In early March I hosted a Town Hall meeting on small business development. The City of Denver and State of Colorado offer a variety of programs including loans, training and consulting that support the growth and development of small business.

Our speakers from state government were Cris White, Executive Director and CEO of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, and Kelly Manning, State Director of the Small Business Development Center Network. Mr. White described the Colorado Credit Reserve Program that uses small amounts of pubic funding to encourage private banks to lend to small businesses in the early stages of development. Mrs. Manning told us about the statewide network of SBDC centers that offer training and free counseling services to small business owners in marketing, research, financing and business planning.

Sean Avery, a loan office at the Small Business Finance Corporation described how his non-profit corporation offers growing small businesses long-term, fixed-rate financing for capital assets like land, buildings and equipment. The SBFC partners with the US Small Business Administration and private lenders to package access to capital that is affordable to small businesses.

Finally, Lynn Sargent explained how the city of Denver supports small businesses through the Denver Office of Economic Development. The OED offers a wide variety of services, and is available to consulting on many aspects of small business

Please consult the above website links for more information on each of these great resources for small businesses.

Bill Status

We are now more than half way through the legislative session. My bills have all had very long and different paths through the legislative process. To read up on my bills, click here

 

Small Business Development in Colorado
I enjoyed visiting with those of you who braved the weather to join us at our
House District 8 Small Business Town Hall at East High School. For those in the community that attended we hope we were able to connect you with useful, real-world resources for starting, financing or managing your small business. For those who were unable to attend but who are interested in learning more about small business opportunities please contact our speakers listed below or visit http://www.advancecolorado.org, where you can find information on programs and initiatives, including a list of local Small Business Development Centers.

Ms. Lynn Sargent
Denver Office of Economic Development
Business Assistance Center
201 W. Colfax Ave.
1st Floor Atrium
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 342-5580
lynn.sargent@denvergov.org 

Ms. Alice Kotrlik
Business Finance
Colorado Department of Economic
Development and International Trade
1625 Broadway, Suite 2700
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 892-3840
alice.kotrlik@state.co.us

Mr. Sean Avery
Small Business Finance Corp
SBA Certified Development Company
1175 Osage Street
Denver, CO, 80204
(303) 893-8989
sean@cedco.org

My Bills

I also want to update you on some of my legislative efforts thus far in the General Assembly. It’s been an exciting three weeks, with the inauguration of the governor, the swearing in ceremony of the legislators, and the State of the State and State of the Judiciary speeches. We have now settled into the consideration of bills and the business of the General Assembly.

I introduced a bill to outlaw “steer tailing” and “horse tripping “ which are unsanctioned rodeo events not allowed by rodeos performed under the auspices of professional rodeos such as the National Western. “Steer tailing” involves getting a steer to run and, while chasing it on a horse, grabbing its tail and trying to flip it over. Needless to say, this results in many injuries including broken bones and skin coming off of the tail (maybe even the tail itself). The sheriff in Jefferson County found 11 injured animals after an event this summer in the fairgrounds. “Horse tailing” involves getting a horse to run as fast as possible and trying to rope its legs. Again, this results in the horse falling and often causes injuries.

The bill was defeated in the Agriculture Committee. Some members of the committee thought the current law was strong enough despite testimony to the contrary by the Jefferson County sheriff. Others feared any inroads on the way they handle livestock even though the bill was directed only at these two specific sporting events, not livestock handling.

Here is a link to the Denver Post story about the bill:
http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_17188054

 

I have a bill going to committee this week which will streamline the adminstrative process for investigating campaign finance. The bill addresses the problems that were caused last summer by Doug Bruce when the parties in an administrative proceeding were attempting to take his deposition and learn who was financing the campaigns involving amendments 60 and 61 and proposition 101. That bill will be heard in committee on Wednesday.

The following Wednesday will be a committee hearing on my bill to close a loophole in the background checks of child care workers. Here is a link to the Channel 4 story about this bill:
http://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/01/26/bill-would-require-fbi-background-checks-on-child-care-providers/

 

Another bill I am working on will require health insurance companies to offer “child only “policies if they are in the individual health insurance business in Colorado. Several of the companies pulled out of this market last summer and this bill will require them to provide these policies in the individual market. I am pleased that we have the backing of the insurance industry so this bill should make it through the process. Here is a link to an article
about this bill:
http://www.healthpolicysolutions.org/2011/01/26/new-law-would-require-child-only-health-plans/

I am working on two bills involving higher education: one to provide funding to reward a student and the school when he/she completes a degree and the other to set up an interim committee to examine the funding issues and completion of degree issues and to implement the recommendations of the Higher Education Strategy Planning committee.

Military Day

Once a year, we celebrate Military and Veterans Appreciation Day at the legislature, and it’s always very moving to hear stories of the courage, heroism, and valor of our Colorado service members. On Monday, we honored the service of fallen soldiers, past and present members of the military, and the U.S.S. Pueblo. During the ceremony, the name of each Colorado service member who gave his or her life to protect our freedom was read aloud and placed in the legislative record. To all those serving in the military, the mothers and fathers, wives and husbands sons and daughters, and other family members of service members, I thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Children’s Breakfasts

Colorado’s child poverty rate is growing faster than anywhere else in the country. Parents of nearly 60,000 kids in Colorado are struggling to keep food on the table.

Last week, the Joint Budget Committee deadlocked on a 3-3 party line vote regarding renewal of the Start Smart breakfast program, a $124,000 subsidy to help pay for breakfast for Colorado’s neediest schoolchildren.

Colorado House Democrats will continue to fight for Colorado children and Colorado families. That’s why my colleague, Representative Cherylin Peniston, is introducing a bill to ensure that the Start Smart school breakfast program is fully funded so that none of Colorado’s school children go hungry in class.

Calling All Artists

Unleash your creativity and win up to $3,500! Each year, the Colorado Waterfowl Stamp Program holds a contest for original waterfowl artwork to be depicted on the Colorado Waterfowl stamp. A stamp and a print of the stamp are created for sale to waterfowl and wetland enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and stamp and print collectors. Funding from the sale of the stamps and prints goes toward wetland projects that benefit ducks, geese, shorebirds, and other wetland-dependent wildlife species.

Cash prizes for first, second, and third place. Click here for more information and a contest application. http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/Waterfowl/WaterfowlStampProgram/

 

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need information or have suggestions.

Thanks for all your support and help.