First Regular Session
Sixty-first General Assembly
LLS NO. 970591.01 JBB
SENATE BILL 97158
STATE OF COLORADO
BY SENATOR Weddig
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING A TESTIMONIAL PRIVILEGE FOR OMBUDSMEN.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced
and does not necessarily reflect any amendments which may be subsequently
Establishes that an ombudsman may not be compelled to testify or produce documents concerning issues before the ombudsman without his or her consent and the consent of all of the parties before him or her. Creates an exclusion from the privilege when the ombudsman:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. 1390107 (1), Colorado Revised Statutes, 1987 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW PARAGRAPH to read:
1390107. Who may not testify without consent. (1) There are particular relations in which it is the policy of the law to encourage confidence and to preserve it inviolate; therefore, a person shall not be examined as a witness in the following cases:
(l) (I) AN OMBUDSMAN SHALL NOT BE EXAMINED IN PERSON OR THROUGH HIS OR HER OFFICE'S WRITTEN RECORDS OR REPORTS AS TO ANY COMMUNICATION MADE IN THE COURSE OF HIS OR HER DUTIES WITHOUT HIS OR HER CONSENT AND THE CONSENT OF ALL PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE OMBUDSMAN.
(II) AS USED IN THIS PARAGRAPH (l), AN "OMBUDSMAN" MEANS A PERSON:
(A) WHOSE OFFICE IS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO STATE OR FEDERAL STATUTE OR LOCAL ORDINANCE OR IS WITHIN A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY, CORPORATION OR OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATION, OR GOVERNMENT ENTITY;
(B) DESIGNATED AN OMBUDSMAN BY THE STATUTE, ORDINANCE, OR ENTITY DESCRIBED IN SUBSUBPARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBPARAGRAPH (II) TO ACT AS A NEUTRAL OR IMPARTIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PRACTITIONER;
(C) WHO PROVIDES CONFIDENTIAL ASSISTANCE IN RESOLVING DISPUTES AND CONCERNS ON AN INFORMAL BASIS; AND
(D) WHO PRACTICES ACCORDING TO THE STATUTE OR ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING THE OFFICE OR TO A CODE OF ETHICS OR STANDARDS OF PRACTICE OF A PROFESSIONAL OMBUDSMEN ASSOCIATION.
(III) THE PRIVILEGE DESCRIBED IN THIS PARAGRAPH (l) DOES NOT APPLY WHEN:
(A) THE OMBUDSMAN IS A WITNESS TO A FELONY;
(B) A THREAT OR THREATS OF BODILY HARM ARE COMMUNICATED TO THE OMBUDSMAN; OR
(C) A THREAT OR THREATS OF EXTENSIVE PROPERTY DAMAGE ARE COMMUNICATED TO THE OMBUDSMAN.
(IV) (A) ANY INFORMATION DISCLOSED IN VIOLATION OF THIS PARAGRAPH (l) SHALL NOT BE ADMITTED INTO EVIDENCE IN ANY JUDICIAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING.
(B) NOTHING IN THIS PARAGRAPH (l) SHALL PREVENT THE DISCOVERY OR ADMISSIBILITY OF ANY EVIDENCE THAT IS OTHERWISE DISCOVERABLE MERELY BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED IN A COMMUNICATION TO THE OMBUDSMAN.
SECTION 2. Effective date applicability. (1) This act shall take effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninetyday period after final adjournment of the general assembly that is allowed for submitting a referendum petition pursuant to article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution; except that, if a referendum petition is filed against this act or an item, section, or part of this act within such period, then the act, item, section, or part, if approved by the people, shall take effect on the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon by proclamation of the governor.
(2) The provisions of this act shall apply to examinations of witnesses on or after the applicable effective date of this act.