House committee kills 'homeless right to sue' (again)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

For the second straight year, a bill giving the homeless broad rights to sue municipalities, shopping malls and employers for discrimination has been defeated on a bipartisan vote in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) has introduced both bills and this year was joined by co-sponsor Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Denver). After last year’s bill failed on a 3-8 vote in the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, Salazar re-tooled the bill ostensibly to eliminate the private enforcement provision that explicitly allowed for litigation.

This year’s bill, House Bill 1191, nonetheless created numerous “rights” and prohibited local ordinances that disproportionately impact homeless people, leading many legal experts to conclude that homeless people would still be able to bring lawsuits against anyone alleged to have violated the language of the bill, if it became law.

After a hearing on Feb. 24, the House Local Government Committee defeated the motion to pass the bill by a 5-6 vote.

Voting against the bill were Jeni Arndt (D-Fort Collins), Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo), Kim Ransom (R-Littleton), Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver), Lori Saine (R-Firestone) and Dan Thurlow (R-Grand Junction).

Voting to pass the bill were Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge), Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) and committee chair Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora).

Click HERE for additional coverage in the Denver Post.

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