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S_JUD_2019A 03/20/2019 01:34:56 PM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date 03/20/2019
Attendance
Cooke X
Gardner X
Rodriguez *
Gonzales X
Lee X
Time 01:34:56 PM to 06:15:51 PM
Place SCR 352
This Meeting was called to order by Senator Lee
This Report was prepared by Juliann Jenson
Hearing Items Action Taken
HB19-1197 Referred to the Committee of the Whole - Consent Calendar
SB19-180 Amended, referred to Senate Appropriations
SB19-143 Amended, referred to Senate Appropriations
HB19-1119 Referred to the Committee of the Whole

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

HB19-1197 - Referred to the Committee of the Whole - Consent Calendar


01:35:04 PM  

Senators Gardner and Lee, co-prime sponsors, explained HB19-1197, concerning restrictions on making public the personal information of government employees whose official duties involve child abuse and neglect cases. The Senators explained the need for case workers working with vulnerable children to be better protected from harassment and threats.

 

 

01:39:03 PM  

Julie Krow, executive director of El Paso County Human Services, spoke in support of the bill. She cited statistics about threats made to case workers and distributed a related document (Attachment A). 

01:42:21 PM  

Peter Lichtman, representing El Paso County Attorney's Office, testified in favor of the bill.  He discussed the strengths of the bill. 

Gini Pingenot, representing Colorado Counties Incorporated, spoke in support of the bill.  She noted how the bill will be helpful to those who are involved with child abuse and neglect cases and distributed a fact sheet (Attachment B).

01:46:46 PM  

The following three individuals testified anonymously to protect their identity. 

Individual 1, representing El Paso County Department of Human Services, spoke in support of the bill.  The individual gave a personal account of being attacked and threatened because of trying to protect children during the course of duties.

Individual 2, representing El Paso County Department of Human Services, testified in support of the bill.  The individual discussed working with families who had children removed and the high emotions involved. 

Individual 3, representing El Paso County Department of Human Services, testified in favor of the measure.  This individual reportedly received a threat from the Mexican Cartel. 

 

02:00:19 PM  

Mary Berg, representing Jefferson County Department of Human Services, spoke in support of the bill.  She distributed a handout from Jefferson County about child welfare incidents (Attachment C) and discussed the county's threat assessment team.  

02:04:10 PM  

Senators Gardner and Lee made closing remarks. 



02:08:06 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 19-1197 to the Committee of the Whole and with a recommendation that it be placed on the consent calendar.
Moved Lee
Seconded
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Rodriguez Yes
Gonzales Yes
Lee Yes
Final YES: 5   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS



SB19-180 - Amended, referred to Senate Appropriations


02:11:57 PM  

Senator Winter, sponsor, explained SB19-180, concerning the creation of an eviction legal defense fund, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.  She stressed the importance of housing.

Jack Regenbogen, representing Colorado Center on Law and Policy, spoke in support of the bill.  He discussed the the consequences of eviction and the complex legal system to navigate when housing is in jeopardy. 

Aubrey Hasvold, representing the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, testified in support of the bill. She noted that access to attorneys in an eviction proceeding levels the playing field. 

02:19:11 PM  

Les Ebert, representing Colorado Legal Services, provided a neutral position on the bill.  He discussed a pilot project in the Denver County courts that served 550 households with eviction matters.

Tom Snyder, representing the Colorado Poverty Law Project, testified in favor of the bill. He discussed other states with similar programs and stressed the importance of spending money on the front-end.  He answered questions from the committee.

Caitlin Fin, representing Colorado Poverty Law Project, spoke in support of the bill.  She noted that attorneys can help prevent an eviction.

02:27:36 PM  

Thomas Davidson, Summit County Commissioner, testified in favor of the bill.  He discussed housing issues in Summit County.

Adam Burg, representing Adams County, spoke in support of the bill. He noted that renters are having a hard time finding a place to live and navigating the legal structure.

Sarah Barnes, representiong the Colorado Children's Campaign, testified in support of the bill. She discussed the relationship between stable housing and child well-being.

02:32:27 PM  

Esther Turcios, representing the Colorado Fiscal Institute, testified in favor of the measure.  She cited statistics and costs related to evictions. 

Kristin Seidel, representing the Colorado Women's Lobby, spoke in support of the bill. She discussed the cycle of eviction and poverty.

02:37:43 PM  

Duranya Freeman, representing All Families Deserve a Chance Coalition, testified in support of the bill.

Chris Lyttle, representing Center for Health Progress, spoke in support of the bill. He discussed housing and health equity issues. 

Lynn Smith, representing AARP, testified in favor of the bill. She noted particular problems seniors encounter with evictions. 

Lydia Waligorski, representing Violence Free Colorado, spoke in support of the bill.  She distributed an example of an eviction notice to committee members (Attachment D).

02:46:07 PM  

Valerie Schlect, representing Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, testified in support of the bill. She stressed that evictions disproportionately affect people with disabilities.

Andrea Chiriboga-Flor, representing 9to5 Colorado, spoke in support of the measure.  She discussed eviction rates in Aurora and noted that eviction more often happens to women.  

02:50:45 PM  

Molly Bowers, representing Focus Reentry, testified in support of the bill. She discussed the impact of incarceration on housing and evictions.

Vanessa Guzman, representing Interfaith Allliance, testified in favor of the bill.

Adrienne Bowes, representing Bayaud Enterprises, testified in support of the bill. She noted that access to legal services is beneficial in eviction cases. 

02:58:45 PM  

Peter Severson, representing Lutheran Advocacy, spoke in support of the bill. He discussed the role of churches and housing. 

03:00:27 PM  

Ed Shackelford, representing Colorado Senior Lobby, testified in support the bill.

Shannon MacKenzie, representing Disability Law Colorado, testified in favor of the bill.

Senator Winter distibuted and explained amendment L. 001 regarding the distribution of funds (Attachment E).  



03:04:46 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.001
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke
Gardner
Rodriguez
Gonzales
Lee
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
03:05:23 PM  

Senator Winter made closing remarks. 



03:06:54 PM
Motion Refer Senate Bill 19-180, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations.
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke No
Gardner No
Rodriguez Yes
Gonzales Yes
Lee Yes
Final YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS



SB19-143 - Amended, referred to Senate Appropriations

03:07:15 PM  

Senator Lee explained SB19-143, concerning changes related to parole release to alleviate prison population issues.  He explained that the bill is one in a series of actions being taken to manage the prison population. 

Dean Williams, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC), provided testimony about the bill.  He discussed prison vacancy rates and noted that county jails are filling up with offenders waiting to get a spot in prison.  He further discussed recidivism and parole technical violations.  He answered questions from the committee about parole criteria and risk assessments.  Discussion followed about statutory requirements for prison fencing and walls and other security measures. 

 

03:32:51 PM  

Mr. Williams continued to answer questions from the committee about transition work facilities in DOC and the differences between them and Community Corrections (Comcor).  Discussion ensued about Comcor and bedspace and other reentry services,   Further discussion followed about technical violations and concerns about forcing inmates out of prison before they are ready due to high capacity. 

 

03:41:24 PM  

Christie Donner, representing the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, testified in favor or the bill.  She discussed how the bill provides more tools to manage prison populations.  She walked the committee through the bill and emphasized parole eligibility requirements, parole board decisions, technical violations, short-term stabilization options, and community reentry programs. 

 

 

03:53:46 PM  

Committee members noted the hard work Ms. Donner and others put into the bll.  Discussion followed about low risk inmates, parole eligibility, and community services.  Ms. Donner explained how the bill will require a review by the full Parole Board if concerns are raised about an inmate who is eligible for release.  The committee proceeded to discuss the prison capacity and short-term stabilization facilities. 

 

04:06:28 PM  

Committee members raised questions about misclassification, information sharing, and communication between DOC and the Parole Board.  Concerns about homelessness and recidivism were also discussed. 

04:14:00 PM  

Ray Harlan, representing Colorado Victims for Justice, spoke in opposition to the bill. He distributed a letter outlining some of his concerns about the bill (Attachment F). 

An email from Gregg Kildow was distributed and made part of record (Attachment G).

Senator Lee distributed and explained amendments L. 001 and L. 004 as conforming ones (Attachments H and I). 



04:31:15 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.001
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke
Gardner
Rodriguez
Gonzales
Lee
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection


04:33:02 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.004
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke
Gardner
Rodriguez
Gonzales
Lee
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
04:33:03 PM  

Senator Lee distributed and explained amendment L. 005, which makes prison population management strategies mandatory (Attachment J). 

04:33:05 PM  

Senator Lee next distributed and explained amendment L. 007 (Attachment K) that strikes sections of the bill related to the Camp George transitional facility. 



04:33:42 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.005
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke
Gardner
Rodriguez
Gonzales
Lee
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection


04:34:22 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.007
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke
Gardner
Rodriguez
Gonzales
Lee
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
04:34:23 PM  

Senators Lee and Gonzales made closing remarks. 



04:35:30 PM
Motion Refer Senate Bill 19-143, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations.
Moved Lee
Seconded
Cooke No
Gardner No
Rodriguez Yes
Gonzales Yes
Lee Yes
Final YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS



HB19-1119 - Referred to the Committee of the Whole

04:35:51 PM  

Senator Foote explained HB19-1119, concerning public disclosure of a completed peace officer internal investigation file.  He reported that a diverse number of states have adopted similar measures and that this bill is modeled after a Denver Police Department policy.  He noted the importance of accountability and transparency.  Senator Foote stressed that the bill applies only to on-duty incidents and withholds the identity of the victim. 

 

04:54:53 PM  

Senator Foote answered questions from the committee about concerns that the bill will inhibit full candor in investigations due to the fear of it going public.  

04:59:18 PM  

Herb Atchison, Mayor of the city of Westminster, spoke in opposition to the bill. He noted concerns about the disclosure of an officer's name and related safety issues. 

Tim Carlson, Chief of Police in the city of Westminster, testified against the bill.  He expressed concerns about privacy and cooperation and suggested an amendment to remove or redact an officer's name from the investigatory findings. 

Rebecca Klymkowsky, representing the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, spoke in opposition to the bill.  She discussed frivolous complaints and reputational harm.  She also noted recruitment issues and potential problems with a new standard of records review in the bill. 

Committee discussion followed about internal investigations and the different standards employed throughout the state. 

 

05:17:49 PM  

Don Sisson, representing the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), spoke against the bill. He stated the FOP's position that the bill strips an officer's privacy and undercuts fairness. He answered questions from the committee about Denver's standard, the Harris balancing test, and substantiated versus unsubstantiated claims.

05:27:09 PM  

Denise Maes, representing the ACLU, spoke in support of the bill. She addressed some of the concerns raised by the opponents and explained the difficulty of obtaining police records in jurisdictions other than Denver.  

Rebecca Wallace, representing the ACLU, testified in support of the bill. She discussed that going through the court is often the only way to obtain police records.  She discussed the importance of not differentiating between substantiated and unsubstantiated complaints.  She distributed two handouts about record transparency and Colorado case law (Attachments L and M). 

05:39:07 PM  

Margaret Kwoka, representing the University of Denver Law School, testified in favor of the bill. She distributed a study that documented the difficulty of getting police misconduct records (Attachment N).

Jeff Roberts, representing the Colordo Freedom of Information Coalition, testified in support of the measure.  He stated that police records should not be off-limits to the general public. 

05:48:05 PM  

Noelle Phillips, representing the Denver Post, spoke in support of the bill. She explained that Denver is the only agency that consistently releases internal affairs files.  She noted the public good from releasing files. 

Jill Gorschmann, representing the Colorado Press Assocation, testified in support of the bill. She stressed the importance of holding publically funded agencies accountable.  She also discussed the importance of identifying trends and having a consistent standard in place for obtaining police records.

05:56:10 PM  

Patrick Potyondy, representing Colorado Common Cause, spoke in support of the bill.  He discussed transparency and accountability.  He discussed cost factors related to suing for records release. 

Elizabeth Epps, representing the Colorado Freedom Fund, testified in support of the bill. She provided a personal account of being part of an incident and being denied access to files. 

06:03:44 PM  

Shayne Madsen, representing the Independence Institute, spoke in support of the bill.  She distributed an editorial from the Greeley Gazette (Attachment O).

Senator Cooke explained and distributed amendment L. 012, which makes the bill applicable to sustained or substantiated claims only (Attachment P).  Senator Foote disagreed with the proposed amendment. 



06:13:06 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.012
Moved Cooke
Seconded
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Rodriguez No
Gonzales No
Lee No
YES: 2   NO: 3   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  FAIL
06:13:07 PM  

Senator Foote made closing remarks. 



06:15:44 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 19-1119 to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke No
Gardner No
Rodriguez Yes
Gonzales Yes
Lee Yes
Final YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


06:15:51 PM   The committee adjourned.