One of the newest Republican members of the House Education Committee was sent to a Jefferson County jail on Friday for violating the terms of his divorce by attempting to opt out one of his children from the state’s English and math tests.
A spokesman for House Republicans told Chalkbeat Friday after the news of State Rep. Tim Leonard’s 14-day jail sentence that party leadership has not discussed stripping Leonard of his seat on the committee that vets proposed education legislation.
House Democrats did not hesitate to weigh in.
“It is absurd to imagine Rep. Leonard taking a seat on the House Education Committee … and making important decisions for Colorado’s students when a judge has prohibited Rep. Leonard from making educational decisions regarding his own children,” Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said in a statement.
Leonard, a Republican from Evergreen, was ordered Friday to spend two weeks in jail after being found in contempt of court for attempting to make decisions for his children — something that is prohibited in his divorce.
The Colorado Independent first reported Leonard’s sentence.
Leonard was found in contempt in September on two counts:
One charge concerned his attempt to opt a child out of a federal standardized test. He had previously been found in contempt for attempting to opt another child out of another test in 2014. The magistrate said she found it “mind-blowing” that Leonard would think he could try again because it was a different child and a different test.
The second charge was related to his refusal to allow one of his children to use an iPad at school, though all students in that class were issued tablets. Leonard said he was concerned about the amount of screen time his kids experienced.
Incoming House Minority Leader Patrick Neville issued the following statement to 7News after learning about Leonard’s situation:
“This must be a very difficult time for Representative Leonard and his family. I know he cares deeply for his children and my thoughts and prayers are with the Leonard family.”