Sex-offender bill clears Senate

DENVER — The Colorado Senate gave unanimous approval to a bill Wednesday designed to crack down on sexual offenders, particularly those who would prey on children.

The measure, known as Jessica’s Law, is named after 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was sexually abused and brutally killed in 2007 by a known sex offender who lived in her Florida neighborhood.

Since then, several states have passed varying forms of it, though most include what Colorado is doing: mandatory minimum prison sentences and strict electronic monitoring when offenders are released on parole.

The measure passed 35-0.

Unlike in the House, which passed the measure unanimously in March, there was no debate in the Senate. In the House, Republican lawmakers complained that it didn’t go far enough.

In other action, the Senate gave final approval to HB1288, which would study the impact that not immunizing children has on disease outbreaks, and HB1314, which would create a process for school districts to include charter schools in mill-levy override elections.

HB1288 will head back to the House to sign off on Senate changes to it, while HB1314 goes to the governor’s desk for his approval.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved four measures designed to reform the state’s telecommunications laws.

Some of the measures are aimed at improving broadband services in rural parts of the state, or just bringing it to those areas that don’t yet have it. One of the measures establishes a new broadband fund to help pay for new lines to hard-to-reach areas of the state, while another offers tax incentives to companies that invest in those lines.

Those bills will head to the full Senate for more debate.


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