Colorado Death Penalty Repeal HB20-100 Heads to the House

Colorado State Senator Fields -Photo by Joey Camp 2020
Colorado State Senator Julie Gonzalez (D - Bill Sponsor) (left) -Photo by Joey Camp 2020

Colorado Senate Chambers During Debate -Photo by Joey Camp 2020
Colorado State Senator Fields -Photo by Joey Camp 2020



































































The above images are form the Senate Chambers during the Death Penalty Repeal Debate at the Second Reading of the Senate. Taken by Joseph "Joey" "Jojo" Camp and given explicitly without limitation to the creative commons (public domain).


The Content of this Post is from Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition

CCJRC Weekly 2020 Legislative Update

February 3, 2020

The session is moving at such a fast and furious pace, it already feels like we’ve been at it for months. As we move into February, we don’t expect the pace to slow down. The Senate passed the repeal of the death penalty bill (SB100) 19 to 13, after hours of debate!!! The bill will now cross over to the House where it is anticipated it will pass. CCJRC wants to acknowledge and thank all the hands that have been involved over the decades to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. When Governor Polis signs that bill into law, I hope you all feel a tremendous accomplishment and our gratitude.
HB20-1019 that would reopen CSP2 and enact reforms passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and will be heard in House Appropriations this week. Recently, Idaho announced that it was planning on sending 1,000-1,200 inmates to Colorado that would be housed in the Kit Carson Correctional Facility, a private prison owned by CoreCivic. HB1019 was amended to add in more guardrails to current law, but CCJRC doesn’t think the amendment goes far enough to protect Colorado’s interests and prevent this inhumane practice of “importing/exporting” people in prison. Stay tuned on this issue. There will be much more to come.

Rep McKean (R-Ft Collins) introduced legislation to repeal all of a bill that year that lowered the penalty for simple drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. The bill is anticipated to die in the House Judiciary Committee next week, but we will be there to counter their arguments. The bill that was passed last year doesn’t even go into effect until 3/1/20.
This week, the General Assembly will begin the process of debating some of the final budget decisions for this fiscal year (which ends June 30, 2020) while at the same time the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) will begin setting our budget for next fiscal year (which begins July 1, 2020). The Department of Corrections budget, which is requesting over $1 billion, will be discussed by the JBC on Wednesday, February 19th.
Bills in Committee this week

Tues. Feb. 4th @ 7:30a – House Appropriations (LSB-A)
  • HB20-1019 – Prison Population Reduction and Management
  • HB20-1026 – Create Twenty Third Judicial District
CCJRC Priority Bills
Sponsors: Representative Herod & Senator Gonzales
CCJRC Position: Support (priority bill)
Status: Passed House Judiciary – Appropriations Committee Feb. 4th @ 7:30a
Description: Prison Population Management Interim Study Committee bill. Would authorize the use of CSP2 and make several reforms, most substantively are the changes to the escape statute. According to data from DOC, 97% of people convicted of escape, actually either walked away from a halfway house, 2% tampered with an ankle monitor and less than 1% actually escaped from a secure facility. But under current law, walkaways are charged with escape, which is either a class2/3 felony. The bill would create a new of “unauthorized absence” that would apply to people in community placement a halfway house, parole, work release, home detention, etc. The crime of “unauthorized absence” would be a F6 if the person’s underlying conviction is a crime of violence; if not, it’s a class 3 misdemeanor.
Sponsors: Representative McKean
CCJRC Position: Oppose
Status: Thurs. Feb. 13th @ 1:30p - House Judiciary Committee
Description: Would repeal all of HB19-1263 that, among other things, reduced the penalty for simple drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. HB19-1263 will go into effect as of 3/1/20.
Sponsors: Senator Lee & Representative Gonazales-Gutierrez
CCJRC Position: Support (priority bill)
Status: Wed. Feb. 12th @ 1:30p - Senate Judiciary
Description: Allows a person sentenced to DOC for a felony offense that was committed when the person was between 18 – 24 years of age to be eligible for parole after they have served 50% of their sentence and after the person has served at least 15 calendar years in prison. It is presumed the person will be paroled as long as they have not had any code of penal discipline violations in the last 5 years and no class I code of penal discipline violations in the last 10 years, though the parole board will still have final discretion. This would not apply to individual who are serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The bill also extends eligibility for the DOC specialized program that was created in SB16-180 to young adults that were sentenced for a felony that was committed when the person was 18- 24 years old. Currently, only juveniles sentenced to DOC for a felony when they were under the age of 18 are eligible to participate in the DOC specialized program.
CCJRC Bill Tracker
Sponsors: Senators Pettersen/Winter & Representatives Buentello/Wilson
CCJRC Position: TBD
Status: Passed Senate Health & Human Services – Sent to Appropriations
Description: Opioid & Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee bill. CCJRC supports improving access to treatment services, but have not taken a formal position on this bill yet as there multiple provisions in this bill that CCJRC staff is still analyzing. In the interim, here are some of the specifics of the bill: requires substance use disorder needs assessments to be done every 2 years in the 7 Managed Service Organization (MSO) regions across the state, which in turn will require the MSOs to come up with region specific community action plans as to how they will address continued addiction treatment services gaps and needs across our state; increases the state healthcare loan forgiveness and addiction counselor scholarship programs by $1 million in efforts to increase the healthcare workforce in our state; states that courts, probation, parole and community corrections cannot deny someone access to these levels of supervision or programs if they are on Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT); consolidates the emergency treatment, voluntary and involuntary commitment process for alcohol use disorders and drugs (substance use disorders).
Sponsors: Senators Pettersen/Priola & Representatives Buentello/Herod
CCJRC Position: TBD
Status: Passed Senate Health & Human Services – Sent to Appropriations
Description: Opioid & Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee bill. CCJRC supports improving access to recovery support services, but have not taken a formal position on this bill yet as there are numerous sections to analyze in this legislation. Some of the pieces of this legislation include: Providing $250k a year to the Dept. of Labor & Employment for providing peer coaching and peer specialist training to people in recovery from substance use disorders; extends the opioid and other substance use disorder study committee to convene in 2021 and 2023 to craft legislation; requires the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) to create a program to help house people who have no other supportive housing options as they are transitioning out of residential treatment or receiving treatment for an addiction disorder; creates a recovery support services grant program within OBH.
Sponsors: Senators Gonzales/Rodriguez & Representatives Gonzales- Gutierrez
CCJRC Position: Support
Status: Passed Senate Judiciary – Sent to Appropriations
Description: Prison Population Management Interim Study Committee bill. Requires the Department of Corrections to conduct a study to examine how people proceed through the various stages of criminal proceedings. The results of the study must be presented to the General Assembly by January 1, 2021.
Sponsors: Senators Gonzales/Tate & Representatives Arndt/Benavidez
CCJRC Position: Support
Status: Passed the Senate – Will move over to the House
Description: Will repeal the death penalty as a sentencing option for offenses charged on or after July 1, 2020.
Sponsors: Representatives Tipper/Coleman
CCJRC Position: TBD
Status: Passed House State, Veterans & Military Affairs – Sent to the House Floor
Description: CCJRC staff have some outstanding questions surrounding this bill, therefore we are holding off on taking a position until we understand the parameters and impact. This bill would count people for the purposes of the 2020 census who are incarcerated in Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities as of April 1, 2020 at their last known address prior to becoming incarcerated instead of the address of the correctional facility.
Sponsors: Representatives Herod/Kennedy & Senators Donovan/Priola
CCJRC Position: Support
Status: Wed. Feb. 12th @ Upon Adjournment - House Public Health Care & Human Services
Description: Opioid & Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee bill. Would require the DOC and local, multijurisdictional, and municipal jails make available Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to people who are incarcerated who have an opioid use disorder. For those who receive treatment while incarcerated, the correctional facility would need to ensure the person is connected to behavioral health services in the community prior to release. Would create “safe stations” at police stations, county sheriff’s offices, and fire stations where an individual could dispose of controlled substances without penalty and receive assistance in accessing addiction treatment services. Requires courts to favorably consider whether an individual has successfully completed an addiction treatment program when a person is petitioning the court to seal their record. Appropriates $1.5 million to the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) in increase diversion programs and requires OBH to begin reporting on or before November 1, 2021 on the status of the various criminal justice diversion programs they implement.
Sponsors: Representatives Van Winkle/Weissman & Senators Fields/Gardner
CCJRC Position: Support
Status: Passed House Judiciary – Appropriations Committee Feb. 4th @ 7:30a
Description: In Colorado, judicial district boundaries are occasionally revised as the population of our state increases. For over 50 years, Colorado has had 22 judicial districts. Given the growth in our state, in particular in the 18th judicial district which consists of Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, it is time for our state to consider adding another judicial district. This bill would establish a 23rd judicial district as of January 1, 2025 that would consist of Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. If this bill passes, Arapahoe County would be the sole county in the 18th judicial district.
Sponsors: Representatives Kennedy/Herod & Senators Pettersen/Priola
CCJRC Position: Support
Status: Wed. Feb. 19th @ 1:30p - House Health & Insurance
Description: Opioid & Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee bill. Would allow pharmacies to sell sterile syringes without a prescription, extends civil and criminal immunity to someone who acts in good faith and administers naloxone that is expired to someone who is experiencing an opiate-related overdose, removes regulatory barriers to operate a syringe access program, and would allow hospitals to operate syringe access programs. Finally, the bill increases funding for the harm reduction grant program that was established last year in SB19-008 and ensures ongoing funding until the sunset review that will take place in 2023.
Sponsors: Representatives Lontine/Soper & Senator Lee
CCJRC Position: Support
Status: Thurs. Jan. 30th @ 1:30p - House Judiciary
Description: Would prohibit a court from issuing a warrant for failure to appear at a scheduled court appearance for 72 hours after the missed court date. The 72 hour period only includes days of which the court is in session. If an individual presents themselves to the court within that 72 hour window, the court cannot issue a warrant. Courts will have the discretion to determine how a person “presents” themselves be it in-person, through counsel, over the phone or some other manner.