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Colorado bill to reimburse Masterpiece Cakeshop baker for losses fails

House Bill 1081 would have required about $2.6 million to cover attorneys fees and other costs for those sued by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips (CREDIT: 9NEWS)

An effort by a conservative Colorado House Republicans to find a way to force the state to reimburse Jack Phillips, the owner of Lakewood's Masterpiece Cakeshop, for attorney fees and loss of business income failed to gain sympathy from a Democratic-controlled House committee Tuesday.

House Bill 1081, sponsored by Republican Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs, would require about $2.6 million, beginning in 2019-20, to cover attorneys fees and other costs for those sued by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. 

That money would pay for a public defender, regardless of the defendant's income; allow a defendant to request that the case move to another court if the case is based on a First Amendment claim; and/or allow a defendant to recoup legal costs and lost business income when the defendant wins the case.

Williams told the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, where most of Williams' bills get sent, that the bill is intended to "reform" the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, specifically adding due process protections for those "in the crosshairs of the commission." In addition, Williams said First Amendment considerations are better suited in a court of law than the Civil Rights Commission.

Read more at Colorado Politics: https://bit.ly/2HJZ6Xz