Ensuring Federal Laws Reflect Our Country’s Values

“All men are created equal” was never a guarantee; it was a promise to be fulfilled by every generation of Americans. The urgent work to achieve justice and equality for all continues in our time.


It is past time to rid federal laws of discrimination. Michael supports the Equality Act, which would explicitly ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans and strengthen protections against sex discrimination.Michael believes our laws should reflect the self-evident equality of women in our society, which is why he strongly supports the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap and efforts to secure women’s access to safe and affordable health care.


Michael supports efforts to reform our criminal justice system, which disproportionately affects people of color across the country. Michael was an early advocate for the bipartisan First Step Act – an effort to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for low-level offenses and increase resources for individuals reentering their communities.

Following protests for racial justice across Colorado and the country in 2020, Michael joined his colleagues to introduce the most comprehensive approach to reform law enforcement and strengthen accountability in our country’s history. The legislation largely mirrors Colorado’s Enhance Law Enforcement Accountability Act, which passed with broad, bipartisan support and became the first comprehensive police reform law nationwide.


As a former superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Michael saw how the school-to-prison pipeline funnels students — especially students of color and students with disabilities — out of school and toward the juvenile and criminal justice systems, denying them an education and limiting their future employment opportunities. After several roundtables with Colorado educators, students, and community leaders, Michael introduced the Restorative Practices In Schools Act — legislation to help schools and districts build safe learning environments and encourage the use of restorative practices in place of overly punitive discipline policies that often result in disproportionate punishment for minor infractions. 


Michael believes we cannot accept the scourge of gun violence as a normal condition of American life. Unlike Washington, Colorado made tough choices after the state suffered two of the worst mass shootings in the nation’s history. After Columbine, Colorado closed the gun show loophole. After Aurora, we strengthened background checks. Following the  school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Michael supported the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to  improve school safety, strengthen background checks for young people, close the boyfriend loophole, and invest in mental health. He also supports other legislation in the Senate to close the gun show loophole, expand universal background checks, and limit the size of magazines.