The five Democrats who represent Colorado in Congress said Thursday they're backing Proposition 118 on the November ballot. The delegation's four Republicans did not.
The measure would create a state insurance program that ensures up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, which employees and employers would have to pay into.
Proponents call it an "essential benefit," but skeptics worry that it will inflict troublesome costs on small businesses and eventually wind up costing all taxpayers.
The issue went to the ballot when Democrats, who have held the majorities in the House and Senate for two years, couldn't reach an agreement.
“Coloradans should never have to risk their jobs to care for a newborn, an ailing parent or even themselves," Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver said in a statement. "Proposition 118 will help Colorado’s working families by providing the economic security needed to put their families first in times of crisis.”
Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver said in was essential to public health.
“Allowing people the time they need to recover from a long term illness, care for a seriously ill loved one, or bond with a newborn creates stronger families and healthier societies," she stated. "No one should be forced to choose between caring for their families and paying their bills, and Proposition 118 would help hardworking Coloradans put their families first.”
Rep. Joe Neguse, a young father, cited family reasons.
“Every Coloradan deserves to have paid leave to care for a new child, or care for a family member in need," he said. "I am proud to support paid family leave and I look forward to getting it across the finish line this November.”
Rep. Jason Crow of Aurora said it's past time to provide the benefit.
“Prop. 118 will give Coloradans a chance to put their families first without risking their paycheck or their jobs," he said in a statement Thursday. "As a father, I know how important it is to have the time to be with your new baby or at the side of an ill family member and I’m proud to endorse a YES vote on Proposition 118. No one should have to choose between the care and support of their family or a paycheck.”
Added Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada:
“I hope Coloradans join me this November by voting YES on Proposition 118. Now more than ever hardworking families need the ability to care for themselves or loved ones without fear of losing their job. Prop 118 is good for our families, our communities, and our economy.”