(June 28) – Legislation that preserves a strong and effective Colorado Civil Rights Division, the agency charged with protecting Coloradans from discrimination since 1951, is going into effect on July 1, the beginning of the state’s 2018-19 fiscal year.
“By protecting a strong Civil Rights Division and Commission, we protect Coloradans from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations,” said Speaker Crisanta Duran, who sponsored HB18-1256. Her co-prime sponsor, Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, added, “We want to make sure that Colorado is free from discrimination, and this reauthorization moves us toward that goal.”
The future of the CCRD was in doubt until the last day of the legislative session, when a bipartisan compromise was reached between Democrats intent on preserving a strong agency and Republicans trying to defund or weaken it. The compromise involves limiting the number of major-party members on the commission, mandating that the commission include members representing workers, small and large businesses and members of protected classes, and adding an audit provision.
The CCRD rescue is one of 26 bills going into effect on Sunday. Others of note:
· SB18-024, by Reps. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, expanding the Colorado Health Service Corps program, which includes loan repayment and scholarship programs for medical professionals who commit to working in underserved areas.
· SB18-068, by Rep. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, cracking down on “swatting” – the false reporting of an active shooter, bomb threat or other deadly situation as a prank, sending the local SWAT team and other emergency responders racing to the victim’s house.
· SB18-230, by Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield, providing additional protections to property owners being subjected to “forced pooling,” where oil and gas operators invoke a law allowing them to extract oil and gas without the consent of the owner.
Going into effect on Saturday, June 30, is another Herod bill, HB18-1094, which extends and expands a program to provide mental health services to children.