by Rep. Millie Hamner: First session accomplishments |

by Rep. Millie Hamner: First session accomplishments

by Rep. Millie Hamner

The 2011 legislative session ended May 11, and let me tell you, it was a 120-day whirlwind. Here are some things I learned as a new legislator at the capitol: Check for food between your teeth before doing a TV interview (it didn’t happen to me but I’m afraid it might some day!); address committee chairs as “Mr. Chair” or “Madam Chair”; work with your colleagues across the aisle whenever possible; never ask the governor if he forgot his tie (he didn’t, he hardly ever wears one); and be ready for anything – the House floor was visited by everyone from the venerable ambassador to Israel to university mascots and an entire women’s roller derby team.

In addition to some of the light-hearted things that happened in Denver this session, I learned a lot and am proud of what I accomplished. In fact, despite being in the minority, I managed to pass six bills and a resolution, several of which directly impact our mountain communities.

House Bill 11-1210 directs Colorado Department of Transportation to make prioritized recommendations on ways to improve mobility through the I-70 mountain corridor in the short-term. Recommendations will include an estimate of funding as well as information about potential funding sources. The bill also allows for public hearings so members of the public may propose their ideas to improve mobility in the corridor or comment on actions proposed.

HB 11-1201 will streamline the process for renewing an educator’s license. This bill will direct teachers to complete an affidavit that affirms they completed the continuing education requirements in the appropriate way and within the appropriate time frame, keeping our teachers in the classrooms and not in waiting in line at the Department of Education.

Senate Bill 11-267, the “Healthy Forests Act of 2011” will keep our forests healthy by creating a dedicated group of experts, including individuals from the forestry and energy industries and the conservation community, to combat the beetle kill epidemic and develop biomass as a means of mitigating the impact of dead and dying trees, helping to prevent wildfires and creating new industries and jobs.

HB 11-1071 created a tax-checkoff to raise money for Roundup River Ranch, a summer camp for kids with serious illness so they can be with other kids like them and experience the great outdoors.

HB 11-1151 requires that a person convicted of cruelty to a service animal pay restitution for veterinary care or replacement costs if the animal is killed. The idea for this bill was brought to me by Summit County Sheriff John Minor, who brought Tommy the dog to the capitol with him to testify in favor of the bill.

Senate Joint Resolution 11-037 designated April as “Historic Leadville Month,” a city rich with history and character.

In addition to the bills I sponsored, I worked closely with my House Democratic colleagues to significantly reduce cuts to K-12 education, made it easier for military men and women serving overseas to vote, cut red tape to help small businesses access resources they need to grow and thrive, fought to restore funding to provide free breakfast for low-income school children, and extended a successful foreclosure deferment program.

I encourage you to stay in touch with me throughout the year. I want to hear from my constituents to learn what you think is working, what could be improved or anything else on your mind. Contact me at (970) 389-4542 or

Millie Hamner is representative to Colo. House District 56, which includes Summit County.

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