Senate strengthens penalties on crimes against LGBTQ, disabled communities

DENVER, Colo. — The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill expanding the definition of harassment to agree with Colorado’s law on bias-motivated crimes.

House Bill 17-1188 adds physical or mental disabilities and sexual orientation to the categories in the harassment statute and raises those crimes from a class 3 misdemeanor to a class 1 misdemeanor.

Under current law, on bias-motivated crimes include actions based on real or perceived national origin, race, color, religion, ancestry or gender.

The bill was proposed by Senator Don Coram (R-Montrose).

“I’m proud of this bill,” said Coram. “By offering the same protections to these groups that we extend to those already covered, we can encourage more victims to come forward and report the crimes against them. More Coloradans will feel secure today.”

House Bill 17-1188 takes effect August 9, 2017.

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