Rep. Millie Hamner looks for input on next year’s legislation
summit daily news
Strengthening Colorado’s laws against stalking and streamlining the licensing process for early childhood educators are goals topping House District 56 Rep. Millie Hamner’s list for possible legislation proposals for the 2012 session.
Lawmakers have been in recess since mid-May and Hamner (D-Dillon) is using the free time to climb Fourteeners and reach out to her constituents for feedback on issues, problems and concerns that could inspire legislation for next session.
Though the deadline to submit drafts is still months off, Hamner said she’s meeting with local governments and voters and has come up with at least two solid ideas for future bills: legislation that would make the process of getting licensed more logical for early childhood educators and a bill in memory of a Leadville woman who was murdered by a man who had stalked her for several years.
Yvonne “Vonnie” Flores, 58, was killed in her driveway in July of last year, by Anthony Medina, also 58, who was out on bail on a charge of stalking Flores. He shot Flores, a kindergarten teacher, before turning the gun on himself.
The tragedy of Flores’ death inspired Hamner to look at the caliber of Colorado’s stalking laws.
“It raised enough questions for me to really want to look into the matter, to support the family and friends and to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Hamner said.
Having had success in the 2011 session streamlining the teacher licensure process for K-12 educators, Hamner said it also seemed natural – and necessary – to move on to the same issue for early childhood teachers.
“People with an interest in early childhood education have raised concerns,” Hamner said. “I’m also concerned about different approaches to licensing early childhood centers. I’m investigating whether there’s something I can do through the law to make it make more sense to get licensed to work with children in those early years.”
Hamner, a rookie this year who took over the house seat for District 56 representing Eagle, Lake and Summit counties when elected-Dem. Christine Scanlan was tapped by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration, didn’t mark herself in 2011 as a sponsor of controversial or high-profile legislation, but proved she was capable of getting results on the bills she did carry.
Of the 10 bills on which Hamner was a primary sponsor, six passed through the Legislature and were signed into law, including legislation streamlining teacher licensure, protecting police service dogs and requiring the Colorado Department of Transportation to meet with state transportation committees to discuss solutions for Interstate 70.
Other ideas, including a “Caylee’s Law,” inspired by the Caylee Anthony case out of Florida, which would “tighten up” laws around reporting missing children and children’s deaths, a ban on cellphones in cars and legislation that would clear away other unnecessary laws have also crossed Hamner’s desk, but she said she needs to do additional research and begin talking with municipalities in her district before committing to other bills for next year.
Lawmakers will begin meeting again in January.
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