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2017 CO General Assembly Kickoff

Cap_ConnectionsThe First Regular Session of the 71st General Assembly Kicks Off in 2017!

The first gavel of the first session of the 71st General Assembly came down on Wednesday, January 11th, ushering in twenty new legislators, with six legislators finding themselves in a new chamber and three legislators returning to the legislature with previous legislative experience.  The session, which will be a busy one for REALTOR® interests, got off to a quick start with 129 bills introduced on the first day.

Like last year, we again will see a split legislature, with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans controlling the Senate.  House Speaker Crisanta Duran, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, Senate President Kevin Grantham, and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzmán are charged with leading their respective caucuses. Duran is the first Latina House Speaker and she focused her address around inclusion and making government work for all Coloradans. Senate President Grantham focused his comments on relief from regulatory burdens, and transportation infrastructure funding. House Minority Leader Neville spoke about limiting government spending, prioritizing transportation funding, and preserving parental choice in education. Senate Minority Leader Guzman addressed all the progress we’ve made in the last six years in Colorado and reiterated her support for moving the Hospital Provider Fee into an Enterprise Fund. Both Speaker Duran and President Grantham mentioned the importance of passing construction litigation reform. Click on their names above to read the full text of their remarks.

The Legislative Policy Committee (LPC), this year chaired by Janene Johnson of the Grand County Board of REALTORS®, will convene Friday, January 20th to begin their work on your behalf.  The 2017 Policy Statements, approved by the Board of Directors, establish guidelines by which the LPC acts to support legislation which ensures economic vitality, provides jobs and housing opportunities, preserves the environment, protects property owners, and builds better communities.  LPC members actively participate in various subcommittees to review and recommend action on specific bills that fall within these guidelines.  There are 37 committed REALTOR® members on the LPC this year – representing local boards and associations across the state.  Both Commercial and Residential REALTORS® are represented.

Governor Hickenlooper Delivers State of the State Address

Once again, Governor Hickenlooper has kicked off the Legislative Session with a State of the State Address defining pertinent issues he believes should be addressed and goals he has for the upcoming 120-day session.

As he states in his address, “We need a comprehensive focus on infrastructure that supports not just transportation, but also broadband, education, healthcare, and our environment.” The Governor also addressed other key areas in his remarks including: technical training and skills certificate pathways to jobs that do not require four-year degrees; expanding economic opportunity in rural areas and small communities; the clean energy economy; safety regulations for marijuana edibles, and continued regulatory focus on fixing loopholes in the marijuana home grow and caregiver laws that have fueled abuse on the black market; fighting for a healthcare replacement that does not alter Colorado’s progress and also continuing to move ahead with lowering the costs of health insurance and creating a statewide behavioral health plan. Finally, the Governor also addressed affordable housing stating, “Coloradans are being priced out of housing they can afford. We have a housing crisis, plain and simple. Many families are stuck or held down. Too much of their income goes to rent…and homeownership is too far out of reach. I’ve said it before: we need more affordable housing. Part of the answer is the construction defects legislation we almost passed last year and we WILL pass this year. There has to be a compromise that balances homeowner protections for faulty construction and still allows developers to build affordable housing throughout Colorado.”

For the full text of Governor Hickenlooper’s State of the State Address, click here.

Regulation of Home Inspectors

CAR-initiated Senate Bill 17-038, Concerning Regulation of Home Inspectors, by Senator Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) was introduced this week.  SB17-038 makes it unlawful for a person to act as a home inspector without first registering with the department of regulatory agencies.  This year’s bill would require a home inspector to pay a registration fee, show proof of possession of minimum liability insurance coverage and a surety bond, and submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. The registration program would sunset in 5 years.

CAR believes SB 17-038 is a consumer protection bill that standardizes some requirements for professionals wishing to undertake the important responsibility of home inspection without creating a burdensome barrier to entry for new businesses. For consumers, one of the biggest transactions they make during the course of their lifetime is the sale or purchase of a home. Home Inspectors have a tremendous amount of access to the most private aspect of a consumer’s living space—their home. Incidents of burglary, incorrect reporting, and even threats to personal safety are not what consumers should be worrying about as they participate in a real estate transaction. Home Inspectors are the only professional in the transaction not currently regulated, who can have a significant impact on the outcome of the real estate transaction.

Invest in RPAC  The Colorado goal is $600,000.

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected 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 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our 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 keynote speaker, Henry Sobanet, along with 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.

Transit Alliance Spring 2017 Citizen’s Academy

The Transit Alliance is hosting their annual spring 2017 Citizen’s Academy from April 5, 2017 – May 17, 2017.  This is a great opportunity to discuss transportation, community development, and sustainability in Colorado.  The class is limited, so please get your applications in soon.  More information and the application can be found here.  The deadline to apply is March 17, 2017.