We’ve Hit the Mid-Session Mark!

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We are halfway through the 120 day session! I am proud of the foundation of hard work and action that I’ve laid in the last sixty days, the next sixty days will be busy but fulfilling as my bills move through the legislative process. I’ve been working on twelve bills so far, some of which I will explore in more detail below.

So far this session, my office has received hundreds of emails and phone calls from Coloradans and the people of Pueblo, which has been enriching and helpful to me as I work to represent House District 46 to the best of my ability. Please continue to astound my staff and me with your civic engagement and passion! There are a lot of bills waiting to be heard, and I cannot wait to read and hear the ways they will effect you and our community.

Expunging Arrest Records based on Mistaken Identity

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Coloradans should feel secure in knowing that arrest records filed under their name pertain to them. If you are arrested because a law enforcement officer mistakes you for someone else, current Colorado law does nothing to help you clear your name and arrest record. These arrest records based on mistaken identity can haunt people as they apply for jobs and other opportunities for years. As part of the “Rebuilding Trust between Law Enforcement and Communities” package, Rep. Jovan Melton (D- Arapahoe County) and I are running HB16-1165, a bill that would help individuals get their lives back after a mistaken identity arrest. We presented this bill to the House Judiciary Committee last week, and it was unanimously approved to move on to the House for further consideration.

Bills of the Week

HB16-1290: Extend Transitional Jobs Program
  • Today, the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee passed this bill with a bipartisan 8-5 vote, it is now headed to the Appropriations Committee. We need Coloradans to be able to find meaningful employment, and the ReHire Colorado program has helped us work on this goal. Under this bill, the program will be extended until 2022. The ReHire Program is a proven success, it has already put more than a thousand Coloradans back to work with specialized training. We can make Colorado a great place to work and be an employer. The Pueblo Chieftain wrote a great editorial in favor of this bill, I suggest taking the time to read it.
SB16-068: Hunter Safety Pink
  • This bill will be heard in the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources Committee tomorrow. As a law, this will grant hunters the option of wearing fluorescent pink when hunting large game in Colorado. Current law mentions fluorescent orange as the only clothing choice. Fluorescent pink has been shown to be as safe as fluorescent orange and other states like Wisconsin have already made this change to add variety and preference to hunters purchasing their gear. Although we can never get to 100% safety in hunting, anything we can do to improve the safety of hunters is important, which is why I wanted to be a part of this bill. I have been working on this bill with a bipartisan group of legislators, Sen. Kerry Donovan (D) and Rep. Yeulin Willett (R).
HB16-1294: Contraception Coverage Public and Private Insurance
  • This bill will be heard on Thursday afternoon in the House Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee. Women deserve to have equal opportunity to all forms of legal contraception. This bill will allow women to be able to access forms of contraception that fit their needs, without worrying about whether their insurance covers it. Contraception comes in a variety of forms, and this bill will require insurance companies to provide education and counseling on contraception. Contraceptives have enormous impacts on women’s physical and mental health. Women need to be able to educate themselves, and access, the type of contraception that they feel is right for them. I am excited to be running this bill with Rep. Susan Lontine (D- Denver).

Standout Moments of the First Sixty Days

  • HB16-1081, a bipartisan bill that removes obsolete reporting requirements for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing was my first bill to make it to the Governor’s desk this year. I am looking forward to it being signed into law.
  • HB16-1005, the rain barrel bill made it out of the House and will be heard in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee next Thursday! This bill made it thorough the House with a 61-3 vote, garnering heavy bipartisan support. This is the second year I have brought this bill and I am excited to see its journey through the Senate.
  • HB16-1136, a rail safety bill passed out of the House Transportation and Energy Committee after more than 30 rail road conductors, engineers, and spouses showed up in strong support. This bill later passed the House and will be heard in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee next Wednesday.

Chairing the Committee of the Whole

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Representatives of the majority party take turns chairing the Committee of the Whole, which means we facilitate and manage debate over bills during second readings. I got my opportunity to chair last week. I was surprised, as part of the rousing debate I had to make use of almost every procedure. I’ll tell you, this job is always exciting.

CDOT and Colorado State Patrol Building in Pueblo

Sen. Garcia and I have been working on a bill that will require a plan for the joint Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol building to be submitted this summer. While I was in the Capitol Development Committee meeting on this topic I was happy to hear the commitment from CDOT that this building will in fact be built to keep both Colorado State Patrol and CDOT operating out of Pueblo.

Speaking out against conversion therapy

For the second year in a row, a bill has been introduced to ban the practice of conversion therapy on minors. I am a proponent of HB16-1210, brought by Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) and when it was being debated on second reading, I was compelled to voice my support. Click on the image below to see what I had to say. You can also watch the speech I gave last year on this issue.

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