Happy Friday, and I hope you had a fantastic Valentine's Day — mine was busy! Grateful for love in my life — including my wonderful husband, Brett who had dinner waiting after a long day. People are the most important thing in this life, and please know that I remember that EVERY DAY as your legislator.
This week was full of debates on legislation that will make a difference to people. I am particularly proud that we passed HB19-1122 out of Public Health Committee, creating a maternal mortality review committee to evaluate data with the hopes of preventing deaths. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists believe 80 percent of maternal mortality deaths (116 mothers) in Colorado from 2008 to 2013 were preventable. Not surprisingly, testimony was emotional.
Another to pass out of Public Health was HB19-1129 to ban conversion therapy for minors. One young man testified that through conversion therapy, he was separated from his mother and sisters for nearly three years to diminish their feminine influence. This, and so many other conversion therapy practices are needlessly cruel and harmful. I was very impressed with the testimony of former Attorney General, Cynthia Coffman. Coffman pointed out that this is a consumer protection bill, as she considers conversion therapy to be fraud. If this bill makes it through, we will join 15 other states who have banned this.
Monday marked the beginning of the first Denver teacher strike in 25 years, and we saw a lot of activity around the Capitol. I had the opportunity to talk with some of the protesters (including my cousin Katt, a DPS teacher) and hear about their concerns. It is so important to value our educators and make sure we are paying them a livable wage — they hold one of the most important jobs in our society and we should treat them accordingly. On Thursday morning, I was happy to hear that Denver Public Schools and the teachers union reached an agreement, giving DPS teachers a 7 to 11 percent raise. Kudos to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!
I held my first town hall last weekend. The elected officials of Jefferson County, including Senator Story and County Commissioners Dahlkemper and Tighe, came together to listen to the concerns and answer the questions of our constituents. We had a great turnout, and heard important feedback from the community. There was a lively discussion — thanks to all the County officials and community members who showed up! Make sure to follow my social media pages and keep an eye out in our weekly newsletter for upcoming events.
Finally, two of my bills are being heard next week. HB19-1095 deals with making health care more available and affordable by addressing the supervision and relationship between doctors and physician assistants. The other, SB19-068 would increase transparency by expanding disclosure in electioneering communications.
We have already, and will continue to face some difficult and contentious votes. Things are frequently more complicated than might be apparent to those not at the Capitol. Please keep up on Facebook, my website or via this newsletter, or attend a town hall if you want more information. I will always answer your questions directly and as completely as possible based on the information that is available to me.
Representative Lisa Cutter