Business, healthcare issues in legislative spotlight

Column by Jim Smallwood

Every week here at the Capitol, we must maneuver through a slew of new legislation. Many of these bills are being peddled as benign, but in reality, they would work to reverse certain positive trends we've accomplished since the beginning of the term.

Like I've said before, the best thing the government can do for the economy is get out of the way.

It is vital that legislators perform due diligence before casting a vote on any new legislation. Our government is designed to emphasize the people's voice and diminish the federal voice - so even a single vote has weight and should be carefully placed.

As some of you may know, I was recently appointed to the Health Equity Commission and Child Fatality Review Team, so that I might help ensure the integrity and quality of state services. Those appointments are important, and I have been attentively sharing my time between the Capitol and individual constituent needs.

One particular concern of mine, as it directly affects our constituents' livelihoods and abilities to thrive, has been the availability and effectiveness of Colorado healthcare. As your state senator for District 4 (Castle Rock, Parker, Castle Pines, Larkspur, Franktown), I am leading the movement to repeal the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. I am sponsoring Senate Bill 17-003 "Repeal of Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act" with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who resides in Castle Rock.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it likely will pass and then be sent to the Senate floor for second and third readings where it is likely to pass as well. After that, it will end up in the House. Other states including Nevada and Kentucky have had lots of success with similar legislative changes, and I am looking forward to the chance to give Coloradans a break and make those same positive changes here.

I am also the Senate sponsor for HB17-1052. This bill charges the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Child Welfare Allocations Committee to develop more flexible formulas that directly affect the population of children in need of child welfare services. It is important to have those closest to the issue be most involved to allocating resources.

Additionally, I have been busy supporting SB17-001, an opportunity for both parties to invest in the success of small businesses. I am thrilled that it has passed the Senate, and is currently in the House. Tim Neville and Patrick Neville sponsored this bill because, as legislators, we see that there is too much red tape limiting small businesses from growing and creating more jobs. We want to hack away at some of the legal brush so that Colorado businesses can thrive and hire more employees.

Small businesses are the heart of the Colorado economy, and it's time that our legislature is supportive rather than an obstacle.

Over the past month, I have been meeting with constituents and listening to their concerns offering solutions and directing them to the proper department that can help.

Most recently, I met with the fourth-grade class from Soaring Hawk Elementary, Castle Rock. I had the chance to discuss civic service, answer their questions, and take selfies.

If you would like to raise a concern, ask a question, or provide input, please do not hesitate to reach out to me anytime at 303-866-4869 or by email:

Parker resident Jim Smallwood is the Republican state senator for District 4, which includes much of Douglas County.