Weekly Policy Update: State Bills Advance to Create More Small Business Support Programs
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 05/21/2021
Two state bills advanced this week that would create new programs to support Colorado small businesses. These proposals are part of a larger $800 million state stimulus package that targets aide to certain business sectors.
- House Bill 1288 creates the Colorado Startup Loan Program, with a $30 million fund to help businesses launch, restart or restructure themselves after financial difficulties. Under the bill, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) would work with nonprofit lenders and community development financial institutions to administer the program.
- Senate Bill 241 would create and fund a small business accelerated growth program that offers business development support and consulting services to companies with 19 or fewer employees. $1.35 million from the Colorado Startup Loan Program created by HB21-1288 is reserved for businesses that participate and demonstrate success under the small business growth program.
CBSA will continue to keep our members updated as these bills move forward and as our state leaders evaluate ideas to support Colorado small businesses and accelerate our economic recovery.
Senate Bill 175 Passes House Health & Insurance Committee
Senate Bill 175, Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board, passed the House Health & Insurance Committee this week on a party line vote of 8-4. CBSA testified in opposition to the bill, sharing our strong concerns with the board’s power to set prices for medicines and stressing the impacts on patient access and our innovative life sciences ecosystem here in Colorado.
CBSA was not alone in our concerns. Physicians, hospitals, and pharmacists also testified in opposition to the bill, sharing very real objections about how state mandated payment limits would end up squeezing health care providers, forcing them to absorb a financial loss or discontinue certain treatments. Local chambers also weighed in with concerns about price setting in the private market and rare disease patients shared their fears that price controls could discourage the development of new, innovative therapies. Despite the compelling testimony in opposition to the bill, the sponsors were unwilling to consider any amendments and the bill moved forward.
While we are disappointed that SB 175 advanced in its current form, CBSA appreciates the support and engagement of our ecosystem. Many members of our life sciences community have participated in legislator meetings, sent letters, and even testified in previous committees. CBSA will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the bill and show all the unintended consequences for the health care sector and the patients we serve.
Senate Bill 175 has not yet been scheduled for the next hearing in the House Appropriations Committee. It could be heard as soon as tomorrow, but more likely it will be heard next Tuesday or Friday.