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!