The following persons testified regarding HB 19-1115:
Ms. Lauren Snyder, representing Mental Health Colorado, testified in opposition to the bill. Ms. Snyder noted some other organizations opposed to the legislation, and explained that the bill would further criminalize those with mental health conditions. Ms. Maureen Cain, representing the Office of the State Public Defender, testified in opposition to the bill. Ms. Cain discussed an increase in the number of mentally ill involved in the criminal justice system, and noted some cases involving mentally ill persons that would be affected by HB 19-1115. She discussed certain impacts to the mentally ill resulting from involvement in the criminal justice system. Ms. Cain responded to questions regarding potential legislation concerning competency evaluations.
Ms. Janet Huffor, representing the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Huffor discussed a case of assault on personnel at the El Paso County Jail, and provided background on laws enhancing criminal penalties for assaults on certain first responders. She discussed an omission from these statutes that impacted the El Paso County case.
Mr. Joseph Roybal, representing the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, testified in support of HB 19-1115. Mr. Roybal discussed the personnel that provide medical services in the jail in El Paso County, and the need to protect these personnel.
Ms. Amber Barnard, representing El Paso County, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Barnard discussed her work as a nurse in the El Paso County Jail, and explained that medical personnel in jails should receive better assault protections. She discussed the impacts of an assault she experienced.
Ms. Jessie Ruyle, representing the Fourth Judicial District, testified in support of HB 19-1115. Ms. Ruyle discussed the support she provides to victims in the district, including Ms. Barnard, and the statute that prevented the assault on Ms. Barnard from being classified as a felony. Various members thanked Ms. Barnard for her testimony.
Mr. John Percell, representing the Fourth Judicial District, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Percell discussed the criminal case involving the assault of Ms. Barnard, and the impact of the assault statutes on the outcome of the case. Mr. Percell responded to questions regarding the impact of the mental state of the attacker on the ability to prosecute the referenced crime.
Ms. Vicki Weir, representing herself, testified in opposition to the bill. Ms. Weir discussed the needs of the mentally ill who become involved in the criminal justice system, and certain consequences that this population faces. Ms. Weir responded to questions regarding the impact of a change in medication when a mentally ill person becomes involved in the criminal justice system. Discussion ensued on this point.