(May 22) – Closing one of the more drawn-out dramas of the 2018 legislative session, Gov. John Hickenlooper today signed into law Speaker Crisanta Duran’s bill to continue the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the commission that supervises it.

“There are times we must plant our feet and stand firm for a just result,” said Speaker Duran, who sponsored HB18-1256 with Rep. Leslie Herod. “This was a long journey but we landed on the side of justice. With the reauthorization of the Colorado Civil Rights Division, all Coloradans will be assured that they have protections against discrimination in workplaces, housing and places of public accommodation.”

“The future of the Colorado Civil Rights Division is secured for years to come, and Coloradans will continue to have this critical resource to protect them against discrimination,” said Rep. Herod, D-Denver. “But we must never let down our guard against further attempts to undermine Coloradans’ civil rights.”

The CCRD has been protecting Coloradans from discrimination since 1951, handling hundreds of cases each year. Republican attacks began in early February, when GOP members of the Joint Budget Committee voted to withhold funding from the agency. The wrangling continued till the very last day of the session, when Senate Republicans finally abandoned a proposal for a Civil Rights Commission structure that would have encouraged gridlock and inaction and instead accepted a Democratic compromise that limits the number of major-party members on the seven-member commission.

Also signed by Gov. Hickenlooper today were two key components of the House Democrats’ 2018 agenda focused on helping hardworking Colorado families: HB18-1208, sponsored by Speaker Duran and Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, expanding the state’s Child Care Expenses Income Tax Credit to help middle-income Colorado families struggling with the high costs of child care; and SB18-007, extending a highly successful tax credit offered to developers of affordable housing.

“Child care and housing are two of the rising costs that keep Coloradans awake at night,” Speaker Duran said. “These new laws strengthen our economy, boost our state’s workforce and invest in our families.”

“The child care tax credit will help hardworking Coloradans who are trying to balance careers and family responsibilities,” Rep. Winter said. “I’m proud that we were able to accomplish this for kids, for families and for the future of our state.”

Also signed was HB18-1255, Speaker Duran’s bill to create a Colorado childhood cancer awareness license plate, which will be available to Coloradans who make a donation to a group helping kids with cancer. She named the bill for Gabriel Santistevan, who was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was nine years old. Gabe and his family joined the speaker, the governor and other supporters at the bill signing ceremony today.

“Gabe’s determination to make a difference for other families struggling with childhood cancer has been incredibly inspiring,” Speaker Duran said.

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