Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

“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:

Denver Post Guest Commentary

Here is the link to article in the Denver Post:

Five critical state needs that TABOR hinders

TABOR refunds will come, despite these needs

The Colorado House of Representatives meeting in 2016.
The Colorado House of Representatives meeting in 2016.

The amount of money collected by our state government in taxes and fees is directly tied to the economic health of Colorado. Because our economy is relatively strong, so is the state’s revenue stream. But rather than being able to invest in critical needs and rebuild our rainy day reserves in economic upturns, we are likely to issue hundreds of millions of dollars in TABOR refunds. By restricting the state’s ability to save and invest the revenue the state collects during strong economic times, TABOR hinders our long-term economic stability and leads to perverse outcomes, like having to dip into our education reserves to keep from cutting our schools while the economy is strong.

Here are the critical state needs at the top of my list:

1.  Investing in our public schools. Our kids are Colorado’s most precious resource, and they’re depending on us. And yet when it comes to state spending on K-12 education, we’re more than $830 million short of where they would have been had we not had to cut them during the last recession, and under the current budget proposal we would fall even farther behind.

2.  Fixing our roads and potholes. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates we have a staggering $9 billion backlog in maintenance and construction to fix our overburdened infrastructure, support our growth and prosperity and increase the safety and efficiency of travel throughout the state. Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 are of special concern, but every area of the state — every county and municipality — has projects begging for attention. From safer routes to school for our kids to more mobility for our seniors, we have a lot of needs.

3.  College affordability. Unfortunately, college remains out of reach for too many Coloradans. It’s simply too expensive, and our investments aren’t keeping up. We need to invest in our colleges and universities so they can keep tuition low enough that any Coloradan who has a dream of obtaining a college education can afford one.

4. Supporting our most vulnerable. We can measure the moral fiber of our society by how well we take care of our elderly, our disabled, our at-risk kids and our underprivileged. We can do a better job.

5.  Protecting our forests and mountain towns. Investing in efforts to mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfires and increase safety precautions for our firefighters will help protect our beautiful landscape, our mountain communities and the water supplies we all depend on.

The people expect us to figure this out – and soon.

State Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, is the vice chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee.

To send a letter to the editor about this article, submit online or check out our guidelines for how to submit by e-mail or mail.

February Newsletter

It is just over a month into the 2017 Legislative Session and things are picking up here at the Capitol. Despite the hectic pace of work this past month, I was able to get back to the district and visit with constituents in Leadville and Gunnison. 

 Taking Part in the Inside Scoop: Conservation Priorities in 2017 Panel in Gunnison

Meeting with my constituents, Ramón & Patrice Reed, in the deep snow of Crested Butte

  I was honored to be the keynote speaker for the annual Alliance Day at the Capitol

Meeting with the Lake County Family and Intercultural Resource Center during their visit to the Capitol

Rep. Hamner Bill Update:
I am a primary sponsor of the following bills that have been introduced so far this session. 

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 through the House Committee on Transportation and Energy and referred to the House Appropriations Committee. 

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: Introduced in the House and assigned to the House Education Committee. It is scheduled to be heard on February 27th.

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 through the House and 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: Introduced in the House and assigned to the House Education Committee. It is scheduled to be heard on February 27th.

SB17-126: Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board

  • To help reduce domestic violence in Colorado, this bill creates a statewide Domestic Violence Review Board which will:
    • Coordinate with local and regional domestic violence review teams (review teams) to collect data;
    • Review and analyze the data; and
    • Prepare recommendations for the General Assembly.
    • For a more detailed description, a summary of the bill can be found here.
  • Status: Passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and referred amended to the Senate Appropriations 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 in order to ensure we fund mitigation and prevention.
  • Status: Passed both the House and Senate.

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, March 4, 2017; 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  
Après-Ski with Millie

Please join State Representative Millie Hamner for an après-ski event with friends and constituents on March 4th at the Aspen Square Hotel. Rep. Hamner will give a brief update on the legislative session and answer your questions. The event is open to the public. Please contact Phil at or 303-866-2952 with any questions.

Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon

Aspen Square Condominium Hotel
Conference Room
617 E Cooper Ave
Aspen, CO 81611

WHEN: Saturday, March 4 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We are currently working on scheduling upcoming town halls in Delta and Summit counties.

I70 Update: 
Click here to read the Department of Transportation’s monthly Interchange Newsletter.

I hope you have a wonderful month!

Hamner to Congress: Act on Wildfires

(Feb. 8) – This morning, the House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan memorial by Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillion, calling on Congress to fund wildfire mitigation in Colorado. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service borrows from funds for mitigation efforts in order to fight active fires, which means mitigation efforts have less and less funding as more fires spread and are more expensive to manage.

“Our responsibility is to protect our firefighters and our valuable natural resources: from our water sheds, to our outdoor recreation, to our beautiful Colorado forests,” said Rep. Hamner. “And we can’t do that without federal funding. We heard today that each dollar invested in mitigation efforts has four times the impact in preventing catastrophic fires and it’s time we dedicate funding specifically for mitigation.”

The memorial comes out of the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, which discussed the current management practice of suppressing wildfires instead of mitigating risks. Without dedicated funding for mitigation efforts, Colorado faces increased forest density and greater frequency of catastrophic wildfires.

This funding is especially important to Colorado, which has the second highest percentage of households that are at high or extreme risk from wildfires of any state in the nation. And as the memorial states: “Colorado’s forests are increasingly susceptible to forest fires, with an average of about 40,000 acres burned per year from 2004 through 2007 but an average of more than 140,000 acres burned per year from 2008 through 2014.”

Here is the link to the article:

January Newsletter

Happy New Year!
Last week, as most of House District 61 was enjoying the recent flurry of snowfall, members of the 71st Colorado General Assembly met in Denver for our first day of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Inside the crowded House Chamber, members of the Colorado House of Representatives were sworn in by Chief Justice Nancy Rice

Being sworn in alongside my Joint Budget Committee colleague Rep. Dave Young

My husband Rich joined us in the House Chamber for the ceremony

Celebrating with former legislators Dan Gibbs and Christine Scanlan

After being sworn in by Chief Justice Rice, leadership from both parties addressed the chamber and established their priorities, which will set this year’s legislative agenda.
House Speaker Crisanta Duran’s compelling speech highlighted the need for construction defects reform, a comprehensive statewide plan to upgrade Colorado’s overburdened transportation system, a need to address mounting issues in education funding, and a long term solution to the state’s budgeting problems. Her speech ended with an appeal to the chamber and all Coloradans to help ensure that Colorado remains an inclusive state, where the bullying of people because of their gender, race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation is not tolerated.
Some of my legislative priorities for 2017 include addressing the cost of health insurance in the western areas of Colorado, increasing equity and adequacy in the way we fund our public schools, protecting our environment and public lands, and ensuring that the state can continue to balance the budget in years to come by addressing some of the constraints we currently face.
As always, please contact my office with any suggestions or input regarding any issues you wish to discuss.

Upcoming Events:

Inside Scoop: Conservation Priorities in 2017 
Hosted by Conservation Colorado, Rep. Millie Hamner, Rep. Barbara McLachlan, Sen. Kerry Donovan, Gunnison County Commissioner Jonathan Houck
  • When: Saturday, February 4th from 1:00p to 3:00pm
  • Where: Quigley Hall, Western State Colorado University (600 N. Adams Street, Gunnison, CO 81231)
  • Event Partners: High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA), Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI), Western State Colorado University, Masters in Environmental Management (MEM)
  • Contact Brien at or 719-322-7050 with any questions.
Community Coffee with Mayor Greg Labbe and Rep. Millie Hamner
  • When: Saturday, January 28th from 9:00am to 10:00am 
  • Where: City on a Hill Coffee and Espresso (508 Harrison Ave #3, Leadville, CO 80461) 
  • Contact Phil at or 303-866-2952 with any questions.  

I hope you have a wonderful month!

November Newsletter

With election season now behind us, we are looking forward to the 2017 Legislative Session. The recent election resulted in a slight shift in the makeup of the General Assembly. The Democrats now hold a 37-28 seat majority in the House, with the Republicans holding the Senate by 18 seats to 17. 

I am already back to work with my colleagues on the Joint Budget Committee as we begin the process of crafting the 2017 state budget. Governor Hickenlooper’s initial budget request highlighted some indicators that it will be a challenging budget year. There is a large discrepancy between the pressure on the General Fund and the funds available. Because that difference sits at $500 million, he has proposed a series of ideas to help us balance the budget. Consideration of these strategies will likely result in debates over the coming months that will require us to be diligent in our ability to work across the aisle and come up with solutions that work for the entire state. 

2017 Legislative Agenda: 

I am currently in the process of drafting my 2017 Legislative Agenda. This coming session, I will continue to focus on addressing health insurance costs in the western region of Colorado, increasing equity and adequacy in the way we fund our public schools, protecting our environment, and ensuring that the state can continue to balance the budget in years to come by addressing some of the constraints we currently face. Please feel free to contact my office with any suggestions or input on the coming 2017 legislative session.

I70/CDOT Update: 
Click here for the latest Interchange Newsletter from CDOT. 

  • Independence Pass will close on Thursday, November 17th. 
  • CDOT will be repairing several bridge columns on the I-70 underpass at mile point 180 in East Vail. The project is expected to last until Friday
  • For additional information, visit their website.

I will be scheduling legislative town halls in each county of HD61 this spring. Stay tuned for updates on when I will be visiting your area! 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Summit Daily article

Back to: OPINION

Summit Daily editorial: Reelect Millie Hamner as House 61 representative

Summit County is lucky to have had Millie Hamner serving as its representative at the state house for the past six years. Yes, the former superintendent of Summit School District and Democratic incumbent is a bona fide education wonk, but she has also stepped up to tackle state budget issues and has a proven track record of sponsoring bipartisan bills on a variety of issues, including ones that seek to address rising health care premiums.

Millie Hamner has more than earned another term — her fourth and final. Because Hamner lives in Dillon, she clearly understands Summit County’s needs better than someone located on the far-flung fringes of the district. Not that that really matters, though — Hamner appears equally responsive to the general needs of her large and geographically diverse district, which includes Summit, Lake, Pitkin, Gunnison and Delta counties.

Republican Robert Schutt, a doctor out of Crested Butte, seems like a fine man, with an abundance of passion, intelligence and accomplishments. However, Hamner has formed strong alliances that are too important to concede to a political newcomer.

“I know how to work well with other people,” Hamner has said. “I think that’s what people want and expect from their representatives. They want somebody who doesn’t polarize issues and who can try to find compromise and bring solutions together. That’s my strength.”

During her years in the Legislature, Hamner has served on several committees. She was the chair of the joint budget committee and vice chair of appropriations. She has also served as chair of the education committee.

Among her accomplishments is playing a major role in securing the $10 million for the installation of a fire suppression system in the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel, the economic lifeline for Eagle and Summit counties. She also sponsored an education bill that expanded funding for the state’s beleaguered school districts.

Before entering politics, Hamner was the superintendent of the Summit School District, a position she started in 2004. Before that she was the assistant superintendent for three years. Prior to coming to Summit County she was a teacher and administrator in Eagle County for 23 years.

Please join us in voting Millie Hamner into another term as our champion at the Capitol.

Here is the link to the article:

October Newsletter

I hope you are enjoying autumn and starting to decorate your pumpkins for Halloween! In House District 61, the snow is beginning to fall and we are all getting ready for ski season. 

As usual, I have been busy the past month out in the district meeting with constituents and participating in a host of wonderful events.

Introducing Governor Hickenlooper at the 2016 Governor's Tourism Conference in Breckenridge

Introducing Governor Hickenlooper at the 2016                                   Governor’s Tourism Conference in Breckenridge.

Senator Donovan and I attended the dedication ceremony for the Fallen Heroes Highway, honoring Patrick Mahany and Nicklas Palmer.

Senator Donovan and I attended the dedication ceremony for the Fallen Heroes Highway, honoring Patrick Mahany and Nicklas Palmer.

I was honored to participate in the Strong Sisters: Elected Women in Colorado panel at the Breckenridge Film Festival

I was honored to participate in the Strong Sisters: Elected Women in Colorado panel at the Breckenridge Film Festival.

As we get closer to the election, sample ballots have been posted on all of the county websites. I have included links below for every county’s sample ballot in House District 61. Ballots will be mailed on Monday, so make sure to consult your blue book and become acquainted with all the important measures on this year’s ballot. 

House District 61 Sample Ballots: 

Delta County
Gunnison County
Lake County 
Pitkin County 
Summit County 



I have a very busy month beginning tomorrow, as I travel to Edwards to participate on the Vail Symposium Panel on Education at Battle Mountain High School. Next week, I am traveling to Gunnison to meet with a political science class at WCSU. The following week, I will be attending the Forest Collaboratives Summit in Dillon, a Healthcare Task Force meeting in Summit County, speaking to a class at the Peak School, and hosting the CDOT community town hall in Frisco. 

The Budget Committee will hear the Governor’s budget request for 2017-2018 and begin the process of crafting the State Budget on November 14th.


Vail Symposium Education Panel 
October 14th from 3:45pm to 6:45pm
Battle Mountain High School in Edwards

Forest Collaborative Summit
October 24 from 2:00pm-3:00pm 

Keystone Center in Dillon 

CDOT Town Hall
October 27th from 5:00pm-6:30pm 

Hoosier Room at the Community and Senior Center in Frisco 

October 29th Meet and Greet with State Representative Millie Hamner
Home of Jose and Rhonda Lopez in Redstone 

For directions and RSVP, contact Jose at: 
830-998-4861 (Cell)


This week’s lane and ramp closures planned for eastbound I-70 at Idaho Springs interchange have been canceled. CDOT has announced that they will resume in the coming weeks. To stay updated on the status of this project, visit CDOT’s website

CDOT and I have organized a community Town Hall at the Senior Center in Frisco on October 27th at 5:00pm. This will be a great opportunity to come down and air your concerns and/or opinions with CDOT officials. I have included details below. However,  feel free to contact my office with questions.

I hope you have a wonderful month!

September Newsletter

I continue to keep quite busy during the interim!

Meeting with constituents in Cedaredge

                            Meeting with constituents in Cedaredge

Touring the new Kaiser facility in Frisco

                              Touring the new Kaiser facility in Frisco

Meeting with the Lake County Family Leadership Training Institute at the Capitol

Meeting with the Lake County Family Leadership Training Institute at the Capitol

Picture time with my wonderful constituents from the Leadville FLTI

        Picture time with my wonderful constituents from the Leadville FLTI

In August, I attended the annual Colorado Water Congress Summit in Steamboat Springs. This conference brings various state leaders together with water experts to discuss current issues and solutions regarding water in Colorado.

I also had the chance to tour the new Kaiser Permanente facility in Frisco. As you may know, addressing the cost of health insurance on the Western Slope is one of my top priorities heading into this next session. I think it is important that we keep an open dialogue with insurance companies such as Kaiser as we move forward with potential solutions to this issue.

I was honored to distribute scholarship money to Colorado Mountain College and Western State Colorado University with Lt. Governor Donna Lynne

I was honored to distribute scholarship money to Colorado Mountain College and Western State Colorado University                                                                     with Lt. Governor Donna Lynne

Coming up, I have the distinct honor of hosting and introducing Governor Hickenlooper at the annual Tourism Conference in Breckenridge this week. At the Capitol, I will be meeting with my Joint Budget Committee colleagues next week for the September Revenue Forecast. This will be the last revenue forecast before we begin meeting regularly again in November.

As you may know, one of my major priorities at the Capitol has always been funding for our schools. Next month, I will post overviews for every school funding measure that is on the ballot in House District 61 so that you are adequately informed before filling out your ballot.

I hope that you are finding time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather in HD61!

August Update

I hope you are enjoying your Summer. I sure enjoyed Boom Days in Leadville last weekend!

Marching in the 2016 Boom Days Parade along side everyone's favorite pack burro Koshare!

              Marching in the 2016 Boom Days Parade along side everyone’s favorite pack burro Koshare!

On August 1st, my Joint Budget Committee colleagues and I released some $19 million in funds for the Department of Local Affairs to go through with a series of grant projects across the state. In my district, I was very happy to see $315,000 of these funds go towards the effort to preserve the beautiful Tabor Opera House in Leadville. A $300,000 grant was also awarded to the Delta County Radio Console Update.

Also last week, my colleagues and I on the Wild Fire Matters Review Committee met representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, CO State Forest Service, Denver Water, and Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs. We took a highly informative tour of sites in Summit County that exemplify successful collaboration and wildfire mitigation efforts.

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As you may remember, I passed legislation this past session that directed the Division of Insurance to study the plausibility of designating the entire state as one single geographic insurance rating area. The purpose of this bill was to address the ever increasing cost of Health Insurance for Western Slope communities. The results of that study were presented to the JBC last week. You can view the full report by visiting the DORA website, or by clicking here.

The bottom line is that based on the results of the study, the Insurance Commissioner did not recommend the change to a single geographic rating area because of the price increases it would incur on Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and the rest of the Front Range. However, she is committed to working alongside the JBC to delve into cost drivers in a new report that we will see on December 1st.

It is my hope that this study will, at the very least, bring awareness to the severity of the problem that rising health insurance costs pose for rural Colorado. This is an issue that my Western Slope colleagues and I are committed to resolving in the coming session.

I70 Update: 
For those of you in Summit County, please read the below article released by our colleagues over at CDOT.

Work to begin on I-70 culvert project next week

I hope you have a wonderful month!