LTAC Legislative Update
By Cathy Wanstrath, LTAC lobbyist
The 2014 Legislative Session began January 8 and will end May 7. The Legislative Committee of LTAC, led by Alex Pankonin, has helped me track over 30 bills during a busy session. This report will highlight just 5 of them. (You can see my weekly updates through the end of the session on the LTAC website.) We frequently work in cooperation with industry partners on legislation, and that was certainly true for the first 3 bills on our list.
House Bill 1295 (Rep. McCann/Sen. Ulibarri). This bill addressed the foreclosure process in Colorado. In contrast to foreclosure bills in the past, the sponsors worked with all stakeholders to achieve a bill that some could endorse. Other, like the lending community and LTAC, “got to neutral” because the bill is synchronized with rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is effective January 1, 2015, and applies to foreclosure proceedings in which the notice of election and demand is filed on or after that date. The Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association took a leadership role on this bill.
Senate Bill 9 (Sen. Hodge/Rep. Moreno). The Colorado Association of Homebuilders took the lead on this bill, and cooperated with LTAC on an amendment critical to title insurers. The bill requires the Real Estate Commission to promulgate a rule requiring a detailed disclosure about the mineral estate being separate from the surface estate. This disclosure will be in the contract of sale or seller's property disclosure. Also applies to sales not subject to the jurisdiction of the Real Estate Commission. Our amendment provides some protection for title agents and companies, clarifying that we do not have any increased duties as a result of this bill. Another amendment moves the effective date to January 1, 2016, at the request of the Real Estate Commission.
House Bill 1254 (Rep. Labuda/Sen. Balmer). This bill requires greater disclosure of fees, including transfer fees, by HOA managers to HOA boards. The Community Associations Institute (the association of homeowners associations) did not initiate this bill, but they worked to improve it. The bill takes effect January 1, 2015.
Senate Bill 63 (Sen. Marble/Rep. Saine and Rep. Williams). This bill codifies a 2012 Executive Order from Governor Hickenlooper requiring periodic review of all state agency rules. The agencies must consider whether each rule is necessary; whether it overlaps other rules at the state, local or federal level; whether it is easy to understand, and whether it has been the subject of a cost-benefit analysis to determine its value. Each agency shall provide notice on its website of the review of its rules, and “give the public an appropriate opportunity to provide input…” Based on the review, the agency shall determine whether each rule should be continued in the present form, amended, or repealed.
Senate Bill 148 (Sen. Cadman/Rep. Sonnenberg). This bill died on April 7, but will be replaced by a new bill that will make changes to the Division of Insurance’s market conduct process. The Division of Insurance was opposed to the original bill, which was initiated by the bail bond and surety interests. They have been critical of the market conduct process due to problems similar to those encountered by title insurers. The Commissioner of Insurance is reportedly supportive of the new bill, which we should see by mid-April.
This is a good time to remind all LTAC members that 2014 is an election year. ALL House seats are up for election, and about half the State Senate seats (these are 4-year terms, so half the Senators are in the middle of their terms). Of course, the Governor is also running for reelection, and the field of Republican candidates has not yet been “winnowed down”. When you engage in any of these upcoming races, be sure to fly your LTAC flag. Walk a precinct with a candidate of your choice, and you will have a friend in the Capitol!