There have been a lot of bills on the table this legislative session in Colorado. Those to get the most attention so far include full-day kindergarten, sexual education, and the red-flag gun bill. There are many other bills though, that are not getting the same kind of recognition. There are a handful of these lesser-known bills, but the woman responsible for seven of them is Representative Leslie Herod. While she is a fierce Democrat, her bills are receiving bipartisan support in the General Assembly.
This legislative session, Herod would like to restore voting rights to individuals who have served time and are now out on parole. She would also like to reduce certain drug charges from felonies to misdemeanors. Additionally, Herod aims to remove bail costs for those charged with minor offenses that, under the current system, cannot afford to return home with their families. Other bills the Democrat from Denver has sponsored include one that would provide free tampons to women in custody, and another that would prevent potential employers from asking about a person’s criminal history.
Herod said she was inspired to sponsor these bills because she is most interested in fighting for the underdogs. It seems many in the legislature are too. The bills she has put forward are all expected to pass and are receiving support from both sides of the aisle.
“These measures taken in the legislative session this year are great strides forward for our criminal justice system,” says Justie Nicol of Nicol Gersch Law, PC. “We have to make sure we are not filling our jails and prisons with individuals that do not really belong there. It is just as important that once a person has paid their debt to society, or is still serving time, their rights continue to be upheld.”
That sentiment is strong throughout the General Assembly as well, even if the reasons for passing the bill are not the same across parties. Democrats feel that these are social issues that could affect real change. Republicans, on the other hand, view these as fiscal issues that could save taxpayers millions.
No matter what the reasoning, it is clear that all of these proposed bills would not only do great things for Colorado’s criminal justice system, but also benefit women and families in the process.