States’ Rights Bill Passes House

(March 30) – A bill by Reps. Joe Salazar and Daneya Esgar to protect Coloradans from overreaching federal programs targeting religious or ethnic communities passed out of the House this morning with a party-line 37-28 vote.

“As this bill moves to the Senate, I hope to see my colleagues come together around this legislation that protects all communities in Colorado and simply says to the federal government, ‘If you’re asking us to do something that’s illegal and unconstitutional, we will not stand for it here in Colorado,’” said Rep. Esgar, D-Pueblo.

“This bill is about protecting states’ rights and Coloradans’ rights,” said Rep. Salazar, D-Thornton. “It’s disappointing to see my Republican colleagues vote against constitutional protections—they’re sending a message to our communities that the federal government can terrorize Coloradans.”

The Colorado Freedom Defense Act prohibits state and local governments from giving information about a Coloradan’s race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, or religious affiliation to the federal government unless it is for a legal and constitutional purpose.

The bill also prohibits state and local governments from working with the federal government to create or maintain any registries, identify people using physical or electronic markers, or intern or detain a person based on race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status or religious affiliation. The bill does not prohibit law enforcement from sharing information about criminals with federal agencies.

On the floor this morning, Reps. Esgar and Salazar supported an amendment to change the name of HB17-1230 to the “Colorado Freedom Defense Act” after correspondence with a relative of the late Governor Ralph Carr who did not oppose the bill, but requested that Carr’s name not be on the bill due to the politicized nature of the debate surrounding the legislation.

The bill proceeds to the Senate with the new name.

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