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April 29, 2023

Legislation to Support Workers and Coloradans Living with a Disability Passes House

DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation to extend worker protections to public sector employees and support Coloradans living with a disability. SB23-111, sponsored by Representatives Steven Woodrow and Brianna Titone, passed the House by a vote of 43 to 19. HB23-1296, sponsored by Representatives David Ortiz and Leslie Herod, passed the House by a vote of 48 to 14.

“Colorado’s public employees keep our communities safe and thriving, and they deserve the same workplace protections as their private sector counterparts,” said Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver, sponsor of SB23-111. “With this legislation, public workers will be free to discuss workplace issues, join an employee organization, and participate in our political process without fear of retribution. No one should be retaliated against for exercising their First Amendment rights, and I’m grateful we were able to get this done for Colorado’s public workers.”

“Our first responders, teachers, public defenders and other public workers deserve the same workplace protections and rights already guaranteed to private sector workers,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada, sponsor of SB23-111. “This legislation stands up for public workers and allows them to exercise their rights without employer retaliation. Colorado’s public workers are valued members of our community, and this bill allows them to make their voice heard.” 

SB23-111 aims to extend employee protections and rights for Coloradans working in the public sector. This legislation would give public employees the right to discuss views on employee representation or workplace issues, engage in mutual aid, participate in the political process while off duty and out of uniform and organize, join or assist in an employee organization.

Private sector employees already have the concerted activity protections outlined in this legislation. SB23-111 aims to align public and private sector employee benefits to ensure every Colorado worker has equalized protections and rights.

“Colorado needs to step up and do more to improve basic access for those living with a disability,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton, sponsor of HB23-1296. “Basic access is a right, not a privilege, and this legislation brings us closer to achieving basic access for each and every Coloradan. Through a diverse taskforce, we can bring forward meaningful ways to improve accessibility to employment, government services, housing and the outdoors for the twenty-percent of Coloradans who live with a disability.” 

“Coloradans living with a disability face significant barriers to securing housing, participating in the public process of government, and enjoying our great outdoors, ” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, sponsor of HB23-1296. “From employment to housing and the great outdoors, our legislation creates a taskforce to examine accessibility barriers and uncover solutions to enable all Coloradans to thrive. If we can work toward securing basic access for Coloradans living with a disability, we can strengthen our communities.” 

HB23-1296, would create the Rights of Coloradans with Disabilities task force to study issues concerning Coloradans’ with disabilities. This important task force would include four different subcommittees focused on state and local government, housing, the rewrite of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act and accessibility in housing and the outdoors.

This legislation aims to ensure basic civil rights of individuals with disabilities in these four key areas by providing essential research and information to make Colorado more accessible for all. 20-percent of Coloradans live with a disability and this legislation works toward protecting civil liberties and expanding necessary data to provide basic access to housing, employment, recreation and government services.

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