Herod: In support of transparency and due process

The Gazette (Colorado Springs): A strong bipartisan majority of Colorado legislators came together during the 2017 legislative session to pass HB 1313 – Civil Forfeiture Reform.

The bill, which adds necessary transparency and due process protections to the asset forfeiture practices of Colorado law enforcement, passed out of both chambers by a combined 81-19 vote and is awaiting signature by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

As two of the bill’s prime sponsors, Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and I support HB 1313 and urge the governor to respect the will of more than three-fourths of the Legislature by signing it into law.

Colorado’s law enforcement can take cash and property from people without charging anyone with a crime – much less securing a conviction – when co-operating with the federal government on investigations.

Law enforcement agencies then get a cut of the proceeds – up to 80 percent – which they can spend in any way they please without a public process. This allows law enforcement agencies to self-fund outside the normal appropriations’ process, which by and large is the job of the legislative branch whether it is in state or local governments.

HB 1313 brings this forfeiture activity into the light of day by bringing more transparency into the process.

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