I hope you have enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather recently. Meanwhile, here at the Capitol, we have already tackled several bills affecting middle class families. Personally, I have dedicated my time to engaging with constituents back in the district, meeting with key stakeholders on bills I am sponsoring and working with my colleagues to craft a budget that strengthens Colorado’s middle class.
With the legislative session in full swing, I have been working to pass a number of bills that help address important issues facing the district. This year I have fought to update Vonnie's Law by mandating those accused of sexual assault to acknowledge a restraining order in court. This gives our law enforcement officials another tool to help safeguard our citizens and increase protections for victims of sexual assault. Additionally, I am pleased to announce that my Volunteer Fire Department Organization Bill, which will help facilitate full-time fire protection services in under-served areas, passed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor's desk for his signature.
As you may have heard, the Joint Budget Committee has made progress on several important financial issues over the past few weeks. The JBC has completed all of its hearings and has received supplemental requests from all of the departments for the current fiscal year. I also had the pleasure of working with Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, to present the supplemental request package before the House Appropriations Committee last week. Currently, I am working with the other JBC members on figure setting for the next fiscal year that goes from July 2015 to June 2016. I will have an update for you as we get closer to drafting the Long Bill (the bill for the FY15-16 budget) in March.
When I am not in Denver at the Capitol, I travel back home every weekend to attend local events happening across the district. Last month, I hosted town halls in both Leadville and Summit County. In Leadville, State Sen. Kerry Donovan and I discussed our priorities for the legislative session and listened to constituents who raised awareness about important issues facing communities in Lake County. In Summit County, I hosted the County Commissioners while constituents were able to ask questions about issues that face them. While in Denver, I met with several organizations advocating on behalf of local residents and businesses. I attended sessions hosted by the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado, the Tourism Industry of Colorado, and Club 20 of Western Colorado. Finally, I have enjoyed attending community events including the Breckenridge Fine Arts Festival and the opening of the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center and Library where I had the opportunity to experience just a few of the many wonderful amenities our district has to offer.
Talking with stakeholders.
Here is an update of the bills I am sponsoring so far this session:
HB 15-1008 Ag Land Destroyed by Natural Causes- allows folks with agricultural land damaged by a natural disaster to keep it classified as such for property tax purposes if they make a good faith effort to restore it. This bill has passed the House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources and Finance Committees on unanimous bipartisan votes. It will now be considered by the House.
HB 15-1017 Volunteer Fire Department Organization- helps establish volunteer fire departments in areas of the state that lack organized fire protection. This bill has passed the both the House and the Senate and is on its way to the Governor for his signature.
HB 15-1060 Protection Orders Sex Offense Cases- requires defendants to acknowledge a restraining order before a judge prior to posting bail/bond. This bill has passed the House and is currently awaiting consideration from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Joint Budget Committee Bills:
As the Vice Chair of the Joint Budget Committee, I have sponsored a group of bipartisan bills along with my colleague Rep. Rankin that balances the FY 14-15 budget. This package had unanimous support from the House Appropriations Committee and has passed both chambers of the legislature. I will also be making recommendations for next year's budget and carrying additional JBC bills.
You can keep track of the status of JBC bills by clicking the link below.
For complete details on any of the bills click here.
Below are the details of the Town Hall in Aspen this Saturday, February 21st.
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Town Hall with Representative Millie Hamner, Senator Kerry Donovan, and Mike King, Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources
11 a.m. to Noon.
The Aspen Square Hotel- Conference Room
617 Cooper Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611
Stay tuned for an update on community forums in Crested Butte, Paonia, and Gunnison next month. As always, please let me know if you want information about an event, or if you have an invitation you would like to share. For more information, please visit my website at www.milliehamner.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With cold weather upon us, costs associated with heating our homes is going up. The USDA has instituted a program to help homeowners and renters find savings on their energy bills. The USDA recently established the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Loan Program (EECLP) which allocates $4 billion to projects that support improvements in efficiency as well as the installation of renewable energy systems. Under EECLP, funding can be loaned by utilities and co-ops to customers as a monthly credit on their utility bill. This would allow customers to purchase and install energy efficient and cost saving equipment in their homes.The customer would then pay back the loan through their monthly electric bill.
The EECLP can be used to fund projects such as the installation of the following
insulation and high performance windows in housing
energy efficient geothermal heating systems
High performance hot water heaters
Rooftop solar electric and solar thermal systems
Information about the program can be found here, or by contacting your energy provider.
Stay in Touch
I always want to hear from you! If you ever have any issues, concerns, or questions, please reach out. You can call me at the Capitol at 303.866.2952, email me at email@example.com, and keep up to date at www.milliehamner.com, or stop by my office if you're in town!