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By Kevin Bommer, CML executive director


During the 2019 legislative session, CML opposed SB 19-188, the Family Medical Leave and Insurance (FAMLI) Program, and dropped opposition when the bill was turned into an interim study. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Faith Winter (D-Westminster) 
and Angela Williams (D-Denver), and Reps. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield) and Monica Duran (D-Wheat Ridge).

As introduced, the legislation required an employer and employee payroll deduction to pay for mandated universal coverage in a state enterprise providing wage replacement for workers to take paid family leave. Throughout the session, public and private employers provided the legislature with thoughtful responses about numerous detrimental impacts. The benefits of the plan would have been dramatically inferior to most of the paid leave offered by Colorado employers. Multiple examples of SB 188's conflicts with coordination of benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act and complicated administrative requirements were shown. Ultimately, significant bipartisan pressure in the Senate led to cutting the bill back to a "study first, act later" proposal. 

As enacted, the legislation requires the creation of a Family and Medical Leave Task Force made up of appointees of House and Senate leadership and Gov. Jared Polis. The appointments were made recently, but were not publicly announced. The appointees and their respective categories are:

Speaker of the House
• Terra McKinnish, University of Colorado Boulder (Labor economist category)
• Lydia Waligorski, Violence Free Colorado (Domestic violence organization category)
• Kevin Duncan, Colorado State University Pueblo (Higher education category)
• Judith Marquez, 9–5 (Worker advocate category)

House Minority Leader
• Dana Hagood, USAA  (Private insurer category)
• Diana Petrak, CO Policy Pathways (Worker advocate category)

Senate President
• Edwin Zoe, Zoe Ma Ma (Private employer category)
• Jared Make, A Better Balance (Worker advocate category)
• Kathy White, CO Fiscal Institute (State policy organization category)
• Sandra Parker Murray, Communications Workers of America (Organized labor category)

Senate Minority Leader
• Stacey Campbell, Campbell Litigation (Private employer category)
• Hadley Manning, Independent Women's Forum (Health advocacy category) 

Governor
• Trish Sullivan, Steamboat Ski & Resorts (Private employer category)

Nonvoting members 
• Joe Barela or designee, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
• Ramona Gomoll, Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration 

As required, in regard to next steps, Joe Barela, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment executive director, called for the first meeting of the task force to occur on 
July 16 as an organizational meeting. No public comment will occur until later meetings, and SB 188 states that the task force "shall accept and consider public comments regarding the administration and establishment of a paid family and medical leave program in the state" no later than Sept. 1, 2019

The League previously encouraged legislators to examine multiple options for ensuring paid family leave. Indeed, CML, many CML members, and multiple private sector organizations acknowledged full support for paid family leave during the session, and simply sought solutions that did not mandate lower-quality benefits or result in operational conflicts with existing law or programs.

CML will ensure that members are aware of opportunities for public comment to the task force, as no public sector representation was included by the legislature in the group — with the solitary exception of the higher education representative. Currently, no information about the task force is publicly available on the state's website.

 

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