Capitol Connection – March 16, 2018
House Bill 18-1261: Colorado Arbitration Fairness Act & House Bill 18-1262: Arbitration Services Provider Transparency Act
HB18-1261, sponsored by Representative Weissman (D-Aurora), establishes ethical standards for arbitrators, including that an arbitrator must perform their responsibilities without bias. This bill also specifies that any party may challenge in court the neutrality of an arbitrator or an arbitration service provider, and it requires specific disclosures by arbitrators, and authorizes injunctive relief against an arbitrator who has potential partiality.
HB18-1262, sponsored by Representative Jackson (D-Aurora) and Representative Roberts (D-Steamboat Springs), amends the Uniform Arbitration Act to require arbitration service providers to collect, publish, and make specific information available on arbitrations performed in the previous 5 years.
The Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) opposes both HB18-1261 and HB18-1262. CAR is disappointed to see legislation that would put the widely supported bi-partisan reform of construction defects litigation of 2017 at risk by making arbitration more burdensome to an industry that needs specialized expertise for these types of construction related cases.
Additionally, CAR offers arbitration services for our REALTOR® members and this overly broad approach to bring transparency to alternative dispute resolution would prevent CAR from offering these services to the thousands of small businesses that comprise our membership. This legislation would increase the costs, extend length of time of our process, and burden the court system with new cases because CAR would not be able to continue offering these member benefits with these overly burdensome requirements.
Senate Bill 18-002: Financing Rural Broadband Deployment
SB18-002, sponsored by Senator Coram (R-Montrose), Senator Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), Speaker Duran (D-Denver), and Representative K. Becker (D-Boulder), is a bi-partisan bill that will expand the broadband network in rural areas to underserved citizens. This legislation changes a state telecom fee, the High Cost Support Mechanism, to reallocate funding to provide additional resources for broadband infrastructure. Broadband funding for rural areas of Colorado has been a continued topic of discussion at the State Legislature in recent years and many legislative observers are hopeful that this bill will be one of the bi-partisan compromises that hits the Governor’s desk this year because the legislation would provide the necessary funding to address this critical gap for our rural colleagues.
According to the Denver Post, “1 in 4 rural households still lack access to broadband internet, leaving wide swaths of Colorado unable to compete for residents and businesses.” SB18-002 was heard on second reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday. There were several amendments made on second reading that address the necessary quality and speed of the services provided, the reallocation of funds from the High Cost Support Mechanism, and the size of the broadband deployment board. The bill passed on third reading 50-10 today and will now go back to the Senate for review of the amendments made in the House.
CAR’s LPC supports this legislation and similar bills, such as HB18-1099, which requires the Broadband Deployment Board to consider new criteria related to speed and cost when telecommunication companies invoke a first right of refusal for a competitor’s broadband grant application. CAR is a statewide association and legislation that will provide access to internet broadband speeds allowing our rural members to operate their businesses is critically important. SB18-002 will allow rural members and businesses of our state the opportunity they deserve to share the same capacity for economic development, business recruitment, and job creation as the Front Range and urban areas.
CALLING ALL RPAC MAJOR INVESTORS! Enter to win a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card!
If you invest at least $300 or 30% of your 2018 Major Investment by April 13th with a pledge to complete your 2018 Major Investment by CAR’s Fall Forum, you will be entered to win a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card! The winner will be announced during RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Summit on April 25th! You do not have to be present to win. The Major Investor levels start at $1,000 a year! Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business!
Reminder: To be entered, you must invest at least $300 of your Major Investment by April 13th and pledge to complete your Major Investment before CAR’s Fall Forum. To make a one-time investment, click here! To set up a recurring payment plan, click here! Please share this drawing with any potential RPAC Major Investors! If you have already made your 2018 Major Investment, thank you! You are already entered in the drawing! Please contact Cameron (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Upcoming Events: NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings (May 14-19, 2018)
The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show. Registration is now open. Click here for more information.
This year, NAR has held the REALTOR® Legislative Meetings schedule from 2:00PM to 4:30PM on Wednesday, May 16th to allow time for Capitol Hill Visits. For Colorado, we have 9 Members of Congress visits to complete on Capitol Hill. While we will try to schedule as many meetings as possible during this NAR designated time frame, we will not be able to fit all of these meetings into this window. As we approach May, CAR Staff will be in contact with attendees regarding our hill visits meeting schedule for your constituent meetings with your Members of Congress.
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!
Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts
More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues! You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.