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69EC6C66EB04B7FC872583D0006BA0DC Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For HB19-1263

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Apr 2, 2019      
Location HCR 0112



HB19-1263 - Amended, referred to House Finance


01:35:38 PM  

The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representatives Herod and Sandridge, prime sponsors, presented House Bill 19-1263, concerning changing the penalty for certain violations pursuant to the "Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 2013." Representative Herod explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. Representative Sandridge provided additional input on the merits of the legislation. Discussion ensued regarding resources for addressing mental health and substance use issues, and the fiscal impact of the bill. Discussion followed regarding the crimes within the scope of the bill. Representative Herod read a letter from a person whose son requires substance abuse services.

02:07:50 PM  

Discussion ensued regarding an increase in felony filings in Colorado, and solutions to drug abuse-related issues.

02:14:21 PM  

The following persons testified regarding HB 19-1263:

Mr. Vance Roper, Joint Budget Committee Staff, and Mr. Aaron Greco, Department of Corrections (DOC), made themselves available to answer committee questions. Discussion ensued regarding funding made available for drug courts under the bill. Mr. Greco responded to questions regarding the overall impact of the bill on the DOC. Discussion returned to the impact of the bill on county drug court resources. Mr. Roper briefed the committee on the fiscal impact of HB 19-1263. Committee members received a memorandum authored by Mr. Roper (Attachment A).

02:31:56 PM  

Discussion ensued regarding the impact of HB 19-1263 on DOC population count, and programming provided to offenders by DOC. Discussion followed regarding the routing of savings realized by the bill.

02:51:47 PM  

Ms. Christie Donner, representing the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, testified in support of HB 19-1263. Ms. Donner discussed the effect of the so-called War on Drugs, and provided background on drug sentencing reform measures. She also discussed public opinion on drug crimes, and the need for treatment programs.

Ms. Maureen Cain, representing the Office of State Public Defender, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Cain discussed trends in felony filings, and provided background on funding for the judiciary. She discussed the provision of drug treatment. Discussion ensued regarding shifting the savings under the bill to treatment programs. Committee members received a letter in support of the bill from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (Attachment B). Ms. Donner responded to questions regarding certain changes to the elements of a crime made by the bill.

03:25:20 PM  

Captain Heather Carmasino, representing the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, testified in opposition to HB 19-1263. Captain Carmasino discussed the effect of past efforts to lower penalties for drug offenses.

Ms. Janet Huffor, representing El Paso County, testified in opposition to the bill. She cited some statistics on the county's jail, and discussed the effect of past efforts to address drug offenses.

Sheriff Bill Elder, representing El Paso County, testified in opposition to the bill. Sheriff Elder discussed his office's efforts to tackle drug abuse.

Mr. Andrew Vaughan, representing the Fourth Judicial District, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Vaughan discussed the need for treatment resources if the population affected by the bill is to receive reduced sentences. Discussion ensued regarding the rate at which drug users are repeat offenders, and treatment services available to drug users.

03:52:34 PM  

Mr. Vaughan responded to questions about the potential effect of changing the offense level for certain crimes. Discussion ensued regarding the placement of drug offenders on probation in lieu of incarceration, and the use of felony charges for leverage. Discussion followed regarding certain drugs addressed by HB 19-1263.

04:08:38 PM  

Ms. Beth McCann, representing the Second Judicial District and the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified on HB 19-1263 from a neutral position. She discussed the use of the criminal justice system to address addiction issues. Ms. McCann responded to questions regarding the position of the Colorado District Attorneys' Council if certain amendments were to pass.

Mr. Bruce Brown, representing the Fifth Judicial District and the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified on the bill from a neutral position.

Ms. Helen Morgan, representing the Denver District Attorney, testified on the bill from a neutral position.

Ms. Lynn Unger, representing Denver County Court, testified on the bill from a neutral position. Discussion ensued regarding ways to incentivize drug treatment, and the capacity for treating drug offenders. Discussion followed regarding the effect of some forthcoming amendments, and charges levied for possessing certain quantities of controlled substances.

04:41:33 PM  

Ms. Lisa Raville, representing the Harm Reduction Action Center, testified in support of HB 19-1263. Ms. Raville discussed issues facing those with substance abuse issues, and the ways in which these persons affect the community.

Ms. Alli Daley, representing Colorado Counties, Inc, testified on the bill. She suggested some improvements to the bill.

Ms. Tristan Gorman, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, spoke in support of the bill. She discussed collaterol consequences for felony convictions. She discussed housing and employment and the impact of a felony conviction. She noted revolving doors and relapses.

Mr. Art Way, representing the Drug Policy Alliance, spoke in favor of the bill. He discussed the impacts of the drug war and going hard on the user. He discussed the need to look at the issue from a demand, not supply, side. Discussion ensued regarding the General Assembly's attempts to address second-order effects of being convicted of a felony, and the use of felony charges to incentivize treatment.

05:03:52 PM  

Ms. Denise Maes, representing the ACLU, testified in support of HB 19-1263. Ms. Maes explained that incarceration does not impact drug use, and addressed arguments made against the bill.

Ms. Terri Hurst, representing the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, testified in support of the bill. Committee members received a letter in support of the bill (Attachment C). Ms. Hurst discussed programs for addressing substance abuse.

Mr. Hassan Latif, representing Second Chance Center, testified in support of the bill. He discussed felony charges as a deterrent. Mr. Latif responded to questions regarding what motivates a drug offender to change behavior. Discussion ensued regarding what constitutes a workable system for this problem. Committee members received a fact sheet supporting the bill (Attachment D).

05:23:12 PM  

Ms. Cheryl Wilson, representing herself, testified in support of HB 19-1263. Ms. Wilson discussed her daughter's addiction and involvement with the criminal justice system, which has negatively impacted her life.

05:29:21 PM  

The committee considered amendment L.001 (Attachment E).



05:33:53 PM
Motion Amend amendment L.001, page 1, line 32, strike "this".
Moved Weissman
Seconded Benavidez
Benavidez
Bockenfeld
Carver
Galindo
Gonzales-Gutierrez
McKean
Roberts
Soper
Tipper
Herod
Weissman
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection


05:34:16 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.001 as amended
Moved Herod
Seconded Tipper
Benavidez
Bockenfeld
Carver
Galindo
Gonzales-Gutierrez
McKean
Roberts
Soper
Tipper
Herod
Weissman
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
05:34:18 PM  

Mr. Conrad Imel, Office of Legislative Legal Services, provided input on amendments.

05:34:58 PM  

The committee considered amendment L.003 (Attachment F).



05:38:16 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.003
Moved Herod
Seconded Weissman
Benavidez
Bockenfeld
Carver
Galindo
Gonzales-Gutierrez
McKean
Roberts
Soper
Tipper
Herod
Weissman
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
05:38:17 PM  

The committee considered amendment L.004 (Attachment G).



05:39:01 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.004
Moved Herod
Seconded Weissman
Benavidez
Bockenfeld
Carver
Galindo
Gonzales-Gutierrez
McKean
Roberts
Soper
Tipper
Herod
Weissman
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
05:39:03 PM  

Representatives Herod and Sandridge provided closing remarks in support of HB 19-1263. Various committee members provided their positions on the bill.



06:02:12 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 19-1263, as amended, to the Committee on Finance.
Moved Herod
Seconded Galindo
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld Yes
Carver No
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Soper No
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
Final YES: 8   NO: 3   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS