Public Safety Suggested Bill Priorities
April 29, 2020
House and Senate Leadership Joint Budget Committee Rep. KC Becker, Speaker of the House Rep. Daneya Esgar, Chair Rep. Alec Garnett, Majority Leader Sen. Dominick Moreno, Vice Chair Rep. Patrick Neville, Minority Leader Rep. Julie McCluskie, Member Sen. Leroy Garcia, Senate President Sen. Bob Rankin, Ranking Member Sen. Stephen Fenberg, Majority Leader Rep. Kim Ransom, Member Sen. Chris Holbert, Minority Leader Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, Member
RE: Criminal Justice Bill Package – Policy Priorities and Fiscal Impact
Your task ahead in the coming weeks is daunting and we applaud you for the tough decisions you are about to make. COVID-19 continues to impact all of us in unimaginable ways – affecting all sectors of society – including those of us deeply immersed in, and most knowledgeable about, Colorado’s criminal and juvenile justice system.
We thank those of you with whom we have already been able to speak, but jointly write as the representatives of the major stakeholders on criminal justice policy to express our unified concern regarding the priorities and fiscal impact related to pending and/or forthcoming legislation, and further, to provide insight and comment on the criminal justice bills presently before the General Assembly.
To be clear, some bills should move forward, a select few can come or go, and most importantly, a significant number must be postponed to a future session.
As promised, the attached table is an unofficial compilation that reflects discussions that we – as public safety organizations, local government representatives, and victim coalition advocates – prioritized for your recommended consideration into a three-tiered structure:
–Tier 1: “must have” (should move forward);
–Tier 2: “would be nice” (can come or go); and
–Tier 3: “not this year” (must be postponed).
The Tiers do not represent the official position of any single organization or entity, but are meant to serve as a tool for you in the process for determining which bills may move forward this session as legislative calendars days and resources allow.
Firstly, Tier 1 bills do not implicate any new fiscal impact. Tier 1 contains only those bills that rose as our top priority, and were selected taking into consideration the need to focus on legislation that – as the Speaker clearly noted to us in conversation – is “fast, friendly, and free.”
Secondly, and of next importance, is that Tier 3 bills reflect a strong and concerted position that a number of our organizations believe should not move forward for a variety of reasons, most commonly that significant stakeholder work is still needed in order to deal with major policy and funding concerns. These bills would compound issues that the law enforcement, local government, and victim communities are already struggling with in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tier 3 bills fiscally impact the state on the order of approximately $21.3 million, and many would also create significant fiscal burdens on local agencies and governments. This figure does not include the state fiscal impact of rumored but unintroduced bills in this category.
Finally, Tier 2 bills have support from some of our organizations, but are in this category given our recognition of the need for you to pare down bills that may or may not need to move forward. The collective state fiscal impact for this discretionary Tier 2 is approximately $25 million.
We want to make absolutely clear that each of our organizations have our own individual priorities and bill positions. At the same time, we write to provide this document as a thoughtful and informative tool regarding our position on broad public safety impacts and priorities that you may consider as you make very challenging decisions over the next several weeks.
We appreciate the hard work you are doing – but you need not do it alone. Please free to reach out to any of our organizations with questions in the coming weeks. We feel strongly that criminal justice system priorities in the time of COVID-19 require our collective and collaborative input.
Colorado Public Safety Stakeholders
Reprinted from Letter provided by PPA Lobbyists
Here is a complete copy of the Letter and the three Tiers: 4.29 Public Safety Suggested Bill Priorities