Jerry Kopel



More than 125 new bills were introduced in the final few days before deadlines in the Colorado House and Senate. That number doesn't include bills introduced in the Senate to balance the budget.

What will those bills do if passed? Here are some that might otherwise miss your attention.

HB 1236 by Rep. Lynn Hefley and Sen. Jim Dyer deals with making criminal laws stronger. If a defendant is subject to sentencing under two separate statutes, encompassing the same crime, he or she will be sentenced under the law with the longer sentence. The prosecutor isn't required to choose which statute to proceed under. Up until the time this bill passes, the defendant gets the benefit of the more lenient law.

SB 147 by Sen. Jim Dyer and Rep. Lynn Hefley sets out a procedure for obtaining records from all types of business entities in criminal prosecutions and makes all business entities, not just corporations, subject to prosecution. Of course business entities other than individual business owners, are not human, and never serve time in prison.

HB 1213 by Rep. Ray Rose and Sen. Ed Jones. According to the title it prohibits public corporations from making loans to directors. Gov. Bill Owens, during the 2002 election campaign, railed against corporations making loans to directors.

The bill doesn't deal with private corporations even though they might have several hundred shareholders. For public corporations, the prohibition doesn't apply to a home loan, a consumer credit loan, an open end credit plan, a credit charge card, or credit from a securities broker or dealer for security purchases as long as the purchase isn't for stock of the corporation on which the director serves.

Colorado's law, before 1994, did allow corporations to make loans to employees other than those who were also directors. For a director to be given a loan required "the affirmative vote of the holders of two-thirds of the outstanding shares of the corporation which are entitled to vote for directors before the loan was made." Since 1994, under a bill pushed through the legislature by the Colorado Bar Association, no shareholder approval is required for loans to directors, although "notice" of the loan must be given to the shareholders ten days before the money passes hands.

HB 1228 by Rep. Bill Cadman makes a county immune from the cost of medically treating "a person held in custody in a county jail if the illness occurred before custody". Of course custody doesn't mean "guilt". It could simply mean the person accused of a crime hasn't sufficient money to provide bond. It's not clear who will pay for example, for treatment of heart or diabetic conditions which began before custody. Maybe there won't be any treatment.

On the other hand, SB 141 by Sen. Abel Tapia and Rep. John Salazar require a county to assist a person in custody to obtain various kinds of medical assistance from eligible programs, and requires University of Colorado Hospital, Pueblo Mental Health Institute, and Colorado Psychiatric Hospital to provide medical care to persons held in custody in county jail, subject to available space. The county is liable for the medical costs if the person in custody doesn't or can't pay.

HB 1245 by Rep. Joel Judd means good news for creditors and bad news for otherwise lucky debtors whose large sum winnings include lottery, casinos, racing, or unclaimed property now discovered. While child and spouse support laws have included some of these possible sources of recovery, this bill extends it to other civil money judgment creditors.

HB 1252 by Rep. Betty Boyd and Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald. A woman has been raped and is being treated at a medical facility. Under this bill she would be entitled to receive "emergency contraception" that prevents pregnancy after sexual intercourse.

(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)

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