Two More Bills Signed
The area in front of Gov. John Hickenlooper's office has been a busy place lately, as legislators and citizens have been gathering there while waiting to attend bill-signing ceremonies. I was proud to have been part of the crowd twice in late March, as two of my sponsored bills were signed into law.
Gov. Hickenlooper signed SB 13-012 into law on March 22 (pictured above at left), and the idea for this bill truly came from within Senate District 18. Michelle Peterson (upper right), a local child abuse expert, approached me last summer and let me know that while officials of public sports teams are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect, officials from private teams were not required to be "mandatory reporters."
We got a bill drafted, and Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont, top row center) signed on as the House sponsor. Peterson personally testified at Senate and House committee hearings, and helped round up other qualified speakers to make the case for passage. The original bill was amended several times to clarify language regarding which officials would be deemed mandatory reporters, but the bill passed with bipartisan support. Peterson deserves a great deal of credit for her work on the bill, and we all had fun at the signing ceremony with the young hockey player Ben Davis in attendance.
The mood was unfortunately much heavier on March 20, when Gov. Hickenlooper signed HB 13-1228 into law (pictured at right, with House sponsor Rep. Lois Court at left). The bill created a fee structure for background checks on firearm purchases, and Gov. Hickenlooper signed two other public safety bills (HBs 1224 and 1229) into law that morning. The three bills were part of a package designed to help reduce the likelihood and/or magnitude of firearm-related death in Colorado.
However, the ceremony was dampened by the news that Tom Clements, the state's Director of Corrections, had been shot to death at his home the night before. Gov. Hickenlooper had just completed a press conference about Clements' murder before the bill signing, and he also spoke about the tragedy in another press conference following the signing. It was a very emotional day at the Capitol, and our hearts all went out to Clements' family and friends.