Week 5: Things are Heating Up
Legislative Updates from January 29th through February 11th.
By Liz McKay, Policy and Education Intern
On Thursday, February 4th, the Colorado House approved HB-1002, also known as the Parental Leave Bill. This bill promises parents unpaid time off from work so that they can support their children’s education by attending limited school meetings, like parent-teacher conferences.
The bill would only apply to employers of more than 50 employees, and would permit up to eighteen hours off. Employees would need to give one week’s notice, and employers could deny requests if it would interfere too much with work.
Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, who sponsored HB-1002, explained, “By passing this bill we will create a foundation for all parents to be able to be involved in their children’s education. It’s common knowledge that parent involvement creates academic success.”
Colorado Youth Matter agrees - and it can also lead to delayed sexual activity and better use of contraception.
However, Republicans who took issue with the bill argued against adding any restrictions for employers, calling it unnecessary and a risk for disrupting employer-employee relationships. The bill passed out of the House 35-30, with only one Republican breaking party ranks. It now goes on to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is unfortunately expected to die.
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee heard HB-1072, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for adult sexual assault charges. Current Colorado law calls for a ten-year statute of limitations for such cases without DNA evidence, which means that after a decade, charges can no longer be brought forward. Not only is this limit entirely arbitrary, but it implies that sexual assault is not as serious as crimes like forgery or kidnapping (both of which have no statute of limitations). Additionally, it undermines victims of sexual assault who often experience shame and fear in the wake of an attack, and subsequently delay reporting the incident.
Sponsored by Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, and Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, HB-1072 had bipartisan support. However, after hours of debate and testimony, the bill was postponed indefinitely to be replaced with HB-1260, which extends the statute of limitations to twenty years. The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-0 to pass the new bill on to House.