DENVER—Today, Democrats on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee rejected legislation that would have strengthened penalties for protestors who damage oil and gas wells and gathering stations. Senate Bill 35, sponsored by Representative Jon Becker (R-Fort Morgan), increased the penalty for the existing crime from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony. The bill also would have added placing another person in danger of serious injury or death to the definition of the existing crime.
“I wholly support peaceful protest, but putting peoples’ lives in danger and damaging property is not self-expression, it’s a serious crime,” said Becker. “Since a modest fine is not deterring protesters’ increasingly brazen behavior, stronger penalties are clearly needed before someone is seriously injured or killed.
“I hope tragedy does not have to be the catalyst to address this growing problem in Colorado.”