Q&A with state Sen. Jim Smallwood

'Slow down and listen to the citizens of Colorado,' Parker resident says

Nick Puckett

Jim Smallwood, R-Parker, serves state Senate District 4, which in addition to Parker, includes Castle Rock, Castle Pines and Larkspur. The business owner/ insurance consultant was elected to the office in 2016.

Colorado Community Media recently did a brief Q&A with Smallwood for an update on the 2019 legislative session, which ends in May.

Has the legislative session so far met, exceeded or failed to meet your expectations?

Unfortunately, this session has failed to meet the expectations I set earlier this year, and I fear that has been the case for many Coloradans at home. We've seen enormous pieces of contentious legislation racing through the Capitol without proper stakeholder process and then rushed through committee hearings without consideration for the devastating impacts they could have to our constituent's livelihoods.

With Democrat majorities in the House, Senate and with control of the governor's office, I feel that we've seen a turn toward a top-down approach of governance, where politicians feel that their intellect and perspective surpass those who have sent us here. I strongly object and hope to see a course correction sooner rather than later.

Tell us about some of the bills you have sponsored so far this session.

One of the bills I am most proud of, Senate Bill 25, will ensure that Colorado's Safe Haven for Newborns law is taught in schools. If you're not familiar, the Safe Haven law allows a child to be given up within 72 hours of birth at any fire station, hospital, or freestanding emergency room. It passed both the Senate and the House unanimously, with 96 out of 100 legislators in both parties and both houses co-sponsoring it. It was signed by Gov. Polis and will go far in saving the lives of many more newborn babies.

Another piece of legislation I sponsored, Senate Bill 41, is a simple bill that allows for a short grace period for businesses to notify their group health insurance carrier that an employee has left without notice. This would permit the employer to receive a credit on their bill if they were already charged a premium for that former employee. It passed both the Senate and the House unanimously and is now heading to the governor.

What is the most important thing the Legislature can do between now and the session's end?

Without a doubt, the most important thing the Legislature can do is slow down and listen to the citizens of Colorado. We've seen rallies with thousands of Colorado's oil and gas workers, we've heard from businesses who are worried about the future of our economic environment, and we've received thousands of emails from constituents who are worried that their rights are being put in jeopardy. Sadly, the majority doesn't seem to have paid them much attention.

If they open their ears, and not their mouths, perhaps they'll see that a different perspective exists outside of Denver and Boulder.