March 8, 2019

Denver, CO – The Colorado State Senate this morning voted 24-to-11 to pass HB19-1148, Change Maximum Criminal Penalty One Year to 364 Days, a bill from Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) that will reform our sentencing laws in order to reduce deportations for minor crimes. The bill now heads to the Governor for his signature.

“HB19-1148 simply reduces the maximum potential sentence for second degree misdemeanors and municipal offenses from one year to 364 days. Due to a quirk in immigration law, visa holders were subject to deportation— even for exceptionally minor offenses,” said Senator Gonzales. “This bill will help lawful permanent residents and visa holders in Colorado to resolve their county and municipal offenses quickly.”

Colorado is in the minority of states with penalties for misdemeanor crimes so harsh that they trigger deportation. HB19-1148 changes the maximum jail sentence for class 2 misdemeanors, misdemeanors without a fixed statutory penalty, and municipal ordinance violations from one year to 364 days, addressing a critical deportation issue that is triggered upon a 365-day statutory sentence. This legislation would also increase court efficiencies.

“I am so proud that the Senate has voted to make this small change that will have a big impact on people’s lives,” added Senator Gonzales, “and I look forward to the day when HB19-1148 is signed into law.”

For more information on HB19-1148, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/HB19-1148.

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