Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CO Senator Mary Hodge: House and Senate Democrats Team Up for Statewide “Budget Listening Tour”

Colorado ’s House and Senate Democrats are teaming up on Saturday, March 19 to host a “Budget Listening Tour” in 12 different communities across the state in an effort to get feedback and hear the ideas and concerns of Coloradans about the state’s challenging budget situation.

The budget listening tour will take place Saturday, March 19 from 10 am – 11:30 am at the Commerce City Council Chambers, 7887 East 60th Ave, Commerce City, CO 80266. I will be joined by Representatives Ed Casso and John Soper.

Women’s History Month

I’m proud to serve in the legislature at this time because we have the highest percentage—41%—of female representation in the country.

March is Women’s History Month. If you ever visit the Capitol, please take a moment to see the Women’s Gold Tapestry displayed on the first floor in the northeast quadrant of the building. Back in the 1970s, a female volunteer at the Capitol was disappointed that there wasn’t enough representation of women in Colorado ’s history displayed at the Capitol. In light of this fact, she worked with a group of women for over 4,500 hours on this beautiful tapestry to celebrate the brave and honorable women that have shaped Colorado ’s history. For more information about the tapestry click here. This magnificent gift to the Capitol always reminds me of what a diverse history Colorado has and the huge impact women have made over the years.

This month, we honored Women’s History Month with our first ever Girls With Goals Day at the Capitol. Learn about the student from my district and see pictures of the day here.

One for the History Books

This week, the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees stood up for Colorado families and voted to pass the civil unions bill sponsored by Senator Pat Steadman.

Civil unions are about commitment and responsibility. They empower people to be proactive about protecting their families and taking care of loved ones. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be told that you couldn’t visit your partner in the hospital, yet this is one of the challenges facing gay and lesbian couples today.

Recognizing civil unions, without infringing on the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, will provide couples with security as they face challenges of everyday life such as medical emergencies, estate planning and end-of-life decisions. But it does a lot more than that. It makes a powerful statement of fairness, compassion, and equality.

The bill will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Kids Count

Yesterday was Doll Day at the Capitol. The Colorado Children’s Campaign distributed dolls to each legislator’s desk this morning. The dolls are decorated by children, concerned citizens, and advocates across the state and are used to remind legislators to prioritize children when making policy decisions.

In conjunction with Doll Day, the Colorado Children’s Campaign released the 2011 Kids Count report. This report provides a statewide and county-by-county look at policies that affect children’s health, education, and overall wellbeing. These statistics are always a frightening reminder of how our budget crisis affects our children. Read more about Doll Day and the 2011 Kids Count report here.

Supporting Our Troops

This week, the Senate State , Veteran and Military Affairs Committee passed a bill to support Colorado military families. House Bill 1027, sponsored by Senator Linda Newell, will increase the number of childcare options available to military families who often struggle to access affordable childcare facilities. Senator Newell’s bill will start a pilot program and authorize off-base/off-post childcare. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

Senator Newell offered the following comment on the passage of her bill: “This bill solves a real problem. Many military families struggle to find childcare in their communities. Service members and their spouses shoulder an enormous burden as they defend our nation, and they deserve our support.”

There are over 50,000 active duty service and guard members currently living in Colorado and approximately 31,000 dependent children.