(May 20) – Gov. John Hickenlooper made a visit to Colorado Springs today to sign two bills by Rep. Pete Lee that will ensure substance-abuse treatment is available for all probationers with addiction problems and help veterans turn their military skills and training into productive civilian careers.

Prior to HB16-1278, courts could only require a substance abuse treatment program as part of probation if the probationers were convicted of drug crimes. The new law allows the court to direct any probationers who have serious substance abuse problems to receive treatment, regardless of whether the offense that got them into probation was a drug crime.

“This law promotes change in the people who need it most,” said Rep. Lee, D-Colorado Springs. “All the options should be on the table for the courts to make the best recommendation when the underlying cause of an offense is drug use. We want to move from being tough on crime to being smart on crime.”

The second bill signed today, HB16-1267, creates a pilot grant program allowing Colorado workforce centers to contract to provide services to veterans to help them transition into civilian employment.

“Our veterans have made a sacrifice for us,” said Rep. Lee. “Now it’s time for us to step up and sacrifice a little bit for them. This program is designed to take advantage of the unique needs and talents of veterans and their spouses, so they can transition to good-paying civilian jobs.”

Many veterans experience difficulty adapting their skills to civilian careers. The unemployment rate among veterans is double that of the rest of the population.

Both bills were signed at the Pioneer Museum in Colorado Springs.

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