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H_JUD_2019A 04/02/2019 01:35:28 PM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date 04/02/2019
Attendance
Benavidez X
Bockenfeld X
Carver X
Galindo X
Gonzales-Gutierrez X
McKean X
Roberts X
Soper X
Tipper X
Herod X
Weissman X
Time 01:35:28 PM to 10:06:06 PM
Place HCR 0112
This Meeting was called to order by Representative Weissman
This Report was prepared by Bo Pogue
Hearing Items Action Taken
HB19-1263 Amended, referred to House Finance
HB19-1267 Amended, referred to the Committee of the Whole

X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call

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



HB19-1267 - Amended, referred to the Committee of the Whole


06:02:25 PM  

The committee recessed.

06:17:56 PM  

The committee returned to order. Representatives Singer and Froelich, prime sponsors, presented House Bill 19-1267, concerning criminal offenses for failure to pay wages, and, in connection therewith, implementing recommendations from the Colorado Human Trafficking Council.  Committee members received amendments L.001 (Attachment H), L.002 (Attachment I), and L.003 (Attachment J). Representative Singer explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. Representative Froelich provided additional input on the bill's merits. Discussion ensued regarding how the bill addresses disputes over the work performed.

06:31:24 PM  

The following persons testified regarding HB 19-1267:

Ms. Alondra Rodriguez, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She explained that she works in construction, and there are times she does not receive pay.

Mr. Gerardo Medrano, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Medrano related his experience with wage theft.

Ms. Pamela Garcia, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. She related her experience with wage theft. Discussion ensued regarding the frequency with which these witnesses experience wage theft.

06:56:43 PM  

Mr. Juan Arellano, representing himself, testified in support of HB 19-1267. Mr. Arellano discussed carpenters who are not paid for their work.

Mr. Mark Johnson, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Johnson discussed the ability to commit wage theft without penalty.

Mr. Jake Lily, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Lily discussed the scope of wage theft.

Ms. Samantha Jardin, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Jardin discussed wage theft in agriculture, and recapped some cases of which she is aware. Mr. Lily responded to questions regarding the ability to address wage theft through existing law.

07:16:40 PM  

Mr. Christian Gardner-Wood, representing the Boulder County District Attorney's Office and the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified in support of HB 19-1267. Mr. Gardner-Wood discussed the lack of laws to address wage theft.

Ms. Ruthanne Lundquist, representing herself, testified regarding the bill. Ms. Lundquist discussed companies that compete with her company in the construction industry that engage in unethical and illegal hiring practices.

Mr. Arnold Hanuman, representing the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Hanuman discussed a package of legislation that addresses human trafficking and wage theft, and addressed questions raised during earlier conversation.

Ms. Maria Trujillo, representing the Human Trafficking Council, testified in support of the bill. She provided background on the creation of the bill. Mr. Gardner-Wood responded to questions regarding the effect of the forthcoming amendments. Discussion ensued regarding how the bill will be enforced.

07:46:20 PM  

Ms. Tristan Gorman, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, explained that the bar is neutral on the bill if amendment L.001 is adopted.

Mr. Nicholas Colglazier, representing the Colorado Competitive Council, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Colglazier called for a full stakeholder process in creating legislation to address wage theft, and supported portions of HB 19-1267.

Ms. Susan Schaecher, representing Associated General Contractors and Building Jobs for Colorado, testified in opposition to the bill. Ms. Schaecher objected to certain definitions in the bill, and called for further stakeholder input on future legislation. Discussion ensued regarding definitions in the bill, as modified by the proposed amendments. Ms. Gorman responded to questions regarding the lack of amendment for a particular portion in the bill, and the statute of limitations for the crimes subject to the bill. Discussion returned to the definitions in the bill. Discussion followed regarding the potential efficacy of the bill in assisting the victims of wage theft in recovering their withheld wages. Discussion turned to how the bill will treat instances where payment is based upon a job rather than a wage.

08:13:36 PM  

Ms. Kelly Dore, representing the National Human Trafficking Survivor Coalition, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Dore discussed human trafficking and the costs of wage theft.

Mr. John LeBlanc, representing himself and the Direct Action Team, testified in support of HB 19-1267. He recounted his experience with wage theft, and the work of his organization.

Mr. Diego Bleifuss-Prados, representing the Direct Action Team, testified in support of the bill. He discussed the work of the team, and spoke to the merits of the bill.

Mr. David Seligman, representing Towards Justice, testified in support of the bill. He discussed the importance of enforcement to addressing wage theft, and addressed questions raised during earlier discussion.

08:35:53 PM  

Mr. Seligman continued to address questions raised during earlier testimony.

08:54:45 PM  

Ms. Debbie Olander, representing the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, testified in support of HB 19-1267. Ms. Olander discussed the pernicious effects of wage theft, and the misclassification of employees.

Mr. Josh Christensen, representing the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, testified in support of the bill. He discussed wage theft in the carpentry profession, and an incidence of on-the-job injury involving his father.

Mr. James Gleeson, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Gleeson discussed his experiences with wage theft, and recent trends in wage theft. He also discussed labor brokers, and the merits of the bill.

Mr. Angel Esparza, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. He discussed the scope of wage theft in Colorado. He noted some work sites that have been host to wage theft.

09:12:38 PM  

Ms. Eleanor Cabell, representing herself, testified in support of HB 19-1267. She discussed the effect of wage theft prevention on border security.

Mr. Gustavo Maldonado, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Maldonado discussed his experiences with wage theft, and the practices of labor brokers. Mr. Maldonado responded to questions regarding the perception of Colorado's labor laws.

Mr. Doug Hicks, representing the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Hicks related incidents of wage theft.

09:24:33 PM  

The committee considered amendments L.001, L.002, and L.003.



09:25:54 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.001
Moved Galindo
Seconded McKean
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


09:36:34 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.002
Moved Galindo
Seconded Tipper
Benavidez No
Bockenfeld Yes
Carver Yes
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean Yes
Roberts Yes
Soper No
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
YES: 9   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


09:38:37 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.003
Moved Herod
Seconded Galindo
Benavidez No
Bockenfeld Yes
Carver No
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Soper No
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
YES: 7   NO: 4   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
09:38:38 PM  
Representatives Singer and Froelich provided closing remarks in support of HB 19-1267. Various committee members provided their positions on the bill.


10:05:52 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 19-1267, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Herod
Seconded Galindo
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld Yes
Carver Yes
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Soper Yes
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
Final YES: 10   NO: 1   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


10:06:06 PM   The committee adjourned.