(May 16) – Today, two bills were signed by Gov. Jared Polis at the Boulder County St. Vrain Community Hub that will protect workers from wage theft and reauthorize funding for the Colorado Resiliency Office.
First up was HB19-1267, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood, makes the withholding or stealing of wages a criminal offense.
“This is about protecting workers,” said Rep. Froelich. “This new law will help bring restitution for these workers and contractors who have been robbed of their wages. Stealing from workers isn’t a partisan issue and I’m proud this is now the law in Colorado.
Currently, employers stealing wages from employees or contractors is a classified misdemeanor. Often times, it is not even worthy of prosecutors to go after because the penalties are so low.
“Too many workers are losing their hard-earned wages. This new law has been a long time coming and will help protect workers from the crime of wage theft,” said Rep. Singer. “Labor trafficking is the majority of human trafficking.”
Gov. Polis also signed HB19-1292, sponsored by Rep. Singer. Over five years ago, Lyons, Evans, Greeley and other areas of Northern Colorado were hit hard by floods that damaged homes, destroyed two parks and left eight people dead. Democrats have been working on disaster relief issues for the past several sessions.
“There are no red or blue floods, tornadoes or other disasters. I remain inspired by the resiliency of our community,” said Rep. Singer. “This has been a collaborative, bipartisan approach across the state to make this a reality. I’m hopeful this new law will help make our state’s disaster response quicker and recovery more effective.”
Parts of Singer’s district, including Longmont, Lyons and eastern Boulder County, were among the hardest hit areas in the state by the 2013 flood.
Rep. Singer is a co-prime sponsor of HB18-1394 which was signed into law last year. The bill created a policy group to help coordinate the state’s response in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and continued the Colorado Resiliency Office, which helps direct long-term rebuilding efforts and community recovery.