Keeping our Community Safe
- PREVENTING CRIME
- PROTECTING VICTIMS
MY EFFORTS AND LEGISLATION
As your State Representative, I have focused on addressing issues raised by El Paso County residents and officials, including important criminal justice and public safety issues. In these conversations, it became clear that our laws were not protecting crime victims and were hampering law enforcements efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. Below is a list of some of my successful efforts to address these serious issues. I worked with legislators of both parties to get bipartisan support for these bills, which were all signed into law.
STRENGTHENING OUR LAWS TO PROSECUTE CRIMES AND PROTECT VICTIMS:
- Mandatory Jail for Human Trafficking of Minors I was shocked to learn from our local District Attorney’s office that Colorado did not mandate jail time for the crime of human sex trafficking of minors. This issue came up at an annual Southern Colorado Human Trafficking Symposium in Colorado Springs. My bill requires mandatory jail for a person convicted of human sex trafficking of a minor.
- Consolidate Child Sexual Assault Charges in One Trial Another bill I sponsored allows a district attorney to combine the charges of sex assault on a child from multiple jurisdictions into one jurisdiction – so that the child victim does not have to go through numerous separate criminal trials.
- “Revenge pornography” is the posting or distribution of sexual photos without the pictured person’s permission. My bill closed loopholes in Colorado law to better protect victims from this serious crime.
- Child imprisonment. The child imprisonment bill makes it a felony to confine a child in specific egregious circumstances. This bill came from a local case of horrific child abuse—brought to my attention by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
- Store Value Cards Fraud. Require that secondhand dealers (such as pawn shops) record transactions involving store value cards (gift/store credit cards). I learned about the organized retail theft rings’ use of these cards from a Colorado Springs Home Depot and the DA’s office.
- Toughen sexual assault laws. This bill adds certain conduct to the definition of illegal sexual contact in response to a 2018 court acquittal in a sexual assault case. We must ensure that criminal sexual assault is fully prosecuted.
- Protect witnesses. I introduced this bill to make it a crime to retaliate against or intimidate a witness in civil cases. Our legal system can only work if witnesses are protected when they do their civic duty, report wrongdoing, and testify in court.
HELPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS BE SAFE.
- Data Privacy for Victims of Domestic Violence. County Treasurer Mark Lowderman and County Assessor Steve Schleiker told me that domestic violence victims were fearful to buy a home because they were afraid their abuser would find them by searching the internet real estate records. They asked me to run a bill that would allow them to block this information on their public records internet portal. My bill fixed this problem.
FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
- “Truckers Against Trafficking” bill modifies commercial drivers license training to include information on reporting human trafficking crimes. A Colorado truckers organization asked me to run this bill. Since many victims are trafficked at or pass through truck stops, educating truck drivers on what to look for helps police find and rescue these victims.
- Human Trafficking Awareness Training. Allow the Colorado Dept. of Public Safety to provide human trafficking training to law enforcement and victim assistance groups in ongoing fight against trafficking. Direct School Safety Resource Center to provide training on awareness and prevention of human trafficking to local schools.
- Strengthen Colorado laws to fight human trafficking Expands state and local enforcement tools to shut down human trafficking operations in El Paso County and statewide.
BILLS POSTPONED THIS YEAR DUE TO COVID
- Increase support for Domestic Abuse Programs. The bill would have increased assistance for victims of domestic violence. While I pulled this bill given our shortened session, I supported a bill to continue the tax check-off for the Colorado Domestic Abuse Programs Fund, which was signed into law. I will continue to work on strengthening assistance for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, especially with the increase in abuse during COVID.
- Increased Prosecution and Criminal Penalties for Child Pornography Last summer, an El Paso County Sheriff detective, who worked child pornography cases, brought to my attention that technology has outpaced the law, hampering our ability to investigate and prosecute the sexual exploitation of children. This bill modernizes descriptions in our current laws against sexual exploitation of children by including terms that capture a perpetrator’s access to this material, wherever found, and accounts specifically for livestreaming of these heinous crimes. I will reintroduce in 2021.
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