Friday, April 29, 2011

Lawmakers take on graffiti.

A panel of lawmakers agreed this week to tighten up the penalties for graffiti.

Senate Bill 256, sponsored by Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, and Sen. Steve King, R- Grand Junction, gives law enforcement the ability to file a single misdemeanor charge against those who tag on an ongoing basis over a six-month period. Currently, the perpetrators can only be charged for a single occurrence, which doesn’t always meet the statutory minimum for the dollar amount of damage inflicted.

The bill also has a component that allows for restorative justice, providing an opportunity for offenders to compensate victims monetarily or otherwise in exchange for some leniency in sentencing.

Guzman says the bill is part of a solution for an ongoing problem.

“My community wants a way to get a handle on this problem,” said Guzman. “It also gives offenders a way to acknowledge what they’ve done and to do something about it.”

King alluded to past attempts at addressing the problem, citing where they fell short.

“In the past, all we’ve come up with is trying to pass laws about the illegal possession of crayons and spray paint regulation,” said King. “This bill allows for the ability to take appropriate action against the taggers and puts it in the right context.”

The measure is now headed to the House floor for consideration.

Via - Colorado News Agency

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