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 his …
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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 his first term in 2016.
Colorado Community Media did a brief Q&A with Smallwood ahead of the opening of the 2019 legislative session, which began Jan. 4.
What is the most important issue for the Legislature to tackle this session, and what needs to be done?
Voters made it clear in the last election that the state needs to be more accountable with the funds they already have, and that's why I believe it's important that we continue our investments in our roads and schools without raising taxes. We must work hard to protect Senate Bill 1, a bipartisan bill that will provide billions of much-needed funding to our roads. It passed 35-0 last session. In addition, Gov. Hickenlooper asked for $70 million in additional education funding and we gave him $150 million. I expect that trend to continue.
Tell us about two pieces of legislation that you plan to sponsor.
Two pieces of legislation that I plan to be actively involved with in 2019 focus on children and health care. I plan to continue the work on expanding the “Safe Haven for Newborns” law, which allows a parent to safely hand over an unharmed infant, up to 72 hours old. Based on incidents in Colorado and Douglas County just this past year. It is obvious to me that we can do much more to protect these most vulnerable among us. Secondly, I will continue to work on laws that make health care and health insurance as affordable, transparent and accessible as possible.
What must be accomplished for this session to be deemed a success?
Unlike the past two years, where we worked in a split statehouse and a significant number of the bills were bipartisan, bicameral collaborations, this year the House, the Senate and the governor's office are controlled by the Democratic Party. I believe that a successful session still requires both parties to work together on ideas. Countless pieces of legislation were improved upon before final passage during the past two years because all sides had to come together. Hopefully, the lessons of the prior session carry into 2019 and 2020.
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