2021 Legislation

Below are bills I sponsored in the 2021 legislative session.  To see details on any of these, you can visit the Colorado General Assembly web site at http://leg.colorado.gov/bills.

ADDRESSING THE HIGH COST OF LIVING

Tax Justice: Closing Loopholes and Supporting Working People (HB21-1311 and HB21-1312) – Almost all of pay some amount of taxes, and taxes are how we fund things like K-12 education, firefighting, parks and open spaces, taking care of the disabled, and much more. But our tax laws have become riddled with special interest loopholes that take funding away from public services for the benefit of a small number of large corporations or wealthy individuals. I sponsored these bills to close over $100 million in tax loopholes and instead support working families and small local businesses with our tax laws, by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, funding the state Child Tax Credit for the first time ever, exempting small businesses from the business personal property tax, and promoting employee owned businesses with targeted tax credits. Together, these were some of the biggest tax reform bills Colorado has passed in over a decade. STATUS: signed into law.

Consumer Protection & Oversight of Non-Bank Mortgage Servicers (HB21-1282) – Since the housing crash of 2007-08, servicing of mortgages by companies other than banks has increased from about 10% of all mortgages to 50%, but Colorado historically had not had consumer protection laws overseeing these companies. Failures in proper servicing can lead to payments not going to lenders on time, headaches for homeowners, and at worst, foreclosures. I sponsored this bill to empower the Colorado Attorney General to oversee non-bank mortgage servicers doing business in Colorado and to assess fines on bad actors who harm homeowners. STATUS: signed into law.

Financial Assistance for Weatherization (SB21-231) – Weatherizing your home (for example, by adding insulation to the attic) saves money and helps climate change by lowering your energy usage, but the cost of these upgrades can be a barrier to some people. I sponsored this bill to increase financial assistance for lower and moderate income people by $3 million. STATUS: signed into law.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Consumer Protection for Medical Liens (HB21-1300) – People who are hurt in auto accidents and have inadequate insurance sometimes receive medical care paid for by a lien on a future legal settlement they may receive from the person who caused the accident. Most of the companies providing these services do so appropriately, but there are some bad actors in this market. I sponsored this bill to increase consumer protections by requiring disclosures about the liens and preventing charges against injured individuals. STATUS: signed into law.

CONSERVATION

Environmental Justice & Tackling Climate Change (HB21-1266) – Everyone benefits from wide availability of energy and consumer products in our society, but historically, the costs associated with those benefits have not been born evenly. In particular, communities of color and low income neighborhoods have often found themselves exposed to higher than average levels of pollution. I sponsored this bill to require better state engagement with environmental justice communities – communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution. This bill also builds on a 2019 bill to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by creating specific, numeric pollution reduction requirements for key sectors of the economy. STATUS: signed into law.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC SAFETY

Prosecuting Bias-motivated Crimes (SB21-280) – Bias-motivated crimes don’t just target one victim – they target an entire community of people of a certain race, ethnicity, orientation, religion, or other trait. But some offenders have been able to beat bias crime charges by arguing “mixed motives” – they weren’t attacking someone because of race, for example, they just wanted to steal that person’s wallet. I sponsored this bill to close this loophole so that perpetrators of bias crimes can be prosecuted where the crime motive was in whole or in part due to bias. STATUS: signed into law.

Record Sealing & Collateral Consequences Reduction (HB21-1214) – People who commit crimes should serve a sentence proportionate to their crime. Once they’ve served that sentence, it’s in society’s interest that they get a second chance, including stable housing and gainful, legal employment. But criminal justice records are widely available, making it hard for people to get their lives back on track. I sponsored this bill to give lower level offenders a chance to go to court to seal their records. The court process includes input from crime victims and district attorneys, and a judge must find that sealing is warranted. STATUS: signed into law.

GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY

Increased Transparency for Tax Ballot Measures (HB21-1321) – Colorado voters often face consequential and complicated tax ballot measures, but credible information about the impact of these measures can sometimes be hard to come by. I sponsored this bill so that the ballot initiative process will have more information for voters. Ballot titles will indicate what state services could be cut by a tax law change (for example, K-12 education), and the “Blue Book” that voters receive each fall will contain a table showing how tax law changes would benefit voters of lower, middle, or higher income levels to greater or lesser degrees. STATUS: signed into law.