A Bill Of Her Own

Deep into the session, Colorado’s newest representative distinguished herself by being the only lawmaker with no bill of her own.

In an interview in late March, Rep. Stella Garza Hicks, a Colorado Springs Republican who was chosen to replace former state Rep. Mark Cloer early in January, didn’t seem too anxious about not sponsoring any bills this year – and being listed as a co-sponsor on only one proposal.

But after a news story pointed that out, Garza Hicks became the sponsor of her own bill after all – and finished out the year with her name listed as a co-sponsor on nearly 150 more.Along with Sen. John Morse, Stella Hicks became the primary sponsor of House Bill 1365 (PDF). The bill, which was signed into law, allows members of the Colorado Consortium for Earth and Space Science Education to be eligible to receive retirement benefits under PERA. House Speaker Andrew Romanoff confirmed he allowed the bill to be introduced late.

Garza Hicks also became a key sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 32, to recognize the military personnel from Colorado who are serving in Iraq, and honoring those who have died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The primary senate sponsor of that nonbinding resolution was Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald.

Garza Hicks’ District 17 includes Fort Carson Army Base in southeast Colorado Springs, and is a largely working class area that is evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters.

A former legislative aide for Cloer, Garza Hicks was appointed to replace the three-term lawmaker, who unexpectedly stepped down in late December, citing an unspecified health issue involving his younger son.

This week, Garza Hicks could not be reached in her Denver office for comment; she does not have a Colorado Springs phone number listed. However, in March, she said she has many areas of interest – including criminal justice and the military – and was still considering what bills she would be sponsoring next year.

“I have many different options,” she said.

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at cdegette@coloradoconfidential.com

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