Friday, January 21, 2011

Message from State Senator MARY HODGE

Many of you know, but for those who don't, my husband is a bus nut. He's owned 2 Flx buses; one was one of 4 the Broadmoor Hotel bought for taking their customers touring around Colorado Springs , the other was used in the Trailways system. The Broadmoor Hotel one, built in 1954, was sold this fall. The other, built in 1957, is going to the annual "round-up" of Flx owners held every January in Quartzite and Wickenburg , Arizona . Because this is a January event, I've never been able to attend. As near as I can tell, they sit around the campfire and lie about their mileage. And have a wonderful time doing it!

Week 2 has just begun and here's some of what we're doing:

All Over the Map: Redistricting
Our population is constantly changing. Colorado ’s population grew by 16.8 percent since 2000. In view of this fact, the US Constitution requires state legislatures to redraw congressional boundaries every 10 years. This year, legislative leaders created a joint select committee on redistricting—a bold, bipartisan step to bring cooperation to what has in the past been a bitter partisan battle. I'm excited by this approach because I was there for the ugly midnight gerrymander that was attempted 10 years ago that finally ended in court.

The committee met for the first time yesterday and in the coming months will gather citizen input at a series of 10 public hearings throughout Colorado . Additionally, the committee will evaluate maps proposed by non-partisan experts and make recommendations to the General Assembly. There are a lot of requirements in drawing these new lines, including: equal population, not splitting communities of interest, maintaining and honoring boundaries and much more.

Bills to Watch Next Week
Here are some interesting bills being heard next week. All committee hearings are open to the public, so I encourage you to come to the Capitol to observe or sign up to testify. You can also listen online.

A bill to create jobs, cut utility bills, and reduce energy use allows homeowners to borrow money from utility companies for energy efficiency improvements, and then repay the loan directly through their utility bill.
Sponsor: Senator Mike Johnston
Listen in: Thursday, January 27, 1:30pm, Senate Committee Room 353

The Colorado Taxpayer Empowerment Act increases transparency on public contracts, so taxpayers can better examine privatized government functions.
Sponsor: Senator Morgan Carroll
Listen in: Tuesday, January 25, 1:30pm, Senate Committee Room 354

You’re Invited
I'm hosting a town hall in Brighton Saturday, January 22, 2011. It's at the Platte Valley Medical Center , 1600 Prairie Center Parkway at 8:30 a.m. I hope you can join me to let me know what's important to you.

As always, call, e-mail, write on my wall your ideas and thoughts.