Remote Access to Criminal Court Proceedings, Low-Income Housing Tax Exemption Bills Introduced

More than 350 bills have been introduced so far this session. This week, lawmakers introduced a bill that would require courts to make remote public access available for criminal court proceedings unless it doesn’t have the technology to do so or the court has ordered the public is excluded from the proceeding. 

Also introduced this week was a bill that would allow qualifying low-income housing to be tax-exempt, one that clarifies requirements for recall elections and vacancies and one that would remove a requirement that fentanyl possession be knowing.

Bill Number: HB23-1178
Title: Court Personnel And Domestic Violence Awareness
Introduced: Feb. 8
Sponsors: M. Froelich, F. Winter
Summary: To comply with the federal Keeping Children Safe From Family Violence Act, the bill would require courts that hear proceedings about the allocation of parental responsibilities involving domestic violence or child abuse to admit expert testimony and evidence only if the expert demonstrates expertise and experience working with victims of domestic violence or child abuse, including child sexual abuse. The court would also be required to consider evidence of past sexual or physical abuse committed by the accused party. 

Bill Number: HB23-1182
Title: Remote Public Access To Criminal Court Proceedings
Introduced: Feb. 8
Sponsors: E. Epps, J. Mabrey, R. Fields, B. Gardner
Summary: The bill would require all courts in Colorado to provide public remote access for any criminal court proceeding conducted in open court, unless the court doesn’t have the technology available to do so or the court has ordered the public is excluded from the proceeding. Among other provisions, the bill would also require the court to post links on its website for remote access. 

Bill Number: HB23-1184
Title: Low-income Housing Property Tax Exemptions
Introduced: Feb. 8
Sponsors: W. Lindstedt, L. Frizell, D. Roberts
Summary: The bill would clarify and expand the current property tax exemption for property acquired by nonprofit housing providers for low-income housing. The bill explains what properties would qualify for tax exemption and defines low-income housing for tax exemption applicants. 

Bill Number: HB23-1185
Title: Requirements For Recall Elections And Vacancies
Introduced: Feb. 8
Sponsors: L. Daugherty
Summary: The bill would clarify the requirements for a write-in candidate in a partisan election. It would also require that if the election of the successor is a partisan election, and the incumbent was affiliated with a political party when elected, only a person who is affiliated with the same political party may be nominated as a successor. If the incumbent was unaffiliated at the time of the election, only a person who is unaffiliated may be nominated. 

Bill Number: HB23-1172
Title: Child Welfare And Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
Introduced: Feb. 6
Sponsors: J. Parenti
Summary: The bill would provide juvenile courts jurisdiction to enter permanent allocations of parental responsibilities without requiring a full adjudication of a child as dependent or neglected as to each parent in certain circumstances. Among other provisions, the bill would also eliminate the requirement to give public notice of name changes through publication for a child or youth adjudicated dependent or neglected.

Bill Number: SB23-140
Title: Fentanyl Study Deadline And Appropriation
Introduced: Feb. 6
Sponsors: R. Zenzinger, B. Kirkmeyer, S. Bird, R. Bockenfeld
Summary: For the Department of Public Health and Environment, the bill would extend the contract deadline of the fentanyl study passed last session from Jan. 1 to Oct. 1. The bill would also allow the department to use the appropriation received in the 2022-23 state fiscal year to pay for the independent study through the 2024-25 state fiscal year.

Bill Number: HB23-1164
Title: Opioid Harm Reduction
Introduced: Feb. 2
Sponsors: M. Lynch
Summary: Among other provisions and eliminations, the bill would remove the requirement that a knowing possession of more than one gram of a compound or mixture containing any quantity of fentanyl, carfentanil, benzimidazole opiate or analogs is a level 1 drug misdemeanor with a fourth offense being a level 4 drug felony.  

Bill Number: HB23-1165
Title: County Authority To Prohibit Firearms Discharge
Introduced: Feb. 2
Sponsors: J. Amabile, D. Roberts, S. Jaquez Lewis
Summary: Under existing law, a board of county commissioners may designate unincorporated areas of a county where it is unlawful to discharge firearms, except the board can’t prohibit discharge of firearms in shooting galleries, on private grounds or in residences under circumstances that don’t endanger persons or property. A designated area must have an average population density of 100 persons or more per square mile. The bill would repeal the exception for private property and the minimum population density requirement. It would instead require the designated area to have 30 dwellings or more per square mile. A board wouldn’t be allowed to prohibit a discharge of a firearm in a designated area by a peace officer, in an indoor shooting gallery located in a private residence or at a shooting range.

Bill Number: HB23-1168
Title: Legal Representation And Students With Disabilities
Introduced: Feb. 2
Sponsors: S. Sharbini
Summary: Current law entitles a parent, guardian or legal custodian of, or entity with educational decision-making authority for, a student with a disability or a student who may be eligible for special education services, to file a state complaint in the event of a dispute with an administrative unit or a state-operated program. If the parent prevails in a state complaint decision, the education provider may file a due process complaint against the parent regarding the issues disputed in the state complaint. Among other things, the bill would require the Department of Education to create and maintain a list of attorneys qualified to represent a parent in a due process complaint hearing filed by an education provider.

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

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