Two measures sponsored by House Republicans to strengthen victim protections and prevent violent crime advanced in the House of Representatives yesterday. The first bill improves the way Colorado’s victim notification system is funded. The second bill helps fight human trafficking in Colorado.
House Bill 1241, sponsored by state Rep. Bob Gardner, ensures that crime victims are notified when their alleged perpetrators are released. At the same time it reduces local government expenditures to Colorado’s victim notification system by allowing the state to shoulder the program’s costs. Federal grants helped create Colorado’s victim notification system, but not its ongoing costs.
“Funding this crucial program for victims and their families is critical to ensuring that these services continue,” said Gardner, R-Colorado Springs.
Because the notification system is administered by the County Sheriffs of Colorado, creating an appropriation for it from the state General Fund, as HB 1241 does, could reduce county expenditures by more than $400,000.
The other bill advanced in the House today was drafted by state Reps. Jared Wright and Dan Nordberg to create stricter punishments for those involved in human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a despicable crime,” said Wright, R-Fruita. “And it happens here in Colorado.”
House Bill 1195 was amended by Democrats on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee to initiate a study of human trafficking in Colorado. After the study is finished, the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice will make recommendations to lawmakers on how best to combat human trafficking in Colorado.
“We need to punish those who engage in this illicit practice,” said Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs. “Democrats took the teeth out of this bill, but it’s still a step in the right direction.”