DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed HB22-1077 into law. The legislation, sponsored by Representatives Dafna Michaleson Jenet and Iman Jodeh and Senators Chris Hansen and Kevin Priola, creates a grant program to enhance security for nonprofits.
“Today, we’re making Colorado communities safer by providing grant funding to boost security at sacred spaces, including synagogues, churches, temples and mosques,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “With violence and threats on the rise, I am worried about the safety of my community. Antisemitic incidents are increasing to new records, and reported incidents in Colorado grew by 53 percent in 2021. This law secures funding to protect our communities from violence now by creating a grant program to improve security and help make Colorado safer for everyone.”
“We worked tirelessly this session to pass legislation to build a safer Colorado for all, and this effort builds on that progress by ensuring the safety and security of marginalized communities,” said Senator Chris Hansen, D-Denver. “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their neighborhood, and this new law will help protect Coloradans who experience threats, violence, hate crimes, and other forms of bigotry in their places of worship, community centers, schools, and other spaces.”
“With this law, we’re prioritizing the safety and well-being of Colorado’s minority communities who continue to experience threats and acts of violence at their places of worship,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora. “We’re not waiting around for the next incident or threat of violence at community centers, places of worship, schools and community spaces. This law provides funding to help the pillars of our communities improve security and keep people safe.”
HB22-1077 creates the Colorado Nonprofit Security Grant Program in the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The program would offer grants to eligible entities to enhance the physical security of Colorado’s nonprofit and charitable organizations.
Currently, the federal government provides grants for this purpose through the Department of Homeland Security, however the increase in threats combined with not enough funding have led to unmet security needs for Colorado-based organizations. The law provides $500,000 for these grants to additional Colorado organizations to complete critical security upgrades for their facilities.
Minority communities are facing a growing threat from violent extremists who are targeting shared spaces such as mosques and synagogues. In Colorado, there has been an increase in violent rhetoric and threats. In 2019, there was an attempted bombing at a synagogue in Pueblo and an individual was recently arrested after threatening congregants with a weapon outside of the Downtown Denver Islamic Center.