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B9A6EFBD27445427872583D6006B8620 Hearing Summary


Date Apr 8, 2019      
Location SCR 352

HB19-1220 - Referred to the Committee of the Whole

01:34:30 PM  

Senator Fields, sponsor, explained HB 19-1220, concerning allowing a court facility dog to accompany a witness during testimony.  She answered questions about certification for the dogs and judicial discretion.

01:36:59 PM  

Hollis Whitson, representing herself, spoke in opposition to the bill. She expressed concerns that the bill has no standards in place for this practice and noted that dogs are not necessarily a sign of comfort to everyone.  Ms. Whitson referenced studies about police dogs and racial violence. 




01:49:59 PM  

Committee discussion followed about what constitutes anxiety, as outlined in the bill, and if the bill applies to anyone in the courtroom or just witnesses.  Further discussion ensued about standards in place regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and service dogs. 

01:50:28 PM  

Amber Urban, representing the 18th Judicial District, spoke in support of the bill. She introduced Pella, the courthouse dog, discussed training and certification, and discussed the types of cases in which the dog has been of assistance.  She emphasized that the bill will provide courts guidance on how to best use dogs in proceedings. 


02:00:09 PM  

Beth Wilson, representing the 18th Judicial District, testified in favor of the measure.  She discussed the difficulties children face in the courtroom and provided an example of how a dog offered comfort to a child victim.

Valarie Finks, representing the 18th Judicial District and the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, spoke in support of the bill.  She stressed how testifiying in a courtroom can be an anxiety-ridden experience and answered questions about who should have access to a dog in a courtroom. 


02:10:18 PM  

Jason Kramer, representing the 2nd Judicial District District Attorney's Office, spoke in support of the bill.  He discussed dog training for courtrooms.  

Gary Dawson, representing the 18th Judicial District District Attorney's Office and the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified in support of the bill.  He discussed how a courtroom dog could be a part of jury instructions and voir dire and stressed that there are standards already in place.

02:17:58 PM  

Linda Hart, representing the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners, testified in support of the bill.  She discussed that the bill is well-written and practical.   

Roland Halpern, representing Colorado Voters for Animals, testified in favor of the measure.

02:23:02 PM  

Connie Rettig, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. 

02:35:12 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 19-1220 to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Gonzales
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Rodriguez Yes
Gonzales Yes
Lee Yes
Final YES: 5   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS

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