Paid family and medical leave

The United States is one of the only countries in the world that does not guarantee paid leave of any kind for its workers. This forces parents to choose between being present for some of the most precious moments in their children’s lives and putting food on the table, and workers to go to work sick because they have no other option.

We support establishing a comprehensive paid family and medical leave system for the state of Colorado.

Protect consumers from deceptive fine print

Hiding language that waives consumers’ right to hold corporations accountable in the “fine print” has become a common business practice. This practice is called “forced arbitration,” and replaces consumers’ ability to take irresponsible corporations to court with the arbitration process — nontransparent proceedings presided over by a “private judge” with no jury.

These proceedings overwhelmingly favor corporations and help them keep bad behavior secret. For example, Wells Fargo used a forced arbitration clause to hide a massive fraud and prevent 64,000 Coloradans from pursuing a class action lawsuit.

Unfortunately, the practice of forced arbitration can only be eliminated with a federal law. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t level the playing field here in Colorado. We support legislation to stop the most exploitative arbitration practices such as scheduling arbitration hearings in different states.

Allow local control over minimum wage

While the recent ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 is a good start, far too many Colorado workers still struggle to afford basic necessities like housing, medicine, and groceries. We support allowing for local control of minimum wage laws so cities and towns with higher costs of living can choose to raise their minimum wage beyond the statewide floor of $12.

Expand affordable housing

Colorado’s explosive population growth has caused housing prices to skyrocket. Housing costs are eating up bigger and bigger chunks of working families’ household budgets, pushing countless Coloradans out of communities they’ve lived in their entire lives.

Making sure Coloradans can afford to keep a roof over their heads is one of our top priorities. We support legislation to reauthorize and expands the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), a program which has helped tens of thousands of Coloradans buy homes and find affordable rent.

Net Neutrality

A free and open Internet is a crucial component of modern life. The Trump administration’s decision to gut federal net neutrality laws leaves Colorado consumers vulnerable to throttling, censorship, and even worse, more expensive service from internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and CenturyLink. The Net Neutrality rollback is also terrible for local small businesses, most of which will be unable to pay ISPs for the faster website loading times purchased by big corporations.

We are currently collaborating with our colleagues in the House to develop a policy that extends Net Neutrality protections to as many Colorado consumers as possible.

Expand affordable broadband access to rural communities

Fast, reliable, and affordable Internet access is an essential part of modern life and business, and should not be denied to Coloradans who live outside of the Front Range. We support legislation to move money into a dedicated broadband fund for new infrastructure projects to encourage the expansion of broadband to rural communities.

Protect renters from predatory landlord practices

Renting a home or apartment is a stressful enough process as it is. Whether it’s a last-minute rent increase or arbitrary, unexplained fees, Coloradans should not be subjected to predatory business practices by landlords looking to line their own pockets.

We’re proud to stand behind a package of bills that protect consumers and hold irresponsible landlords accountable by prohibiting arbitrary application fees and surprise rent increases. We also support legislation requiring basic fair business practices such as requiring landlords to provide receipts of rental payments.

Ensure the long-term stability of PERA

Due to recently projected increases in life expectancy, smaller-than-expected increases in wages and workforce population, and a lowered expected rate of return, the time until PERA (Colorado’s public employee retirement program) reaches 100% funded liability has grown beyond 30 years. Under state law, we are required to find a way to put PERA back on the path to 100% funded liability within 30 years.

In doing so, it is our firm belief that we must create a mechanism to automatically adjust PERA in the event of future financial changes to provide retirees with long-term piece of mind. We also strongly oppose proposals to eliminate cost of living adjustments. Strong state retirement benefits are crucial to maintaining Colorado’s competitive edge in hiring and retaining talented state employees.

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