Sen. Joyce Foster gets slapped by the governor

( – promoted by Middle of the Road)

Gov. Bill Ritter today vetoed HB 1364, the bill that extend the sex offender management board and allow sex offenders to choose among three treatment providers.

Ritter vetoed the blll specifically because of the amendment Foster put on HB 1364 in second reading in the Senate.

In his veto message, Ritter says:

Unfortunately, an amendment to this bill was introduced and adopted on second reading in the second chamber of the General Assembly on Friday, May, 7, 2010, after the last of the public hearings on the bill had been concluded.  The amendment, as modified in a conference committee report adopted on the last day of the legislative session, provides:

Each offender entering treatment on or after July 1, 2010, shall be given a choice by his or her supervising agency of at least three appropriate approved providers where available, unless the supervising agency documents in writing that, based on the nature of the program offered and the needs of the offender, fewer than three providers can meet the specific treatment needs of the offender and ensure the safety of the public.

Proponents of the amendment argue that the amendment is critical to improving offender-treatment matching, which is a key element to an offender’s success in treatment.  Proponents further argue that the amendment does not give a sexual offender free reign to choose his or her treatment provider, but instead only allows an offender to choose an appropriate provider from a list of three providers, each of whom have been certified and approved by the SOMB.

Opponents argue that this amendment does not provide adequate safeguards to ensure that an offender knows which treatment provider would be most effective, thereby circumventing an appropriate treatment plan.  Opponents further argue that the approach embodied in this amendment fails to recognize that the supervising authority, be it probation or parole officer, often have far greater experience in determining the appropriate treatment provider.

The SOMB Standards are designed to establish a basis for the systematic management and treatment of adult sex offenders.  The legislative mandate of the SOMB and the primary goals of the Standards are to improve community safety and protect victims.  The language of the amendment discussed above does not, in my view, adequately provide for the systematic treatment of offenders.  In fact, allowing offenders to choose from a list of three providers potentially degrades systematic management and treatment, based on specific evaluation tools and accepted practices.


On the other hand, an op-ed in today’s Denver Post did provide another side to this story:…

The claims by the owner of THE, according to the author, are flawed and based on a one-size-fits-all offender treatment, whether it be for the kid urinating in the bushes or the rapist.

29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    and I think Foster has only herself to blame for it. She was less than forthcoming when first asked about having a family member that was a sexual offender and furthermore, she seems to have a real beef with THE; whether her beef is legitimate is up to others to decide. But she had an obligation to disclose some background details relevant to this bill and she didn’t.  

  2. Earnest says:

    Didn’t the entire Senate adopt the amendment, without much dissent?  To the extent that any veto is a “slap,” this veto seems to be a slap at everyone in the legislature who voted for the amendment and the final amended bill.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      that Foster offered up the amendment without revealing she was related to a sexual offender that had issues with the same program she now claimed she had received calls of “concern” over.

      Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, offered the amendment based on calls she said she received on the matter, including those from sex offenders.

      It’s astonishing to us that legislators would support such a controversial change based on such a narrow sampling without seeking the broad range of opinions they would get with a public hearing.

      It’s the kind of maneuver that not only undercuts public confidence in the legislative process, but also could easily result in bad public policy.

      Foster defended the maneuver to us, saying that amendments are added to bills all the time without public hearings, and she is right on that count.

      She did not reveal that her brother-in-law was a convicted sex offender until after she successfully pushed through a last minute amendment on the bill.

      So yes, Earnest. This would be considered a slap down specifically to her and why Ritter refers to it as the reason for his veto.

    • marilou says:

      Don’t liberals always go easy on sex offenders?

  3. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    Had the amendment been introduced when it should have, and received public hearing and comment, it would be a different story. Instead it was snuck in at the last minute by someone with the appearance if not the reality of a conflict of interest.

  4. The realistThe realist says:

    There’s a chance the amendment would never have succeeded if it had been offered in committee will full hearing and expert testimony.  It is unfortunate that a majority of the Senate voted in favor of the amendment on the floor.  The laws around sex offenders and the SOMB are complex – for a reason.  And in my humble opinion, it is an area of the law with which legislators should be somewhat well-acquainted, along with a whole lot of other things like child protection, forest health, water, etc.  But we don’t elect policy experts and/or policy generalists very often, do we?!  Too bad.

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