Colorado Association of REALTORS | Capitol Connection – March 13, 2020
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Capitol Connection – March 13, 2020

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Mar 16 2020

Capitol Connection – March 13, 2020

Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTOR® Associations

In response to concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and confirmed cases now appearing in Colorado, CAR is actively implementing additional health and safety measures for its officers, directors, members, and staff as we continue to monitor the situation closely.

The CDC reports that most people in the United States do not have an immediate risk of exposure to the virus. However, the situation is rapidly evolving, and the CDC will update its risk assessment as needed. Visit the CDC’s website for latest updates.

For additional guidance, please refer members to NAR’s “Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS®“, dated March 4, 2020, for additional information on how REALTORS® can decrease their risk in their daily business.

We know how stressful these situations can be and we encourage you to stay informed and use your best judgment when interacting with other people and whether or not you choose to travel to public venues for your personal or work needs. Many organizations including CAR are implementing remote meeting policies. The situation is rapidly changing, and CAR is focused policies and procedures to keep CAR leadership, our members, and staff informed and safe to avoid business disruption in the event the situation worsens.

Find more information on CAR’s website.

Government Affairs Update

SB20-096: Remote Notaries Protect Privacy (LPC Position: Support)
Sen. Rodriguez (D-Denver), Sen. Holbert (R-Parker), Rep. Duran (D-Wheat Ridge), and Rep. Carver (R-Colorado Springs)

Summary: SB-096 authorizes notaries public to perform a notarial act through use of audio-visual communication, such as FaceTime or Skype, under rules that will be adopted by the Secretary of State. Existing law requires an individual to appear in-person in order to get a document notarized.

Status: CAR has worked on remote notarization and data privacy legislation with industry partners over multiple legislative sessions. CAR’s LPC supports the use of advancing audio-visual technology in the remote notary process while protecting consumer data in a meaningful way. CAR worked to incorporate amendments in the 2020 proposal that would prohibit the use or sale of personal information with bankers, land title, mortgage lenders, the bar association, and other stakeholders. And we are excited to announce that it passed out of the Senate unanimously last week.

SB20-093: Consumer and Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness (LPC Position: Oppose)
Sen. Foote (D-Lafayette), Sen. Fenberg (D-Boulder), Rep. Jackson (D-Aurora), and Rep. Weissman (D-Aurora)

Summary: SB-093 creates the Consumer and Employee Arbitration Fairness Act which would establish ethical standards for arbitrators, disclosure and protection of information, and clarify when damages can be awarded.

Status: As a member of CAR, you have access to arbitration services. This bill, as originally drafted, would have hindered CAR’s ability to offer this service; accordingly, CAR amended the bill to exempt 501(c)(6) organizations. CAR also worked in collaboration with the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance to significantly amend the bill so that the legislation does not harm the construction litigation reform we worked hard to pass in 2017 by ensuring that real estate was excluded from the requirements. The bill passed the Senate, but more significant amendments are expected to be raised in the House to protect the viability of arbitration as an alternative vehicle to a lengthy court process.

SB20-135: Conservation Easement Working Group Proposals (LPC Position: Amend)
Sen. Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), Sen. Donovan (D-Vail), Rep. Roberts (D-Avon), and Rep. Wilson (R-Salida)

Summary: Over the interim, a working group convened to develop proposals to address concerns affecting the creation, valuation, tax treatment, and oversight of the state’s conservation easements as directed by the 2019 legislation, HB-1264 that CAR supported.As a result of the group’s discussions,SB-135 proposes to change the Conservation Easement Tax Credit Program to increase the value of future conservation easement tax credits, refund disallowed credits from tax years 2000 through 2013, and create a process for abandoned easements.

Status: CAR’s LPC believes this legislation is positive step toward protecting Colorado taxpayers and property owners’ rights while preserving the state’s open spaces and natural resources. SB-135 would allow a property owner to claim compensation of the tax credit as whole for the donation of their land, whereas, current law allows up to 75% of the first $100,000 of the property value, and 50% for any amount over $100,000.

Colorado General Assembly Temporary Pause Related to Coronavirus

Leaders of the General Assembly released a potential plan that will request guidance from the Colorado Supreme Court on constitutional questions around a temporary pause for the Legislative session to wait out the worst of the outbreak in the name of protecting the health and safety of state employees, the public, and elected officials. Part of this plan could involve some legislative work over the weekend and a timeline to approve mission critical bills such as the state budget, the school finance act, rules for state agencies, and sunset bills that reauthorize occupational licensing. Further details about the temporary adjournment and any potential reconvening will be ironed out over the course of the next several days.

Home Inspector Licensing Update

Home inspector licensing remains a critically important issue for CAR, and this past fall we were dismayed to find that the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) Sunrise review process in October recommended that the Legislature not pursue licensing or regulation of Home Inspectors. Unfortunately, that means that no legislation will be brought forward in 2020. However, CAR will continue to look at future opportunities to provide better consumer protection around this profession as we think consumer safety is very important in the real estate transaction.

RPAC is the Foundation of Our Advocacy Efforts at the Capitol

We are halfway through a busy legislative session advocating for homeownership, private property rights, and REALTOR® Party interests. While the legislature may be taking a step to temporary postpone their work due to safety precautions around the coronavirus in the coming days, your support in RPAC has ensured that the REALTOR® Voice is heard on important public policy issues affecting our industry now and in the future when we reconvene. Supporting RPAC is the best way to protect our industry’s future and we thank you for your previous investments.

Have you seen the latest RPAC Minute?

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

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