child handcuffed kid juvenile

Colorado lawmakers spent so much time debating two property tax proposals on Sunday that they are literally running out of time to tackle some of the biggest policy proposals this year.

The 2023 session ends no later than midnight on Monday, putting tremendous pressure on lawmakers to wrap up bills, with several major ones in jeopardy.

Two House bills that did not get a second reading debate Sunday night are now dead for the session. 

  • House Bill 1171, which prohibits landlords from evicting tenants without just cause. The bill would require mediation between landlords and tenants before landlords can file for eviction, if the tenant receives certain financial assistance, passed its last major legislative hurdle on Saturday. Mediation would involve a landlord and tenant meeting together with a neutral third party to discuss a voluntary settlement in lieu of an eviction. If an eviction is ordered, the bill would give tenants 30 days to leave the property, instead of the current 10 days.

  • House Bill 1065, which would add school board members and employees and special district directors to the jurisdiction of the independent ethics commission. The state constitution, however, expressly prohibits any "public officer" who serves on a board or commission for no compensation from being under commission jurisdiction.

The third bill that was up for a late night debate was House Bill 1249, which is now available for a final vote in the Senate.

The bill would raise the age before a child can face prosecution to 13, except in the case of homicide. This would remove children aged 10, 11 and 12 from the jurisdiction of juvenile, municipal and county courts.

Instead of entering the criminal justice system, children under 13 who commit crimes would be referred to local collaborative management programs to get resources such as therapy or family counseling. Victims of crimes committed by kids aged 10 to 12 could still access victim services and compensation, as the bill would remove the requirement for a police report to be filed.

A strike-below amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Brighton, put HB 1249 back in play and it won preliminary approval late Sunday night. Instead of imposing changes, the amendment, dubbed L213, created a working group in the Department of Human Services that will look at a variety of issues related to juvenile criminal cases, such as sentencing, age, race, gender and disability, and where the offender was sentenced.

Among the bills whose time ran out is SB 158, which would have extended the Colorado Commission On Criminal And Juvenile Justice.

The commission was established in 2007 to provide ongoing work and recommendations regarding the reduction of recidivism and the efficient allocation of criminal justice funding. The commission's sunset review recommended extending it but without a specified timeline. The House Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote Sunday, killed the bill. 

Time also ran out for HB 1066, which would have created a task force to look into the issue of access to public land that shares a border with public land, but where access is inhibited by private land. It was postponed indefinitely on Sunday by the House Appropriations Committee.

An award-winning journalist, Luige serves as editor of Colorado Politics and The Denver Gazette. He previously covered politics in Arizona and wrote about national security in the Philippines, where he began his career in journalism.  

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