Colorado 2020 Legislative Round-Up
By Tanner Bonovitch | FAIR Take | July 2020
The Colorado General Assembly’s 2020 regular session gaveled in on January 8th and adjourned on June 15th. The session was extended a month because of COVID-19.
Last year, the legislature passed and Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 1124 adding Colorado to the growing list of sanctuary states. This year, in addition to the ICE lockout bill, legislators continued their open-borders agenda by passing and enacting two additional bills to benefit illegal aliens.
Senate Bill (SB) 224, “Immigrant Tenant Protection Act”
SB 224 bars landlords from using or disclosing information about a tenant’s citizenship or immigration status. It also allows a tenant to sue his/her landlord if they violate the law. Sponsored by Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver), this bill prohibits landlords from the following:
- demanding, requesting, or collecting information regarding or relating to the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant;
- disclosing information regarding or relating to the immigration citizenship status of a tenant to any person, entity, or immigration or law enforcement agency; and
- refusing to enter into a rental agreement or to approve a sub-tenancy based solely or in part on the immigration or citizenship status of the tenant.
Supporters claim this type of legislation is needed to, “prevent landlords from retaliating against, evicting, or even threatening to take these actions against undocumented immigrants who report code violations, or make requests for household maintenance.”
However, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “[l]andlords are allowed to request [immigration] documentation and conduct inquiries to determine whether a potential renter meets the criteria for rental, so long as this same procedure is applied to all potential renters.”
SB 224 appears to violate federal guidelines which could force landlords into a quandary. Because it could conflict with federal law, it could face legal challenges.
Governor Polis signed SB 224 on June 30 and it immediately took effect.
House Bill (HB) 1409, “Inspections of Penal Institutions”
HB 1409 was introduced after open-borders activists, politicians, and the media began to push for the release of illegal aliens from ICE facilities under the guise of protecting them from COVID-19.
This bill places all jails, prisons and other detention facilities, including federal facilities, under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). It requires the CDPHE to establish sanitary standards and make sanitary sewerage, and health inspections. The bill requires the CDPHE to inspection the jails, prisons, and other detention facilities once a year. Additional unannounced inspections may be conducted after the annual inspection.
The purpose of this legislation according to supporters is to ensure state oversight of immigration of federal and private immigration detention facilities. Similar legislation passed in California and its constitutionality is currently being litigated.
HB 1409 was signed by Gov. Polis on July 11 and it immediately takes effect. The first inspections required by the law must take place before January 1, 2021.