Capitol Connection: February 6, 2014
LAST DAY for Pre-Registration Pricing! REALTOR® Day at the Capitol: Tuesday, February 17th
Today is the LAST DAY to register at the $55 rate. Tomorrow, registration costs increase to $65. We are selling out quickly, and will most likely not have any on-site registration, so please don’t delay! Don’t miss the 2015 REALTOR® Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 17 at the McNichols Civic Center Building and the State Capitol. This year, we have Special Guest Speaker U.S. Senator Cory Gardner delivering our Keynote Address at the luncheon. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about and discuss important policy issues affecting the real estate industry this upcoming year, as well as hear from the Governor and legislative leaders and network with your legislators. For more details, or to register today, please click here.
SB 107 Independent Contractors
Last week, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) discussed SB15-107, Classification of Independent Contractors by Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder). Pursuant to the “Colorado Employment Security Act”, service performed by an individual for another is deemed to be employment irrespective of whether the common-law relationship of master and servant exists, unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the division of labor in the department of labor and employment (division) that the individual is free from control and direction in the performance of the service. The bill removes the requirement that freedom from control and direction must be shown “to the satisfaction of the division”.
LPC decided to take a NEUTRAL position on the bill. We are aware that in other states, REALTOR® members are fighting at the Supreme Court levels to retain their status as independent contractors. We believe the removal of this ambiguous language will help clarify and solidify the definition of independent contractors.
SB 120 Electric Grid Modernization
LPC OPPOSES SB15-120, Electric Grid Modernization Plan, by Senator Jones (D-Louisville) and Representative Winter (R-Westminster). The bill requires all providers of retail electric service in Colorado, including municipal utilities and cooperative electric associations, to develop a grid modernization plan outlining how the provider, over a 10-year period, proposes to make measurable progress toward the following grid modernization objectives:
- Optimizing demand-side management;
- Optimizing supply-side management;
- Achieving advanced metering functionality within 5 years;
- Increasing electric grid reliability by improving integration capabilities for distributed resources; and
- Achieving advanced metering infrastructure functionality within 5 years.
This bill seems unnecessary and will cost rate-payers additional money for their electricity service. Currently, customers already pay for the reliability of the grid. In addition, research suggests that Smart Meters and Advanced meters do not change behavior enough to warrant their added expense. CAR and LPC oppose this bill because of the burdensome cost it could bring to consumers and therefore our clients.
SB 135 Urban Renewal
SB15-135, Public Bodies and Urban Renewal by Senator Martinez Humenik (R-Thornton) and Senator Jahn (Wheat Ridge), was discussed last week in LPC. This bill amends statutes governing the exercise of urban renewal authority by municipalities, modifying the composition of the urban renewal authority and specifying the manner in which certain excess funds are redistributed to other local taxing entities.
For all urban renewal authorities, the bill increases the maximum number of governing commissioners of an urban renewal authority from 11 to 13, and allows at least one member of the urban renewal authority to be appointed by the county commissioners of the county in which the urban renewal authority resides. The mayor of a city or town may appoint one additional commissioner to an urban renewal authority in any situation where the appointment of a representative by the board of county commissioners causes the urban renewal authority to have an even number of members. This provision applies whether the city or town designates its own governing body (i.e., city council or town board) as the commissioners or if the urban renewal authority is separately constituted. This provision does not apply to consolidated city and county governments in Denver and Broomfield.
For urban renewal areas created on or after January 1, 2016, the bill provides additional specificity regarding the redistribution of excess funds collected from tax increment financing (TIF) revenue. Under current law, when the purposes of an urban renewal area with TIF have been fulfilled, excess TIF revenue must be redirected to the local taxing entities responsible for the original tax levy. The bill specifies that any excess TIF revenue collected by the urban renewal authority and deposited into its special fund must be repaid to local taxing authorities pro rata.
The LPC voted to be NEUTRAL on this bill. This is a different iteration than last year’s URA bill that concentrates on providing better communications between cities and counties, and other taxing districts without mandating a specific revenue-splitting formula for each urban renewal project. CAR is remaining neutral right now so we can be actively involved in the bill and contest any proposed amendments that would reinsert this formula in this year’s bill.
Transit Alliance Spring 2015 Citizen’s Academy
The Transit Alliance is hosting their annual spring 2015 Citizen’s Academy from April 1, 2015-May 16, 2015. This is a great opportunity to discuss transportation, community development, and sustainability in Colorado. The class is limited, so please get your applications in to take part! More information, as well as the application, can be found here, and the deadline for applying is Friday, March 13th at 5PM.
Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to the New Legislators in the 70th General Assembly.
Susan Lontine, Democrat, represents House District 1. She, her husband, and their son live in Southwest Denver. She has formerly worked in advertising, and more recently, worked for both Representative Jeanne Labuda and Senator Irene Aguilar. She is a member of the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee as well as the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.
Paul Lundeen, Republican, comes from House District 19 and lives with his wife in Colorado Springs. He was the Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education, and has founded numerous small businesses. He serves on the Education Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
Patrick Neville, Republican, serves House District 45. He resides with his wife and two daughters in Castle Rock. Representative Neville is a Captain in the US Army and received the Bronze Star for his military efforts. He has been assigned to the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee as well as the Transportation and Energy Committee.
Kim Ransom, Republican, represents House District 44 and lives in Littleton. Representative Ransom served on the Douglas County Planning Commission from 1993-1998. She is a member of the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee and the Local Government Committee.
Kit Roupe, Republican, comes from House District 17 and lives with her family in Colorado Springs. She is a military veteran and has lived in Colorado Springs for 35 years. Her committee assignments include Business Affairs and Labor Committee and Finance Committee.