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Government Affairs Monthly Report

02-1-2020

Hayden Mayor to Run for Routt County Commission

Mayor Tim Redmond announced his campaign during a speech in front of the Hayden Town Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 29. He is vying for the District 2 seat, currently held by Commissioner Doug Monger.

Redmond described three main issues he plans to focus on in his campaign: mental health, water and — most importantly, in his view — economic diversification.

As to the first issue, Redmond described a recent conversation with his son Jack, a college student. His son asked if he knew the leading cause of death for Colorado teens, which is suicide.

In light of this, Redmond seeks to prioritize the expansion of mental health services in Routt County. Communities across the state have long suffered from a lack of such services. He aims to break down stigmas surrounding mental health issues, which he said can prevent people from seeking help.

Water issues also have been a statewide concern. As demands grow and scientists predict drought conditions to worsen, legal battles have ensued over water usage.

But the mayor’s highest priority, if elected as commissioner, would be easing the transition away from coal, something is becoming a harsh reality for many Routt County residents.

Redmond’s commissioner campaign announcement comes a month after Gov. Jared Polis appointed Redmond to the Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on energy policy.

Hayden School Board President Brian Hoza has been working with Redmond over the last month in an attempt to repurpose the soon-to-be-vacant high school as a community center. If successful, it would be the town’s first public space to offer a range of amenities, from a child care to a fitness space to an

State News – CAR Supports Bill to Require Public Entities to List Usable Real Estate Holdings

Identifying underutilized and publicly owned properties allow communities to make informed decisions about the use of land for the good of their citizens. CAR's LPC recognizes the cost of land can be the biggest obstacle to build affordable housing units. And knowledge is power. This legislation would allow organizations, housing authorities, and affordable housing advocates to know what land is available for use a greater good and at a lower cost. This bill continues the work of HB19-1319 by expanding the concept to more landowners.

Summary: HB-1138 requires state agencies and state institutions of higher education, as well as counties, municipalities, boards, and authorities to provide a list of their usable real property to the State Architect's Office. The "office" must maintain an accurate database and update the information within five business days after receipt of new information. The database must be free to access and easily accessible to all Coloradans.

State News - CAR Opposes SB 138 – Construction Litigation Bill that Expands Lawsuit Period

Summary: SB-138 would extend the number of years that construction litigation lawsuits could be filed from current law of 6 years to 10 years and alter the tolling process that determines the amount of time that a lawsuit can be extended. These provisions in the current statute were robustly negotiated during the multiple years of legislation that culminated in the broadly supported and hard-fought bipartisan construction litigation reform bill of 2017.

Rationale: The LPC is strongly opposed to legislation that would roll back the bipartisan construction litigation reforms of 2017 because it directly affects the availability of affordable housing for Coloradans. If we change the compromise legislation in this fashion it would likely increase volatility in the insurance market and alter the course of instilling the return of starter home products like condos and townhomes that many first-time buyers are so desperately looking for in this tight housing market.

When the costs of insurance go up because of uncertainty, it prevents investors and builders from being able to finance projects that are truly affordable. A healthy housing market has 24% of the market dedicated to condos. After the construction lawsuits that market dwindled to 2%. After the 2017 construction litigation reform legislation passed, we saw the condo market rise to 8% and now 12% in just 3 years so we know that he compromise legislation is having a positive effect on the housing market and it would be devastating to see our policymakers reverse that trend with SB-138.

National News - NAR Supports the Comprehensive Credit Act

NAR sent a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) supporting her bill, H.R. 3621, the "Comprehensive Credit Act."

The letter expresses NAR's support for H.R. 3621. H.R. 3621 includes Rep. Pressley's (D-MA) "Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act," H.R. 3618, the "Free Credit Scores for Consumers Act of 2019," H.R. 3622, the Restoring Unfairly Impaired Credit and Protecting Consumers Act," H.R. 3642, the "Improving Credit Reporting for All Consumers Act," and H.R. 3629, the "Clarity in Credit Score Formation Act of 2019."

Nearly 70 percent of home sales are financed and a borrower's credit report and credit score form a critical gateway to obtaining a mortgage. Unfortunately, inaccurate credit reports and unfair credit reporting methods raise the cost and/or limit access to mortgage credit for many prospective borrowers.

National News - Congress Reauthorizes Terrorism Risk Insurance Program for Seven Years

At the very end of 2019, the Senate passed a 7-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIP, or TRIA) as part of H.R. 1865, a year-end federal spending bill. The program was set to expire at the end of 2020, and is now reauthorized through 2027. The reauthorization language was taken from H.R. 4634 (the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019) which had previously been passed by the House, and its companion bill S. 2877, which was passed out of the Senate Banking Committee earlier this year. It makes no substantive changes to the program, but adds a requirement for a GAO study on cyber-terrorism.

TRIA, which provides a government backstop for insured losses as the result of a terrorist attack, was originally passed in 2002. It has allowed private insurers to keep terrorism coverage affordable and available in the U.S. since its creation. Terrorism insurance is often a necessity for commercial real estate to get financing, and provides stability to the commercial real estate sector and the economy.

NAR has been a strong advocate in Congress for TRIA's long-term, early reauthorization to avoid disruptions to the market. NAR sent a letter of support for the bill to both the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee ahead of their markups, stressing the importance of TRIA to commercial real estate and the economy. NAR is a Steering Committee member of the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT), comprised of industry stakeholders who are committed to ensuring TRIA's reauthorization to keep terrorism insurance available and affordable in the country.