Yesterday, the Democrat-controlled Colorado State House State Affairs Committee passed a bill that they have equated to Jessica’s Law. But, does it really do the same thing? The answer is no. The bill, H.B. 1260, was sponsored by Boulder liberal Rep. Mike Foote and was the Democrat-approved version. Republican state Rep. Libby Szabo also introduced her version of Jessica’s Law, H.B. 1264, which was killed in committee on a party line vote.
The key features of Jessica’s Law are the tough minimum sentencing requirements and lifetime probation for sexual predators. Foote’s bill offers a tiered system of sentencing, which drops mandatory sentencing down to as little as 10 years. From the bill: at least 10-16 years and up to a maximum of natural life for a class 4 felony; at least 18-32 years and up to a maximum of natural life for a class 3 felony; and at least 24-48 years and up to a maximum of natural life for a class 2 felony.
H.B. 1260 also lacks sex offender registration and reporting requirements, compared to H.B. 1264, which requires that if paroled, offenders must remain on parole for the remainder of their natural life.
Colorado is just one of a handful of states that does not have a Jessica’s Law on the books. The rejection of such a law last year landed liberal Speaker Mark Ferrandino in hot water with Bill O’Reilly. “Jessica’s Law” is named after Jessica Lunsford, a young girl from Florida who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a paroled sexual offender.
The issue is that Jessica’s Law-type laws not only act as punishment once crimes have been committed, but also as deterrents to would-be predators. Passing a Jessica’s Law-in-name-only leaves Coloradans with a false sense of security when the truth is that our law does not have the same impact as the surrounding states. This is dangerous.
We just don’t understand why Democrats wouldn’t want the absolute highest level of protections available for children. Why pass such a watered down bill when a perfectly acceptable alternative was available? The reason? Democrats put politics in front of Colorado’s kids safety. This is really dangerous.