Gardner Moves to Reform Division of Youth Corrections

Denver--Today, the Senate agreed to Senator Bob Gardner's (R-El Paso County) proposal offering reforms to the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC).

Senate Bill 17-289 aims to keep DYC staff and younger inmates safe by providing the Division the option to transfer inmates between the ages of 18-21 to the Department of Corrections, if the offender has committed a dangerous, secondary offense while in custody. 

DYC inmates can be as young as 10 years old, and older inmates who continue to commit crimes--such as possession of a deadly weapon, a crime of violence, or possession or distribution of a controlled substance--create an unsafe environment for the younger children who work toward a path of rehabilitation. 

SB 289 works in conjunction with another Republican-sponsored piece of legislation carried by Senator Kevin Priola (R-Brighton) which repeals a mandatory sentencing requirement for juveniles under the age of 12 who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. House Bill 17-1207 and SB 289 alleviate the burden on the Division, while helping to create a climate conducive to rehabilitation by ensuring a safe environment for staff and detainees.

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Democrats Refuse to Trust Colorado Taxpayers

DENVER—Today, Senate Democrats refused to stand up for Colorado taxpayers and direct funding directly to Colorado roads and bridges. 

SJM 17-006, which urges Congress to allow Colorado to keep revenue remitted from gas taxes in the Highway Users Trust Fund, instead of sending them to the Federal government. 
In 2015, over $661 million was collected from Colorado and paid to the federal highway trust fund. The state then requests the funds back, and is subjected to regulations, mandates, and increased costs imposed by the federal government. 
SJM 006 calls upon Congress to trust state and local governments to make the best decisions for their citizens, and allow Colorado to fix its infrastructure in a manner that best suits Coloradans. 
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Senate Gives Full Support to Crack Down on Sex Trafficking

DENVER—Today, the Senate unanimously passed Senator John Cooke's (R-Greeley) guarding against the sexual trafficking of minors in Colorado. 

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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Republican Bill Takes Steps to End Wage Inequities

 DENVER—Today, the Senate approved Senator Beth Martinez Humenik's, R-Thornton, bill taking steps to end wage secrecy Colorado on a vote of 33-1. 

Current law prohibits an employer from disciplining, intimidating, discharging, or otherwise interfering with an employee's ability to discuss wages with another employee, with certain exemptions for certain employers from these labor laws.
House Bill 17-1269 strikes those exemptions to create uniformity in and transparency and end a culture of pay secrecy.
The affected employers include federal, state, or local governments, employers who employ only agricultural workers, as well as airlines and railroads.
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Senate Republicans Move to Fund Schools

DENVER--Today, the Senate introduced Senate Bill 296, the School Finance Act, carried by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), chair of the Senate Committee on Education. 

Under constitutional obligation, the General Assembly must pass both a balanced budget as well as legislation funding K-12 education in Colorado. 
A balanced budget is required in order to address K-12 funding in schools.
The Senate passed the Long Bill and all associated bills funding the State of Colorado on March 30, 2017. As of Wednesday, the Democrat controlled House of Representatives has not fulfilled their constitutional obligation. 
The School Finance Act in its current form, sets school funding to the budget that passed the Senate on March 30. The bill increases per pupil funding for Colorado schools from $6,367.90 to $6,546.20, providing more resources for kids and teachers in classrooms across the state.
The proposal sets the base for total program funding for all Colorado K-12 schools at $6,585,800,182. 
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Farmers Cheer Water Rights Measure Backed by Scott & Coram

Given that water has started far more brawls in arid Colorado than whiskey, the passage of any measure designed to lower tensions over the issue is a news-making rarity at the Statehouse. That explains the pride many were feeling Tuesday when Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed SB-36, a bill designed to ensure that water disputes don’t drain farmers dry, by simplifying and streamlining the dispute resolution process.

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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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