Eye on the Legislature

April 24, 2017

   With adjournment day a little more than two weeks away, Colorado’s General Assembly still has a great deal of work to do.

House Bill 17-1331:   It continues to amaze this writer at the brazen efforts of the marijuana crowd to push legislation (no pun intended) that masks its true purpose as though the citizens of Colorado are dumb as dirt.

HB 1331has the sanctimonious title of “Protecting Colorado Citizens Who Are Engaged in an Act that is Protected by the Colorado Constitution from Outside Agencies.”

The Legislative Council Staff’s analysis of HB 1331 states, “The bill prohibits the state or an agency of a political subdivision of the state from knowingly assisting an agency of another state or the federal government in arresting a Colorado citizen for an act that is a Colorado constitutional right or violating his or her Colorado constitutional rights.”

Further, for those unfamiliar with the definition of “Colorado constitutional right,” the fiscal note states it is “a right that has not been declared unconstitutional by a federal or Colorado appellate court.” Imagine that!!

What legislators do by drafting such a piece of legislation and pushing it through is a blatant failure to protect the rights of non-drug using Colorado citizens who have become second class citizens in their own state, with all their rights ignored for a safe and secure life the Colorado constitution was meant to provide them. Legislators are perfectly willing to destroy the quality of life in Colorado as they pass legislation that benefits no one except the marijuana industry. Apparently those legislators willing to push such legislation through have been imbibing in the products they so willingly promote.

Introduced on April 10, HB 1331 is yet to have its first committee hearing, and considering the lateness in the 2017 legislative session, signals lots of pressure behind the scenes for fast tracking before adjournment.

Sponsors of House Bill 1331: Representative Steve Lebsock (D-Adams) 866-2931; and Senator Tim Neville (R-Boulder, Denver, Gilpin, Jefferson) 866-4873.

Senate Bill 17-281: Immigration and immigration-related bills are hot topics this session, but as we usually see, rarely is both sides of the issue provided. Statistics and details are never presented when the bleeding-heart types demand that tens of thousand of refugees be sent into countries without the funding for infrastructure to house and feed them and to school the children. 

The country of Sweden needed to hire 10,000 teachers just to handle the influx of refugee children to the schools there. The massive amount of funding to do so is never addressed, and the destruction of the education system to Sweden’s citizens goes unaddressed.

SB 281 is titled “Holding Colorado Government Accountable for Creating Sanctuary Jurisdiction Policies,” to be known as the “Colorado Citizen Protection Against Sanctuary Policies Act.” Quoting part of the General Assembly’s legislative declaration: “Sanctuary policies that restrict, obstruct, or discourage cooperation with federal immigration authorities are prohibited by federal law; for example, under 8 U.S.C. Sec 1373(a), which states that ‘A Federal, state or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from the immigration and naturalization service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.’”

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in one of his opinions, that “[co]nsultation between federal and state officials is an important feature of the immigration system . . . that the U. S. Congress ‘has encouraged the sharing of information about possible immigration violations . . .’”

Additional provisions in SB 281 prohibits jurisdictions from restricting the maintenance or exchange of such information and from encouraging the physical harboring of an alien in violation of federal law, and that the governing body of all jurisdictions within the state must provide written notice to each elected official, employee and law enforcement officer of his or her duty to comply with federal immigration law.

Current law is that “federal agencies are solely responsible for enforcing immigration policy, however, state and local law enforcement agencies can choose to participate in cooperation agreements with federal agencies aimed at facilitating the deportation of undocumented immigrants.” Obviously, if SB 281 passes and is enacted, that would change. 

Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 17-281:  Senators Tim Neville (R-Boulder, Denver, Gilpin and Jefferson) 866-4872, and Vicki Marble (R-Broomfield, Larimer, Weld) 866-4876; and Representatives Dave Williams (R-El Paso) 866-5525 and Phil Covarrubias (R-Adams, Arapahoe) 866-2912.

House Bill 17-1022: HB 1022 is yet to have its first committee hearing. Current law requires that the history, culture and contributions of American Indians, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans be taught in Colorado’s public schools. HB 1022 will add to that curriculum the history and civil government of the state of Colorado, and the history, culture and contribution of Asian Americans.

Sponsors of House Bill 17-1022:  Representative Joseph A. Salazar (D-Adams) 866-2918. No sponsor as yet in the Senate.

House Bill 17-1327: Representative Salazar is trying yet again this session to repeal the Columbus Day holiday as a legal holiday in Colorado. State employees have long fought this for fear of losing one of their holidays.

HB 1327 will grant state employees a floating holiday day off each October, which perhaps may smooth the way for repeal of the Columbus Day holiday.

Sponsors of House Bill 17-1327:  Representative Joseph A. Salazar (D-Adams) 866-2918. No sponsor as yet in the Senate.

House Bill 17-1330: Habitual criminals will get a break if HB 1330 passes and is enacted. Under current Colorado law, “a conviction for escape or attempted escape may not be used to adjudicate an offender as an habitual criminal unless the conviction is based on the offender’s escape or attempted escape from a correctional facility.”

What HB 1330 does is clarifies that “this prohibition applies to currrent and prior convictions for escape or attempted escape and that the definition of a correctional facility does not include a community corrections facility.”

Current Colorado law states, “a person is adjudicated as a habitual criminal and subject to enhanced sentencing if he or she is convicted of a class 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 felony or a level 1, 2 or 3 drug felony and has two previous, separate felony convictions within the last ten years; or he or she is convicted of any felony and has three previous, separate felony convictions.”

Sponsors of House Bill 17-1330: Representative Pete Lee (D-El Paso) 866-2932; and Senators Rhonda Fields (D-Arapahoe) 866-4879, and John Cooke (R-Weld). 866-4451.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at doris@dorisbeaver.com.