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Capitol Connection

03-30-2015

Mid-Session Update

With a little over a month left in the legislative session this year, we want to take some time to update you on the progress of the bills we have been monitoring. The Legislative Policy Committee has reviewed 57 bills and has taken a position on 25 of them. We are in SUPPORT on 15, NEUTRAL on 5, and OPPOSED on 5. With the Long Bill being introduced and taken up next week in the Senate, many of our bills with fiscal notes have been placed on hold until this process has completed. The legislators will have a specified amount of funds to spend on new programs. After the Long Bill makes its way through the process, they will have a better idea of how much that is and where their priorities should lie.

We are pleased to report that House Bill 1038, House Bill 1222, Senate Bill 79, and Senate Bill 183, all LPC OPPOSED bills, have been postponed indefinitely. House Bill 1063, Senate Bill 22, and Senate Bill 141, all SUPPORTED by LPC, are waiting for a hearing in their respective Appropriations Committees. CAR sponsored House Bill 1260 is scheduled for its first hearing in the House Finance Committee Thursday, April 2nd. Senate Bill 177, Construction Defects Reform, should be heard on the Senate floor after the Long bill is heard.

Keep current with the bills we are monitoring through the process by viewing the Capitol Connection weekly.

Flood insurance Increases an Average of 10% on April 1

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has released the 2015 rate changes which take effect on April 1. On average overall, rates are rising 10%. This is consistent with the 5-10% increases prior to the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act. There is also a new surcharge to pay for recent NFIP legislative reforms.

Last year, Biggert-Waters was amended for about 20% of policy holders who bought an older property (including second homes) and jumped from a subsidized rate to full cost for flood insurance overnight. The amendments resolve the implementation problems by resetting the rates to pre-Biggert-Waters levels and capping them at 18-25% per year in the future.

Please consult an insurance agent for specific properties.

2015 National Flood Insurance Rate Changes

Mortgage Choice Act

Today, the House Financial Services Committee passed H.R. 685, “The Mortgage Choice Act” with bipartisan support after an intense effort by NAR and coalition partners. The Committee vote was 43-12. The legislation to reduce discrimination against affiliate lenders in the calculation of fees and points under various mortgage rules is sponsored by Representatives Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Ed Royce (R-CA), David Scott (D-GA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Mike Doyle (D-PA), David Joyce (R-OH), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Stephen Fincher (R-TN). The bill is now ready for consideration by the full House of Representatives. Companion legislation is being worked on in the Senate by Senator Toomey (R-PA). You can find a copy of our letter to the committee here:

http://www.ksefocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/2/2249.pdf

FAA Expands UAV Waiver Provision (Drones!)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has updated its waiver policy for commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations. Commercial UAS flight is prohibited in the US without a waiver from the FAA. The new policy, announced March 24, allows operators with waivers to automatically receive a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for flights at or below 200 feet of altitude. Operators must comply with existing FAA requirements for UAS use, but this updated policy eliminates the need for operators to apply for a COA for each block of airspace they wish to use. The policy will apply to the current class of waiver-holders and to all successful petitioners between now and the time the rules for commercial UAS use are finalized. It is expected that this new policy will open up new areas of airspace to operators and their businesses.

Given the current FAA prohibition, the National Association of REALTORS® recommends that its members not use this technology for any purpose related to selling property.

For more information please visit www.realtors.org/drones or www.faa.gov

NAR REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo REGISTRATION OPEN

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo is taking place May 11-16, 2015 in Washington, D.C. We will be scheduling meetings with the Colorado delegation, and you don't want to miss out! Register here today.

Racing with RPAC event at Spring Meetings

Racing with RPAC will take place April 21, 2015 6PM – 8PM. This fundraising event, hosted by CYPN, will be held at Johnny Martin’s Car Central in Colorado Springs and is open to all members. $50 RPAC investment required for entry and includes 1 drink ticket, appetizers, and games. Additional racing simulation games will be available for an additional RPAC investment. For more information or to register, please click here.

Stand Up 4 Transportation

Thanks to the efforts of APTA (American Public Transportation Association) and their amazing Chairman Phil Washington, cities across the nation are asking for the U.S. Congress to pass a long-term transportation-spending bill to keep transportation moving! Join Transit Alliance, RTD and others to demonstrate how Denver supports transit, transportation and infrastructure investment!!! On April 9th at 10AM, Transit Alliance will be having a Unity Parade beginning at the Market Street Plaza, followed by a Rally at Union Station.