King co-sponsor of hit-and-run alert bill
DENVER — A slew of new bills were introduced into the Colorado House just before lawmakers took an impromptu long weekend to escape last week’s snowstorm.
The bills range from a requirement to use hands-free phone devices while driving, limits on when the governor can grant a reprieve in death penalty cases and a measure to repeal the state’s health care exchange.
One of the measures introduced before the long weekend is a bill by Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, and Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction.
It would expand a first-of-its-kind program, called Medina Alert, for hit-and-run driving accidents that result in serious injury or death.
That program, named after a Denver man who died in such an accident last year, would work similar to an Amber Alert, when the media, law enforcement and just about everyone is alerted that a child has been abducted.
The measure, HB1191, calls on the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies statewide to create a system to issue regional and statewide alerts when such hit-and-run accidents occur.
“Sadly, hit-and-runs are a serious problem in Colorado, and we need to give law enforcement every opportunity available to solve these crimes,” Conti said. “My bill will give the state of Colorado the necessary tools to broadcast information statewide in hopes of bringing hit-and-run drivers to justice.”
In the first year of the Denver program, there were more than 11,000 hit-and-runs that resulted in 546 injuries or deaths, Conti said. Of those, however, only 13 had sufficient information to issue a Medina Alert, 11 of which were solved.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita, has introduced two new bills with the help of some Democrats.
One measure, HB1229, would allow a local jurisdiction to use fingerprint background checks for people who operate retail marijuana stores.
There are no retail marijuana stores in Wright’s House district, which includes all of Mesa County and the western half of Delta County, and there won’t be anytime soon because both counties have banned such stores.
Wright’s other measure, HB1208, would define “multi-district administrative units” of school districts that have not formed a board of cooperative services but are parties in an agreement to provide special education services.
Earlier last month, Wright re-introduced his bill that died a quick death during last year’s session. That new measure, HB1155, would bar any state or local government worker other than members of the Colorado National Guard or other military-related agency from aiding the federal government “in any investigation, prosecution or detention” of anyone arrested or charged under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.