By Allie Winter, STATE BILL COLORADO
A state Judicial Branch agency that manages mostly private lawyers for Colorado children who face legal issues may become permanent if the Senate Judiciary Committee has its way.
The panel voted today to recommend an amended SB10-043, which will make permanent the Office of the Child’s Representative, begun in 2000. The new executive director of the agency, Linda Weinerman, successfully pleaded the case for permanency. The original version of the bill called for extending the agency’s life for another 10 years.
Weinerman initially requested a 10-year extension on the agency’s repeal date, or sunset clause. The office exists to hold accountable guardians ad litem, the attorneys who represent the children in the welfare system who have fallen victim of abuse or neglect.
“Ten years ago it was probably appropriate to have a sunset clause because we were an experiment,” Weinerman said. “[But now] the OCR has a proven track record.”
To Weinerman’s approval, Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, suggested Amendment L001, making the office permanent. “I would like to see us get rid of the repeal date,” he said.
Republican Sens. Scott Refroe and Kevin Lundberg opposed Steadman’s amendment, but otherwise supported extension of the office’s tenure. The two said the repeal date would force the legislature to periodically re-evaluate the program.
“Having a date and time when you know something can happen on a program holds you accountable,” Renfroe said.
Ultimately, the amendment passed 4-2, and the panel voted 6-0 to move the bill to the Senate floor for further discussion. Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, is the bill’s prime sponsor.
State Bill premium subscribers can listen to testimony on SB10-043 below. Not yet a subscriber? Read about features and benefits of our service here.