Gov. John Hickenlooper signs HB 1308 into law, as Cherry Hills Village Mayor Doug Tisdale, Rep. Daniel Kagan and Denver Police Chief Robert White look on.Photos by Jan Wondra
By Jan Wondra
When Gov. John Hickenlooper walked into the Joint Public Safety Facility on May 13, it marked the first official visit by a sitting governor to Cherry Hills Village. The purpose of the governor’s visit was to sign two bills passed by the Colorado General Assembly into law. The visit was brought about by Rep. Daniel Kagan, D – Cherry Hills Village
Kagan, who sponsored both bills, said, “I’m very proud of the new Joint Public Safety Facility, which exists due to cooperation among public entities. I thought, what better opportunity to highlight the cooperative nature of how we work here in the south metro area than to sign the bills here.”
Cherry Hills Village city staff, City Council and representatives of the police department attended the ceremony. Two bills were signed: House Bill 1308 assures that law enforcement agencies can access cell phone location information in emergency situations.
“In emergencies, time is of the essence,” said Hickenlooper. “Even a half hour will matter in cases of kidnapping or a wild fire.”
House Bill 1163 bridges the gap between the federal funds available to cover the medical examination costs of sexual assault victims and actual costs. Prior to this bill, Colorado residents bore the remaining burden of costs associated with establishing that an assault had occurred.
“This bill fills the critical gap in existing funding,” said Hickenlooper. “I commend this bi-partisan effort. Rep. Kagan is one of our most tireless representatives in reaching across the aisle to make things happen.”
Kagan, who wrote both bills, spoke of the bill processes, prior to the signings.
“The language of HB 1163 creates the emergency payment program. When a person has already been the victim of an assault, it just seemed to me that making them carry the cost of having to gather the evidence to prosecute was re-victimization. We made sure not just to authorize it, but to fund it. Given the events in the past week and a half in Ohio, both this bill, and HB 1308, sure are timely.”
In his thanks to the many who made the passage of the bill possible, Kagan singled out a special group for their bravery.
“Most importantly, I want to thank a courageous group of women, who are themselves victims of rape. The last thing a rape victim wants to do is to relive the experience,” he said. “But they came to the House hearings and they gave difficult, compelling testimony about their experiences. It was painful. It was agonizing, even for those who listened to it. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for them. But they did it and now we have this law.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper signs HB 1163 as Mayor Doug Tisdale, state Rep. Daniel Kagan, women who testified on behalf of the bill, Denver Police Chief Robert White, Ellen Belef and Kelly Everitt of We are Women Colorado look on.
The second bill, HB 1308, assures that law enforcement groups can quickly get cell phone location information in kidnapping and other emergency situations, without waiting to acquire a court ordered warrant. The measure will aid fast response in potentially life-threatening situations, including Amber Alerts, and assures cell phone company staff they will not be violating privacy laws by providing the information to Colorado law enforcement officials.
Shepherding this bill forward required a collaborative, bipartisan effort, and Kagan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, was the right person to carry this forward.
“Denver Police Chief White came to me and asked me to look at a way to help protect the public and cut crucial response time during these emergencies,” Kagan said. “I said, ‘OK, but there’s probably not much we can get done.’ Then we began to talk with people, and found that there was room to create a bill. We talked with many groups, adding and removing items that would assure support. We specifically talked with the American Civil Liberties Union, creating language that doesn’t so much expand the power of police, as it does a better job of safe-guarding the public. In the end, the ACLU is officially neutral on this bill.”
Mayor Doug Tisdale welcomed Hickenlooper to Cherry Hills Village.
“It’s not that governors don’t visit us here in Cherry Hills Village, but usually those visits include a lot of wine, and cheese…and checks,” he said. “This state is unique in its bi-partisan collaboration. Our governor is a regionalist; he was a mayor before he became our governor, so he understands collaboration. It is no fluke that these two bipartisan bills are being signed here.”
Prior to the governor’s departure, Mayor Tisdale presented the governor and Rep. Kagan with keys to the city.
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