Senate advances bill expanding criminal blood tests

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DENVER  –One of the first votes of the new GOP-controlled state senate wasn’t just bipartisan — it was unanimous.

Democrats and Republicans all voted in favor of Senate Bill 5, which will expand the crimes for which defendants must submit blood samples, on second reading Tuesday morning.

A final recorded vote awaits before the bill moves to the House.

The legislation, carried by Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, a first-term lawmaker and former sheriff, would require defendants in first-degree assault cases to undergo testing if their bodily fluids come into contact with an officer, first responder or a victim.

The testing is already required of defendants in second- and third-degree assault cases, and supporters say it’s not clear why first-degree assault isn’t already covered.

Like Cooke, the House sponsor, Rep. Mike Foote, D-Boulder, has a law enforcement background having worked as a prosecutor.

A fiscal report by non-partisan legislative economists found the addition of first-degree assault would have a “minimal” effect on state spending.

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