Colorado Association of REALTORS | Capitol Connection – April 26, 2022
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Capitol Connection – April 26, 2022

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Apr 26 2022

Capitol Connection – April 26, 2022

Legislative Advocacy this Week at the State Capitol

Breaking news on HB-1287 Mobile Home Park Legislation (Rent Control)

Late last Friday evening, the state House, during their second reading on the House Floor, an amendment was added to the bill that removed rent control from the legislation. CAR, in earlier committee testimony submitted to the legislature, advocated removing this section. The amendment improves the legislation by removing the section of the bill that would have created bad public policy that benefits a few haves at the expense of the have-nots. Moreover, there are alternatives to protect tenants from losing affordable housing without resorting to rent control, especially in light of potential infrastructure improvements that property owners should make to upkeep quality housing products.

To be clear, this amendment came from the Bill Sponsors because of a potential threat of veto from the Governor’s office without removing the rent control section of the bill.

It’s likely not the last piece of legislation we will see related to mobile home parks, but it’s encouraging to see a problematic section of legislation removed from the bill.

Bill Updates

Take Action on Affordable Housing This Week – Energy Building Codes Legislation

HB22-1362 Building Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Take Action 

HB22-1362, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by mandating statewide building codes for all types of construction. Although well-intentioned and certainly CAR supports an all of the above energy approach that will mitigate against climate change and hazards,  the reality is that this legislation, as drafted, will drive the cost of housing further out of reach because it mandates local communities to adopt energy codes that won’t be written until 2024.

The bill as drafted: 

  • Could drive housing affordability out of reach for many Coloradans

Coloradans need affordable housing now. In a recent study done by the Common Sense Institute, the average starter home costs have increased 83% since 2015. Home listings are already seeing record price highs across the state – if we increase regulations without incentives to make it work for consumers who have to pay for the differences, it could be  more difficult to build affordable homes without passing those costs onto consumers.

  • Create new red tape and regulations:

This bill requires a new state building code and gives authority to unelected bureaucrats to write a new code with strict emission mandates. Electrification is not always the answer for everyone. Some consumers want choices. According to reports, Colorado’s electrical grid is not ready yet for complete electrification. Until Colorado’s electrical grid becomes clean enough, large-scale building electrification would actually increase the state’s total emissions, according to a recent study

Colorado consumers alone can’t fix climate issues…we need an approach that allows for better consideration of affordable housing costs for existing and new home purchases that makes sense for the technological feasibility of the industry and gives consumers meaningful options to choose green energy capacity without sacrificing the dream of homeownership at a rate they can afford.

Contact Your Legislator TODAY if you want to Urge a NO Vote on HB22-1362, until we get a better solution that does not increase the cost of housing.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION NOW 

Visit Home | Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (housing4co.com) to learn more

In Case You Missed It

Update on Some Water Bills Considered by the Legislative Policy Committee This Year

House Bill 1092Loans From Irrigation Districts to Landowners: The bill allows irrigation districts to provide loans to private landowners for the purpose of improving irrigation water delivery and infrastructure on private property. Previously, a Board of Directors of an irrigation district had to propose loans at or above $500,000 at general and special elections. The bill changes the old process to allow the irrigation district to enter into contracts to make improvements to private water delivery systems, improve water delivery, drainage, and conservation with an ability for districts to assess individual tracts that are part of the loan project. CAR monitored the bill as an innovative way to support efficient water use projects. The bill was signed into law by Governor Polis on April 12th.

House Bill 1151Turf Replacement Program: The bill enables the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop a $4 million turf replacement program to incentivize replacement of nonessential turf on all property types with water-wise landscaping. The bill is intended to decrease water usage to help conserve and ensure that water is not used in areas that cannot recapture the water back into the system. Eligible applicants for matching funds include, but are not limited to, local governments and nonprofits that implement a similar program.  

Turf replacement can carry a higher upfront cost for residential homeowners but holds long-term savings due to drought-resistant plant species and a reduced need for irrigation. Local governments can also reduce the heavy water use in public spaces such as street median boarders. Voluntary programs that incentivize and support turf replacement can help property owners reduce their water usage while supporting people and businesses to convert to water-wise landscaping. The bill passed in the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee on February 28th and has been referred to Appropriations. 

House Bill 1316Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund Project: HB22-1316 appropriates $17.08 million in funds to the CWCB Fund for specific water projects. The bill also authorizes an amount slightly above $13 million for rehabilitation of the Town of Breckenridge’s Goose Pasture Tarn dam in the form of a loan. Twelve water-related projects are specified in the bill that continue feasibility studies, management, forecasting, modeling, meet state water plan goals, and reduce water usage with the ultimate objective of retiring irrigated land acreage to comply with the water interstate compact. 

Of biggest importance to CAR is the continued funding for mapping our flood zones with Lidar as NAR has advocated on the national level many times. CAR is monitoring the annual bill as it works its way through the legislation process to fund these critically important water projects for Colorado. The bill passed the House and is now introduced into the Senate for their consideration.

Senate Bill 28Groundwater Compact Compliance Fund: The bill creates a fund to ensure groundwater compact compliance and conservation. There is a subterranean hydrology that keeps both surface and groundwater sources flowing. The sustainability fund is administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and is designed to disburse funds to projects that are recommended by the Board of Directors from the Rio Grande Water Conservancy District or the Republican River Water Conservation District. The bill stipulates that recommendations must first be approved by the State Engineer before moving forward to the CWCB. Any unexpended funds return to the General Fund and the bill will automatically repeal once groundwater reduction requirements are met.

The bill passed the Senate unamended and is currently awaiting consideration by the Appropriations Committee in the House.

Senate Bill 114Fire Suppression Ponds Water Rights: The bill permits the Board of County Commissioners to submit applications to the State Engineer to designate ponds as fire-suppression ponds. Counties must work with Fire Protection Districts to identify ponds in areas of high wildfire risk and identify the necessary refilling mechanisms for the ponds. The bill establishes a notification process for the State Engineer and interested parties. A time period of 35 days is required to allow sufficient time for public comments.

Water issues remain at the forefront of Colorado’s concerns given the arid climate and losses created by wildfires. The Legislative Policy Committee continues to monitor the state’s upcoming proposals to address the risk posed by fire to life, habitat, and property. The bill passed the Senate after significant amendments alleviated the concerns of many legislators related to prior appropriation doctrine, and maintains respect for private property rights for pond abutting private property.  After a technical amendment in the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee, the bill is on it’s way to the Appropriations Committee.

RPAC Announcements

Why I Invest in RPAC

Thank you to so many of you who joined us last week at our Spring Summit meetings and came to the RPAC Reception!

If you are still looking to make your investment in RPAC this year that helps our advocacy efforts, 

Here are a few reasons why our members say they want to invest in RPAC:

1) The advocacy efforts helped real estate remain essential during the pandemic, which enabled Realtors to continue to be able to operate their small businesses.

2) I believe in affordable housing and finding ways to create new ways the state can help to invest in increasing the supply of affordable housing available for consumers, such as the 4 pieces of legislation CAR created and passed into law last year called the Century of Opportunity that:

a) creates requirements for financial literacy requirements in high school curriculum  (HB21-1200)

b) allow renters to build credit as they rent in the pilot credit building program with Colorado Finance Housing Authority (HB21-1134)

c) creates accountability and transparency in how we spend our housing dollars with an annual report of how these housing dollars get spent (HB21-1028)

d) creates a dynamic 3 tiers of grant funding to help local governments finance the costs of housing unit creation with focuses on regulatory reform, expedited approval processes and land use policy that reduces the costs of construction, and allows for innovative proposals from local governments (HB21-1271)

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