We need an Innocence and Privacy Act!
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There is a huge background check problem in Colorado, and Rep Mike Weissman has a bill HB21-1214, found here: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb21-1214 to deal with background checks.
The problem is his bill is weak and doesn't even begin to fix the issue.
There is an open hearing on the bill scheduled for the house before it makes it to the Senate. I believe it takes place on April 20th. When it makes it to the Senate the Senate will have it's own hearing to make their changes. Both will need your input.
I am advocating for the following changes:
- The bill applies to all state agencies, not just the CBI
- The bill applies to non-arrest, non-conviction, dismissed and vacated records.
- The bill applies to all courts, civil and criminal.
As it stands,
1. DOZENS of State Agencies in Colorado collect and maintain Criminal Code Records and Accusations. These state agencies are exempt from the functions of this bill, many of them do NOT have comparable regulations, and that's wrong. This includes Schools, Larger Government Departments, Fire Departments, etc...
2. The bill only assists those who are guilty enough to be arrested, and completely ignores those who are so innocent they were never arrested.
3. Civil Courts maintain Criminal Code Accusations that are UNREGULATED by the CBI. It has been ruled these Criminal Accusations are NOT covered by the language “Criminal Justice Records” (CJRs are only in Criminal Court). As a result, Civil Court Cases NEED to be covered by this as well.
People who are arrested should NOT have more rights than those who were NEVER arrested, because the authorities determined the facts either didn't support the allegations or determined the allegations were false. Same goes for those whose civil cases were dismissed or withdrawn!
Names of primary Legislators involved:
Rep. Mike Weissman –
Sen. Pete Lee –
Sen. James Coleman –
The Judiciary Committee can be found here: https://leg.colorado.gov/committees/judiciary/2021-regular-session-0
If you want to see discussions the Civil Rules Committee has had on abuse of Background Checks, you can find them in numerous agenda packets found here: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Supreme_Court/Committees/Committee.cfm?Committee_ID=5
Previous Petition information below:
One Sentence Tagline
Call or email Governor Polis and Pete Lee - ask them to allow people proven innocent of civil and/or criminal offenses to clear their background!
Colorado Governor Jared Polis:
Phone: (303) 866-2471
Colorado State Senator Pete Lee:
Full Description of The Petition
More and more people are being accused of violent and damaging criminal acts in civil court, by using various mechanisms to circumvent the criminal investigation process in Colorado, in addition to white collar crimes or other accusations made by financial institutions and private businesses. A target of many forms of these accusations doesn't NEED to live in Colorado to be affected by these laws, and that hurts the entire state, as it inspires fear and loathing toward the Colorado legal system!
The accusers are doing this as means to strongarm the accused. It is a form of extortion that is rarely prosecuted or punished in Colorado due to both legal limitations and lack of financial interest for attorneys – and it is on the rise. This is because businesses have begun using “Comprehensive Background Checks” to “screen” employees and customers, and are able to ignore the toothless laws designed to stop them by simply not admitting to utilizing this information.
In addition to this, internet harassment is at an all time high, some people find justifiable, others unjustifiable. Background checks do nothing to curb this. Over 700 people in just 1 county in Colorado in 2019 were granted a Temporary Protection order under false pretenses, before being dismissed - leaving the accused with a permanent accusation of violent crime that never happened, while thousands more across the state were harassed with malicious prosecution of false accusations by Landlords and Collections Agencies (all of which is permanent on a civil check). These accusations are used as forms of extortion to harm people without proof to get whatever the accuser wants.
- Employers are now skirting the laws and firing/refusing to hire people based on their background checks
- Landlords are now skirting the laws and firing/refusing to lease to people based on their background checks
- Grants, Scholarships and other organizations are now targeting people for removal or denial based on their background checks.
- Schools have also started using background checks to look for "early warning red flags" which may or may not exist.
It is one thing to target those who are guilty and an actual risk, and another to target those who have been attacked under false and malicious pretenses. To stop this we need a law that seals and expunges dropped and dismissed accusations in both civil and criminal court. We need an Innocence and Privacy Act!
Finally, while this petition centers on Colorado, we absolutely need to get these forms of laws passed in every state. Why? Because even if you don't live in the state, if someone files against you in their state, you have to deal with the background check laws OF that state. Students who go to school outside of their home state, families who go on vacation, credit lenders and collections agencies from across state borders - these are all examples of how you can be held afoul of a horrendous background check law. THIS COUNTRY NEEDS A CHANGE!
Colorado Governor Jared Polis:
Colorado State Senator Pete Lee (he is currently involved in this area of legislative goals):
A template for an Innocence and Privacy Act can be found here (feel free to share this link, and even submit suggestions):
- Current Version 1.2.1 https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MmGa5QFUA84HujAErkvwlS-JVf6-S4fU
The contact information for Colorado's Legislature can be found here:
- Official Colorado Legislature Website: https://leg.colorado.gov/legislators
- PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Bd39fBat-j4Gr_DSZ0w24SLkBXiHRfgh
- Spread Sheet: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1LCGQnssRc7wEwZQq0aJk5WeQx0xKR1aF
CALL - WRITE - CONTACT - SHARE EVERYTHING YOU CAN! Let's make a change this election season!
Studies and Examples of Harassment:
- Pew Study on Internet Harassment: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2017/07/11/online-harassment-2017/
- Generation of Surveillance: https://gen.medium.com/forget-gen-z-this-is-generation-surveillance-d537139e5c0e
- Even President Obama has mentioned something about Cancel Culture: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/30/politics/obama-cancel-culture/index.html
- Some additional information on why civil checks and private info needs to remain private:
Here are other sites that discuss reputation:
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