Making Colorado Safer

(May 13) – Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two measures today to protect victims and assist law enforcement. The bills were sponsored by Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills Village) and signed at the Cherry Hills Village Community Center with law enforcement, victims’ rights advocates and survivors present.

“I am happy the governor came to my district to sign these important public safety and victim protection bills,” Rep. Kagan said. “These bills really will help save lives and prevent survivors from further victimization, and I’m proud of the bipartisan cooperation and support.”

HB13-1163, sponsored by Rep. Kagan, will create the Sexual Assault Victim Emergency (SAVE) Payment Program, which will provide funding for victims who would qualify. Federal law prevents hospitals from charging sexual assault survivors for their rape kits, but the survivors are still responsible for other costs incurred when going to a medical service provider. These can range from emergency room admittance fees to treatment of injuries to further testing.

“There is absolutely no reason why a sexual assault victim should have to endure medical costs related to their attack, in addition to the trauma they’re facing” Rep. Kagan said. “This bill would put an end to that.  For those people it can be a life-changing factor.”

HB13-1308, sponsored by Reps. Kagan and Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), helps law enforcement locate people believed to be in danger of imminent harm. The bill allows a law enforcement agency to direct a cellular service provider to provide location information without a court order. The law enforcement agency must have probable cause to believe that an emergency situation exists and the time required to obtain a search warrant or other court order would exacerbate the risk of death or serious bodily injury. Additionally, the bill requires that law enforcement seek a court order after the event demonstrating that the information was acquired legally to prevent abuse.

The bill is modeled after other legislation that was in response to the Kelsey Smith case. Smith was abducted, raped and killed in Kansas in 2007, and it took four days for the cell phone carrier to release the location of her cell phone because the law wasn’t clear as to whether the company could release that information. Within 45 minutes of the company releasing her cellular location information, Smith’s body was found.

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