Capitol Wrap: Bills on stalkers, hit-and-run drivers, jobs advance

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DENVER — On a busy day of hearings at the Capitol, a panel of lawmakers voted unanimously to approve a proposal to crack down on stalkers.

The hearing followed an emotional rally on the Capitol’s west steps organized by the family of Yvonne “Vonnie” Flores, who was murdered by a stalker.

“I’m hoping these laws come into effect,” said Robert Flores, the victim’s husband. “If one of them had been in effect or we knew what we know now, she’d be alive right now.”

House BIll 1114, which heads to the full House for debate after clearing the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, would strengthen current stalking laws by requiring that an alleged stalker go to a bond hearing and be issued a restraining order before being released from jail.

“This measure is a step in securing the utmost protection for those who are victims of stalking in order to prevent an even further tragedy, like that of Yvonne Flores,” said Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, the bill’s sponsor.

Are you being stalked? Tips for protection here.

Bill to stiffen penalties for hit-and-run drivers advances

A bipartisan bill to stiffen penalties for drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents also got the go-ahead from the House Judiciary Committe on Thursday.

House Bill 1084, sponsored by Reps. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, and Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, was also approved unanimously.

The legislation would make hit-and-run a Class 4 felony, which carries the same weight as driving under the influence of alcohol.

“Just like a person who gets behind the wheel drunk, people who flee the scene of an accident make a conscious decision that puts others in danger,” Conti said. “This bill corrects an injustice that’s long overdue.”

Personal property tax exemption measure moving ahead

And in another unanimous vote, the House Finance Committee approved a measure that will allow businesses to get out of paying a business personal property tax.

House Bill 1029, which its sponsor calls the Save Colorado Jobs Act, would allow cities and counties to exempt all locally assessed business personal property taxes.

“The Save Colorado Jobs Act encourages businesses to invest capital and grow,” said the sponsor, Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker.

“This bill not only makes Colorado more welcoming to the needs of our state’s job creators, it will save jobs and raise revenue — without raising taxes — from expected gains in sales and income taxes.”

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