Newsbrief: Colorado Bill Equating Meth Manufacture and Child Abuse Moves Forward 1/31/03

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Colorado politicians and law enforcement representatives are moving quickly to pass new laws targeting home manufacture of methamphetamines. As DRCNet reported in December, Colorado lawmakers have crafted a three-bill package that would make meth manufacture de facto evidence of child abuse, make it easier for state authorities to remove children from homes of suspected meth cooks, and make it a misdemeanor to "knowingly" sell chemicals used to make methamphetamine (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/269.html#homemethlabs). One of those bills, HB003-1004, sponsored by Rep. Pam Rhodes (R-Thornton), unanimously passed the House Judiciary Committee on January 23 and is now headed for the Appropriations Committee.

HB003-1004, the bill that would make it felony child abuse to manufacture meth in a home where children are present, passed in committee after legislators heard horror stories from law enforcement personnel. Lt. Lori Moriarty of the North Metro Drug Task Force told the panel of children being found in meth lab homes with rotted teeth or none at all after ingesting meth or its ingredients kept in soda pop bottles in refrigerators. "Our bodies were not meant to digest Coleman fuel or lighter fluid," said Moriarty. "We really need felony charges for this crime." HB003-1004 would impose penalties of up to 12 years in prison for violators.

According to Colorado legislative analysts, there were six people charged with child abuse in connection with meth manufacture in each of the last three years. Those same analysts, who did a required fiscal impact study, found that even though the bill would not increase the number of prisoners (meth cooks are already charged with felonies), it would increase the sentences of those charged from an average of 39 months to 92 months. Such a move would cost the state $827,000 in additional corrections spending in the next five years, the analysts reported.

Those anticipated costs may slow the momentum of the bill in the House Appropriations Committee, whose members are grappling with withering budget problems.

To read the bill, the financial impact analysis, and supporting documentation, go to http://www.leg.state.co.us and search for HB003-1004.

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Issue #274, 1/31/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | Road to Mérida: Dr. Silvia Inchaurraga, Argentine Harm Reductionist | Road to Mérida: Sala Errata | Ed Rosenthal Convicted, Faces 10-Year Mandatory Minimum for Oakland Medical Marijuana Grow | Bush Treatment Initiative Draws Mixed Reviews from Reformers | Into the Morass: Green Berets in Colombia as "War on Drugs" Morphs into "War on Terror" | Drug Czar Says Nevada Election Laws Don't Apply to His Politicking | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Cúpula Internacional sobre Legalização, 15-Dec de Fevereiro, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: Violence Continues as Talks Begin in Bolivia -- Coca Growers, Workers, Indians Present Demands | Newsbrief: DEA Moving to Schedule Two More Hallucinogens | Newsbrief: Utah Drugged Driving Bill on the Move | Newsbrief: Colorado Bill Equating Meth Manufacture and Child Abuse Moves Forward | Newsbrief: Asian Drug Abolition Mania Spreading -- Malaysia Calls for "Total War," Drug Free Southeast Asia by 2015 | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: Judge Kane Speaks Out Again, Lambasts Federal Drug War | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar

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