Category Archives: Uncategorized

Economic Growth Continues, But Challenges Remain

Economic Growth Continues, But Challenges Remain

June 20, 2017

 

(June 20) – Colorado continues to experience solid economic growth, the state government’s leading economists told the Joint Budget Committee today.

“That Colorado has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and we are experiencing continued economic growth in part thanks to the work we’ve done over the last few years,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, who sits on the JBC. “We’ve worked together to help small businesses grow, to boost our growing tech industry, and to help Coloradans acquire the skills and training they need to get good-paying jobs – and now we’re seeing the rewards.”

May’s unemployment rate in Colorado was just 2.3 percent — the lowest rate in the nation and the lowest in Colorado since at least 1976.

Delivering their quarterly economic and revenue forecasts this morning, the legislature’s chief economist, Natalie Mullis, and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s budget director, Henry Sobanet, agreed that the economy is growing but not quite as quickly as forecast in March, meaning there is less revenue than expected for the state’s general fund. This will present challenges in maintaining the required reserve and meeting the needs of key priorities like K-12 schools and transportation.

The other big takeaway is that the budget will not hit the TABOR Ref C cap through the forecast period, FY 2018-2019. This is in large part thanks to the passage of SB17-267, which enterprised the hospital provider fee and provided relief from this additional budget crunch for several years.

“Last session, both sides of the aisle were able to come together, put ideology aside and come to a compromise on the challenging issue of the hospital provider fee,” said Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, the incoming chairwoman of the JBC. “Now we need to carry that bipartisan problem-solving forward and figure out how to sustainably invest in providing the best education for our kids.”

“It’s frustrating that even during years of economic growth, we don’t fund our schools adequately, but fortunately we have a school finance task force that’s going to meet over the next several months to try to create a better way to support our classrooms,” continued Rep. Hamner, a key member of the task force.

The JBC members also highlighted some of the remaining challenges, including a persistent gap between economic growth rates along the Front Range and in other areas of the state, as well as a shortage of affordable housing in many areas of the state.

“Rural areas continue to experience lower job and income growth than communities along the Front Range and that’s a problem we are continuing to look for ways to address,” said Rep. Hamner. “We are committed to making sure families in all four corners of the state have the opportunity to succeed.”

Here is a link to the website:

http://www.cohousedems.com/archives/11624?platform=hootsuite

Hamner Bill to Help Address Domestic Violence Now Law

Hamner Bill to Help Address Domestic Violence Now Law

June 8, 2017

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(June 8) – Gov. John Hickenlooper this afternoon signed a bill by Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, to create a statewide domestic violence fatality review board to help create policy focused on preventing domestic violence, especially the most serious types of domestic violence.

“This law is focused on saving lives and helping prevent tragedy,” said Rep. Hamner, D-Dillon. “It’s so important to have coordinated efforts across the state to combat domestic violence and figure out ways to support Colorado women and men who are suffering. As domestic violence escalates, it becomes more serious, and as a result, we see more deaths or near deaths. We can do better, and this bill will help us to get there.”

Between 2011 and 2015, at least 196 deaths were reported that resulted from domestic violence. The goal of the legislation is to reduce overall instances of domestic violence by enhancing containment strategies and tools to improve victim safety. SB17-126 creates a statewide Domestic Violence Review Board, tasked with coordinating with local and regional domestic violence review teams to collect data, reviewing and analyzing the data that is produced, and providing effective policy recommendations to the General Assembly.

Here is a link to the website:

http://www.cohousedems.com/archives/11612?platform=hootsuite

May Newsletter

With the 2017 Legislative Session behind us, I am looking forward to spending time in my district. Over the course of summer and fall, I will be scheduling events throughout House District 61 to meet with constituents and talk about this past session, the interim, and the 2018 Legislative Session, which will convene at the beginning of 2018.

From January 11th to May 10th, my colleagues and I worked very hard to find compromise on some very important issues. Below I have outlined some of the progress that we made this year and commented on some unfinished work that will need to be addressed in the coming session.

Hosting a town hall at the Wisehart Springs Inn in Paonia alongside my colleague Sen. Kerry Donovan

Talking with constituents in Basalt alongside Sen. Kerry            Donovan and Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush

Looking Back: The 2017 Legislative Session

Below are some of the successes we were able to achieve during the 2017 Legislative Session:

Education: 
  • Fully funded the K-12 education formula without having to increase the negative factor, as we had initially anticipated would be necessary 
  • Added an additional $242 in funding per student
  • Added an additional $30 million in funding for our rural school districts
  • Eliminated the cumbersome and un-popular PARCC assessments 
  • Increased funding to provide additional school health professionals 
  • Found compromise over funding for charter schools statewide
Additional Budget Successes: 
This year, we initially anticipated having to make significant cuts to important programs in order to balance the budget, as we are constitutionally required to do. Below are some of the major accomplishments that we were able to achieve in producing a bi-partisan, balanced budget for 2017-2018.
  • The General Assembly was able to come to a compromise that enterprises the complex Hospital Provider Fee, making it exempt from the TABOR revenue cap. The compromise prevented the state from having to cut our hospitals by hundreds of millions of dollars and will free up additional revenue in the coming years. 
  • We did not have to make reductions in the Senior Homestead Property Tax Exemption, a budget balancing measure originally proposed by the Governor’s budgeting office. 
  • Provided additional funding to the Department of Higher Education that will help prevent increased tuition fees for our students attending institutions of higher education in Colorado.

Disappointments: 
While there were many bright spots in the work that we accomplished during this latest session, there were still some important issues left unresolved, which could result in a special session at the request of the Governor.

  • Colorado Energy Office:  In the last days of session, a bill that would have reauthorized many of the core functions of the Colorado Energy Office was unable to pass through the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs. This means that many of these functions will cease to exist on July 1st. 
  • Transportation Funding: One of the most important bills of the 2017 session was HB17-1242. It would have referred a measure to the voters to increase funding to transportation by almost $3.5 billion. Despite having bi-partisan support in both chambers, the bill was unable to pass through the Senate Finance Committee. 
  • Rural Broadband: Increasing funding for Rural Broadband was a priority going into the session in January. Unfortunately, despite having identified a funding mechanism for such a program, the version of a bill that would have implemented this program was unable to pass the House as amended on the final day, leaving the General Assembly just short of being able to accomplish this goal. 
  • Rural Health Insurance Costs: One of my top priorities for this year was addressing the high cost of health insurance in rural Colorado. Despite having bi-partisan support in both chambers, a package containing various bills designed to address this issue and provide assistance to rural Coloradans was defeated in the Senate

Rep. Hamner’s 2017 Legislation Report:

SB17-123: Seal of Biliteracy for High School Diplomas
Representatives Hamner and Wilson
Senators Priola and Zenzinger   

This bill authorizes a school district, BOCES, or institute charter high school to grant a diploma endorsement in biliteracy to a student who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one foreign language. The bill establishes the requirements a graduating high school student must meet to obtain the biliteracy endorsement.
Signed into Law
 
HB17-1160: K-3 English Learner Reading Assessment Language
Representatives Hamner and Wilson
Senators Fields and Priola   

This bill authorizes a local education provider to determine the language in which a student who is an English language learner takes reading assessments in kindergarten through third grade, eliminating widespread double testing for English language learners in Colorado.
Sent to the Governor for Signature
 
HB17-1116: Continue Low-income Household Energy Assistance
Representatives Hamner and Exum
Senator Humenik

Current law provides that the department of human services low-income energy assistance fund, the energy outreach Colorado low-income energy assistance fund, and the Colorado energy office low-income energy assistance fund receive conditional funding from the severance tax operational fund through the state fiscal year commencing July 1, 2018. The bill removes the automatic repeal, which means that these funds will be eligible for this conditional funding indefinitely.
Sent to the Governor for Signature
 
HB17-1128: Salary Adjustment for Lake County Officials
Representative Hamner
Senator Donovan  

his bill, requested by Lake County addresses a technical correction in the salary categorization of locally elected officials in Lake County and will save taxpayer dollars.
Signed into Law
 
HB17-1235: Financial Relief Defray Individual Health Plan Cost
Representatives Hamner and Mitsch Bush
Senators Crowder and Coram

Creates a financial relief program to provide financial assistance to individuals who spend more than fifteen percent on health insurance premiums for individual health insurance purchased through the Colorado health benefit exchange.
Lost in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee
 
HB17-1237: State Employee Group Benefit Plans for Local Government
Representative Hamner
Senators Coram and Crowder

Allows for local governments to provide health benefits to their employees through the group benefit plans offered to state employees. These benefits were established by the State Employees Group Benefits Act and is overseen by the state personnel director.
Lost in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee
 
HB17-1258: Renaming Delta-Montrose Technical College
Representatives Hamner and Willet
Senators Donovan and Coram

This bill changed the name of Delta-Montrose Technical College to Technical College of the Rockies. The change better reflects the school’s broad service area and commitment to providing educational opportunities throughout the Western Slope region beyond Delta and Montrose.
Signed into Law
 
HB17-1287: Achieving a Vision for the Future of Education in Colorado
Representatives Hamner and Rankin
Senators Kerr and Priola

This bill creates a legislative steering committee tasked with leading the effort to establish a vision for the future of education in Colorado and developing a strategic plan to achieve that vision. This committee will work with an executive advisory board and a statewide advisory board consisting of stakeholders like teachers and parents to achieve this vision. 
Lost in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee
 
SB17-254: The “Long Bill”
Representative Hamner
Senator Lambert

The “Long Bill” becomes the coming year’s annual budget. This year, despite significant obstacles, we were able to produce a bipartisan budget that avoided many of the deep cuts that we originally anticipated when the Governor presented his budget request in November. The Long Bill increases per pupil funding, keeps the negative factor flat, avoids cutting the Senior Property Tax Exemption, and modestly increased pay for our hard working state employees for the first time in two years.
Signed into Law 
 
SB17-126: Domestic Violence Review Board
Reps. Hamner and Willet
Senators Guzman and Gardner

This bill would create the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. Which would be tasked with examining data collected by review teams during the preceding year, identifying measures to help prevent domestic violence fatalities and near-death incidents, establishing uniform methods for collecting, analyzing, and storing data relating to domestic violence fatalities and near-death incidents, and making annual reports and policy recommendations concerning domestic violence to the General Assembly.
Sent to the Governor for Signature
 
SJM17-001: Memorialize Congress to Fund Wildfire Response
Representatives Hamner and Thurlow
Senators Merrifield and Jones

This joint memorial calls on Congress to fund catastrophic wildfire response costs outside of federal forest management agencies’ normal budgets in order to ensure that we fund wildfire mitigation and prevention adequately in Colorado.
Passed both the House and Senate
 
SJR17-022: Colorado Mountain College
Representatives Hamner and Rankin
Senator Donovan 

Recognizing Colorado Mountain College’s 50 years of service and education to the state of Colorado and recognizing the notable achievements and contributions of the College and its graduates.
Passed both the House and Senate

Upcoming Events

Meet and Greet with State and Local Elected Officials

Please join us at Double Shot Cyclery on June 11th in Gunnison for a meet and greet with some of your state and local elected officials. The event will be from 2:00pm to 3:00pm and is open to the public. Please contact our office at 970-315-2610 if you have any questions. 

Who:
State Representatives Millie Hamner and Barbara McLachlan
County Commissioners Jonathan Houck and John Messner

Where:
Double Shot Cyclery 
222 N Main St, Gunnison, CO 81230

When:
Sunday, June 11th from 2:00pm to 3:00pm 

For additional information about this event, contact us at phil.robinson.house@gmail.com or 970-315-2610

I hope you have a wonderful month!

House Completes 2017-18 Budget Package

House Completes 2017-18 Budget Package

April 25, 2017

(April 25) – The House took final action today on two bills to complete the balancing of the 2016-17 state budget.

“With today’s action we have advanced a balanced budget,” said Rep. Millie Hamner, vice chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee and sponsor of both bills, along with the other five JBC members. “But just because it’s balanced doesn’t mean we’re satisfied.”

SB17-256 effectively eliminates $264 million from funding for the state’s hospitals. SB17-262 cuts general fund spending on transportation in half, to $79 million. Together, the two bills true up SB17-254, the “long bill.”

SB17-256 squeaked by the House today 33-31, with Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, the lone Republican vote despite repeated calls from Republicans to move the bills forward. Rep. Rankin was also the long House Republican to vote for the long bill when it was before the House.

The vote on SB17-262 was 40-24.

Rep. Hamner called on the Senate to pass SB17-267, which would transform the hospital provider fee into a state enterprise, eliminating the hospital cuts, and HB17-1242, which, if the voters approve, would allow the state to invest in a long-term solution for our transportation needs.

“The Senate holds in its hands the keys to ensuring that our hospitals don’t bear the brunt of our budget problems,” Rep. Hamner said. “Now is the time to get serious and act. We’ve given them multiple weeks to move this legislation. Without action by the Senate majority, our rural hospitals and our transportation system will be in a difficult spot. We can do better.”

“We did the difficult work of prioritizing and passing a balanced budget almost entirely without Republican support in the House,” said Rep. Dave Young, also a JBC member. “Now we need the Senate to act on SB267 and HB1242. The ball is in the Senate’s court.”

April Newsletter

Yesterday, two bills that I am sponsoring passed through the House with bipartisan support and are now on their way to the Senate. The first provides emergency assistance to middle-income Coloradans who pay more than 15 percent of their incomes for health insurance premiums. The second, a bill which has been in the works for over a year, creates a structure for establishing and implementing a vision for the future of education in Colorado. I have included more detailed information on these bills below.

Speaking with the 4th grade class from Silverthorne Elementary

Presenting House Bill 17-1235 alongside my colleague Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush

                             Presenting the annual budget bill in the House

                     Gov. Hickenlooper signing a bill I carried, SB17-123: Seal of Biliteracy, into law

                                Speaking with constituents at a town hall in Frisco on March 25th

Budget Update:

The 2017 “Long Bill”, which becomes the annual state budget, was introduced three weeks ago. Since then, my colleagues in both chambers and I have been working hard to find compromise on key budget measures that will allow us to fund critical services and balance the budget, which we are constitutionally required to do. One of these items is the reduction in funding to hospitals, which we are hoping to avoid by enterprising the Hospital Provider Fee.

Soon, the members of the Joint Budget Committee will be meeting as the designated “conference committee” for the long bill. When meeting as the conference committee, we are tasked with ironing out the differences between the amended House and Senate versions of the bill.

Rep. Hamner Legislation Update:
HB17-1287: Achieving a Vision for the Future of Education in Colorado 
  • The bill creates a legislative steering committee tasked with leading the effort to establish a vision for the future of education in Colorado and developing a strategic plan to achieve that vision. This committee will work with an executive advisory board and a statewide advisory board consisting of stakeholders like teachers and parents to achieve this vision.
  • Status: Passed the House and introduced in the Senate.

HB17-1235: Financial Relief Defray Individual Health Plan Cost

  • This bill creates a relief program to provide financial assistance to individuals who spend more than fifteen percent of income on health insurance premiums for individual health insurance purchased through the Colorado health benefit exchange.
  • Status: Passed the House and introduced in the Senate.

HB17-1237: State Employee Group Benefit Plans for Local Government

  • This bill allows for local governments to provide health benefits to their employees through the group benefit plans offered to state employees.
  • Status: Passed in the House Committee on Health Insurance and Environment. It is currently up for debate and subsequent final passage in the House.

HB17-1116: Continue Low Income Housing Energy Assistance

  • This bill reauthorizes a series of programs that help low income families and individuals pay their energy bills and heat and insulate their homes.
  • Status: Passed the House and currently waiting to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

HB17-1258: Renaming Delta-Montrose Technical College

  • This bill would change the name of Delta Montrose Technical College to Technical College of Rockies, to better reflect the broad service area and the school’s commitment to provide educational opportunities throughout the region beyond Delta and Montrose
  • Status: Signed into law.

HB17-1160: Kindergarten Through Third Grade English Learner Reading Assessment Language

  • This bill authorizes a local education provider to determine the language in which a student who is an English language learner takes reading assessments in kindergarten through third grade.
  • Status: Passed the House and introduced in the Senate. After passing through the Senate Education Committee, it is currently up for final passage in the Senate.

SB17-123: Seal of Biliteracy For High School Diplomas

  • This bill authorizes a school district, BOCES, or institute charter high school to grant a diploma endorsement in biliteracy to a student who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one foreign language.
  • Status: Signed into law.

SB17-126: Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board

  • This bill would create the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, which would be tasked with examining data collected by review teams during the preceding year, identifying measures to help prevent domestic violence fatalities and near-death incidents, establishing uniform methods for collecting, analyzing, and storing data, and making annual reports and policy recommendations concerning domestic violence to the General Assembly.
  • Status: Passed the Senate, introduced in the House, and waiting to be heard by the House Committee on Public Health Care & Human Services.

SJR17-022: Colorado Mountain College 50th Year Anniversary

  • Recognizing Colorado Mountain College’s 50 years of service and education to the state of Colorado and recognizing the notable achievements and contributions of the College and its graduates.
  • Status: Passed both the House and Senate

SJM17-001: Memorialize Congress To Fund Wildfire Response

  • This joint memorial calls on Congress to fund catastrophic wildfire response costs outside of federal forest management agencies’ normal budgets to ensure that we fund wildfire mitigation and prevention adequately in Colorado.
  • Status: Passed both the House and Senate.
Upcoming Events
Joint Town Hall on Earth Day
When: 
Saturday, April 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
Where: Basalt Regional Library (14 Midland Ave, Basalt, CO 81621)
Hosted By: 
  • Millie Hamner – State Representative for House District 61
  • Diane Mitsch Bush – State Representative for House District 26
  • Kerry Donovan – State Senator for Senate District 5
Town Hall in Paonia
When: Saturday, May 13th from 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Where: Wisehart Springs Inn (39508 Pitkin Rd, Paonia, CO 81428)
Hosted By:  
  • Millie Hamner – State Representative for House District 61
  • Kerry Donovan – State Senator for Senate District 5
For additional information about any of these events, contact Phil at phil.robinson.house@gmail.com
March for Science in HD61:
Summit County: 

The High Country March for Science is taking place in Breckenridge on April 22 as one of more than 500 satellite marches for the national March for Science. It will be a celebration of science in our every day lives!

A group of local women is planning the march, which begins at 1:30pm in the South Gondola Lot in Breckenridge and works its way south to The Village at Breckenridge just across S. Park Ave, where a rally will begin begin at 2:30pm. There are several speakers lined up for the rally and two local bands scheduled to play. There is additional information at the links below.

Pitkin County: 
The Aspen March For Science will take place this Saturday, the schedule is below:
  • 1:00 Meet at Paepcke Park
  • 1:30 March (or Rollerblade, Bike, etc) through town with signs*
  • 2:30-4:00 Earth Day Celebrations: speakers, science activities, information booths, and music.
For additional information, visit www.facebook.com/MarchForScienceAspen/
Gunnison County: 
The Gunnison County March for Science will begin at 3:00pm at Legion Park (the corner of Teller and Tomichi).For additional information, visit www.facebook.com/GunnisonScienceMarch/

I70 Update

Click here to read the Department of Transportation’s monthly Interchange Newsletter.

I hope you have a wonderful month!

Upgrading Colorado’s Education System

Upgrading Colorado’s Education System

April 17, 2017

(April 17) – The House voted 53-11 today to approve a bipartisan bill by Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, to establish a legislative steering committee to create a strategic plan for the future of education in Colorado.

“I’m so pleased with today’s vote because it indicates that the vast majority of the House sees education as a top priority,” said Rep. Hamner. “It shows a bipartisan commitment to the future of our students and I hope is indicative of ongoing cooperation to improve our K-12 schools.”

HB17-1287 creates a legislative steering committee tasked with establishing a vision for the future of education in Colorado and developing a strategic plan to achieve that vision. The bill also creates an advisory board with representatives from the department of education, department of higher education, governor’s office and early childhood leadership commission. A second advisory board would consist of representatives from various education stakeholder groups from across the state.

The plan would involve:

  • Researching high-performing education systems in other states and countries to compare with Colorado’s current system
  • Collecting public input from teachers, parents and any groups wanting to be involved across the state
  • Analyzing information collected and creating the vision and strategic plan to achieve it
  • Adopting and implementing the plan

 

The bill continues to the Senate.

Here is a link to the article:

http://www.cohousedems.com/archives/11007

Achieving a Vision for Education in Colorado

Achieving a Vision for Education in Colorado

April 10, 2017

(March 30) – The House Education Committee this afternoon approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, to establish a legislative steering committee to create a strategic plan for the future of education in Colorado.

“We need to make sure we’re doing everything for the children of Colorado to be prepared, to be successful, and to get a good job,” said Rep. Hamner. “This plan will unite the energy, excitement and ideas about education throughout the state to create a plan that reflects what we really want for our children.”

“Colorado can and should do better,” Rep. Hamner continued. “We are well-positioned to succeed— we have great educators and great schools. We just need to make sure we engage every citizen and stakeholder in this state.”

HB17-1287 creates a legislative steering committee tasked with establishing a vision for the future of education in Colorado and developing a strategic plan to achieve that vision. The bill also creates an advisory board with representatives from the department of education, department of higher education, governor’s office and early childhood leadership commission. A second advisory board would consist of representatives from various education stakeholder groups from across the state.

The plan would undergo four phases:

  • Researching high-performing education systems in other states and countries to compare with Colorado’s current system
  • Collecting public input from teachers, parents and any groups wanting to be involved across the state
  • Analyzing information collected and creating the vision and strategic plan to achieve it
  • Adopting and implementing the plan

The bipartisan 9-4 vote sends the bill to the House Appropriations Committee.

 

March Newsletter

We have crossed the halfway point of the 2017 Legislative Session. Although work at the Capitol keeps me quite busy, I have had some wonderful opportunities to visit with my constituents in district and in Denver.

Talking with constituents in Aspen during a town hall on March 4th
Photo by Anna Stonehouse, Aspen Times

Visiting with Mai Ly, a student from Summit County, in the Joint Budget Committee room during her visit to the Capitol.

Budget Update

My colleagues on the Joint Budget Committee and I will be introducing the “Long Bill”, which will become the annual state budget. However, before the Long Bill can be drafted and introduced, the JBC will be forced to make some difficult decisions to ensure that we are able to balance the state budget, as our constitution requires.

Since Governor Hickenlooper presented his initial budget request back in November, we have been working very hard to navigate our constitutional budgetary constraints and develop a balanced budget that addresses the growing needs of our growing state. However, our March 17th revenue forecast projected us to be several hundred million dollars short of the level needed to meet our constitutional obligations and address critical state priorities like roads, schools, and hospitals. The forecast also projected that we will go over our TABOR cap this year, which could trigger a tax refund of up to $260 million.

Hamner Legislation Update:

HB17-1235: Financial Relief Defray Individual Health Plan Cost

  • This bill creates a relief program to provide financial assistance to individuals who spend more than fifteen percent of income on health insurance premiums for individual health insurance purchased through the Colorado health benefit exchange.
  • Status: Being heard by the House Committee on Health Insurance and Environment on March 30th.

HB17-1237: State Employee Group Benefit Plans for Local Government

  • This bill allows for local governments to provide health benefits to their employees through the group benefit plans offered to state employees.
  • Status: Being heard by the House Committee on Health Insurance and Environment on March 30th.

HB17-1116: Continue Low Income Housing Energy Assistance

  • This bill reauthorizes a series of programs that help low income families and individuals pay their energy bills and heat and insulate their homes.
  • Status: Passed the House and introduced in the Senate. It is currently waiting to be heard by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy, which is scheduled for March 23rd.

HB17-1160: Kindergarten Through Third Grade English Learner Reading Assessment Language

  • This bill authorizes a local education provider to determine the language in which a student who is an English language learner takes reading assessments in kindergarten through third grade.
  • Status: Passed the House and introduced in the Senate. It is currently waiting to be heard by the Senate Education Committee, which is scheduled for March 23rd.

HB17-1128: Salary Adjustment For Lake County Officials

  • This bill, requested by Lake County, addresses a technical correction in the salary categorization of locally elected officials in Lake County and will save taxpayer dollars.
  • Status: Passed both the House and Senate. It has been sent to Governor Hickenlooper for his signature.

SB17-123: Seal of Biliteracy For High School Diplomas

  • This bill authorizes a school district, BOCES, or institute charter high school to grant a diploma endorsement in biliteracy to a student who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one foreign language.
  • Status: Passed both the House and Senate. It has been sent to Governor Hickenlooper for his signature.

SB17-126: Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board

  • This bill would create the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, which would be tasked with examining data collected by review teams during the preceding year, identifying measures to help prevent domestic violence fatalities and near-death incidents, establishing uniform methods for collecting, analyzing, and storing data, and making annual reports and policy recommendations concerning domestic violence to the General Assembly.
  • Status: Introduced in the Senate; referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SJM17-001: Memorialize Congress To Fund Wildfire Response

  • This joint memorial calls on Congress to fund catastrophic wildfire response costs outside of federal forest management agencies’ normal budgets to ensure that we fund wildfire mitigation and prevention adequately in Colorado.
  • Status: Passed the House and Senate.

Upcoming Events

Community Town Hall: Women and Politics in 2017
Saturday, March 25th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please join Rep. Millie Hamner, County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier, and Karen Middleton from NARAL for a community town hall discussion on the recent political environment, what it means for women in Colorado, and how we can make our voices heard.

WHO:
Millie Hamner- State Representative for House District 61
Karn Stiegelmeier- Summit County Commissioner
Karen Middleton- Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado

WHERE:
Summit County Community and Senior Center
83 Nancy’s Place, Frisco, CO 80443

WHEN:
Saturday, March 25th; 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Contact Phil at phil.robinson.house@gmail.com or (970) 315-2610 with any questions.

I hope to see you there!

I70 Update

Click here to read the Department of Transportation’s monthly Interchange Newsletter.

I hope you have a wonderful month!

Unanimous Approval for Hamner-Wilson Education Bill

Colorado House Democrats

(March 3) – With a 61-0 vote, the House today gave final approval to a bill sponsored by Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Jim Wilson, R-Salida, to allow students from kindergarten through third grade who are English language learners to take their annual required reading test in their language of instruction, rather than being double-tested.

“This test is meant to demonstrate how well a student can read, and when it’s given to students in their language of instruction, it gives us better indicators of reading ability and gives teachers the information they need to help their students improve,” said Rep. Hamner. “This bill cuts testing time and increases instructional time for the very students who need it.”

“It was great to work with Rep. Hamner on this bill,” said Rep. Wilson. “It simplifies the process to answer two critical questions: one, can you read? And two, how well?”

Currently, although the purpose is to evaluate reading ability and not language proficiency, some students are required to take their annual reading assessment in both Spanish and English. Double testing these students unnecessarily overburdens a specific subgroup of students, risks misidentifying of English learners as having significant reading deficiencies, and is not aligned with other state assessment policies.

HB17-1160 now proceeds to the Senate.

 Here is the link to the article:

 

http://cohousedems.com/index.php/2017/03/03/unanimous-approval-for-hamner-wilson-education-bill/

 

Improving Education for Bilingual Students/Mejorando la educación de los estudiantes bilingües

Colorado House Democrats

“This test is meant to indicate how well a student knows how to read and when it’s given to students in their language of instruction, it gives us better indicators of reading ability and gives teachers the information they need to help their students improve,” said State Rep. Millie Hamner. “This bill would cut testing time and increase instructional time for the very students who need it.”

(Feb. 27) – The House Education Committee approved two bipartisan bills  this afternoon sponsored by Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Jim Wilson,  R-Salida. The first, HB17-1160, allows students from kindergarten through
third grade who are English language learners to take their annual  required reading test in their language of instruction, rather than being  double-tested.

Currently, although the purpose is to evaluate reading ability and not language proficiency, some students are required to take their annual reading assessment in both Spanish and English. Double testing these students unnecessarily over-burdens a specific subgroup of students, risks over-identification of English learners as having significant reading deficiencies, and is not aligned with other state assessment policies.

“This test is meant to indicate how well a student knows how to read and
when it’s given to students in their language of instruction, it gives us
better indicators of reading ability and gives teachers the information
they need to help their students improve,” said Rep. Hamner. “This bill
would cut testing time and increase instructional time for the very
students who need it.”

The second, SB17-123, allows school districts to offer a Seal of
Biliteracy to graduating high school seniors who have attained proficiency
in two or more languages. This gives students a way to demonstrate their
biliteracy skills to employers and universities. Fourteen states and the
District of Columbia have approved the Seal of Biliteracy and it is under
formal consideration in at least eight other states.

“We should recognize the hard work of our students in achieving this
designation,” said Rep. Hamner. “Biliteracy is a huge asset when seeking
employment or higher education.”

HB17-1160 passed with a 13-0 vote and SB17-123 passed with an 11-2 vote.
Both bills head to the House floor.

En Español:

Mejorando la educación de los estudiantes bilingües
 El Comité de Educación en la Cámara de Representantes aprueba dos
 proyectos de ley para mejorar los resultados de los estudiantes bilingües

(Feb. 27) – El Comité de Educación de la Cámara de Representantes aprobó
dos proyectos de ley, con apoyo de ambos partidos políticos, esta tarde
que eran patrocinados por los representantes Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, y
Jim Wilson, R-Salida. El primero, HB17-1160, permite a los estudiantes del
kindergarten al tercer nivel que son estudiantes aprendiendo el inglés a
tomar su prueba de lectura anual en su idioma de instrucción, en vez de
tomar la prueba doz veces.

Actualmente, algunos estudiantes deben tomar su evaluación anual de
lectura en español e inglés, aunque el propósito es evaluar la habilidad
de lectura y no la competencia lingüística. La doble prueba de estos
estudiantes sobrecarga innecesariamente un subgrupo específico de
estudiantes, da riesgo de identificar a estos estudiantes de tener
deficiencias significativas en lectura, y no está alineado con otras
políticas de evaluación del estado.

“Esta prueba es para indicar que bien el estudiante sabe leer y cuándo se
administra este examen en su idioma de instrucción, nos da mejores
indicadores de capacidad en la lectura del estudiante y da a los maestros
la información que necesitan para ayudar a sus estudiantes a mejorar”,
dijo Representante Hamner. “Este proyecto de ley reduciría el tiempo que
están los niños en exámenes y aumentará el tiempo de instrucción para los
estudiantes que lo necesitan”.

El segundo, SB17-123, permite a los distritos escolares tener un sello en
su diploma para estudiantes que se gradúan siendo bilingüe en dos o más
idiomas. Con este sello, los estudiantes tienen una manera de demostrar
oficialmente sus habilidades a los empleadores y a las universidades.
Catorce estados y el Distrito de Columbia han aprobado este sello de
alfabetización bilingüe y está bajo consideración en al menos ocho estados
más.

“Debemos reconocer el duro trabajo de nuestros estudiantes en lograr esta
designación”, dijo el Representante Hamner. “Ser bilingüe es un gran
beneficio cuando se busca empleo o educación superior”.

HB17-1160 fue aprobado con un voto de 13 a 0 y SB17-123 fue aprobado con
un voto de 11 a 2. Ambos proyectos de ley se dirigen a la cámara entera
para su segunda lectura.

Here is the link to the article:

http://cohousedems.com/index.php/2017/02/28/improving-education-for-bilingual-studentsmejorando-la-educacion-de-los-estudiantes-bilingues/