Colorado legislature sends far-reaching police accountability bill to Gov. Jared Polis |

Colorado legislature sends far-reaching police accountability bill to Gov. Jared Polis

Senate Bill 217 picked up significant Republican support as it passed the Senate and House. The Colorado District Attorneys’ Council also announced it’s on board. The governor says he will sign it.

Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun
Inside the Colorado House of Representatives during final statements before the vote on the landmark police accountability bill on June 12, 2020.
Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun

The Colorado legislature on Saturday sent Gov. Jared Polis a far-reaching police accountability bill in response to the death last month of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. 

Polis has vowed to sign it into law. 

The pace at which Senate Bill 217 made its way through the lawmaking gears at the Capitol was astonishing. But Democrats were committed to change and Republicans eventually joined their push after the bill was tweaked.

“Today, members, we will be able to intervene and do something about what’s happening in our communities — all of our communities — and has happened for far too long,” Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat and one of the prime sponsors of the bill, said Friday as the measure cleared the House. “Black lives matter.”

The legislation was introduced on June 3 and won final approval in the Senate at about 1 p.m. Saturday. A bill of such magnitude would normally take weeks — if not months — to be negotiated.

But lawmakers worked late into the night on several occasions to solidify the policy and hear out law enforcement’s concerns. They took into account the emotional testimony of family members whose loved ones were killed by police, as well as the experiences of black legislators. 

“The reason we were able to put this sweeping proposal together so quickly is that (lawmakers) who held these seats long before us had been working on this very issue for years,” House Speaker KC Becker said on the House floor through sobs. “This body met the moment.”

Even the most hard-line, pro-law enforcement Republicans in the legislature approved of the measure, including Sen. John Cooke, a Greeley Republican and Weld County’s former sheriff.

“There’s a lot more good in this bill than bad,” said House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock.

On Friday afternoon, the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council also announced its support for the bill, a major endorsement of the measure. 

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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