After Aurora, therapists to report on threats to place
If last session’s bevy of gun-control measures wasn’t enough to tip you off, elected officials are legislating in a post-Columbine, post-Aurora-theater-shooting Colorado. Today, the House moved forward HB 1271 from Aurora Rep. Jovan Melton expanding mandatory reporting requirements for mental health professionals from just threats against individuals to also include threats against locations such as schools and movie theaters.
Melton said the bill is a direct result of the July 20, 2012 “Dark Knight Rises” theater shooting which happened just a few blocks north of Melton’s district.
“If I am therapist and my patient says I’m going to hurt my neighbor Bob, I have a duty to notify Bob and also law enforcement. But if a person comes in and says I’m going to hurt a whole movie theater or school, there is little I can do. It’s unclear based on current statute,” he said.
The bill passed solidly on a voice vote and should come up for final review this week.
A special license plate for soldiers on skis
“If you were looking for a reason to support a license plate bill, here it is!” Rep. Millie Hamner of Dillon announced on the House floor today.
Her bill, HB 1089, will make sure that the nearly 3,000 Coloradans who annually purchase one of the state’s most popular special license plates — for the 10th Mountain Division — may actually donate to the organization that honors the thousands of WWII soldiers who trained in Colorado’s backcountry. Right now people pay $50 for the plates, which goes directly to the state, Hamner’s bill will allow the 10th Mountain Division Association to add a permanent donation fee if they like.
The 10th Mountain Division Association contributes to ‘living history’ through community and school presentations about the Division, which trained as many as 15,000 World War II-era soldiers at a time at Camp Hale near Leadville. Soldiers learned to mountain climb, participated in an elite ski corps and picked up skills to survive in mountain warfare.
The organization also maintains a series of mountain huts especially for veterans and active duty military looking for a little alpine R&R.
Hamner’s license plate bill will get a final vote in the House this week.
Expanding victims’ rights
Today the House moved forward a bill, HB 1148, from Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora to add several offenses to the definition of ‘crime’ including “violations of civil protection orders in sex offense cases, coercion of involuntary servitude, and all child prostitution offenses.” While already illegal, these activities aren’t currently covered by the statutory definition of ‘crime’ where it gives victims important rights.
Passed as a constitutional amendment in Colorado in 1992, the Victims’ Rights Act ensures the survivors of crime a slew of crucial protections including time off work, the return of stolen possessions and inclusion in the criminal justice process from trial to sentencing to prison transfer and parole.
The measure passed unanimously from the House Judiciary Committee and will likely come up for a final vote in the House this week.
Turkish business folk visited the Senate today, prompting a quick language lesson from Sen. Nancy Todd of Aurora.
Just spit it out: split estate notifications
Countless Coloradans have learned the hard way that owning your mineral rights doesn’t always guarantee that your land can’t be fracked. That said, realizing that you have no say in the matter at all because never purchased those mineral rights is much worse.
Rep. Dominick Moreno hears stories like this commonly from his Commerce City constituents. It’s the motivation behind SB 9, which requires all real estate contracts to include a disclosure about the possibility that a property could have split estate status. The bill wouldn’t require real estate contracts to explicitly state whether or not a property comes with its mineral rights. It would just notify would-be buyers of the possibility of a split estate and tell them where they could find out for sure.
“There isn’t proper disclosure about mineral rights when you purchase a home,” Moreno said. “This bill would make sure some level of disclosure is available both to original home owners and subsequent purchasers.”
“As oil and gas development comes closer and closer to residential areas, it seems only fair that people be educated,” added Sen. Mary Hodge, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “Knowledge is power, but it needs to be knowledge, not rumor or innuendo.”