DENVER - A proposal to stop jailing poor people for being unable to pay municipal court fines in Colorado has been sent to the governor.
The Senate gave final approval to the measure Wednesday. Defendants must be instructed that if they're unable to pay a fine, they must contact the court for a hearing to explain why they can't pay, and possibly arrange a payment plan.
The bill is a response to concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado, which said in a report last year that failure-to-pay warrants are common in municipal courts. The ACLU says that violates constitutional provisions that forbid the imprisonment of people who are too poor to pay a court fine.