2022 LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY
As your State Representative, I am committed to being accountable to you. It has been my honor to represent House District 20 in the Colorado General Assembly. As is my practice, here is a summary of the bills I ran in the 2022 legislative session. I work hard to have bipartisan sponsors and support on my bills.
HOLDING CRIMINALS ACCOUNTABLE AND STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR CRIME VICTIMS
Strengthen Local Enforcement Against Human Trafficking
This bill (HB22-1300) allows county government to take enforcement actions to deter, shut down, and more effectively prosecute human sex trafficking in illicit massage therapy facilities. This bill was needed to give counties the authority to work with cities in the fight against human trafficking. Signed into law.
Rights of Crime Victims
I worked closely with crime victims’ groups on this bill to ensure crime victims’ views were heard at every stage of the criminal justice process—from the initial bond hearing, through the trial and sentencing, and applications for early parole. This bill (SB22-049) was particularly important because of the numerous “soft on crime” bills passed by the Colorado legislature for reduced bond hearings (just release to community after arrest), several new “early parole” programs, and so on. Our increasing crime rates are a result of these ill-advised bills, which I fought in committee and on the House floor. My crime victims bill at least makes sure crime victim’s views are heard in our criminal justice process. Signed into law.
Organized Retail Store Theft
I ran a bill (HB22-1099) that was brought to me by the business community, to address the huge surge in retail business theft by organized crime rings. In Colorado and across the country, we have seen the data (and videos!) of gangs of thieves stealing merchandise from stores to the point that some stores have been driven out of business. These thieves are also becoming more violent in threatening or assaulting employees and customers. My bill focused on shutting down the fencing of stolen goods online by these criminal retail theft rings. Signed into law.
BILLS DIRECTLY FROM OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
Emissions Exemption for Military Emergency Generators
A local Dept of Defense joint base support team contacted me about a long-standing issue with Colorado – Colorado was the only state in the country which refused to recognize a Clean Air Act exemption for military emergency generators that commanders must run, if the regular power source goes down. This unique position of Colorado put our military commanders at risk of going to jail for running their back-up generators during an emergency. My bill (HB22-1372) follows federal practice and the approach of other states and protects our military commanders. Signed into law.
Help for Feeding Colorado Food Banks
Last year, I volunteered at the local Care and Share, the local food bank. While there, I was told that they were now purchasing food to meet the increased need. They asked if it was possible to get Feeding Colorado added on the state tax-check-off. I was glad to run this bill (HB22-1016) that will allow taxpayers who choose to do so to donate their refund check to these food banks. Signed into law.
Extend Senior Property Tax Exemption When Moving for Medical Reasons and Increase the Exemption Limits.
I introduced legislation (once again) to extend the senior property tax exemption when seniors and disabled veterans relocate to a new home due to medical/health reasons. Currently the exemption provides for a 50% reduction in property tax on the first $200,000 in appraised value. This bill (SB22-093) would have also increased the exemption from the first $200,000 to the first $400,000 of property value. Voted down on party-line vote.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND INTEGRITY IN OUR JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE PROCESS
Commission on Judicial Discipline
I was the sponsor of a bipartisan bill (SB22-201) to establish independent funding for the Commission on Judicial Discipline. The Commission on Judicial Discipline had been reliant on the Judicial Branch for its funding to investigate complaints against judges. This bill also set up an interim committee to look at whether additional changes are needed regarding investigation of complaints against judges. Signed into law.
OTHER BILLS I WAS PROUD TO CO-SPONSOR
Cosponsored Wildfire Mitigation and Fire-Fighting Bills (all signed into law):
- Increase tax deductions/credits to help homeowners defray wildfire mitigation costs
- Funding for volunteer fire-fighting groups (to help with fire-fighting equipment)
- Authorize fire suppression ponds (especially important where water scarce for firefighters).
Cosponsored Bills to Help Law Enforcement and to Increase Public Safety
- Require Bond Conditions in Repeat or Violent Criminal Offenses. Voted down on a party-line vote.
- Established grant program to help local law enforcement retain and recruit police officers. (NOTE: Since the passage of several anti-law enforcement bills, many police officers have taken early retirement or left Colorado, leaving many police departments understaffed.) Signed into law.
- Bill to clarify definition of consent to prosecute sexual assault crimes more effectively prosecute sexual assault crimes – requested by District Attorneys and crime victim groups. Signed into law.
Cosponsored Bills to Update Voter Registration Rolls
- Cosponsored a bill with Rep. Andy Pico to update voter registration rolls, using existing juror data where the individuals have said they no longer live at that residence. Reliable, nonpartisan method to update voter registration rolls. Voted down on a party-line vote.