Legal Lasso: Family Leave Bill Loses Sponsors, SCOTUS Ponders Pipeline

by Law Week

Legal Lasso is Law Week Colorado’s daily roundup of legal news from around the state. Not already subscribed to the daily email? Sign up here! Not subscribed to Law Week Colorado? You can change that too!

LOCAL NEWS

Family Leave Bill Faces Major Setback
A bill to create a paid family and medical leave program in Colorado has lost two of its four sponsors. Rep. Monica Duran and Sen. Angela Williams are dropping their names from the bill out of concerns the latest version doesn’t do enough for the state’s poorest and most vulnerable workers. (Denver Post)

Polis Releases Plan for Hospital Payment Under “Public Option” 
The Polis administration released a plan Monday detailing how much hospitals would be paid under a proposed state health insurance option. It aims to save consumers up to 20% on their premiums each year through reimbursement rates that are more in line with Medicare and Medicaid. A bill for the so-called “public option” could come as soon as next week.  (Colorado Public Radio)

Denver Auditor Reports Deficiencies in Ethics Board 
A recent survey found more than 1,200 city employees had observed unethical behavior but failed to report it to a volunteer board that hears ethics complaints. Fear of retaliation and lack of faith in enforcement kept them from reporting ethics violations, according to the audit. (Colorado Politics)

Pit Bulls Still Banned in Denver
Despite encouragement from fans of the breed and even a Hollywood star, the Denver City Council on Monday evening failed to overturn Mayor Michael Hancock’s veto of a pit bull ban repeal. Now there’s talk of getting a similar measure on the November 2020 ballot. (Denver Post)

Clock Is Ticking for Colorado Primary Voters
Coloradans planning to cast a vote in the presidential primary should do so in person at this point as ballots mailed after Feb. 24 might not reach election officials in time. Ballots can still be dropped off at voting centers and drop-off boxes until 7 p.m. on March 3.

NATIONAL NEWS

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Controversial Pipeline
The court heard arguments Monday about whether the U.S. Forest Service was entitled to grant a right of way to a natural gas pipeline that would cross the Appalachian Trail. The Fourth Circuit ruled it wasn’t, citing federal law prohibiting the authorization of pipelines “in lands in the National Park System.” But attorneys for the pipeline’s developers argued the famed hiking trail is distinct from the land beneath it.

NLRB Makes It Harder to Hold Parent Companies Responsible for Labor Practices 
The National Labor Relations Board has announced a new rule that would make it harder to challenge companies when their contractors or franchisees break labor laws. The decision reverses an Obama-era standard that allowed a parent company to be considered a joint employer.

Weinstein Attorney Says Jury’s Prejudice “Insurmountable” 
Arthur Aidala, defense attorney for Harvey Weinstein, appears to expect different results on appeal for his famous client, who was found guilty of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act Monday.

Kobe Bryant’s Widow Sues Helicopter Operator
Attorneys for Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late basketball legend, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the operator of a helicopter that crashed last month. They allege the pilot, who was among those killed in the accident, was negligent and that the company knowingly allowed the aircraft to fly in unsafe weather conditions.

Assange Extradition Hearing Begins
In international news, an extradition hearing for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange kicked off in London on Monday. The American government wants Assange to face charges in the U.S. related to obtaining and disseminating classified information. Assange claims he was acting as a journalist and the charges are politically motivated. Whatever the outcome, the case is expected to be appealed — perhaps up to the European Court of Human Rights.

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