From Colorado Politics:
The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association this week endorsed state Sen. Owen Hill, a Colorado Springs Republican, in his primary challenge against six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 5th Congressional District.
“Owen Hill’s voting record in the Colorado State Senate demonstrates his responsiveness to the needs of the law enforcement community. He is firm in his position on protecting 2nd Amendment rights and stands strong on national security. We believe Owen Hill is the candidate of choice to represent the best interests of our members,” said Joseph Somosky, president of the local police union.
From the Denver Post:
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn should be kept off the 2018 ballot, Colorado Supreme Court rules
The congressional career of six-term Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs was thrown into jeopardy after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Monday that he should be kept off the primary ballot in June.
While the decision — that Lamborn’s re-election campaign improperly gathered voters’ signatures to land a spot on the ticket — is unlikely to mean his 5th Congressional District seat leaves GOP hands, it injects the very real prospect that a fresh face will take over after years of unsuccessful challenges to Lamborn’s reign...
The Denver District Court ruled that one of the gatherers was not a resident, and invalidated 58 signatures he collected. It found that the other — who had gathered more 269 signatures — was.
But the Colorado Supreme Court, which reviewed the case upon appeal, rejected the lower court’s ruling on the residency of the second gatherer, Ryan Tipple, which was based off the legal theory that he intended to move to the state.
“Tipple’s stated intent to live in Colorado in the future is relevant only if he has a fixed habitation in Colorado to which he presently intends to return,” the Supreme Court’s ruling said. “The record reveals none. … All of the objective record evidence regarding his residency at the time he circulated the petition for the Lamborn Campaign indicated that his primary place of abode was in California.”
The ruling left Lamborn 58 signatures short of 1,000.
The court added: “We recognize the gravity of this conclusion, but Colorado law does not permit us to conclude otherwise.”
A bill to protect homeowners from squatters faces some opposition as it makes its way through the House.
Hoping to keep Senate Bill 18-015 alive, El Pueblo County Sheriff Bill Elder spoke one-on-one with News 5 about the challenge his office and deputies will face if it dies.
News 5 Investigates spent 9 months exposing a "loophole" in the law that allows anyone to legally occupy your home---rent free!
Our series of investigations prompted state lawmakers to try and solve this problem impacting innocent families in our community, but will their solution actually pass?
For months, we've aired numerous stories showing the damage squatters leave behind after taking over homes in southern Colorado.
"I am extremely frustrated," Roland Hawkins told News 5 in 2017 after squatters moved into his house while he was on a bike tour in Utah.
"I'm a legal owner of the property but I can't even access it because squatters have more rights than I do," Hawkins said.
Homeowners have trouble understanding why law enforcement can't do anything to help them get their property back.
"These laws need to be changed," Hawkins said. "They need to be looked at. They need to be reconsidered."
Sheriff Bill Elder agrees that a squatting law needs to be enacted.
"They (squatters) know the law has a gray area," Elder said. "They know that there are loopholes that allow them to stay and the worst case scenario is they are going to get booted out. They are not going to get charged because we cannot prove the case of criminal trespass."
Even though squatters don't own the home or pay rent, Elder says it's extremely difficult to arrest and remove them from a property if they've already moved their stuff in. Elder says squatters will often argue they have "legal rights" to the property and at that point, the case turns from criminal to civil.
"We end up getting in the middle of trying to settle a dispute between the two and it doesn't work," Elder said. "The cops know that they are not supposed to get in the middle of a civil dispute like that. They refer them to the courts and that's the frustration with homeowners."
News 5 Investigates reviewed squatter eviction cases and discovered on multiple occasions, it has taken weeks or even months for an eviction to be served. This means the squatters are legally allowed to stay in homes while the rightful owners are forced to find housing elsewhere.
Under Senate Bill 15, law enforcement would be given immediate power to kick squatters out without having to wait for a court-ordered eviction. However, some critics argue this would eliminate "due process" and violate the rights of squatters.
"Put yourself in the position of a homeowner who is away from home and comes home to find strangers in their home," Elder said. "Now you have to take it upon yourself to go to court. Ask yourself, what if this happened to you? That's the problem. People don't understand how common this is."
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says about a quarter of all evictions they serve involve individuals who are not the homeowner or do not have a valid lease.
Senate Bill 15 will be heard in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Thursday.
In past hearings, the Colorado District Attorney's Council, Criminal Defense Bar, and Disability Law Colorado expressed opposition to the bill. It's unknown whether all three will show up to Thursday's proceedings.
You can follow Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross on Twitter @EricRossKOAA. He will be tweeting throughout the hearing.
Senate Bill 15 is sponsored by Sen. Owen Hill, Sen. Bob Gardner, Rep. Dave Williams and Rep. Larry Liston.
News 5 received this statement from the Colorado Springs Police Department:
"We support homeowners rights and are looking forward to seeing the language as the bill (SB18-015) moves forward," Lt. Howard Black said. "CSPD will take a deep dive into the language with our partners at the appropriate time."
Republican Owen Hill lands Rand Paul endorsement in 5th Congressional District primary
Calling him “one of the good Republicans,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul this week endorsed congressional candidate Owen Hill, a Colorado Springs state senator and one of U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s primary challengers.
“He is a true constitutional conservative,” the libertarian-leaning Paul said in a 1-minute video released Wednesday by Hill’s campaign. “As you’ve seen the fights that we have in Washington, sometimes even the Republicans aren’t on the right side, so primaries is where we get to determine who are the good Republicans. Owen’s one of the good Republicans. I’m excited he’s running for federal office. We need him in Washington.”
Paul, who tweeted his disappointed reactions while reading the 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package passed by Congress late last month, took aim at Republican lawmakers, including Lamborn, who backed the legislation.
“There’s so many problems going on, and, as you saw recently in the spending battle, half the Republicans acted like Democrats,” Paul said in his video endorsement. “I know Owen Hill will not. I know he’s a constitutional conservative, and I hope Colorado will send him to Washington.”
“Rand, you’ve inspired new generations to join in the fight for freedom, and I sure look forward to joining you in Washington,” said Hill, who stood next to Paul in the video. “Thanks for staying strong.”
Noting that Paul happened to be the first U.S. senator he ever met, Hill told Colorado Politics he was excited to receive the endorsement “because of his thoughtfulness, his leadership, and most of all for his refusal to quit on the U.S. Constitution.” Hill added, “Whatever some may think of his specific policies, everyone in America knows Rand Paul is in Washington to fight for freedom, and isn’t just fighting for his paycheck like other career politicians.”
Hill, an Air Force Academy graduate serving his second term in the state Senate, won top-line designation in the 5th Congressional District primary by acclamation at the Republican assembly Saturday in Colorado Springs. Lamborn and another primary challenger, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, have both qualified for the June ballot by petition. Two other Republicans, retired Texas state judge Bill Rhea and former Green Mountain Falls Mayor Tyler Stevens, have submitted nominating petitions, which are under review by election officials.
Hill received an endorsement in 2014 from Paul’s father, Ron Paul, a former Texas congressman and presidential candidate, when Hill was running in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate seat eventually won by Republican Cory Gardner.
On Saturday, the 5th Congressional District Assembly met to nominate Republicans to the June primary ballot.
Owen Hill was the only candidate who choose to work with grassroots community members and local leaders in the Republican party by going through the caucus and assembly process.
Owen's name was placed at the top of primary ballot with the unanimous vote of the 5th Congressional District Assembly.
From KOAA 5:
Colorado lawmakers introduced a handful of bills at the start of the legislative session that could change some laws regarding guns here in Colorado.
In the aftermath of the a school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people, the bills on the table are starting to get some more attention.
'As these tragedies have shown, we need to analyze those things here in Colorado,' said Sen. Owen Hill (Colorado Springs-R) who is co-sponsoring legislation to repeal ammunition magazine prohibition.
Among the bills lawmakers have introduced include one allowing concealed handgun carry without a permit, allowing concealed handguns on school grounds, and a bill banning the use of bump stocks.
Sen. Michael Merrifield (Colorado Springs-D) is sponsoring the bill which would ban bump stocks, it will be heard in the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee later this month.
Merrifield's bill, is something Gov. John Hickenlooper agreed with at a town hall in Pueblo last year saying, 'these things like a bump stock, which allows a typical AR-15 to become a machine gun, that those things should be outlawed,' that statement receiving mixed reactions from the crowd.
Additionally, lawmakers will look at bills increasing the penalty for firearm burglary, and a bill allowing deadly force against an intruder at a business.
Many of these bills will be introduced in committees in the coming weeks.