Capitol Connection – January 2018
The Second Regular Session of the 71st General Assembly Kicks Off in 2018!
The first gavel of the second session of the 71st General Assembly came down on Wednesday, January 10th. The session is already off to a quick start with 179 bills introduced in the first week. We expect this to be a busy year for property rights and housing interests at the Capitol.
We have a split legislature again this year in Colorado, with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans controlling the Senate. The leadership from last year remains the same: House Speaker Crisanta Duran, Senate President Kevin Grantham, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzmán and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville are charged with leading their respective caucuses. Crisanta Duran, the first Latina Speaker of the House, challenged her fellow legislators to address the issue of sexual harassment head and repeated her call for Legislators to focus on inclusion and making government work for all Coloradans. Senate President Grantham focused his comments on bi-partisanship needed to fund transportation needs, create access for rural broadband and create a diverse energy portfolio for the state of Colorado. House Minority Leader Neville addressed the increasing cost of living in Colorado, the importance of making Colorado affordable and enjoyable again by prioritizing funding for cleaner, safer roads and bridges, and lowering the regulatory barriers that businesses, especially new businesses, encounter. Senate Minority Leader Guzman also addressed the need for bipartisanship, and focused on the lack of education funding and the need to make “healthcare available for all.” Click on their names above to read the full text of their remarks.
CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee (LPC), chaired by Sean Dougherty of the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS®, met today to begin their work on your behalf. The 2018 Policy Statements approved by CAR’s Board of Directors, direct the LPC as they work to support public policy that ensures economic vitality, provides jobs and housing opportunities, preserves the environment, protects real property owners, and builds better communities. This year, 41 committed REALTOR® members are volunteering their time on the LPC; representing local associations all across the state.
Governor Hickenlooper Delivers State of the State Address
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper kicked off the 2018 legislative session with his annual State of the State address outlining his goals for the 120-day legislative session. Hickenlooper is term-limited this year, consequently his last address to the general assembly also focused on his legacy of accomplishments as well as a charge that at least 364 days left in the administration is an eternity for finding compromise on some of the state’s most perplexing problems. Several of these key issues include: finding a solution to the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association’s (PERA) unfunded liability, safely capping orphan oil and gas wells, working to slow the opioid epidemic, and finding a way to fund rural broadband. Additionally, the Governor threw his support behind the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) stating; “While many conversations around affordable housing are confined to the Front Range, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority has supported housing projects all across Colorado. They’ve invested over thirteen billion dollars across the state. We should increase our affordable housing tax credits by fifty percent – these are matching funds that work only with local investment.”
Hickenlooper ended his remarks with his characteristic “Giddy-up” for the last time. For the full text of Governor Hickenlooper’s State of the State Address, click here.
Senate Bill 18-007: Affordable Housing Tax Credit
CAR LPC voted to support SB18-007, sponsored by Senators Tate (R-Centennial) and Guzman (D-Denver) and Representatives Duran (D-Denver) and J. Becker (R-Fort Morgan). The bill is scheduled to be heard on January 23rd in the Senate Finance Committee. The bill renames the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to the Colorado Affordable Housing Tax Credit and extends the program through 2024, which was originally set to expire in 2019.
As affordable housing advocates, CAR has historically supported LIHTC. Since 2015, this program has supported the development of over 4,000 affordable rental housing units and generated over $463 million in private sector equity to support Colorado’s affordable housing needs.
Senate Bill 18-015: Protecting Homeowners and Deployed Military
SB18-015, sponsored by Senators Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representatives D. Williams (R-Colorado Springs) and Liston (R-Colorado Springs) is scheduled to be heard on January 22nd in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Today, the LPC voted to support this legislation. This bill allows a peace officer to remove an unauthorized person (trespasser) from a residential property within 24 hours based on an affidavit from the true property owner. The rightful property owner is subject to the penalty of perjury if the information they report is inaccurate.
The unauthorized occupation of property poses a real menace to real estate when an unauthorized occupant moves into a vacant apartment or house without the consent of the true owner. Frequently houses targeted by unauthorized occupants are foreclosures or properties under-going renovations, but they can also be homes offered for sale by owners. In some egregious cases, families have returned home from a vacation to find unauthorized occupants living in their homes. The result is that under existing laws, true property owners must spend time and money to go through eviction proceedings to remove these trespassers from their properties. SB18-007 creates an alternative process to remove the unauthorized occupant.
Senate Bill 18-006: Recording Fee to Fund Attainable Housing
SB18-006, sponsored by Senator Zenzinger (D-Arvada) and Representative Winter (D-Westminster) was introduced on January 10th and is scheduled to be heard on January 31st in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. The bill gives county clerks a voluntary option to collect document filing fees to fund attainable housing. Today, the LPC took an oppose position on this legislation.
Although the Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) understands the need for affordable housing in Colorado, the idea of making housing more expensive to make it more affordable is not the right public policy solution. CAR is an affordable housing advocate. We have supported a host of legislative initiatives designed to create more affordable housing options such as the creation of the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and legislation that allocated some of the state’s unclaimed property trust fund to support programs that provide rental assistance and promote construction and rehabilitation of rental housing for low-income households. In 2016, CAR helped pass legislation to create First Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts to help Coloradans save for the purchase of their first home.
Invest in RPAC
The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®. Our goal is to elect pro-REALTOR® candidates at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2018 is to raise $630,000 to continue to support Colorado’s REALTOR® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!
REALTOR® Day at the Capitol: February 8th
Don’t miss your chance to see our state legislature in action! REALTOR® Day at the Capitol is February 8th. Hear from Governor Hickenlooper and key leaders in the House and Senate. Click here to learn more and register!
Colorado Project Wildfire
Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives. Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities. To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.