This week our bill to fight human trafficking became law. Governor Hickenlooper signed HB 1040, which gives law enforcement wiretap capacity to bust and convict criminals who trap people--frequently children--into the commercial sex trade.
Under current law, wiretaps are available for murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking and other crimes. This law will allow the courts to issue an order authorizing the interception of communications related to human trafficking if, after due process, there is probable cause to believe there is sufficient evidence of a crime.
Wiretaps provide more direct access to facts, which can strengthen an investigation and make sure that the right suspects are being targeted. This will help reverse the negative trend of human trafficking and protect children in Colorado by giving law enforcement a very important tool they already possess for a number of other crimes.
Great Community Feedback and Engagement
Last Saturday was a 9am to 9pm town hall day. Here's a quick survey of some of the issues we discussed.
- We must improve our roads and bridges. It is a priority for all Coloradans, and existing tax dollars must be fundamental to any bill that passes through the legislature. You can see more of my comments on this in the video we posted last week.
- The judicial recusal bill we are shepherding through the House right now is an example of how ideas that come from town halls like these become legislation. The bill is designed to make sure any citizen has the ability to easily request that a second judge evaluate the impartiality of the judge who is hearing their case if sufficient evidence is presented. The idea for the bill came from a constituent, like those who brought great ideas to both town halls we hosted on Saturday.
- We also discussed the bill on which we are the co-prime sponsor that will kick the PARCC test out of high school for good. This is an important step of the effort we have been leading for five years to eject Common Core from our schools.
At our evening town hall at the Ellicott Community Center, we were joined by County Commissioner Longinos Gonzales, Jr., County Public Works Director Jim reed, Sheriff Bill Elder, County Clerk & Recorder Chuck Broerman and County Attorney Dan May.
- In addition to the issues mentioned above we discussed county and legislative initiatives underway to crackdown on the expanding problem of marijuana grows in the county and district
- House Bill 1220, which we have supported in Capitol debates, would restrict the number of plants that can be grown for medicinal purposes. Currently Colorado has the most lenient plant count in the nation at 99. This bill would drop that number to 16 and bring Colorado more in line with other states that allow medical marijuana. This is important because currently law enforcement has difficulty discerning which grows are legal and which are illegal hidden under the guise of medical marijuana operations.
- Town hall participants provided a lively exchange and identified challenges with some county roads in the ares. The Public Works Department acknowledged the challenges and detailed plans for improving the situation. Spring rains will be very helpful in improving the gravel roads of our district.
"Shorten the Session, bring the budget back to the people"
This week we received media coverage surrounding my proposal to "shorten the session and bring the budget back to the people that represent the people".
The Concurrent Resolution we have offered would cut the General Assembly's 120-day session to 60 days in odd-numbered years and 90 days in even-numbered years. In the odd years, we will put together a two year budget. The budget, instead of being controlled by the Joint Budget Committee--only six members of the Legislature--would go to all 100 members of the Legislature in their committees of reference. Education would deal with education, corrections with corrections; legislators with the expertise to control the budget would, in fact, have the opportunity to deal with the budget.
For more on this story I encourage you to read the article from the Colorado Statesman posted here, and to watch my interview for the Independence Institute's "Freedom Minute" linked in the photograph above.