With regular Education Leadership Council meetings and interim committee work in Denver, a special legislative session, and an extensive district tour, the past month has been extremely busy. I want to thank everyone that came out to visit with me this past month at my events in Paonia, Crested Butte, Frisco, Leadville, and Cedaredge. I will be hosting three more events in Pitkin, Summit, and Lake counties before regular Joint Budget Committee meetings in Denver begin this November. More information on these events can be found below and on my website.
Visiting with constituents alongside Julie McCluskie at the 2017 Applefest in Cedaredge
Helping cut the inaugural ribbon at the Technical College of the Rockies during the 3rd Annual Delta County School District Legislative Day
A very special thank you surprise from Julie after speaking at the 45th annual meeting of community options in Montrose
On the House Floor with Rep. Barbara McLachlan defending funding for Western Slope special districts during the October special session
Speaking at the Community Forum on Behavioral Health in Frisco
Meeting with constituents alongside Julie McCluskie at Mountain Harvest Festival in Paonia
What’s Happening at the Capitol
In addition to attending regular meetings with the School Finance Interim Committee and the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, my colleagues and I on the Joint Budget Committee will begin meeting regularly in November as we start the process of developing Colorado’s 2018 budget.
Over the next few months, I will also continue working on my legislative priorities for the coming session, which begins in January. As always, please continue to contact my office regarding any legislation that interests you or provide us with your priorities.
Special Session Update
Two weeks ago, the General Assembly was called back to the Capitol for a special legislative session to address a drafting error in Senate Bill 17-267, which passed during the final days of the 2017 session. The unintended consequence of this drafting error will see a host of special district governments lose important marijuana tax revenue that had helped them provide critical services to Coloradans across the state. To my disappointment, a House bill that would have fixed this unintentional error was unable to navigate partisan differences in the Senate Transportation Committee and was lost on a party-line vote. I was joined by a group of Western Slope legislators in submitting a letter that outlines our disapproval of this inaction and describes in greater detail what the ramifications of this loss in funding will be. I have included a link to the full article below.
Summit Daily News Column: Special session inaction hurts the Western Slope
Election Day 2017
With ballots going out this week, it is important that everyone gets their ballots filled out and returned by November 7th, 2017. This year, there is an important ballot measure that effects every community in HD61 that has a Colorado Mountain College campus. Measure 4B seeks to address funding losses that CMC has sustained as a result of decreasing property tax revenue due to the Gallagher Amendment. I have included information below on why it is important that this measure passes and allows CMC to continue providing invaluable resources to our Western Slope communities. As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions about this year’s ballot.
CMC Measure 4B
CMC was created 50 years ago as a locally funded college and remains the only postsecondary education institution in the communities it serves, providing access to the most affordable college education in Colorado. Due to its funding model, CMC maintains the lowest tuition rates in the state and has the 3rd least expensive bachelor’s degree programs in the nation. However, providing these low prices to students is only accomplished through support from local funding.
- Colorado Mountain College’s (CMC’s) local funding is negatively affected by Colorado’s Gallagher Amendment and explosive Front Range growth in property values. Gallagher’s mandatory downward adjustments in statewide tax rates compromises local funding and results in a loss of revenue for CMC, forcing them to eliminate valuable services.
- In 2017, the state was forced to reduce the property tax assessment rate to comply with Gallagher, causing a revenue reduction to CMC of over $2.7 million. It is projected that this level will be lowered again as long as growth in the Front Range continues to outpace growth in the rest of Colorado.
What the Measure Does:
- Measure 4B’s purpose is to prevent future erosion of Colorado Mountain College’s budget by the Gallagher Amendment. It would allow the CMC Board of Trusties to adjust certain mill levies to offset future Gallagher reductions.
- 4B is not a residential property tax. Rather, it enables CMC’s elected board to recover only those revenues lost by CMC due to Gallagher-related adjustments. Residential taxpayers would pay the same level of property taxes as they would have paid prior to a Gallagher adjustment.
- Passing 4B will preserve accessible quality education for future generations – providing affordable tuition, free classes for high school students, and highly qualified training for business owners, employees, teachers, veterans, nurses, police officers, and emergency responders.
For more information, visit www.YESon4B.org
Announcement from the Colorado Dept. of Human Services
CDHS is looking for someone to serve as the Congressional District 2 representative for the Colorado Commission on Aging (CCOA). This Commission was established under the authority of the Older Coloradans Act to serve as the primary advisory body on all matters affecting older persons.
To apply for a position on the Colorado Commission on Aging, visit https://www.colorado.gov/governor/boards-commissions, complete the online application and submit a resume. The department is asking that interested persons please submit their application no later than November 3rd to be considered.
*The department is looking for someone from CD2 that is of any political affiliation other than Democrat. This requirement is to ensure compliance with a piece of statute that prohibits more than nine members on the commission be affiliated with the same political party.
Upcoming Hamner Events
Legislative Town Hall in Aspen with Local Elected Officials
Tuesday, October 24th from 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Aspen Square Condominium Hotel
617 E Cooper Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
Town Hall on the Future of Higher Education in Colorado
Featuring Dr. Kim Hunter Reed- Exec. Director of the Colorado Dept. of Higher Education
Wednesday, October 25th from 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Colorado Mountain College- Breckenridge Campus
107 Denison Placer Road
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Community Coffee with Mayor Greg Labbe in Leadville
Wednesday, November 1st from 8:30am to 10:00am
Colorado Mountain College Library- Room 317
Leadville, CO 80461
Additional Upcoming Community Events
Public Forum on Individual and Small Group Health Insurance Premiums for 2018
Hosted by the Colorado Division of Insurance
Thursday, October 19th from 1:00pm-3:00pm
Colorado State Capitol, Old Supreme Court Chamber (2nd floor)
Rising health insurance premiums are among the most pressing issue facing HD61 and rural Colorado. On Thursday, I will be joining local elected officials from throughout House District 61 and fellow state legislators to take part in this important forum. This event is open to the public, and we encourage anyone who is interested to attend. For those unable to attend in person, the event will be streamed via webcast. For more information, visit the event’s webpage. You can also contact my office with any questions at 970-315-2610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to see you there!
Colorado Judicial Branch’s Annual Legal Resource Day- Summit County
This public event is being hosted by the Colorado Judicial Branch to offer the public an opportunity to consult with attorneys in various areas of civil law, as well as provide information about local legal and community service resources. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions.
Thursday, October 26th from 8:30am to 5:30pm
Summit County Justice Center
501 North Park Ave
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Click here to view the event flier.
Have a wonderful month!