January Update from the Capitol

The 2018 legislative session began this month with opening remarks from House Speaker Crisanta Duran as she presented her 2018 legislative priorities to the House of Representatives. During a joint meeting of the House and Senate the following day, Governor Hickenlooper followed suit with his annual State of the State address. Both opened their speeches by emphasizing the need for Colorado to serve as a barrier to the divisive political rhetoric that has engulfed Washington D.C. and continue our momentum from the legislative achievements of 2017.

For the 2018 session, they called on the General Assembly to work towards addressing the negative effects of Colorado’s recent population growth, pointing out a lack of affordable housing, inadequacy and inequity in public school funding, and inadequate funding for transportation infrastructure. Their priorities also included the need for a long-term solution to PERA’s unfunded liability and a bill package to help mitigate the growing opioid epidemic.

Joining the committee assigned to notify the Governor that the House of Reps is assembled and ready to begin work

Joined on the floor by constituents from Solvista Health in Leadville

Hamner Legislative Update
My priorities this session will be to address concerns expressed to me by my constituents that I have heard as I’ve traveled the district. I remain focused on addressing the needs of hard working families through the development of this year’s budget and bills that I carry regarding affordable healthcare and housing, school finding and educational opportunities for all students, and continuing to protect our environment for future generations of coloradans. Below is my initial legislative agenda for 2018:
 
 
 
House Bill 18-______: Single Geographic Rating Area 
Reps. Hamner and Rankin
Under this bill, health insurers would be prohibited from considering the geographic location of a policy holder when establishing rates. Two years ago, I carried a bill that directed the Division of Insurance to study the plausibility of creating a single geographic rating region. In their report, the division concluded that a move to one rating region could lower premium rates on the Western Slope by up to 22%. Status: Awaiting Introduction
 
 
 
House Bill 18-1002: Rural School District Teaching Fellowship Programs
Reps. Hamner and Rankin | Sens. Todd and Coram
This bill would partner eligible rural school districts with institutions of higher education to allow for fourth year students enrolled in educator preparation programs to teach at the school district. CDHE and the institution would split funding for living cost stipends, with the district having the option to offer the student employment upon graduation. Status: Introduced in the House and assigned to the House Education Committee
 
 
 
House Bill 18-1006: Infant Newborn Screening 
Reps. Hamner and Liston | Sens. Moreno and Gardner
All states provide “blood spot” screening for newborn babies. While there is a national advisory committee on newborn screening, states determine their specific screening programs. This bill would modernize and update Colorado’s newborn screening program using a model based on federally recommended standards to provide more accurate, timely, and comprehensive newborn screening in Colorado. Status: Introduced in the House and assigned to the House Committee on Health, Insurance & Environment
 
 
 
House Bill 18-1051: Statutory Provisions Extinguish Unattended Fires
Reps. Hamner and Carver | Sens. Coram and Merrifield
This bill, which came out of the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, would codify statutory provisions surrounding the penalties for leaving fires unattended and/or under-extinguished. Status: Introduced in the House and assigned to the House Committee on Health, Insurance & Environment
 
 
 
House Bill 18-1084: County Lodging Tax Revenue Allowable Uses
Reps. Hamner and Thurlow | Sen. Coram
This bill would eliminate the requirement that a lodging tax be used for advertising and marketing local tourism. Counties are currently authorized, with prior voter approval, to levy a county lodging tax for the purpose of advertising and marketing local tourism. Status: Introduced in the House and assigned to House Finance Committee
 
 
 
HB18-____: READ Act Expansion 
Reps. Hamner
As one of the original sponsors of the READ Act, I will be carrying a bill that makes modifications to the original language to ensure its successful implementation, supports the literacy skills of our young students, and keeps them on track to read at grade level. Status: Awaiting Introduction
 
 
SB18-060: Protective Orders in Criminal Cases
Rep. Hamner | Sen. Coram
This bill expands protective orders for domestic violence victims and victims of other crimes who hold restraining orders against certain offenders. Status: Passed in Senate Judiciary Committee and awaiting final passage vote
 
 
Joint Budget Committee Priorities
I am serving as chair of the Joint Budget Committee during the 2018 legislative session. This committee, which consists of three Republicans and three Democrats, is responsible for crafting the annual “long bill,” which becomes the state’s budget for the coming fiscal year. During the 2018 session, my colleagues on the JBC and I will be working to craft a balanced, bipartisan budget that delivers critical public services to the people of Colorado.
Finding a long-term funding solution to the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), addressing the inequities in our school funding formula, and increasing funding for transportation are all priorities for this year’s budget. We will also be working to expand access to broadband throughout rural Colorado and exploring potential solutions to the negative impacts of the Gallagher amendment on rural areas of the state.

Events

I enjoyed a wonderful day in Gunnison County last Saturday with Rep. Barbara McLachlan, meeting with constituents in Crested Butte and Gunnison. Thank you to everyone who was able to join us!

Upcoming Events

Legislative Town Hall in Basalt
Saturday, February 10th from 10:30am to 11:30am
Basalt Regional Library
14 Midland Ave, Basalt, CO 81621

Legislative Town Hall in Aspen
Saturday, February 10th from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Pitkin County Library
120 N Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611

I will be scheduling town halls throughout the district between January and April to provide updates on the legislative session and listen to what is on the minds of my constituents. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions at 970-315-2610.

Updates from Around the State

Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing
Update on the future of Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)

Colorado Department of Transportation
January Interchange Newsletter 

Have a wonderful month!