Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
Dan Hopkins 303-866-6324
Mark Salley 303-866-6323
BILLS ATTACKING CRIME, ILLEGAL DRUGS BECOME LAW
New Laws To Boost School Safety, Target Cell Phone Use by Prison Inmates
(DENVER) -Gov. Bill Owens today signed or let become law a slate of bills designed to increase school safety and crack down on crime and illegal drugs -- including hanging up on cell phone use by prison inmates.
"We're making Colorado communities safer and we're working every day to stay a step ahead of crime and illegal drugs," the Governor said. "These new laws provide valuable new tools for law enforcement in every corner of Colorado."
To attack the growing problem of criminal activity by inmates with cell phones, the Governor signed House Bill 1029, which makes the introduction or possession of "portable electronic communication devices" - including cell phones - in a detention facility a felony. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) and Sen. Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus), attacks the serious problem of inmates who are using the phones to buy drugs, intimidate witnesses, plot escapes or oversee organized crime.
Enhancing school safety is a key provision in House Bill 1014, sponsored by Rep. Terrance Carroll (D-Denver) and Rep. Dan Grossman (D-Denver). The bill adds a new offense specifically intended to address credible threats against students, teachers and employees of public schools, enabling prosecutors to immediately investigate and prosecute these threats, thus providing additional security for Colorado's schools. Under existing criminal law a prosecutor cannot investigate or prosecute a threat without waiting to see whether the threat is acted upon.
HB 1014 also contains important provisions toughening Colorado's drug laws.
The Governor allowed House Bill 1014 to become law without his signature, expressing concerns about an amendment to the bill that expands Colorado's hate crime statutes to include sexual orientation. Owens has consistently opposed hate crimes legislation, his concern is about the perception that crimes against certain categories of citizens are somehow more reprehensible than crimes against others.
"In deciding whether to veto this legislation, it became clear that every other aspect of this bill is worthy of becoming law, as it contains important new tools for Colorado's war on crime and illegal drugs," the Governor wrote in his letter to the Legislature. "On balance, the positive aspects of this bill enhance public safety and outweigh the negative aspect of an addition to Colorado's hate crime statute."
The other bills the Governor signed today are:
HB 1110 - sponsored by Rep. Richard Decker (R-Fountain) and Sen. Bob Bacon (D-Ft. Collins) - reduces the access to precursor drugs used in the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine. The bill limits retail sales of over the counter drugs such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine to three packages.
HB 1306 - sponsored by Rep. Jim Kerr (R-Littleton) and Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald (D- Golden). Revokes the driver's license -- for a minimum of six months -- for any adult over the age of 21 who knowingly provides alcohol to a minor. In order for license suspension to occur, the adult must have been convicted by a court or jury, entered a plea of not guilty or received a deferred sentence.
HB 1104 - sponsored by Rep. Bill Berens (R-Broomfield) and Sen. Suzanne Williams (D-Denver) - Increases the maximum civil penalty that can be established by a public highway authority for toll evasion from $100 to $250.
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