House and Senate Introduce a Few Heavy Hitters

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced several bills that could change the status quo. Heavy hitters introduced this week include a bill that would make health and safety whistleblower protections permanent; two bills that would extend eligibility for state grant and benefit programs to Tribal governments and incorporate addresses from Colorado’s two tribes into the legislative session each year; and a bill that would prohibit labor actions against public employers.

Description: Marijuana Transporter License Transfers

Sponsors: Rep. Snyder (D) 

Summary: Right now, a marijuana transporter license can’t be transferred with a change of ownership. The bill would remove this prohibition.

Description:  Improving Missing Person Investigations

Sponsors: Sens. Fields (D) and Moreno (D) and Rep. Gonzales-Gutierrez (D)

Summary: The bill would require the division of criminal justice within the department of public safety to report specific information about missing person cases in the state to the general assembly annually during the department's State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Government Act hearings. The bill would also require any law enforcement agencies in the state to accept missing person reports regardless of geographic location of the person, as long as they reside in Colorado or were last seen here. The bill would also reduce reporting deadlines for all missing persons to national agencies and other law enforcement agencies from within 24 hours to as soon as within eight hours for adults and two hours for children.

Description: Whistleblower Protection Health & Safety

Sponsors: Sens Pettersen (D) and Rodriguez (D) and Reps. Herod (D) and Sullivan (D)

Summary: The bill would expand whistleblower protections to all health and safety concerns regardless of whether there is a declared public health emergency.

Description: Sealing Criminal Records

Sponsors: Sens. Hisey (R) and Rodriguez (D) and Rep. Tipper (D)

Summary: The bill would extend Colorado’s automatic record sealing to all of the offenses, including civil infractions, that allow the defendant to petition the court for sealing criminal justice records that aren’t subject to the Victims Rights Act. The bill would also make it an unfair employment practice to discharge or refuse to promote a person based solely on the contents of a sealed criminal record and would make it an unfair housing practice to refuse to show, sell, transfer, rent or lease housing based on the contents of a sealed criminal record. 

Description: Remedy For Improper Guilty Pleas

Sponsors: Sen. Gonzales (D)

Summary: The bill would find that some criminal defendants weren’t effectively advised of immigration consequences to a guilty plea and states these defendants didn’t knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily enter a guilty plea. The bill would authorize these persons to petition the court for an order vacating the guilty plea.

Description: Tribal Governments Included In State Programs

Sponsors: Sen. Donovan (D) 

Summary: The bill would require new and amended state statutes that enumerate or define local government entities or agencies that are eligible for state grant or benefit programs to include tribal governments or agencies if possible. The Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs is required, in consultation with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, to submit a report to the legislative council identifying opportunities for tribal governments to be included in the operations or programs of the state as a partner.

Description:  Tribal Governments Annual Address To Joint Session

Sponsors: Sen. Donovan (D) 

Summary: The bill would require the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate to invite representatives from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to give an address to a joint session of the general assembly on an annual basis. The date and time of the address is determined on an annual basis by the speaker, the president and the designated representatives of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

Description: Prohibit Labor Actions Against Public Employers

Sponsors: Sen. Gardner (R) and Rep. Pico (R)

Summary: The bill would prohibit every public employee and every employee organization from directly or indirectly inducing, instigating, encouraging, authorizing, ratifying or participating in picketing, a strike, work stoppage or work slowdown against any public employer and prohibits a public employer from consenting to or condoning any prohibited action. In the event of a prohibited action by a public employee or the imminent threat of a prohibited action, the bill authorizes a public employer to seek an injunction from the district court. 

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