Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

CCJRC Weekly Legislative Update


                  CCJRC Weekly Legislative Update               
We are in the last days of the legislative session which ends on May 8th.  This is the phase where things get more tense, intense, and just plain-old chaotic. Here’s a quick update of what happened last week and what’s on deck for next week. We also include a detailed summary of individual bills organized by those that are still pending, those that have been signed into law (or are awaiting action by the Governor), and those that have died.

What happened last week

Last week (4/22-4/26) saw some great progress.  The following bills made it through their final vote and are off to the Governor’s desk for signature! SB 07 (CCJJ continuation), SB
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14 (immunity from civil and criminal liability for providing opiate antagonist drug to someone at risk of over-dose), HB 1129 (expanding evidence-based practice training for criminal justice agencies), and HB 1236 (best practices in bonding).  Lots of great work by the Harm Reduction Action Center and Drug Policy Alliance (SB 14), the Criminal Defense Bar and Criminal Defense Foundation (HB 1236) and the Department of Public Safety for shepherding the two bills based on recommendations from the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice (SB 07 and HB 1129). 

Other bills advanced through various votes (but still have a way to go), including SB 250 (drug sentencing reform), SB 208 (changes to drug paraphernalia law), HB 1082 (juvenile record sealing), HB 1156 (expanding pre-filing diversion), HB 1160 (changes in theft laws), HB 1230 (compensation for people exonerated by DNA evidence who had been convicted and incarcerated), and HJR 1019 (interim task force to study legal representation for juveniles).

Unfortunately, two other bills also advanced including HB 1151 (mandatory DNA collection on people convicted of class 1 misdemeanor) and HB 1214 (creating a felony DUI law).  Both bills passed out of the House and have been introduced in the Senate.  Both cost money to implement (and the state budget bill is already done), so passage of these bills will be an uphill battle—but there’s that saying about counting chickens before they are hatched—particularly since Senate President Morse is the sponsor of both these bills. Both bills were assigned to Senate Finance Committee instead of Senate Judiciary Committee but have not yet been calendared.

Several bills related to Amendment 64 implementation were also just introduced. They are long and complicated so we do not have a summary of them included under the Pending Legislation section.  If you want to review them, we’ve provided a link to each bill.

One bill died and then came back to life. HB 1114 (permissible inference at 5ng for DUI-marijuana) passed the House (57-6-2) and then died in the Senate Judiciary Committee (1-4). But it was resurrected in the House when the entire content of HB 1114 was amended into HB 1317 (Amendment 64 implementation) on second reading. 

Also HB 1261 (bill to repurpose Ft Lyon Correctional Facility to homeless service program) has stalled.  Although it passed the House on 4/15, it has yet to be introduced in the Senate.  The long delay means that the bill doesn’t have enough support in the Senate to pass, at least not yet.

What’s Happening This Week
This week (4/29-5/3) is the last full week of session. The calendar gets less predictable from here on out and bills can get set for a vote without a lot of notice.  For each bill under Pending Legislation, we’ve included a specific date for a committee hearing or floor vote based on the latest information available. There is still a huge volume of bills to get through the process and both the House and Senate worked later into the evening last week. This upcoming week is likely to be the same. It’s a race to the finish!!!!!

Pending Legislation

SB 13-123 Concerning Provisions That Improve The Reintegration Opportunities for Persons Involved in the Criminal Justice System
Sponsors: Senator Steadman (D) and Representative Levy (D)
CCJRC position: support-priority
Description: As amended, the bill would allow petty offenses and municipal violations to be eligible for sealing through a court process; requires the court to provide written advisement of sealing available following a conviction for a petty or municipal offense. The bill would also allow a judge to grant relief from a collateral consequence at sentencing if the defendant met other eligibility requirements and requires that the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice make recommendations and submit a report no later than December 15, 2013 on specific strategies for reducing the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction or other recommendations to improve reentry.
Status: passed Senate (35-0); scheduled in House Judiciary on 4/30 at 1:30 in rm 0112.

SB 13–208 Concerning Limitations on Drug Paraphernalia Laws
Sponsors: Sen. Steadman (D), Sen. Aguilar (D), Sen. Guzman (D), Sen. Hudak (D), Sen. Nicholson (D), Sen. Ulibarri (D) and Rep May (D)
CCJRC Position: support
Description: Current criminal law exempts from prosecution people who possess paraphernalia if they are an employee or volunteer of a syringe exchange program approved by the department of public health and environment. The bill extends this exemption to persons who are participants in an approved program.
Status: passed Senate (28-6); passed second reading in the House on 4/26; will next be heard on 3rd and final passage in House on 4/29

SB13-244 Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force
Sponsors: Senator Guzman (D) and Representative Kagan (D)
CCJRC position: monitor
Description:  This bill extends the repeal date for the Methamphetamine Task Force, expands membership from 16-22 members, expands the scope and renames it to the Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force
Status: passed Senate unanimously (35-0) on 4/15; passed the House on 4/26 but will need to go back to Senate for concurrence/repassage because it was amended by the House. Scheduled on 4/29.

SB13-250 Concerning Changes to Sentencing for Persons Convicted of Drug Crimes
Sponsors: Sen. Steadman (D) and Sen. S. King (R) and Rep. Levy (D)
CCJRC position: priority-support
Description: This bill is based on numerous recommendations from the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice that would rewrite the Controlled Substances Act.  Major provisions include: creating a stand-alone sentencing scheme for drug offenses; consolidating all drug possession of scheduled substances into one felony level but allowing that felony to be reduced to a misdemeanor upon successful completion of probation or community corrections sentence, if other criteria is met; requiring the court to exhaust all appropriate and available sentencing options for convictions of a level 4 drug felony prior to sentence to incarceration; allows people convicted of a misdemeanor to be supervised on intensive supervised probation if assessed to be higher risk; creating different felony crime levels to distinguish between low, medium, and high-level dealers based on drug quantity; expanding access to treatment for people serving a sentence for a drug offense; and making numerous conforming amendments.
Status:  passed Senate Judiciary unanimously on 4/15; passed Appropriations on 4/26 (6-1) and was amended to take $3.5million in prison savings and reinvest into substance abuse treatment for people in the criminal justice system starting in FY14-15; is scheduled for second reading in the Senate on 4/30.

SB13-253 Concerning a Deferred Judgment for a Drug Offense When There is a Violation of the Deferred Judgment
Sponsors: Sen. Steadman (D) and Representative Levy (D)
CCJRC Position: support- priority
Description:  Under current law, a violation of the terms of a deferred judgment requires the court to enter the defendant’s guilty plea.  The bill allows the court to continue deferred judgment after a violation in a drug case and impose new conditions that may assist the defendant in successfully completing the deferred judgment.
Status: passed Senate Judiciary (5-0) 4/17; scheduled for second reading in the Senate on 4/29.

HB 13-1082 Concerning Juvenile Delinquency Records
Sponsors: Representative Labuda (D)
CCJRC position: support
Description:  As amended, the bill makes numerous changes to the procedures for expunging juvenile criminal records.
Status: passed House on 4/11 (45-17-3); passed Senate Judiciary 4/24 unanimously and is will next be voted on 2nd reading in Senate. Scheduled on 4/29.

HB13-1156 Concerning Creation of an Adult Diversion Program
Sponsors: Rep Levy (D) and Senator Steadman (D)
CCJRC position: priority support
Description: Creates a pre-filing diversion programs for adults statewide and creates a state grant program that district attorneys can apply for funding to create or expand an adult pre-filing diversion program. The district attorney is required to develop eligibility guidelines and may enter into a diversion agreement with a defendant for up to two years without filing a criminal case against the defendant. This bill is based on a recommendation by the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.
Status: passed House on 4/5; passed second reading in the Senate on 4/26; scheduled for third reading in the Senate on 4/29.

HB13-1160 Concerning Criminal Theft
Sponsors: Rep Pabon (D) and Senator King (R)
CCJRC position: priority support
Description: This bill repeals theft of rental property and theft by receiving as separate statutes and incorporates these crimes into the theft statute. It also changes the amount for various offense levels. This bill is based on a recommendation by the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.
Status: passed House on 3rd reading; passed Senate Judiciary on 4/24 (5-0); passed Appropriations (5-1-1) on 4/26; will next be heard on second reading the Senate on 4/30.

HB13-1210 Concerning Appointment of Legal Counsel During Plea Negotiations for Indigent Adult Defendants
Sponsors: Rep. Kagan (D) and Senator Steadman (D)
CCJRC position: support
Description: This bill will make Colorado law consistent with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the right to legal counsel during critical stages, including plea negotiations, this bill repeals the statute that requires an indigent person charged with a misdemeanor, petty offense, or motor vehicle or traffic offense to meet with the prosecuting attorney before legal counsel is appointed.
Status: passed House on 4/16 (35-28-2); scheduled for Senate Judiciary on 4/29 at 1:30 in Old Supreme Court.

HB13-1214 Concerning the Classification of Certain Drunk Driving Offenses as Felonies
Sponsors: Rep. Waller (R)
CCJRC position: Oppose
Description: Under current law, a conviction for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI is considered a misdemeanor offense. The bill states that such an offense is a class 5 felony if: the violation occurred not more than 7 years after the first of two prior convictions or if the defendant has 3 prior DUI or DWAI convictions.  Estimated increase in prison costs is at least $16million a year.
Status: passed House (55-8-2); assigned to Senate Finance; not yet calendared

HB13-1230 Concerning Compensation For Persons Who Are Exonerated of their Crimes After a Period of Incarceration
Sponsors: Rep. Williams (D), Pabon (D), Buckner (D), Court (D), Hullinghorst (D), M elton (D), Pettersen (D), Salazar (D); and Senator Guzman (D)
CCJRC position: Support
Description: With certain limitations, the state shall compensate a person, or the immediate family members of a person, who has been: wrongly convicted of a felony, or wrongly adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for the commission of an offense that would be a felony if committed by a person 18 years of age or older; incarcerated; and exonerated and found to be actually innocent.
Status: passed House on 4/9; passed Senate Judiciary; 4/24 (5-0); scheduled in Senate Appropriations 4/29

HB 13-1251 Concerning Collection of a DNA Sample from Offenders Convicted of a Misdemeanor
Sponsors:  Representatives Pabon (D) and Foote (D) and Senator Morse (D)
CCJRC position: oppose
Description:  Under current law, only people convicted of a misdemeanor involving unlawful sexual conduct must provide a DNA sample for inclusion in the DNA database at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. As amended, the bill would require collection of a DNA sample from all persons convicted of a class 1. In 2012, there were over 20,000 people convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor.
Status: passed House (43-21-1); assigned to Senate Finance-not yet calendared.

HB13-1254 Concerning Restorative Justice
Sponsors: Representative Lee (D), Senator Newell (D)
CCJRC position: Support
Description: Under current law, restorative justice victim-offender conferences must be initiated by the victim. The bill modifies the requirement of victim initiation in some instances to permit district attorney or offender initiation. There is a restorative justice coordinating council established in the state court administrator's office; the bill adds: a member of the parole board; a representative from the department of corrections, a representative from a statewide organization representing victims; and a restorative justice practitioner. The bill creates a pilot project for restorative justice programs in 4 judicial districts.
Status: passed House (35-27-3); scheduled in Senate Judiciary 4/29 at 1:30 in Old Supreme Court.

HB13-1261 Concerning the Use of the Property Where the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility Was Located
Sponsors: Representative Garcia (D) and Rep. Dore (R)
CCJRC position: monitor
Description: The bill designates a portion of the Fort Lyon property, which was the site of a former state correctional facility, as a transitional residential community for the homeless to provide substance abuse supportive services, medical care, job training, and skill development for the residents.
Status: passed House (49-13-3) on 4/15; introduced in the Senate; not yet assigned committee or calendared.
HJR13-1019: Concerning Creation of an Interim Committee To Study Legal Defense in Juvenile Justice Proceedings
Sponsors: Representatives Levy (D) and Navarro (R) and Senators Giron (D) and Harvey (R)
CCJRC position: monitor
Description: Creates a legislative committee of six voting members from the House and Senate and the up to ten non-voting members may also be appointed. The interim legislative committee shall meet no less than four times and shall evaluate multiple issues related to the availability, timing and proficiency of legal representation of juveniles.
Status: passed House 4/8; passed Senate Judiciary and Senate Legislative Council committees unanimously; will next be voted on 2nd reading in Senate on 4/30.

Legislation Signed into Law (or awaiting action by the Governor)

SB 13-007 Concerning the Repeal Date of the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice
Sponsors: Senator Morse (D) and Representative Waller (R)
CCJRC position: support
Description: The Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) has a repeal date of July 1, 2013. This bill was amended to set a new repeal date and continue the CCJJ. This bill is based on a recommendation from the CCJJ.
Status: passed Senate 30-5 (2/22) and passed House on 4/22; awaiting action by Governor.

SB 13-014 Concerning the Use of Opiate Antagonists to Treat Persons Who Suffer Opiate-Related Drug Overdose Events
Sponsors: Senator Aguilar (D) and Rep. Pettersen (D)
CCJRC position: support
Description: This bill would provide immunity from criminal prosecution and immunity from civil liability if a person, acting in good faith, administers an opiate antagonist to another person whom the person believes to be suffering an opiate-related drug overdose. A licensed health-care practitioner who is permitted by law to prescribe or dispense an opiate antagonist shall be immune from criminal prosecution for and is not liable for any civil damages resulting from such prescribing.
Status: passed Senate (26-8-1); passed House 63-1-1 4/23; awaiting action by Governor.

SB13-177 Concerning Changes to Juvenile Corrections Programs and, in Connection Reducing the Juvenile Detention Bed Cap
Sponsor: Senators Lambert (R), Hodge (D), Steadman (D); and Representatives Gerou (R), Duran (D) and Levy (D) (Joint Budget Committee Members)
CCJRC position: Support
Description: Reduces the number of available juvenile detention beds statewide from 422 beds to 382 beds as of April 1, 2013.
Status: passed Senate 35-0 on 2/22; passed House 64-1 on 3/15; signed into law on 3/29
HB 13-1014 Concerning the Taking of Newspapers
Sponsors: Representative Levy (D) and Senator Steve King (R)
CCJRC position: support
Description: The bill moves the crime of newspaper theft and renames it interference with lawful distribution of newspapers. This bill is based on a recommendation from the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.
Status: passed House 64-0; passed Senate 35-0; signed into law by the Governor on 2/27
HB 13-1038 Concerning the Voting Rights of Individuals in the Custody of the Division of Youth Corrections within the Department of Human Services
Sponsors: Representative Rosenthal (D)
CCJRC position: support
Description: For youths confined in a juvenile facility in the custody of the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) who will be 18 years of age or older on the date of the next elections, this bill requires the administrator of DYC facilities to provide information and facilitate voter registration and voting by mail-in ballot.
Status: passed House (36-28-1); passed Senate (26-8-1); signed into law on 3/15

HB 13-1129 Concerning Creating the Evidence-Based Practices Implementation for Capacity Resource Center
Sponsors: Representative Pettersen (D) and Senator Newell (D)
CCJRC position: support
Description: This bill creates a resource center in the Division of Criminal Justice to promote evidence-based practices by criminal justice agencies. An advisory board will oversee the resource center which includes, at a minimum, the executive directors of the department of public safety, department of corrections, the department of human services, and the division of probation. The Division of Criminal Justice will report to the General Assembly by July 1, 2014 and every 3 years thereafter. This bill is based on a recommendation by the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.
Status: passed House (57-6-2) 4/5; passed Senate on 4/26; awaiting action by Governor

HB13-1236 Best Practices in Bond Setting
Sponsors: Senator Ulibarri (D), and Rep. Levy (D)
CCJRC position: support
Description: The bill repeals and reenacts the provisions of the criminal procedure code related to bail bonds. The new provision places a greater emphasis on evidence-based and individualized decision-making during the bond-setting process and discourages use of monetary conditions for bond. This bill is based on a recommendation by the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.
Status: passed House (63-1-1); passed Senate on 4/18; repassed House (59-5-1) on 4/22 and is awaiting action by Governor

Legislation that Died

HB 13-1085 Concerning Changes to the Crimes Eligible for Possession of Weapons by Previous Offenders
Sponsors: Representative Buck (R) and Senator Renfroe (R)
CCJRC position: support
Description: Under current law, it is a crime for a person convicted of any felony offense to possess a firearm. This bill would limit the prohibition on possessing a firearm to those felony convictions under the victim’s rights act, burglary, arson, or any felony involving the use of force or the use of a deadly weapon.
Status: House Judiciary Committee Postponed Indefinitely on 4/2
HB13-1148 Concerning Changes to Aggravated Sentencing Provisions
Sponsors: Representative Foote (D) and Senator Roberts (R)
CCJRC position: priority support
Description: This bill repeals the extraordinary risk sentencing enhancer. Also adds certain child abuse crimes and stalking crimes to the list of Crime of Violence offenses. Bill is based on a recommendation by the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.
Status: House Judiciary Postponed Indefinitely on 3/21
HB 13-1114 Concerning Penalties for Persons Who Drive While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Sponsors: Representatives Waller (R) and Fields (D)
CCJRC position: monitor
Description: In a DUI prosecution, if the driver’s blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta THC per milliliter in blood (based on a blood test), such fact gives rise to a permissible inference that the driver was under the influence. This bill is based on a recommendation from the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.
Status: Died in Senate Judiciary 4/22 (but amended into HB 1317)
SB13-239 Avoid Conflicts of Interest in Probation Services
Sponsors: Sen. Ulibarri (D), Sen. Guzman (D), Rep. Salazar (D)
CCJRC position: monitor
Description: The bill clarifies that an entity that provides probation or case management oversight services to a defendant cannot also provide offender treatment, chemical dependency education and treatment, or domestic violence or mental health services to the same defendant or hold a financial interest in an entity that provides such education or treatment services to the same defendant. A private probation provider is prohibited from directing a probationer it supervises to a particular treatment provider.
Status: passed Senate Judiciary on 4/17 (3-2); died on second reading in the Senate
Thank you again for your generosity to this organization. Your involvement is deeply appreciated. Together we will continue to do the work that truly makes a difference. 
Christie Donner, Executive Director
Pamela Clifton, Communications Coordinator
Ellen Toomey-Hale, Finance and Development Coordinator
John Riley, Coalition Coordinator

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