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154811827861A3088725827F0076C76A Hearing Summary


Date Apr 30, 2018      
Location SCR 352

SB18-249 - Amended, referred to Senate Appropriations

03:37:25 PM  

The committee took a brief recess.

The committee was called back to order, and Senators Gardner and Lambert explained the four following bills:

  • SB18-249 concerning establishing alternative programs in the criminal justice system to divert individiuals with a mental health condition to community treatment, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. 
  • SB18-250 concerning the provision of jail-based behavioral health services, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. 
  • SB18-251 concerning establishing a statewide behavioral health court liaison program, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. 
  • SB18-252 concerning actions related to determinations of competency to proceed, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. 

Senator Gardner further explained the reasons for bringing forth these bills so late in the session,  including compliance and fines in federal court.  Senator Lambert discussed the stakeholder process and prior work on these issues in the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) and elsewhere.  He emphasized the urgency of the legislation. 

Carolyn Kampman, Chief Legislative Analyst with the JBC, distributed and explained a handout concerning the bills (Attachment C).  She reviewed the problem, recent JBC and General Assembly actions, bill drafting, and policy objectives. 

A handout regarding the growing demand for competency restoration was distributed (Attachment D).

The following amendments were distributed:

  • SB18-249: L.003 (Attachment E)
  • SB18-250: L.002 and L.003 (Attachments F and G)
  • SB18-251: L.001, L.002, L.004, and L.005 (Attachments H, I, J, and K)
  • SB18-252: L.001, L.002, and L.003 (Attachments L, M, and N)
04:00:13 PM  

Reggie Bicha,  Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS), spoke in support of the bill.  He explained DHS protocol to restore competency and also discussed those individuals who could properly be served in the community instead of in a jail.  He answered questions from the committee about jail-based competency evaluations, the related lawsuit and settlement agreement, circumstances under which it is necessary to hospitalize, and the average number of days it takes to restore competency. 


04:05:38 PM  

Robert Werthwein, Director of Office of Behavioral Health in DHS, made himself available for questions only.  Mr. Wertwein answered questions about jail-based competency evaluations and the settlement agreement. 


04:12:06 PM  

Cynthia Kowert, representing the Office of the Attorney General, raised constitutional concerns about a section in SB18-049 that allows a judge to plea bargain with defendants. She reported that it could potentially violate the rules for criminal procedure.  She stated that she would support the bill if amended. 

04:17:59 PM  

Tom Raynes, representing the Colorado District Attorneys' Council (CDAC), testified in support of the bills if amended. He discussed each bill and referenced the amendments he would support.  His concerns primarily addressed mandated programming. 


04:21:45 PM  

Tim Lane, represernting the CDAC, provided a neutral stance on the bills if amended.  He proceeded to discuss the bills and the proposed amendments.  He discussed competency evaluations, restoration services, compensation to county jails or lack thereof, redirection specialists, safety bail-outs, time frames, victims, and other related issues. 

The committee recessed.


04:38:54 PM  

The committee was called back to order. 

Abigail Tucker, representing herself as a licensed psychologist and clinical director and as a member of the Adams County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, spoke in favor of the bills.  She proceeded to give her reasons for supporting each bill including clarity, more support for community-based restoration, and screening.  She emphasized the need for early intervention that does not take place in jails. 

04:55:12 PM  

Frank Cornelia, representing the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, spoke in support of the measures.  He discussed each bill and the amendments he supports.

04:59:02 PM  

Doug Wilson, representing the Office of the State Public Defender, testified in favor of the measures overall but raised a number of concerns.  Some of his concerns had to do with time frames, outdated jail-based curricula, and jail-based restoration in general.  He also discussed the proposed amendments.

05:03:07 PM  

Maureen Cain, representing the Office of the State Public Defender, spoke both in favor of and opposition to certain parts of the four measures.  The major issue she expressed concerns about was the 150-day time period in SB18-252.  She stated that 150 days is too long to wait for a competency hearing while in custody. 


05:21:06 PM  

Terry Scanlon, legislative liaison for the Judicial Department, spoke in support of SB18-251 and expressed a neutral position on the other bills. 

05:22:33 PM  

Brenidy Rice, representing the Judicial Department, was basically neutral on the bills but voiced a number of concerns about how the bills impact judicial discretion.

05:24:45 PM  

Iris Eytan, representing the Colorado Lawyers Committee, spoke both in favor of and against the bills.  She explained her involvement in a lawsuit against the state to ensure that competency evaluations are completed in a timely manner.  She discussed how individuals are still spending time in jail well past the time lines outlined in the settlement agreement.  She expressed concerns about SB18-252 in particular. 


05:34:03 PM  

Mark Ivandick, representing Disability Law Colorado, spoke both for and against the measures.  He discussed the need for more programs such as Restoring Individuals Safely and Effectively (RISE) and discouraged jail-based restoration services.  He also provided a history of the problem and raised concerns about SB18-252. 



05:46:42 PM  

Patrick Fox, representing the Colorado Psychiatric Society and former deputy director of clinical services in DHS, spoke in favor of the bills.  He discussed the increase in competency reviews and compared per diem costs to manage an individual.  He answered questions about the competency-based curriculum in county jails and the difficulty of finding educators to teach it.


05:52:31 PM  

Robert Werthwein from DHS returned to the table and answered questions about the RISE program and the curriculum used in county jail restoration programs.

06:01:10 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.003
Moved Gardner
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS

06:02:21 PM
Motion Refer Senate Bill 18-249, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations.
Moved Gardner
Coram Yes
Fields Yes
Kagan Yes
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Final YES: 5   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details