Attorney General Cynthia Coffman celebrated the signing by Gov. John Hickenlooper Thursday of three bills that are part of her legislative agenda this year.
“During the interim, our team sat down with citizens and stakeholders to establish our legislative priorities for the year, and identify how our statutes can be improved to protect Coloradans,” Coffman said in a statement. “The bills being signed today are the result of that work, and I greatly appreciate the bi-partisan sponsorship and collaboration in both the Colorado Senate and the House of Representatives that ensured passage of these important legislative initiatives.”
The bills signed by the governor included House Bills 1040, 1048 and 1071.
House Bill 1040, sponsored by state Reps. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, and Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, and state Sens. Kevin Priola, R-Brighton, and Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, authorizes law enforcement officials to use criminal wire taps to investigate allegations of human trafficking in the state. The legislation enhances the ability of authorities to rescue victims of human trafficking and prosecute criminals who enslave people, Coffman’s office said. The Colorado Sheriffs Association supported the bill.
House Bill 1071, sponsored by state Reps. Cole Wist, R-Centennial, and Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and state Sens. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, and Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, establishes an administrative process so that people convicted of crimes whose convictions are later overturned on appeal will be able to get refunds of court costs, fees and restitution they paid. The legislation addresses issues raised in the Nelson v Colorado case, currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, which argues that the state’s requirement that defendants must prove their innocence “by clear and convincing evidence” in order to get their money back is a violation of the right to due process. Like House Bill 1040, the Colorado Sheriffs Association also supported this bill.
House Bill 1048, sponsored by Foote and state Sen. Jim Smallwood, R-Sedalia, bolsters laws against insurance fraud committed by those who purposefully deceive insurance companies or sell fake insurance policies to unsuspecting customers. The law will also allow the attorney general to bring criminal charges for insurance fraud against employers who present false insurance certificates pretending to have worker’s compensation insurance when they don’t.
Other bills on the attorney general’s 2017 legislative agenda include Senate Bill 126, sponsored by Gardner, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, and state Reps. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, and Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, would create a statewide domestic violence fatality review board to help steer state and local policy to prevent domestic violence. It’s awaiting action in the Senate Appropriations Committee. House Bill 1150, sponsored by state Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo, and state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, would make sure that those convicted of habitual domestic violence and stalking are behind bars between the time they are convicted and sentenced by adding those crimes to a list that aren’t allowed bail pending sentencing or appeal. It’s also on the attorney general’s agenda and is awaiting action in the House Appropriations Committee.
Coffman is also working on a bill to require that threat assessments on file with public school students in Colorado are transferred with the student’s records when the student switches schools. That bill has yet to be introduced.