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April 17, 2024

JOINT RELEASE: Bills to Protect Privacy, Support Military Families and Protect Law Enforcement Animals Signed into Law

DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed three bills into law that will protect Coloradans’ biological data, support military families by easing occupational credentialing, and increase penalties for cruelty to law enforcement animals. 

As technology has advanced, there has been an increase in the volume and type of personal data being generated, collected, stored and analyzed, including neurotechnology. With neurotechnology, users cannot decide what specific neural information they are disclosing. HB24-1058, sponsored by Representatives Cathy Kipp and Matt Soper and Senators Kevin Priola and Mark Baisley, expands the definition of “sensitive data” in the Colorado Privacy Act to include all biological data, including neural data.

“This first-in-the-nation law will protect the privacy of Coloradans’ thoughts and biological data,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins. “The advancements underway in this field have tremendous potential to improve the quality of life, especially for people with disabilities, which is why we must provide a clear framework to protect Coloradans’ personal data from being used without their consent while still allowing these new technologies to develop.”

“Neurotechnology is no longer confined to medical or research settings, it’s in devices we use every day,” said Senator Kevin Priola, D-Henderson. “Outside of these settings, neurotechnologies can currently operate without regulation, data protection standards, or equivalent ethical constraints. While neurotechnology has made significant progress in recent years, it’s important we protect users so that their sensitive information isn’t being collected without their control.”

HB24-1097, sponsored by Representatives Mike Weissman and Rick Taggart and Senators Rhonda Fields and Bob Gardner, allows dependents and Gold Star spouses of US Armed Forces members to participate in the Occupational Credential Portability Program.  The Occupational Credential Portability Program was created by  2020 bipartisan legislation to streamline and centralize the credentialing of individuals licensed in another state. The law applies to professions ranging from doctors and veterinarians to electricians and barbers.

“This successful program has helped military families transition to new jobs when they move to Colorado, and with this bill being signed into law, dependents and Gold Star spouses will now be able to benefit, as well,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora. “This legislation will make it easier for military families to keep their occupational licenses or credentials when they move to Colorado, so they can more easily continue their careers.”

“Military families make big sacrifices to support service members and their communities, and it’s critical that we support them as well,” Senator Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, said. “Expanding the Occupational Credential Portability Program will help uplift members of military families by opening up new opportunities for them to quickly enter the workforce and thrive in Colorado. I’m proud to see this bill signed into law so that we can get military family members the support and resources they deserve.”

HB24-1074, sponsored by Majority Leader Monica Duran and Representative Ryan Armagost and Senators Joann Ginal and Bob Gardner, clarifies that aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class 4 felony, occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly kills or causes serious physical harm to a law enforcement animal.

“Intentionally harming or killing a law enforcement animal is a deeply serious offense, and I’m pleased we have taken a common sense step to make it clear that it is unacceptable,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “It breaks my heart when a law enforcement animal is harmed or killed in the line of duty, and I believe this new law will better align the sentencing for this crime with the seriousness of the offense.”

“Law enforcement animals are a critical part of the law enforcement team, and we must do more to protect them,” Senator Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, said. “The injury or death of a law enforcement animal results in significant setbacks in crime detection or deterrence, and causes significant emotional distress for the officers who work alongside them. This new law expands the definition to include any animal used by law enforcement to protect the public, and increases penalties for harming them which will help protect the law enforcement animals that keep us safe.”

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