Final Bill Tracker
The Public Safety Coalition worked together on more than 10 bills during the session, while each organization also had separate positions on other public safety-related legislation. The following is a summary of some bills where the coalition had a shared position and a united voice for law enforcement across Colorado. The bills are broken into five categories that we use to help the governor, legislators and other stakeholders understand how our organizations view the needs of law enforcement agencies to more effectively protect their communities.
Supporting recruitment, training and retention of officers
- Senate Bill 22-005—Coalition Position: Support—This bill will provide an additional $3 million this year to the Peace Officer Behavioral Health Support and Community Partnership Grant Program. The program is currently funded with $2 million annually to provide both direct behavioral health support to peace officers and to assist with costs related to co-responder and other alternative response programs. The new funding will be directed specifically toward officer wellness services, including a new allowable use for departments to hire, contract and develop a remote network to provide behavioral health counseling to officers.These services are critical to maintaining a healthy workforce equipped to recover from the trauma they endure in the course of their duties.
- House Bill 22-1371—Coalition Position: Support—This legislation removed the requirement for a police officer to be a bona fide Colorado resident. With this change, police officers will now be able to live in neighboring states and commute to work within Colorado, which may help ease the burdens of the high cost of living in Colorado and increase retention.
- Senate Bill 22-145—Coalition Position: Support with Amendments—This legislation provided three grant programs to address recruitment and retention as well as “crime prevention and crisis intervention” in our communities. The coalition stood in a “Support with Amendments” position on the measure to assure the language related to the latter grant program appropriately managed expectations around the programs’ ability to “prevent crime” and rather enhance crisis intervention tools. We were satisfied with the agreed upon amendments to this section of the bill. The coalition was very supportive of the two grant programs to enhance funding for recruitment and retention of officers, especially in the recruitment of officers that more closely reflect the communities in which they serve.
Helping reduce crime in our communities
- House Bill 22-1326—Coalition Position: Amend—This bill, sponsored by House Speaker Alec Garnett, represents one of the largest missed opportunities of the 2022 session in protecting our communities from crime. We stood firmly and united in our call for strong, bold measures against the possession of fentanyl. Our coalition members advocated for a stronger bill to address fentanyl—one of the deadliest and most addictive of drugs harming our communities—while consistently supporting the important harm-reduction pieces in the original bill. The final bill contained some important provisions that will increase the tools available to law enforcement to address this crisis. While changes were made in response to our efforts to address Colorado’s current possession laws, the final bill did not go far enough to hold those possessing fentanyl culpable for the severity of this drug. We are hopeful this new law will make a positive impact on fentanyl deaths and interrupt the fentanyl supply chain. While we continue to review the final legislation and prepare to implement this new law, our coalition believes it is important to note the following concerns moving forward. Our first concern is with the new “knowing” standard that was hastily added in the conference committee in the final hours of the session. That provision likely will put the probability of leveling felony charges upon those who possess 1 to 4 grams of fentanyl in question. The amendment creates a new expectation, responsibility and obligation onto law enforcement to investigate cases to establish and prove that someone was not of the “mistaken belief” they had fentanyl. While law enforcement will do its part to investigate and pursue these cases, the charging of felony possession was made purposely difficult, if not unachievable, with the passage of the amendment. In addition, the bill included a mandate for jails to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to inmates, which includes providing drugs like naloxone. The bill only included state funding for MAT for two years, creating an unfunded mandate after this period that will be forced onto county-level taxpayers who fund local jails. We believe it is important for jails to be equipped to provide medical services; however, this will cost money in the future that many jails, especially in rural areas, do not have. We call on lawmakers to address this unfunded mandate as quickly as possible to ensure that this harm-reduction provision in HB1326 is successful.
- Senate Bill 22-009—Coalition Position: Support—This legislation will now make it unlawful in Colorado to install, sell or advertise any used, recycled, or salvaged catalytic converter unless the catalytic converter is an aftermarket catalytic converter that has been certified for installation and sale by the state. This new law is necessary to severely limit the growing black market for catalytic converters created by Colorado’s highest in the nation rate of catalytic converters thefts.
- Senate Bill 22-023—Coalition Position: Oppose—This bill, which ultimately failed in the House at the end of session, would have prohibited law enforcement from using “deceptive facts or beliefs” to obtain a statement or admission from a juvenile by making those statements inadmissible unless the prosecution were able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the statement or admission was made voluntarily. The Public Safety Colorado coalition strongly agrees that law enforcement must always work to protect juveniles and ensure the fairest treatment in the criminal justice system. This bill, however, would have unnecessarily and fully eliminated a law enforcement tool that is critical in certain situations to bring justice to victims and keep additional community members from being victimized. There are many laws and regulations that dictate how juveniles are interviewed, as well as checks and balances through district attorneys and judges. Colorado law requires a parent or guardian to be present when interviewing a juvenile, unless the parent or guardian knowingly waive that right. Law enforcement already cannot coerce confessions and is highly motivated to avoid false confessions. The Public Safety Coalition offered a compromise related to evidence-based model policies on the use of this tactic, but this approach was ultimately rejected by the legislature.
Providing sustainable, renewable funding for LE and reducing unfunded mandates
- Unfortunately, the Public Safety Coalition was not able to support any legislation that met this requirement. Governor Polis’s public-safety package was based on one-time and grant funds, primarily spending federal dollars. In addition, as noted previously, legislation like HB22-1326 included an unfunded mandate on jails after two years to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to inmates. Past legislation from the General Assembly, including Senate Bill 20-217 and House Bill 21-1250, created numerous unfunded mandates for law enforcement agencies, as well as confusing and duplicative reporting requirements. These requirements now mean that officers are spending fewer hours on the streets responding to calls for service and proactively engaging with their communities, instead doing paperwork and other tasks. The 2022 session had no legislation that helped address this concern, and this coalition will continue to raise awareness to lawmakers about this issue while advocating for sustainable funding and changes to some of these reporting requirements.
Supporting victims of crime
- Senate Bill 22-024—Coalition Position: Support—This new law will provide more protections for victims by expanding the behaviors that are considered witness intimidation
- Senate Bill 22-095—Coalition Position: Support—This law requires the Division of Criminal Justice to annually report to the General Assembly significant data, including trends over time, regarding missing person cases in Colorado. The report must include specific information about missing person cases involving women from minority communities and the older adult population. The legislation also sets new timelines for law enforcement agencies to enter information into state and national databases and communicate with other law enforcement agencies.
Supporting overall public safety and criminal justice efforts
- House Bill 22-1142—Coalition Position: Oppose—This bill, which died in committee, would have allowed certain liquor licensees to sell alcohol beverages for consumption outside of the currently allowed hours of 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. The coalition was opposed because of concerns that extending alcohol sales in restaurants and bars, particularly in a patchwork way that differs by municipality, could lead to additional incidents of impaired and drunk driving. Additionally, this legislation would have been an unfunded mandate on departments that typically staff down after bars and restaurants close at 2 a.m. Extended hours would have required staff to keep working, straining already limited budgets and staffing capabilities.
- Senate Bill 22-018—Coalition Position: Support—This new law will expand Colorado’s court reminder program to automatically enroll every defendant and allow defendants to opt out instead of opting in. The bill will also require the program to use the best contact information available to the courts and provide at least three reminders for court appearances that can be attended virtually. The Public Safety Coalition supports efforts to reduce barriers to effective participation in the criminal justice process.
- Senate Bill 22-055—Coalition Position: Support—This new law will allow a person whose driver’s license has been revoked due to DUIs to apply for an early reinstatement by agreeing to an interlock-restricted license and device on their vehicle, helping keep motorists and pedestrians safer.
- Senate Bill 22-175—Coalition Position: Support—This bill, which failed to get out of the House Appropriations Committee, represents another missed opportunity by the General Assembly to make our communities safer. SB22-175 would have extended the prohibitions and penalties for texting and driving and using a mobile device while driving to drivers 18 and older.