Judicial Discipline, Water Storage, Criminal Justice Reform Bills Introduced in General Assembly’s First Week

Lawmakers hit the ground running this week. In just the first few days of the 2023 session of the Colorado General Assembly, more than 100 bills have been introduced. 

What’s already in the spotlight for state legislators? Judicial discipline, water storage, alternate defense counsel contracts and a smattering of criminal justice reform bills including one that aims to address the admissibility of statements made by juveniles during custodial interrogation.

Bill Number: HB23-1019
Title: Judicial Discipline Procedures And Reporting
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: M. Weissman, M. Lynch, B. Gardner,  J. Gonzales
Summary: The bill requires the rule-making committee established in the constitution to propose rules for the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline to provide the commission with reasonable notice before proposing any new rule or amendment. The bill also requires the committee to post notice of each rule change and allow for public comment concerning the proposed changes. For the rules governing judicial discipline adjudicative board proceedings promoted by the Colorado Supreme Court, the bill requires the Supreme Court to provide the board with notice and an opportunity to object. If the board objects, the bill requires the state high court to engage with the board in good-faith efforts to resolve differences and post notice of each rule and allow for public comment, including an opportunity for the public to address the supreme court. HB23-1019 was drafted after multiple meetings last summer by the Legislative Interim Committee on Judicial Discipline. 

Bill Number: HCR23-1001
Title: Judicial Discipline Procedures And Confidentiality
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: M. Weissman, M. Lynch, B. Gardner, J. Gonzales
Summary: The bill introduces a ballot initiative for Colorado voters to approve an amendment to the state constitution concerning judicial discipline, and establishing an independent judicial discipline adjudicative board, setting standards for judicial review of a discipline case and clarifying when discipline proceedings become public. HCR23-1001 was drafted after multiple meetings last summer by the Legislative Interim Committee on Judicial Discipline. 

Bill Number: HB23-1010
Title: Task Force On High-altitude Water Storage
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: B. McLachlan, J. Bridges, C. Simpson
Summary: The bill creates a task force to study the feasibility of implementing water storage in the form of snow in high-altitude areas of the state. The task force must submit a report to the water resources and agriculture review committee on or before June 1, 2024. The report must describe the feasibility of implementing high-altitude water storage in Colorado; describe findings and recommendations regarding issues considered by the task force; and describe any legislative proposals associated with the implementation of high-altitude water storage in Colorado.

Bill Number: HB23-1033
Title: Alternate Defense Counsel Contracts
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: S. Sharbini
Summary: Current law directs the Office of Alternate Defense Counsel to contract with attorneys and investigators to provide legal representation to indigent clients. The bill directs the office to also contract with other people who are necessary to provide legal services to indigent clients. The bill requires the legal services provided by attorneys and other persons must be proportionate with legal services that persons who aren’t indigent receive.

Bill Number: HB23-1012
Title: Juvenile Competency To Proceed
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: J. Amabile, R. Rodriguez
Summary: The bill addresses issues related to the determination and restoration of juvenile competency to proceed. Among other things, the bill allows the district attorney, defense attorney, guardian ad litem, Department of Human Services, a competency evaluator, a restoration treatment provider and the court to access competency evaluations and restoration evaluations, including all second evaluations, without the written consent of the juvenile or an order of the court.

Bill Number: HB23-1013
Title: Use Of Restrictive Practices In Prisons
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: J. Amabile, R. Fields, R. Rodriguez
Summary: The bill prohibits the use of a clinical restraint on someone unless the use is to prevent the individual from committing imminent and serious harm to themself or another person based on immediately present evidence and circumstances, all less restrictive interventions have been exhausted and the clinical restraint is ordered by a licensed mental health provider.

Bill Number: HB23-1034
Title: Measures To Expand Postconviction DNA Testing
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: L. Daugherty
Summary: Under current law, an incarcerated person can motion the court for postconviction DNA testing to prove the person’s actual innocence if DNA testing was not available at the time of the person’s prosecution. The bill changes who can apply for postconviction DNA testing to include a person convicted of or adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity for a felony offense in Colorado, including a person currently incarcerated, on parole or probation for a felony offense, subject to sex offender registration or a person who’s completed the sentence imposed for the felony offense.

Bill Number: HB23-1042
Title: Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements
Introduced: Jan. 9
Sponsors: J. Bacon, J. Gonzales
Summary: The bill makes any statement or admission obtained during a juvenile custodial interrogation in which a law enforcement official knowingly uses deception prior to or during the interrogation presumptively inadmissible against the juvenile in an evidentiary hearing unless the prosecution proves by a preponderance of the evidence and based on the totality of the circumstances that the statement or admission was made voluntarily.

Bill Number: SB23-015
Title: Vehicle Value Protection Agreement
Introduced: Jan. 10
Sponsors: R. Rodriguez
Summary: A vehicle value protection agreement is a contract that provides benefits when an owner of a vehicle replaces the vehicle at trade-in, when the vehicle is stolen or after an adverse event lowers the value of the vehicle. An agreement is declared to not be insurance or subject to regulation as insurance if offered in compliance with the bill. A person who provides an agreement is prohibited from conditioning the extension of credit, terms of credit or terms of a vehicle sale or lease upon the purchase of an agreement. 


Law Week’s legislative tracking is done through State Bill, a product of our publisher, Circuit Media.

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