Yes
Jodeh Yes
Larson Yes
Ortiz Yes
Pelton Yes
Ricks Yes
Woog Yes
Young Yes
Sirota Yes
Michaelson Jenet Yes
Final YES: 13   NO: 0   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