Next Tuesday my colleagues and I will head back to the Capitol, and while there are still many difficult decisions ahead, I am looking forward to getting to work on all of our legislative proposals to address the economic and public health concerns stemming from the pandemic.
Working on Your Behalf
Unemployment insurance is one of the best tools we have to support Coloradans throughout this economic hardship, however we need to make some adjustments to make sure it’s working for everyone that needs it. Over the last few months, nearly half a million unemployment claims have been filed in Colorado–including both regular UI benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance–though many people are still falling through the cracks. Working with my colleagues, we’ve developed a plan to provide immediate fixes to get employers and their workers through this pandemic. Specifically, the bill I’ve been working on will:
- Change the work-share program rules. Right now, Coloradans can only receive UI benefits if their work hours are cut more than 60%. This bill will adjust that to up to 40% so that employers and employees have more flexibility with these rules.
- Institute protections for workers. If someone is called back to work, but their workplace is out of compliance with federal or state public health standards and they do not feel safe, they should not lose UI benefits. Furthermore, if someone is hesitant to return to work because they have a young child or live with someone who is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, they should not lose UI benefits. This bill will require the Dept. of Labor and Employment to consider these factors when determining whether or not someone qualifies for unemployment insurance.
- Keep more money in your pocket. If you’re a part time employee and receiving UI benefits, current law requires that your weekly UI payment is reduced if you earn more than 25% of your UI payment through work. This bill changes the percentage of wages for calculating the deduction to 50%, so that people can earn more money while not losing as much of their UI benefits, which will help people get back on their feet faster.
The Path Ahead for the Energy Industry
Outside of my work in the legislature, I serve as the co-founder and co-director of the Colorado Energy and Water Institute (CEWI). This non-profit aims to bring together industry, government, nonprofit and academic leaders to engage in a meaningful conversations about our energy and water future.
This spring, CEWI, in partnership with the Duke University Energy Initiative, have launched a free webinar series to discuss the future of the energy industry. I would like to invite you to join us for our webinar this afternoon with Former Energy Secretary and two-term New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson who served as a U.S. Congressman (1982-1996), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1998), and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton. This interactive webinar will feature prepared remarks from Governor Richardson followed by a moderated Q&A. Governor Richardson will address the general energy sector, as well as the international geopolitical situation with OPEC, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
What: The Path Ahead for the Energy Industry & The World Energy Geopolitical Situation with Governor Bill Richardson
When: TODAY (5/20) from 2-3PM MDT
If you are still in need of resources or information regarding COVID-19, please visit covid19.colorado.gov. And as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through phone or email if you have any questions or concerns.
State Senator Chris Hansen
CO Senate District 31