2023 General Assembly Session Ends; CAHB Calling on Gov. Polis to Veto Two Bills; Property Tax Measures Heading to Statewide Ballot; CEO to Hold Info Sessions on Energy Code
The Colorado General Assembly concluded the first session of the 73rd General Assembly on May 8. Needless to say, it was a challenging and active session for the Colorado Association of Homebuilders lobbying team. CAHB lobbyist Rachel Lee provides an in-depth legislative recap—available by clicking here. Rachel’s document includes a review of the legislative session for CAHB that addresses GAC-position bills, other bills of interest to the state’s business climate, and the politics of the session.
According to Rachel’s report, the 2022 election changed the make-up of the legislature dramatically after Democrats far outperformed expectations and won every election in 2022 for a legislative competitive seat, and then flipped several historically Republican seats. That meant the Democrats started the 2023 legislative session with historic majorities in both chambers. The House Democrats currently have a super-majority at 46 Democrats to 19 Republicans, while the Senate Democrats are just shy of a super-majority with 23 Democrats to 12 Republicans.
In total, more than 600 bills and resolutions were introduced in the General Assembly this year. Of those proposals, the CAHB’s Government Affairs Committee reviewed more than 100 bills and took a position of support, amend or oppose on 47 specific bills.
A special thanks goes out to GAC chair Andy Merritt and all the members of the GAC, who met regularly throughout the session and provided positions, feedback and concerns to the association’s lobbying team. Mary Kay Hogan, Virginia Morrison Love and Rachel Lee, along with CEO Ted Leighty, met with legislators, provided testimony and collaborated with stakeholders from the construction and housing industries and the broader business community on several bills.
The CAHB also worked through coalitions, especially the Colorado Real Estate Alliance (CREA), Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA) and Building Jobs for Colorado (BJ4C), to work collaboratively on several high priority bills. We also worked closely with the Metro District Education Coalition on several bills impacting special districts.
This legislative wrap-up includes updates on several key bills that the GAC and CAHB lobby team worked on during the session, including:
Senate Bill 23-213, labeled as Governor Polis’s land-use package, tried to change land-use requirements to address housing needs across the state by altering regulations of accessory dwelling units, middle housing, transit-oriented areas, key corridors, and manufactured and modular homes. The bill also seeks to prohibit local governments from enforcing occupancy limits and imposing minimum square footage requirements for residential units. While the CAHB worked to amend the bill and ultimately opposed, local government groups like the Metro Mayors’ Caucus and Colorado Municipal League led the charge against this bill. It ultimately died on the calendar on the last day of the session.
Senate Bill 23-110 was supported by the CAHB. This new law establishes several best-practices utilized by local governments and metro districts for the oversight and issuing of bonds by metro districts. The bill requires all Colorado metro districts to include certain oversight provisions in their service plans with municipalities and counties. The Colorado Association of Home Builders worked with our partners in the real estate industry to support this common-sense and reasonable bill to ensure that metro districts remain a critical tool in providing housing across Colorado. SB23-110 was critical to defeating House Bill 23-1090, which was opposed by the CAHB. This bill would have prohibited the purchase of debt issued by a metro district by an entity that was associated with a district director—creating a “conflict of interest” that would have hurt the ability of developers to invest in the earliest stages of a metro district to get critical infrastructure in place before homes could be built.
House Bill 23-1115 was opposed by the CAHB. This legislation would have repealed the statewide prohibition on local governments from enacting rent control on private residential property or a private residential housing unit. It was killed in a Senate committee but potentially could have been vetoed by the governor had it made it to his desk. However, several other bills on rental properties that were opposed by the CAHB did pass, including House Bill 23-1120, which will now require mediation between a landlord and a residential tenant in an eviction proceeding if the tenant receives supplemental security income, federal social security disability insurance or financial assistance from the Colorado Works program.
The CAHB did have several successes on bills that will help with housing affordability. For example, House Bill 23-1255, which was supported by the CAHB, is now waiting for Governor Polis’ signature. This bill prohibits local governments from enacting growth limits at the local level like those in Lakewood, Golden and Boulder. It has been clearly shown in Golden and Boulder that growth limits have directly caused housing supplies to be limited and costs to skyrocket.
To review a complete list of the CAHB’s 2023 legislative positions—including bills that the GAC supported, opposed and monitored—please visit https://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=31374&pk=142
The GAC will continue to meet regularly throughout 2023 to monitor statewide ballot initiatives, regulatory and rulemaking by state agencies, and interim legislative committees. Please be sure to look for updates over the course of the summer and fall.
CAHB to Ask Governor Polis to Veto HB23-1190 and SB23-273
The GAC voted last week to send veto letters to Governor Polis on two bills:
House Bill 23-1190 was opposed by CAHB with significant lobbying by the CAHB team. This legislation provides a right of first refusal, with certain exemptions, for local governments to purchase multi-unit residential properties for long-term affordable housing. Local governments would be able to purchase a qualifying property for an economically substantially identical offer to another offer that a residential seller receives. Any purchase or sale agreement for the conveyance of a qualifying property by a residential seller would be contingent on the first refusal of the municipality or county where the property is located. Qualifying properties would include any multifamily or mixed-use property consisting of five or more residential units in urban counties and three or more residential units in rural or rural resort counties. This bill clearly would negate private property rights and likely disincentive capital investment into multifamily housing development. The CAHB offered a reasonable alternative through a “right of first offer” that was rejected by the bill’s sponsors.
Senate Bill 23-273 was also opposed by the CAHB. This bill specifies that agricultural land that was added to an urban renewal area (URA) prior to June 1, 2010, can only be part of the same URA that originally included it prior to that date. The bill specifies that the land may only be included in a URA if it remains in the same URA in which it was originally included, or modified to include it, prior to June 1, 2010. Thus, agricultural land that was included in an expiring URA prior to June 1, 2010, is prohibited from being included in newly formed URAs.
Property Tax Measures Likely Heading to the 2023 Statewide Ballot
The GAC met the Friday before the end of the legislative session. At that meeting, the GAC took amend positions on Senate Bill 23-303 and Senate Bill 23-304. These two bills were crafted by Governor Polis to put a measure on the 2023 statewide ballot to address the expected increase in property taxes due to the increase in property values across the state over the past two years. If approved by voters, Prop HH will reduce future TABOR refunds to provide property tax relief now. The measure would also allow the state to collect and spend an additional 1 percent above the current TABOR limit. This election is required since excess revenue collected over the TABOR limit must be refunded to taxpayers unless voters authorize retention of the excess amount. Prop HH would then hold assessment rates constant for 10 years, cap property tax increases at the rate of inflation, exempt the first $40,000 in a home’s value from taxation, and provide a $140,000 senior homestead exemption tax break.
Since the measure was referred to the ballot, signatures do not have to be collected for the measure to appear before voters. There is already a court challenge to the proposal, and there likely will be additional challenges and a campaign against HH. In addition, conservative political activist Michael Fields had already submitted Initiative 21 to the state’s Title Board ahead of the March filing deadline. If it qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters, Initiative 21 would reduce local property tax revenue by limiting annual growth in property taxes on a property to 3 percent per year. Since 21 is a constitutional measure, it would require a higher threshold in signature gathering, including a percentage of signatures from each of Colorado’s 35 state Senate districts, to qualify for the 2023 election.
CEO to Hold Info Sessions on Model Electric Ready and Solar Ready Code
The Colorado Energy Office will be hosting two informational webinars on the Energy Code Board’s model electric ready and solar ready code. These webinars will provide an overview of the final provisions that are included in the code and give the public an opportunity to ask questions. The webinars will be held on the following dates:
Both sessions will provide the same overview of the code, though members of the public are welcome to attend both sessions.