Nearly two years ago, the governor signed a bill establishing a felony statute for habitual drunk drivers. I sponsored that legislation, and am pleased to see the law has resulted in more than 300 habitual drunk drivers being taken off our roads. Colorado’s felony DUI law is working and we are safer as a result, but since this law’s implementation, there have been several cases where judges are sentencing very inconsistently. This loophole is violating the spirit of the felony DUI law I helped pass two years ago, which is I why I have taken steps this session to address the problem.
To put this issue
into context, it’s been reported that as many as 1 in 12 felony convictions are resulting in only probation. No one could have imagined that a person convicted of a fourth or fifth DUI would not spend one night in jail, especially when the mandatory jail sentence for a third DUI is 60 days.
This session I, along with Democrat Representative Mike Foote from Boulder, am carrying legislation that addresses this inconsistency. House Bill 1288 establishes mandatory incarceration for a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction if the court intends to sentence probation. At a minimum, a fourth DUI will carry a 90-day jail sentence. While jail can serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders with three or more DUIs, it more importantly provides addiction treatment to inmates. Probation can be an appropriate sentence in some cases, but there must be parity between third and four or more DUI convictions, and mandatory jail time is necessary to get habitual drivers off the
road and into treatment.
I am pleased to say House Bill 1288 unanimously passed its first committee hearing last week and is headed to the House floor for a vote. With strong bipartisan sponsorship and support from law enforcement and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), I am very confident this bill will become law. Check back with the House GOP for updates on this important public safety bill and thank you for taking time to read our newsletter. You can learn more about the House GOP by by following us on Twitter and Instagram, liking us on Facebook, subscribing to our YouTube channel or visiting COHouseGOP.com.
Colorado lawmakers on Thursday, April 13, backed off plans to become the first U.S. state to regulate marijuana clubs, saying approval of Amsterdam-style pot clubs could invite a federal crackdown. It was perhaps the starkest display yet of legal pot states' uncertainty on how to regulate the drug under President Donald Trump. Alaska marijuana regulators recently delayed planned rules for on-site pot consumption at dispensaries. Colorado's measure, which would have allowed users to bring their own pot to clubs, initially had substantial bipartisan support. But lawmakers ultimately sided with Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has warned that bold changes may anger federal drug enforcers.
(" Colorado ends plans for pot clubs over Trump uncertainty, Grand Junction Sentinel, 4/13/2017)
A bill that would ask Colorado voters to approve spending billions on transportation went through a budgetary ringer in the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday. Among 12 amendments, the committee lowered the proposed sales tax from 0.62 percent to 0.50 and offset that with $100 million annually from the existing state budget. It also locks in 53 percent of the sales tax take annually for the Colorado Department of Transportation, instead of a fixed dollar amount. That way the highway department gets more money as sales tax income grows over the
years. ("Transportation bill gets an overhaul in Colorado Senate committee," ColoradoPolitics.com, 04/11/17)
A 113-year-old church building in Denver has found a higher calling. The International Church of Cannabis opens its doors on April 20, the unofficial annual marijuana holiday. The renovated church at 400 S. Logan St. is the headquarters of Elevation Ministries, a newly formed Colorado nonprofit religious organization that claims cannabis as its primary sacrament.
("This new cannabis church pushes limits of Denver’s social-use pot law," The Cannabist, 04/12/17)