Home / World News / On opening day of 2018 session, House Speaker Duran says “the intolerable will be tolerated no more.” – The Denver Post

On opening day of 2018 session, House Speaker Duran says “the intolerable will be tolerated no more.” – The Denver Post

Saying “the time for cultural change is now,” Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran opened the 2018 legislative session with a call for Colorado lawmakers to confront the issue of sexual harassment head on and reform a workplace culture that gave rise to a tumultuous off-season, rocked by scandal and allegations of misconduct.

“Let our actions show that the intolerable will be tolerated no more,” said Duran, a Denver Democrat who is entering her second year as speaker.

Duran’s speech touted last year’s bipartisan accomplishments on issues ranging from construction defects, to road and hospital funding, to charter schools. But, she said, the new year presented “new obstacles.”

One such obstacle figured prominently in the day’s festivities. Aides, lobbyists and lawmakers wore black Wednesday in a show of support for victims of sexual harassment. And outside the building, protesters called for the resignation of one of Duran’s Democratic colleagues, Rep. Steve Lebsock, who was among four lawmakers accused last fall of sexual harassment.

Against that backdrop, the speaker also offered an ambitious agenda to tackle the opioid epidemic, invest in affordable housing and child care, and protect consumers from identity theft and corporate abuses.

“Our legislative compass points us in one direction — preserving and enhancing our esteemed Colorado way of life,” Duran said.

In his own remarks, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville briefly touted the ongoing efforts to revamp the state’s policies on harassment, saying the state Capitol should be “a welcoming and safe place for everyone.”

And like Duran, he focused on the growing cost of living in the state, pointing to reports that Coloradans are now leaving the state in record numbers, due in part to rising housing costs.

But the Castle Rock Republican prescribed different solutions: restraining the growth of government and prioritizing transportation within the state budget instead of sending more money to social programs.

“Will we plant fiscal bombs into our budget in the form of costly new programs that will burden us and our children for decades, and put us on the road to bankruptcy and chaos already forged by states like California and Illinois?” Neville said.

” … Just as it’s possible for a person to bleed to death from a thousand small cuts, so it’s possible for a state to become unaffordable by a thousand small regulations.”

Neville spoke at length about the state’s transportation needs, calling on Democrats to fund roads and bridges — but not mass transit, bike lanes or “special lanes for pogo sticks,” he joked — with existing revenue, instead of a tax hike. To that end, House Republicans will also push to change the state’s budget writing process, which they believe concentrates too much power into the six-member Joint Budget Committee.

The partisan divide over transportation funding mirrors that of last year, but with a key difference. Budget growth, fueled in part by a revenue windfall created by federal tax changes, has lifted hopes that a bipartisan road funding measure is possible. The biggest lingering question is how much money Democrats would be willing to spend out of the current budget.

Duran on Wednesday pushed back against Republican suggestions that Democrats don’t view transportation as a priority.

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