Hill Leads Charge to Strengthen Penalties Against Repeat Abusers

 
 

 DENVER--Today, the Senate gave unanimous support to Senator Owen Hill's (R-Colorado Springs) House Bill 17-1150, denying bail to repeat offenders of stalking or domestic violence.

Under current law, certain crimes are exempt from the possibility of bail. HB 1150 adds to the existing list, a second offense of stalking or domestic violence that occurs within seven years of the first offense.
According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence or stalking in their life. Of those victims, 77 percent of women aged 18 to 24 we're victimized multiple times by the same offender, the number increases to 81 percent for women aged 35 to 49. 
Under Colorado's mandatory arrest laws, if a peace officer has any cause to believe domestic violence has occurred, an arrest will be made. However, offenders are often quickly released and reoffend, discouraging many victims from ever reporting the crime.
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"Move Over for Cody" law Sent to House with Unanimous Support

   

 

DENVER—Today, a bill sponsored by Senator Chris Holbert (R- Douglas County) in regards to penalties for drivers who do not exhibit care when passing stationary vehicles on the road passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

 

Senate Bill 17-229 adds to current law concerning drivers who fail to exhibit necessary care and caution when passing stationary emergency vehicles or towing carrier vehicles. Current law makes this a class A traffic offense. 

SB-229 adds stationary public utility service vehicles to current current statute, as well as increases the penalty to a class 1 misdemeanor if the driver causes bodily harm to another person, and a class 6 felony if the driver causes the death of another person. 

The bill is named in honor of fallen Trooper Cody Donahue whose life was taken last year when a tractor-trailer failed to yield for the stopped emergency vehicle. 

With the law in place as it is, there have been hundreds of convictions for careless driving in the past year. The penalty for this conviction can be between $150 to $1000, and 10 days to 12 months in jail, depending on whether anyone was hurt or killed by proximate cause of the driver’s actions. 

 

 

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Bipartisan Approval for Increased Access to Contraceptives

 

DENVER--Today, on a vote of 22-11 with 2 excused, the Senate gave bipartisan approval for Senator Don Coram's (R-Montrose) bill increasing Colorado women's access to oral contraception. 

House Bill 17-1186 asks health insurers that are required under current law to provide contraception coverage to extend coverage to provide 12-month's worth of oral contraceptives for a woman with a prescription. 
Last year, the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 16-135 which allows licensed pharmacists to write birth control prescriptions. 
HB 1186 further improves women's access to contraception by reducing unnecessary trips to health care providers and giving women more of the tools they need to ensure the highest quality of care possible. 
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"Move Over for Cody" Act Honors Fallen Trooper

Today, a bill sponsored by Senator Chris Holbert (R- Douglas County) in regards to penalties for drivers who do notexhibit care when passing stationary vehicles on the road passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

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Senate Republicans Work to Protect Internet

Today, the Senate approved Majority Leader Chris Holbert's (R-Douglas County) bill protecting Colorado consumer's online privacy.

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Committee Unanimously Agrees to Deny Bail to Habitual Stalkers

 

 DENVER--Today, the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee gave unanimous support to Senator Owen Hill's (R-Colorado Springs) House Bill 17-1050, denying bail to repeat offenders of stalking or domestic violence.

Under current law, certain crimes are exempt from the possibility of bail. HB 1050 adds to the existing list, a second offense of stalking or domestic violence that occurs within seven years of the first offense.
According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence or stalking in their life. Of those victims, 77 percent of women aged 18 to 24 we're victimized multiple times by the same offender, the number increases to 81 percent for women aged 35 to 49. 
Under Colorado's mandatory arrest laws, if a peace officer has any cause to believe domestic violence has occurred, an arrest will be made. However, offenders are often quickly released and reoffend, discouraging many victims from ever reporting the crime.
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Committee Affirms Rural Sustainability is a top Senate Priority

Denver—Today, the Senate Finance Committee approved Senate Bill 267 on a 4-1 vote, carried by President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg. 

Senate Bill 267 recognizes the unique struggles of rural Colorado by adopting a multi-pronged approach to improve rural schools, health care, and roads and bridges. 

This legislation authorizes the Legislature to set aside $125 million to bond for $1.7 billion, directing 25 percent, or $300 million, of that amount to improve the infrastructure of Colorado's rural communities with populations of less than 50,000.    

SB 267 repeals the statutorily required transfers imposed by SB 09-228, which currently move funds from the General Fund (GF) to the Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF) and Capital Construction Fund based on certain TABOR refund triggers. 

The bill moves $79 million of the funds, which would otherwise be transferred to the HUTF, to State Education Fund in 2017, $160 million in 2018, and $160 million in 2019 to be prioritized for rural schools. 

SB 267 also reclassifies the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) as an enterprise, while resetting the TABOR base and lowering the cap. 

The bill also speaks to the unintended consequences of health care expansion, and avoids the hazardous effects of hospital closures, by addressing entitlement reform and forcing efficiencies and savings in health care.

Lastly, SB 267 prioritizes lean and accountable local government by asking all state departments to trim 2 percent in excess spending and inefficiencies from their budgets by next fiscal year.

The bill was amended in committee to increase access to health care for rural Colorado by allowing Colorado families on Medicaid to seek out health care providers who are not covered under the Medicaid network, if another provider better suits their needs.

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Committee Unanimously Approves Two More Cooke Bills Guarding Against Sex Trade

 

DENVER—Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved two more bills carried by Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley) focused on protecting victims of sexual servitude and ending sex trafficking in Colorado.

House Bill 17-1072 adds to the definition of human trafficking for sexual servitude, the act of purchasing another person in order to coerce engagement in sexual activity. It also adds this element to the definition of human trafficking of a minor 

Under current law, unlawful sexual activity only pertains to minors, HB 1072 expands that definition to include human trafficking and requires those convicted to register under the sex offender registry. 

House Bill 17-1172 requires courts to adhere to the minimum sentencing of eight years in the Department of Corrections for those convicted of a class 2 felony for human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude. 

In 2016, Colorado saw a 56 percent increase in the number of human trafficking cases from reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Senator John Cooke is a former Sheriff of Weld County who worked as a persons crime investigator and focused his career on protecting Colorado's most vulnerable citizens from sexual assaults, rapes, and violent crimes.

 

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Bill to Improve Access to Workers’ Compensation for PTSD Moves Through Committee

DENVER—Today, a bill sponsored by Senator John Cooke, R-Weld County, clarifying worker’s compensation mental impairment coverage passed successfully through the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee 

 

House Bill 17-1229 improves the current wording of workers’ compensation insurance laws regarding mental impairment claims. Under current law, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not clearly defined, making reporting and filing mental impairment claims after workers experience a traumatic event difficult for first responders. 

 

HB-1229 states that an individual suffering from PTSD must be diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. The bill clarifies that PTSD is defined as a “psychologically traumatic event,” or an event differing from the individual’s usual work experience that would evoke significant symptoms of distress.

 

HB-1229 clearly defines PTSD, broadening the definition to make claims. It also streamlines the process of filing for and receiving workers’ compensation for those who serve the community as first responders. The bill further ensures that those who have experienced a traumatic event in the workplace and are in need of workers’ compensation can get the care they need as quickly as possible. 

 

 

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Road and Transportation Package Gains Momentum Following Major Modifications

DENVER -- The centerpiece of a bipartisan push to put a road and transportation fix on the ballot next fall gained major momentum at the Colorado Statehouse today, winning Transportation Committee support after being amended in ways that could give the measure more traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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