The Spot: When death threats become just another thing to deal with for lawmakers

A courtroom in Denver District Court in 2019. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

White people receive more lenient treatment in Denver’s courts, according to a new report from the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

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The school discipline overhaul bill (SB21-182) was pulled this week for a few reasons, not the least of it being pushback from cops, school leaders and parents.

The bill’s sponsors even got death threats from anonymous people. Democratic Rep. Leslie Herod said the discourse had gotten so “toxic” that she and Sen. Janet Buckner decided to try again another time.

You might be surprised to learn how common threats of violence, including murder and rape, are for state lawmakers, and those threats can and sometimes do influence policy — or sway lawmakers to not try anything at all.  

Last year, a couple state representatives tried to pass a bill to make lawmakers a special protected class, as judges are. It would have made any “credible threat or … act of harassment, or an act of harm or injury” against a state or local elected official or their property a Class 4 felony punishable by up to 6 years in prison. 

That bill died after concerns over the optics of lawmakers giving themselves extra protection. But it’s back again this year in SB21-064 — same intent, but the ceiling of punishment isn’t as high. 

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Rep. Kyle Mullica, a Northglenn Democrat, said he believes the bill is more viable now. 

“People have to understand that we have a really important job and we’re creating policy that affects 6 million people,” he said. “We should be able to do that job without having influence of bodily harm or threats dictating what policy we’re running.”

He was the target of one of those threats last year, pre-pandemic, over a bill about vaccine requirements.

“No where in the job description does it saw that you should stand idly by when somebody threatens to burn down your house with your kids inside of it,” he said. 

More Colorado political news

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A bill regulating lost and stolen guns awaits the governor’s signature
Democratic state Rep. Jeni Arndt will leave the legislature to become Fort Collins’ mayor.

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Top Line
A courtroom in Denver District Court in 2019. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

White people receive more lenient treatment in Denver’s courts, according to a new report from the Denver District Attorney’s Office. Read more from Post reporter Elise Schmelzer. 

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Source:: The Denver Post – Politics

      

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