(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Governor Jared Polis had a very busy Tuesday, stopping in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver to sign legislation into law.
Polis visited the Ronald McDonald House in Colorado Springs to sign SB23-075 and HB23-1026.
SB23-075, the Deletion Of Child’s Name From Criminal Justice Records, also known as Riley’s Law, after the murder of Riley Whitelaw.
“This bill is really important and it’s personal to so many people,” Polis said. “It came about from child victims’ families, all having the details of the death reported in the paper all before all law enforcement was able to notify the child’s family and friends.”
Whitelaw was murdered last year while working at a local Walgreens, and many of her friends and classmates found out the news of her death from news outlets.
“As it happened, a lot of folks found out on the news that their friend had been killed in a Walgreens store,” said State Senator Tony Exum.
Riley’s Law will require a child’s name and identifying information to be removed from criminal justice records that are released to the public.
“Nothing can be harder than losing a child… as the father of an 11-year-old and an eight-year-old, I can only imagine the horror,” said Polis. “And to have that amplified and relive it all through lurid details being reported that are really private can only make that trauma even worse, adding additional pain to what’s already a very difficult situation.”
Governor Polis thanked Riley’s mother: “Courtney turned tragedy into action that will help other families not go through part of what she had to go through.”
Another bill signed by Polis was HB23-1026 – Family Time for Grandparents which allows grandparents or great-grandparents the right to visit their grandchild in a child custody case.
Governor Polis reflected on his relationship with his grandparents and why he believed this legislation was important.
“I can think of nothing fonder of my early years, of my time with my grandparents,” Polis said. “What this bill does is it adds a presumption of best interest for the child that their grandparents and great-grandparents should be involved in their life in family court when there’s a problem.”
Representative Regina English addressed community members in sharing the immense pride she has for this bill being turned into law.
“Together, we celebrate the signing of a bill that holds profound significance for our families, our communities, and the future of our beloved children,” said English. “This legislation embodies the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and a deep understanding of the vital role that grandparents play in the lives of our precious grandchildren.”
Polis then traveled to Pueblo to sign HB23-1081, the Employee Ownership Tax Credit Expansion, and HB23-1233, Electric Vehicle Charging and Parking Requirements.
“This bill will make sure that we have more access to EV charging across our state,” said Polis. “And with all the new federal and state electric vehicle incentives, many of them automobile manufacturers, are rapidly switching to make more electric vehicles. It’s important that we increase convenience for those who choose to drive electric vehicles.”
While Polis saw support for these new laws, he also faced protestors in Pueblo, who were gathering to draw attention to the state’s immigration policies and push Polis to sign a bill restricting government involvement in immigration detention across the state.
“I am an individual who is just a citizen in our community who is Hispanic and who is very concerned about the immigration policies of this state administration, of our federal administration and we are very concerned that our governor is considering adverse action to this bill,” said Pueblo community member, Augustine Garcia.