House clears Wright bill

The Colorado House approved measures Tuesday dealing with human trafficking, a Mesa County shooting range and telecommunications reforms designed to boost broadband in rural areas of the state.

A bill partly introduced by Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita, toughens some state laws dealing with human trafficking, particularly those that deal with enslaving children for the purpose of sexual servitude.

The law already makes human trafficking a felony. HB1273 would redefine human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude as a “sex offense against a child” for the purposes of statute of limitations laws, meaning that there would be no limit on prosecuting such crimes.

The measure also makes such a crime a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 24 years in jail and a $1 million fine.

The bill, which also adds two new positions to the Department of Public Safety to help enforce provisions of the measure, cleared the House unanimously. It heads to the Senate for more debate.

The House also approved on a bipartisan 40-24 vote a measure that clears the way for the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife to go ahead with negotiations to purchase part of the Xcel Energy-owned land where the Cameo power plant once stood as part of a plan to open a shooting sports complex there.

That measure now heads to the Senate.

The House also gave preliminary approval of five measures designed to reform and upgrade the state’s telecommunications laws, primarily for the purpose of creating a new fund and offer tax incentives to boost broadband service in parts of the state that are underserved or have no Internet service at all.

Some of the measures garnered opposition from a handful of lawmakers, who said they feared the bills would do away with landline telephones and end state oversight of 911 services.

Supporters of the bills, however, said they continue to give the Colorado Public Utilities Commission regulatory authority over both.

The measures still require final House votes before they can head to the Senate.


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