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Colorado Senate approves plan to study paid family leave

The Colorado Senate gave final approval on a party-line vote Thursday to a bill that lays the groundwork for the state to establish a paid leave insurance program.

The legislation, which originally included specific details on how the program would work, was the subject of intense scrutiny from chambers of commerce, other business associations and local governments. The Democratic sponsors rewrote the bill to study the issue and establish a committee that will present recommendations to lawmakers next year on how the program should work.

State Sen. Faith Winter, who has championed the issue for five years, spoke through tears during a floor debate Wednesday night.

“We knew all these people wanted help,” she said referring to the approximately 88 percent of Coloradans who don’t have paid leave. “But we couldn’t agree on the math. So, we’re saying let’s do the math first.”

The House, which is also controlled by Democrats, must also approve the plan before it goes to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk. Winter and other supporters of the bill vowed to return next year to see the program put in place.