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HB 1136 Regulation of Continuing Professional Education

CAR sponsored HB14-1136, Concerning exempting a continuing professional education program that is approved by a state professional licensing board from regulation by the division of private occupational schools in the department of higher education, passed its first committee hearing this week, advancing from the House Committee on Education to the Committee of the Whole. CAR is running this piece of legislation due to a bill from last year that removed our exemption that enabled local boards and CAR to provide continuing education to non-members. This bill would restore our ability to provide continuing education to non-member licensees and other industry professionals.

HB 1198 Military and Family Professional Licensing

HB14-1198, Concerning the authority for active-duty military family members credentialed in another state to practice an occupation regulated by Colorado law, was postponed indefinitely in the House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs last week. CAR was in a NEUTRAL position, working to amend the bill to exempt the real estate industry from this reciprocity. Real estate licensees in other states do not have the same requirements as we do here in Colorado, including E&O insurance, background checks, and fingerprinting, among other consumer protections. We would also have issues with Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs) and Appraisers as well. If appraisers working from states not in “Good Standing” were granted reciprocity the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) could initiate non-recognition proceedings on all Colorado appraisers. Regarding MLOs, other states do not have the bonding and surety requirements that Colorado requires. Moreover, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) could come into the state to regulate MLOs.

While the bill was ultimately postponed indefinitely, CAR successfully worked with the bill sponsor to adopt an amendment that exempted the real estate profession from this reciprocity.

HB 1017 Expand Availability of Affordable Housing

CAR SUPPORTS bill HB14-1017, Concerning measures to expand the availability of affordable housing in the state, and, in connection therewith, making modification to statutory provisions establishing the housing investment trust fund, the housing development grant fund, and the low-income housing tax credit; and making an appropriation. HB14-1017, as amended by the House Local Government Committee, makes several changes to both the Home Investment Trust Fund and Housing Development Grant Fund under the Division of Housing (DOH).

For the trust fund, the bill:

removes the provisions that the fund be governed by federal regulations related to the home investment partnerships program under the Housing and Urban Development Code of Federal Regulation (CFR);
expands the eligible grantees from the fund by removing the restriction that loans be made to only local housing authorities, public nonprofit corporations, or private nonprofit corporations;
eliminates the requirement that loans from the fund be used for development or redevelopment incurred prior to the occupancy of low-or moderate income housing
allows for a continuous appropriation to the fund for DOH, of which no more than 3 percent can be used for costs in administering the fund; and
allows the DOH to charge a fee for loans made from the fund for administration costs.
For the grant fund:

allows the fund to receive moneys from federal grants, as well as gifts, grants, and donations from any other organization, entity, individual, either public or private. The fund may also receive any fees or interest generated from the fund;
allows the DOH to transfer 20 percent of the balance, as of July 1, to the newly named Housing Investment Trust Fund; and
allows no more than three percent of the moneys from the fund be used for administrative costs of the fund.
In addition, HB14-1017 restores an income tax credit to owners of qualified low-income housing developments. The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) would be authorized to issue the $20 million of income tax credits in 2015 and 2016. The total amount of income tax credits authorized by the bill is $40 million. Any portion of the credit that exceeds the tax due for the taxable year may be carried forward eleven years from when the allocation from CHFA was made. Any unused credit is not refundable.

CAR is supporting this legislation because it is important to make sure that there is adequate amount of affordable housing throughout the state. The fund was originally established with money from the National Mortgage Settlement to help increase rental housing affordability. This expands the scope of which the money can be used, including development or redevelopment of already occupied property.

CAR has always been an advocate of affordable housing and understands there is a need for more affordable product in Colorado. We have always sought targeted and reasonable policy solutions that help foster affordable housing, while ensuring that proposals will not unfairly burden developers, property owners, buyers and seller. HB-1017 offers a solution that meets these criteria.

NAR Supports Mortgage Debt Cancellation Tax Relief

Update on the current status of the mortgage debt cancellation tax relief provision that expired at the end of 2013. As soon as the last one-year extension was passed on New Years’ Day 2013, NAR began working on another extension of this critical tax provision. With NAR’s encouragement, champions of this provision introduced bi-partisan bills in both the House and Senate (H.R. 2994/S. 1187), to extend the provision for one or two years. To view the hurdles we are facing with enacting this legislation, click here. Also, view NAR President Steve Brown discussing why NAR supports extending the mortgage debt cancellation relief here.

Register Now for REALTOR® Party Convention

NAR’s Midyear Meetings have been renamed the “REALTOR® Party Convention and Trade Expo”. Registration—which is free for members—is now open for the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo May 12-17, 2014, in Washington, D.C. For registration or more details, click here.

Download the REALTOR® Action Center Mobile App

The REALTOR® Action Center mobile app is now available for download for the iPhone and DROID. Simply search for NAR Action Center in your respective app markets. This app is designed to help members Vote, Act and Invest on the go. It will help you increase your state and local Federal Call for Action participation rates, allow members a quick and efficient way to invest in RPAC, and provide you a way to track your REALTOR® Party activities and so much more.