The 2017 session of the Colorado General Assembly has come to an end. It has truly been an honor to represent you and thank you for all of your support. I have tried my best to vote for what is right …
The 2017 session of the Colorado General Assembly has come to an end. It has truly been an honor to represent you and thank you for all of your support. I have tried my best to vote for what is right for our district and not waste our taxpayer dollars.
From our efforts to improve healthcare in Colorado, to our attempts to increase construction of townhomes and condominiums in Douglas County, and trying to properly fund the improvements of our roads and bridges, much of this session was quite contentious.
The Construction Litigation Bill, House Bill 1279, has been signed into law by the governor, and makes it more difficult for condo boards and associations to sue construction professionals. Hopefully, this new law will help increase for-sale, multi-unit housing starts.
The Transportation Bill, HB 1242, which included a $3.5 billion sales tax increase, was postponed indefinitely in the Senate Finance Committee on April 25. As an alternative to increasing our sales tax, I instead supported Senate Bill 303, which required 10 percent of the net revenue generated by existing sales tax for funding the state highway system. This bill was also lost in the Senate.
Aside from these high-profile bills, I was proud to be the prime sponsor on some 15 bills that ended up on the governor's desk. Here are a few highlights:
"Pharmacy Technician Supervision Ratio," SB 268, will increase the number of pharmacist technicians a pharmacist is allowed to supervise from three to six. This should free up time for pharmacists to spend interacting directly with patients, and it opens the door for Colorado to become a growing job market for pharmacy technicians. Hopefully, this helps boost training for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
"Voluntary Firefighter Cancer Benefits Program," SB 214, will allow an employer to voluntarily participate in a voluntary firefighter cancer benefit program. Our firefighters routinely risk their lives for us, and the long-term impacts on their health can be horribly detrimental. With this legislation, we hope to make it easier for firefighters to receive affordable and appropriate healthcare benefits.
"Adoptee Present In-state Exception," HB 1304, changes the current law from requiring the child to be present in the state at the time of the adoption filing to allowing the child to not be present in the state if the child has been under the jurisdiction of a court in Colorado for at least six months. This bill makes it significantly easier for children to finalize their adoptions in Colorado.
"Insurance Fraud," HB 1048, extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting insurance fraud so that it begins when the crime is discovered, not committed, giving victims adequate time to take action.
"Child Welfare Allocation Formula Factors," HB 1052, 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. Basically, this bill allows counties, instead of the state, to decide what is the best formula to use to make sure welfare dollars are going to the people who need it.
The legislative session ended on May 10, but I will continue to serve our district in every way I can. I will be serving on the Legislative Audit Committee, the Colorado Channel Authority Board and the Child Fatality Review Team throughout the year. As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website, jimsmallwoodforcolorado.com.
Parker resident Jim Smallwood is a Republican state senator from District 4, which includes Parker, Castle Rock, Franktown, Sedalia, Castle Pines and much of Douglas County.