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Friday, 16 July 2021 19:28

Good morning, I hope that you and your family had a wonderful holiday weekend celebrating Independence Day.  It’s hard to believe that we are nearly halfway through summer.

Colorado Association of Home Builders is hosting an in-person annual meeting on July 15 and 16 in Colorado Springs. The annual meeting will kick off Thursday, July 15, with a cocktail party from 5:30 to 8 o’clock at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company. We will meet the next day at the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation. Our guest speakers will be Carl Harris, NAHB’s Third Vice Chairman of the Board for 2021, and Jonathan Falk, a disaster relief field specialist. For more information and to register for the annual meeting, please contact Corinne Burch at corinne@hbacolorado.com or 303-691-2242.

For the CAHB team, we just wrapped up the 2021 COVID-delayed legislative session. The session was challenging, with numerous bills looking to reshape Colorado’s business climate, labor laws and tax policy. The CAHB and our industry partners were able to hold back some very concerning policy changes while still putting up a few wins for our industry. I would like to thank the members of our Government Affairs Committee, led by chairwoman Jennifer Ivey, and the CAHB’s lobbying team for their dedication in this challenging session.

If you have not read it yet, the CAHB’s legislative wrap up email and report from our lobbying team was sent out last week. I highly recommend reviewing that report by clicking here.  Now we turn our attention toward the redistricting for Congress and the statehouse, interim committees, rulemakings and other regulatory activities that will surely fill the days ahead of the next legislative session.

As summer arrived, the CAHB and the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver hit the mid-year point on our shared services agreement. To better serve our members, the two HBA’s agreed last winter to share staffing, office space and administrative services. Both HBAs are now fully staffed and providing full membership services, including events, networking and education opportunities, and state and local advocacy.

The shared services agreement has allowed Cassie Prestfeldt to fully dive into her new role as CAHB’s Field Representative. Cassie has been on the road, meeting with local HBAs and their members to help strengthen our HBA ties across Colorado. If you have not done so, please reach out to Cassie to invite her to a local HBA event or to let her know what’s going on in your community. She—and the entire CAHB staff—are here to help strengthen your association and support all of our HBA members. Cassie can be reached at cassie@hbacolorado.com.

Finally, be sure to check out—and utilize—CAHB’s different member-benefit programs. You can review these programs by visiting https://www.hbacolorado.com/membership.  These programs are meant to help save your business money while providing valuable services and resources to your company and employees.  One of those programs is the HBA’s partnership with Pinnacol Assurance, AGC of Colorado, the Colorado Contractors Association and IEC of Southern Colorado to reduce workers’ compensation costs by promoting safety and claims-management practices in the workplace.

This program brings together businesses with common risks that are committed to maintaining and enhancing industry-leading safety and claims management practices. If your company qualifies for the program, you will receive access to resources and assistance for establishing safe-working conditions. By participating, your company may also qualify for discounts on workers-comp premiums and a safety group program dividend. Please take a look and consider if this program will help improve your company’s bottom line.

With that, I’ll let you get back to your holiday-shortened work week. I know we are all very busy, juggling work and summer.  But I hope to see you at CAHB’s annual meeting in the coming weeks. It will be great to be back together working to make our industry stronger.

Thank you,
Ted

Ted Leighty
ted@hbacolorado.com

Wednesday, 09 June 2021 17:39

The First CAHB Field Representative

             As the CAHB Field Representative I will act as the liaison between the state and our 10 local associations.  Today, I am thrilled to present the newest CAHB communication the 4th Friday Field Report.  Watch for monthly updates and valuable information from the state, local, and national HBAs.  I look forward to the opportunities this new role presents members, local associations, and the organization as a whole. 

 
Cassie Prestfeldt
cassie@hbacolorado.com

CAHB Quarterly Meetings Recap

              The CAHB met via Zoom last week for the spring quarterly meetings.  The day started with the Political Funding Committee meeting, followed by a Government Affairs Committee meeting, and ended with the Board of Directors meeting.  A brief recap of each of those meetings:

  • Political Funding Committee (PFC) – In a non-election year the committee is busy preparing and strategizing for the next year’s election cycle. The re-districting map -- which will impact all state House races and several Senate seats -- will be released later this year.
  • Government Affairs Committee (GAC) – The 2021 legislative session will continue for 4 more weeks and the GAC will meet every other Friday during this time. The committee has been following nearly 60 bills and has taken positions on 20 so far this session.  To review all the bills CAHB is following and have taken positions on please visit the CAHB Bill Tracker.
  • Board of Directors (BOD) – The COVID environment continues to present a need to adapt for members statewide which has been at the forefront of board discussions since the pandemic began. The great news is that COVID restrictions are lifting and the CAHB Board of Directors has decided to meet in person at the summer quarterly meetings!  Those will take place on Friday, July 16th

NDR Programs Overview

              As members of the HBA not only do you have the access to the best and most up to date association information, advocacy, education, and networking opportunities; you have the opportunity to take advantage of the following member benefit programs:

  • NEW: Safety Program – Designed to reduce workers’ compensation costs by promoting safety and claims management practices in the workplace.
  • Member Rebate Program – Where the countries leading manufacturers pay rebates as a way of thanking our members for loyalty to their products.
  • Small Business Growth Partners Program – A company that specializes in helping our members grow and streamline their business and in the process put considerably more money on the bottom line.
  • Association Partners – Provides digital advertising and sponsorship opportunities with the CAHB.
  • Western Pacific Insurance Network Risk Management Program – Insurance experts that will integrate multiple insurance agencies and policy options to provide the best selection for CAHB members and is not exclusive to any one carrier or insurance agency.

Safety Program Member Benefit Spotlight

We are excited to announce that the newest CAHB member benefit is live and ready for you to take advantage!  Please see the flyer below and get more information including how to sign up here.

Local HBA’s Overview

              The state of Colorado has 10 local associations that each offer unique member benefits and networking opportunities.  An exciting update happening on nearly every front is that in-person member events are coming back this summer!  Many local associations have already had smaller member gatherings and are offering hybrid style meetings and events.  This summer, golf tournaments, and parade of homes will return, along with other new and exciting member focused events! 

Please visit the local associations website for updates on events happening in your area.  Links to all can be found here.

NAHB Update on Volatile Lumber Prices

              The soaring cost of lumber is currently NAHB’s number one priority.  The NAHB is focused on finding solutions as the lumber crisis affects HBA members nationwide. “These efforts include concentrated advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, and focused communications with key stakeholders using the latest research from our team of leading economists.” – NAHB (https://www.nahb.org/advocacy/top-priorities).

              For more information and to view NAHB videos of policymakers speaking out about the need for immediate action to address the escalating lumber prices and other supply chain issues please visit the NAHB website here.     

Follow CAHB on Facebook for facts and fun @COHomeBuilders!

Monday, 30 November 2020 17:20


DENVER—The Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB) and the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver announced today that they will enter into a Shared Management Agreement beginning on December 1, 2020, with the CAHB’s current CEO Ted Leighty becoming the leader of both HBAs. The state and metro Denver HBAs will remain separate entities with distinct boards and executive committees. Under the new management plan, the HBAs will share some staff and office together to better serve their members.

“This arrangement will strengthen our industry by allowing both the state and metro Denver HBAs to share resources, which will expand and strengthen member benefits and value to all HBA members across Colorado,” said Denny Rogstad, the CAHB’s 2020 board chairman. “The CAHB and the HBA of Metro Denver are recognized as impactful and important voices for home building, housing affordability and economic vitality. This new agreement will only amplify and expand our advocacy efforts and services to members.”

The CAHB advocates for the homebuilding industry and the association’s 2,000 members at the state level, including the General Assembly, regulatory and rulemaking issues with state agencies, statewide ballot measures, and other statewide political and policy issues that impact the industry. CAHB also works with its partners within the real estate and construction industries, as well as diverse business and nonprofit groups, to continually strengthen Colorado’s economy, business climate and quality of life.

“This plan would not have been possible without the leadership of Ted Leighty,” said Mark Bailey, HBA of Metro Denver’s 2020 president. “Over the past three years, Ted has led the statewide HBA through numerous challenges, from the recent pandemic to significant challenges at the legislature to regulations impacting our industry. Our two boards have every confidence that Ted will lead both organizations professionally and independently, creating stronger associations that will benefit our industry and strengthen the entire network of local HBAs across the state.”

The HBA of Metro Denver serves more than 500 members and is the largest local HBA in Colorado. It provides advocacy for the industry with 42 local governments—including counties, cities and towns—across the metro area. The HBA provides networking opportunities, professional education and development, and industry recognitions and awards, and hosts several events such as the Denver Parade of Homes. Both HBAs have nonprofit partnerships to help provide homes for people with disabilities and to address homelessness.

“With so many challenges facing our state, local communities and our members, this move ensures that our industry remains in a position of strength and adaptability,” said CAHB’s CEO Ted Leighty. “This agreement better positions both organizations to continue our missions of supporting our members as they provide quality, attainable homes for Colorado families; helping elected officials and policymakers understand our industry; and providing professional development, training and networking to an industry that creates and provides thousands of jobs and economic activity for Colorado.”

 

Wednesday, 07 October 2020 17:39
The Colorado Association of Home Builders, through its Executive Committee, Government Affairs Committee, and Political Funding Committee, has released its 2020 Voting Guide. This guide was created by reviewing candidates and ballot issues and engaging on statewide politics to provide insight and direction for our industry. The 2020 CAHB Voting Guide summarizes that work and provides the CAHB’s official position on three statewide ballot questions and endorsements in U.S. Senate and House races, as well as General Assembly races in the state Senate and House.

How does the Colorado Association of Home Builders select candidates to support?

Given that our Association spends a lot of time and effort to raise money in support of Builder friendly candidates, this is a logical question. By the time we are deciding which candidates to support, we are well into the “political cycle of life.” The cycle includes raising money into our political entities, interviewing candidates, compiling incumbent records, possibly getting involved in campaigns, without coordinating with the campaigns, through independent expenditures and, ultimately, working with these lawmakers once they get elected. Then the cycle starts all over again two years later. So, let’s answer the endorsement question by explaining the process CAHB uses to decide which candidates will receive CAHB support at the federal and state level.

Federal Candidates

Let’s use U.S. Senator Cory Gardner as an example, since he is running for re-election this year. Gardner, opposed by John Hickenlooper, is the incumbent finishing his first term and Hickenlooper, our former governor, has never been in Congress. Gardner has an established voting record on Builder issues and Hickenlooper has no record at all in Congress. 

With incumbents running for re-election at the federal level, NAHB will review their voting record on important Builder issues and several other factors important to our industry, such as key committee votes, access by NAHB staff, etc. If the legislative record is good and NAHB believes the incumbent deserves our support, they work with CAHB and our local associations to review the record and make a joint recommendation for support to NAHB’s BUILD-PAC Trustees.

If NAHB and CAHB decide to support a challenger over the incumbent, it’s because the incumbent’s record on NAHB and CAHB issues is not very good. 

In either case, a decision to support or oppose a candidate is made with great attention paid to two important factors: for an incumbent, what is the candidate’s record; and for a new challenger, how would they likely vote on homebuilding and private property issues? The process to reach a decision is very thorough.

State Candidates

For the state legislative offices of Senate and House, the Political Funding Committee (PFC) has final authority. In legislative seats with no incumbent running (open seats), CAHB lobbyists and staff participate on candidate interview teams along with our business community allies and conducts a formal face-to-face candidate interview with most all candidates running in a specific district. Staff and lobbyists then make a recommendation to support candidates to the PFC. Often, the PFC will accept the recommendation.

With incumbents, it starts with their record but also considers other factors as well. If the incumbent has a record of support with CAHB, they receive Builder support using much the same criteria as NAHB’s BUILD-PAC Trustees consider. If the incumbent’s record is poor, we may set up discussions or interviews with the incumbent and any challengers to determine possible support.

The bottom line: at each level, the candidates, their records, their responses to specific questions, and their philosophy and approach to business and Builder issues are key. Candidates who deserve our support often receive it; those who don’t must look elsewhere for support.

Conclusion

While you may or may not always agree with the recommendations of your Association, the vetting process for candidate selection is both thorough and logical. Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, who support Builders are recommended for support. Vote for the candidate of your choice, but factor in the work of your Association when you decide. It’s not an arbitrary process. Your local, state and national associations care about your ability to succeed in business and that’s why they put in the time and effort to offer suggestions on which candidates are the most Builder friendly.





 

Friday, 19 June 2020 14:56

The Colorado General Assembly adjourned on Monday after returning on May 26 to address unfinished business, including the state budget. The typical 120-day session only lasted 84 legislative days but spanned 160 days with a long pandemic recess and a two-day break caused by protests around the capitol.

The legislature’s primary task was to finalize the state budget and the school finance act. Legislators had to address a $3.3 billion shortfall, including a current year shortfall of $895.8 million and a 2020-21 fiscal year shortfall of $2.42 billion. The budget contraction for this downturn is expected to be twice the Great Recession (a -5.6 percent reduction versus a -2.5 percent reduction in 2009). Much of the budget reductions will be felt hardest by school districts, higher education and transportation.

The Government Affairs Committee took positions on 24 bills and reviewed dozens more. Over the next two weeks, we will provide wrap ups on legislation that impacts our industry and Colorado’s business climate. This update includes three bills that were killed that would have been significantly detrimental to homebuilding across Colorado, as well as the current Executive Order update from Governor Polis. Next week’s update will include additional bills impacting our industry.

The following bills were priorities for the CAHB’s lobbying team:

  • SB20-093 would have created the "Consumer and Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness Act” to limit the use of arbitration, including in a construction issue. Along with our partners in the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), we worked with the bill’s sponsors to fix issues that would have harmed the Vallagio The bill was killed during the shortened session. This issue is certain to reemerge in 2021.
  • SB20-138 would have increased the statutory limitation period for construction defects from 6 years to 10 years, allowed tolling of the limitation period on any statutory or equitable basis, and required tolling of the limitation period until the claimant discovers not only some physical manifestation of a construction defect but also its cause; effectively removing any statute of limitations for defect claims. The bill was also killed during the shortened session.
  • SB20-216 would have changed workers’ compensation law to presume that essential workers, including those in construction, who work outside of the home and contract COVID-19 to be presumed to have contracted the disease through the course of employment, and contraction of COVID-19 will be considered a compensable accident, injury or occupational disease. This bill was postponed indefinitely in committee. 

In addition, two issues critical to the homebuilding industry were close to having legislation introduced during the session. Several legislators, possibly in response to the Denver Post’s reporting series, were preparing legislation on metro districts. That legislation was not introduced due to the COVID-19 recess, but the CAHB expects legislation on special districts during the next session.

CAHB worked through the Colorado Water Congress and with construction-industry partners to help stop introduction of dredge and fill legislation developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The legislation would have created a permitting process for dredging and filling in state waters and was a reaction to new federal laws that will go into effect this summer as a replacement to WOTUS. CAHB will work with AGC of Colorado and the Colorado Contractors Association to work with CDPHE to address concerns on this issue.

To review a complete list of the CAHB’s legislative positions—including bills that the GAC supported, opposed and monitored—please visit https://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=27390&pk=100&style=pinstripe.

Executive Order Updates:

Governor Polis has now issued 106 Executive Orders to date related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, the governor announced the Protect our Neighbors phase of the state’s COVID response. A first step in this new phase will include a public health order to be released today to allow slightly larger indoors meetings, residential summer camps, spa services and limited bar openings (non-food) statewide.

CDPHE is developing a new set of guidance, likely to be finalized by the end of the month, to give local governments the ability to significantly loosen some restrictions locally, especially on meetings and gatherings in indoor and outdoor spaces. Details include:

The Protect Our Neighbors (PON) framework is a local control approach to managing COVID-19.  This framework will allow communities to demonstrate strong public health and health care systems, as well as low virus levels, and allow them to take on more control over their reopening plans.  The PON framework will allow local public health agencies to be the first line defense of containing outbreaks by doing things like site closures, testing, case investigation, and contact tracing.  PON will launch at the end of June. 

In order to enter PON communities must qualify by meeting scientifically established thresholds of:

  • Low disease transmission levels;
  • Local public health agency capacity for testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response;
  • Hospital ability to meet the needs of all patients and handle the surge in demand for intensive hospital care.

These standards will allow the local areas to permit all activities at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, with social distancing and no more than 500 people in one setting at a time.  Over time the 50 percent threshold may be increased up to 60 percent or 75 percent if a region holds their transmission levels steady and continues to demonstrate capability of performance metrics around treatment, testing, case investigation, contact tracing and outbreak response. 

A committee of scientists is developing a set of measures to help understand how to move between phases.  The key questions they are considering to make these determinations are:

Transmission:

  • What is the level of transmission in the community?
  • What percentage of tests are positive for COVID-19:

Treatment:

  • Are hospitalization trends for COVID-19 increasing or decreasing?
  • Do hospitals have the surge capacity (staff, beds, equipment, supplies) to provide critical care for an increased number of people?
  • Do hospitals have sufficient protective equipment (PPE) to continue to provide care for an increased number of patients?

Test and Trace:

  • What percentage of cases are contacted and isolated within 24 hours of a positive test result?
  • What percentage of people exposed to an individual who tests positive are notified within 48 hours?  
  • What is the surge capacity to be able to do contact tracing, if a large number of people are exposed?
  • What is the level of testing in a community?
  • Is everyone exposed in an outbreak able to get a test?

Safer at Home:

Currently, the state is still under Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoor (D 2020 091), which was signed on June 1 and is in effect for 30 days. This was an extension of the original Safer at Home executive order that allowed for the slow reopening of Colorado after nearly two months of Stay-at-Home orders.

Key provisions on Safer at Home that impact homebuilders and the industry include:

  • Safer at Home establishes rules on non-critical office-based businesses, including symptom checking and reporting; cleaning protocols; limitations on meetings; social distancing and caps of 50 percent capacity in offices.
Tuesday, 09 June 2020 16:54
The Colorado Association of Home Builders is participating in a broad coalition of statewide civic and business organizations to oppose Gov. Polis’s efforts to change the way people and organizations can access the Colorado ballot through electronic and mail signature gathering. This coalition, led by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, includes rural, urban, suburban and mountain communities, our state’s smallest businesses to some of our largest employers, and a variety of industries, like agriculture, education, energy and construction.

At issue is Gov. Polis’s May 15 Executive Order D 2020 065, which suspends a number of laws related to signature collection and ballot qualification for elections and orders the Secretary of State’s Office to develop rules for electronic and mail signature gathering. This action, the coalition contends, violates the state’s constitution, which already has established fair and equitable ways for people to place ideas on the ballot for consideration by Colorado voters.

Additionally, the coalition expressed concerns that these changes could completely lock out people with limited access to technology and internet – including those who live in rural communities, older adults and people experiencing poverty.

Colorado Concern and former DU Chancellor Dan Ritchie filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the executive order, and our coalition filed an amicus brief in support of that lawsuit. A Denver District Court ruled against the suit; however, this past Friday the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal. We hope that a panel of justices will better understand the arguments against the executive order and will side with our state’s constitution, enforcing the laws and protections that are wisely in place to protect the ballot initiative process.  Our coalition will be filing an amicus brief for the appeal.

To learn more about the effort to protect Colorado’s Constitution and keep ballot access fair for all, please visit https://denverchamber.org/policy/protect-colorados-constitution.

CAHB Government Affairs

This association’s Government Affairs Committee met last Friday and took action on one bill:

SB20-216—Oppose—This bill would change workers compensation law to presume that essential workers, including those in construction, who work outside of the home and contract COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted the disease through the course of employment, and contraction of COVID-19 will be considered a compensable accident, injury or occupational disease for purposes of the Workers Compensation Act of Colorado. The GAC opposes this legislation because it will likely spike workers comp insurance rates and saddle businesses with more costs and regulations as potential claims increase due to COVID-19.

For more information:

To track the CAHB’s legislative positions—including bills that the GAC supports, opposes and monitors—please visit https://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=27390&pk=100&style=pinstripe.

Colorado Water Congress weighs in on potential dredge and fill legislation

This past Friday, the GAC received an update on the Water of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule from Colorado water attorney Rick Fendel. He took questions from GAC members and explained how new federal laws to replace the Obama-era WOTUS, which take effect this summer, will impact water issues in the future.

In addition, the State Affairs Committee of the Colorado Water Congress, which includes Ted Leighty as a representative of CAHB and our industry, agreed last week to send a letter to House Speaker KC Becker, asking her to “delay consideration of the CDPHE’s proposed bill to ‘Establish State Dredge & Fill Water Permit Program.’”

The legislation, which is being developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, seeks to create a permitting process for dredging and filling in state waters and is  a reaction to new federal laws that will go into effect this summer as a replacement to WOTUS. The draft legislation, which may be sponsored by Speaker Becker, has not been introduced yet during this legislative session. If the bill is introduced, the GAC will consider taking an official position.

The Colorado Water Congress letter stated that:

“We see no compelling reason to rush legislation at this time. In fact, there has always been a gap between the universe of State Waters and those receiving protection under the federal dredge and fill program because State Waters are defined far more broadly than are Waters of the United States. …
The issues raised by the bill are too numerous and complicated to simply work through in the very short time remaining in the legislative session, or in the context of a rulemaking. As part of the regulated community, CWC would be pleased to provide a forum for comprehensive stakeholder engagement to develop enabling legislation that would ensure an implementable, protective, and cost-effective program. We therefore respectfully request that you delay the CDPHE bill until next year.”  

The full letter is available by clicking here.

Tuesday, 02 June 2020 21:09
Last Friday, the Colorado Association of Home Builders co-hosted a webinar on COVID-19 Construction Guidelines, along with the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, Northern Colorado Homebuilders Association and AGC of Colorado.

The webinar included panelists EJ Olbright of CFC Construction, Dan Johnson of SFI Compliance, Todd Fredrickson of Fisher and Phillips, and Pat Miller of Sherman and Howard. The topics covered included CDPHE’s construction guidance; AGC’s protocols; best practices for residential construction sites; and a review of legal issues. The webinar also included Q&A from the attendees.

More than 125 industry professionals from across Colorado attended the webinar. It is available online for all members to review at: https://youtu.be/Vs-TjGSjQNA. Please take a few moments this week to check out this webinar to help ensure safe, healthy and compliant jobsites.

CAHB Government Affairs

The Colorado General Assembly returned to work last Tuesday—before adjourning on Friday because of protests and vandalism at the state Capitol. The legislature is faced with making $3.3 billion in cuts to this year and next year’s state budget.

The General Assembly was expected to kill several bills that either had fiscal notes or were no longer critical considering the state’s COVID response and budget cuts. Key bills that will be killed include:

HB20-1333 – This bill would have increased requirements for disclosure and transparency in the operations of HOAs in common-interest communities. Directly impacting our members, this bill would have made significant changes to how and on what timelines a developer of a subdivision (declarant) would have been required to transfer control of the HOA.

SB20-093—This legislation sought to create the "Consumer and Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness Act.” For consumer and employment arbitrations, Senate Bill 93 would have made significant changes to try to limit the use of arbitration, including in a construction issue. The CAHB, along with our partners in the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), worked with the bill’s sponsors to fix issues that would harm the positive impacts of the Vallagio decision, as well as the institution of arbitration.  Thankfully, this legislation is due to be shelved later this week.

SB20-138—This bill would have increased the statutory limitation period for construction defects from 6 years to 10 years, allowed tolling of the limitation period on any statutory or equitable basis, and required tolling of the limitation period until the claimant discovers not only some physical  manifestation of a construction defect but also its cause; effectively removing any statute of limitations for defect claims. CAHB worked with industry partners to educate members of the Senate on the impact of this legislation to efforts to build affordable and attainable homes. Several Senate Democrats had already agreed to oppose SB138 since it would have harmed both affordable and attainable housing.

New Bills:

This association’s Government Affairs Committee met last Friday and took action on two bills:

SB20-205—Oppose—This bill creates the Healthy Families and Workplace Act, which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. The bill would require that beginning January 1, 2020, all employers in Colorado provide up to a 48 hours per year of paid sick leave to employees. Paid sick leave may be used for the employee's health care or a family member; absences related to domestic abuse; and when a public official has ordered the closure of the employee's workplace or the school or child care facility of the employee's child, due to a public health emergency. The bill also requires additional paid leave during a public health emergency. Employees may use this leave for up to a month after the end or suspension of a public health emergency. The CAHB opposes this bill because it creates another mandate on employers for a benefit that many companies already provide, and the additional sick leave requirements for a public-health emergency do not require employees to track or demonstrate a need to take leave.

SB20-207—Amend—This bill amends the Colorado Employment Security Act, which governs the state’s Unemployment Insurance program, to address public-health emergencies and to increase the amount a person can earn while receiving UI benefits.  It also requires a study of the feasibility of unemployment insurance for people in the gig economy. The GAC took an amend position because the bill currently has a provision that may impact how companies utilize independent contractors. The CAHB is working with several business groups to address this issue.

For more information:

To track the CAHB’s legislative positions—including bills that the GAC supports, opposes and monitors—please visit https://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=27390&pk=100&style=pinstripe.

 

Governor Polis amends Safer at Home

Governor Polis on Monday revised the Safer at Home Order to transition to “Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors.” The new order,  Executive Order D 2020 091, implements a number of measures that will allow citizens to return to work and recreation while maintaining social distancing. Any business or activity not addressed in this EO or accompanying public-health order may operate in accordance with general guidance from CDPHE concerning group limitations, social distancing requirements and sanitation and cleaning protocols.

Construction jobsites should still operate under CDPHE’s Multi-Industry Construction Guidance document.

The revised order would allow people over 65 or with underlying health conditions “to also enjoy Colorado’s outdoor spaces at a safe social distance, in addition to staying at home as much as possible.” The order will allow swimming pools and playgrounds to open at limited capacities and directs CDPHE to create further guidelines for houses of worship, child care, team sports, summer camps, and outdoor and personal recreation. This order still limits gatherings to 10 or fewer people, accept if larger groups have been approved in a variance or industry-specific guidance, such as restaurants.

For a list of executive orders and other CAHB updates on COVID-19, be sure to follow our blog.

Friday, 22 May 2020 16:03
The Colorado Association of Home Builders, in conjunction with several industry partners, will be co-hosting a webinar next week. Please register now for this important webinar.

Date:
May 29, 2020
Time: 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM MDT
Register Here: https://business.hbadenver.com/events/details/covid-19-construction-guidelines-what-you-need-to-know-21972

Tuesday, 19 May 2020 23:01

Stating he does not want Coloradans’ rights to put initiatives on the November ballot to be limited by the coronavirus, Governor Polis on Friday issued an Executive Order instructing the Secretary of State to develop temporary rules for gathering petition signatures by mail or email. The governor suspended the order yesterday until June 24 to allow the Secretary of State to develop the rules first.

Currently, signatures must be gathered in face-to-face interactions and the petition pages must be notarized, testifying that they were collected in person and that certain rules were followed when a signature was gathered. Much of Colorado’s signature-gathering laws are in the state Constitution—and should not be circumvented by an executive order.

CAHB has partnered with business and nonprofit stakeholders to strengthen Colorado’s petition-gathering laws to limit special-interest ballot measures. Last week, we co-signed a letter with 35 other organizations to Gov. Polis, asking him not to take this step. In that letter, we noted that “electronic signature gathering would also be more susceptible to voter fraud, jeopardizing our state’s hard earned and well-managed election process.” That letter is available by clicking here.

On Monday, Colorado Concern and former University of Denver chancellor Daniel Ritchie filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court, stating the governor lacks the power to alter Colorado’s statewide signature-gathering process, even in a time of emergency, and that the governor cannot change the state Constitution. The complaint can be viewed by clicking here.

CAHB will be an active participant in the coalition efforts to stop any weakening of the ballot initiative and petition process. Even though Initiative 122, limited growth, has been withdrawn for 2020, there are still several harmful ballot measures pending, including a rewrite of state income taxes and paid family leave. And any changes to signature gathering now could create a precedent for changes  in future years, opening our industry for more attacks in 2022 and beyond.

We hope that Gov. Polis acknowledges our concerns and eventually works with us on this issue. Instead of drawing political battle lines and mustering resources to fight anti-business ballot measures, we should be focusing our energies, and limited financial resources, on economic recovery and addressing our common threat of COVID-19.

Initiative 122 Withdrawn:

As noted above, Initiative 122 was withdrawn last week, meaning that the limited-growth measure will not appear on the 2020 ballot. The withdrawal may have been prompted by a campaign-finance complaint filed last week by the Coloradans for Responsible Reform issue committee formed to defeat Initiative 122. The proponent’s issue committee, Sensible Growth, is more than 14 days delinquent on its first campaign-finance report and failed to file its second report due yesterday. CFRR will continue to work to ensure that Daniel Hayes is held accountable for not disclosing contributions and expenditures, including paid signature gathering.

State Budget Update:

The General Assembly will reconvene after Memorial Day to address the state budget. The Joint Budget Committee, the bipartisan group that writes the state budget, last week received an updated economic report. According to economists, state revenues have dropped further than previously reported and the state now faces a $3.3 billion shortfall. The current year shortfall is $895.8 million, and the shortfall for the 2020-21 fiscal year is $2.42 billion. The budget contraction for this downturn is expected to be twice the Great Recession (a -5.6% reduction versus a -2.5% reduction in 2009). The largest and hardest cuts to the budget will likely hit K-12 education, higher education and transportation.

In addition, the state will be grappling with the cost of unemployment. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UITF) has received 10 times the filings than the previous recession and will likely need to borrow money from the federal government to remain solvent. Employers will then have to pay increased UI fees of $42.80 to $865.40 per worker next year to replenish the fund.

Face Coverings Extended:

Governor Polis on Sunday extended a previous Executive Order requiring critical and essential workers to wear non-medical face coverings. This extension is in effect until June 16.

Face coverings are part of the Multi-Industry Construction Guidance document released on April 1 that lays out the state’s safety requirements for construction jobsites. That document is available by clicking here. The guidance on face coverings includes: 

  • Use of personal protective equipment for hygiene and safety: employees should wear all standard worksite personal protective equipment (PPE), especially eye protection and gloves, as well as other standard safety equipment (e.g. reflective vests or jackets). In addition, workers should wear a mask or cloth face covering at other times if consistent with OSHA and other applicable safety requirements. PPE may not be shared between members of a work team.

If you have any questions about temperature checks, symptom monitoring or face coverings, please contact Ted Leighty at ted@hbacolorado.com. Thank you for your adherence to these regulations and guidelines.

Wednesday, 06 May 2020 20:08

Reminder: Continue Wearing Face Coverings on Jobsites

As the state transitioned last week to its "Safer At Home" regulations, there were critical inconsistencies between the guidance for construction firms as an essential industry and the new regulations. The most concerning was new guidance that appeared to require all employers take the temperature of all employees at each site. The Colorado Association of Home Builders worked with our construction-industry partners to communicate concerns with this guidance and was successful in getting changes made to allow more flexibility. In addition, CAHB has continued to work with several of our local HBAs and construction partners to track the different regulations and requirements issued through orders from the state and local governments.

Due to these efforts, the state updated its "Safer at Home" order yesterday to address face coverings, temperature checks and symptom checking policies for businesses.

The revised Public Health Order has a guidance document available by clicking here. The updated rules from the state includes specific guidance for construction on temperatures:

Construction firms should implement symptom monitoring protocols (including workplace temperature monitoring and symptom screening questions) where possible. Best practice is to implement a temperature check station at the entrance to the construction site. If this is not practicable, employees will check for symptoms at home and report symptoms either electronically or on paper per the system created by the construction firm. Resources are available on the CDPHE COVID-19 resources web page. Per the public health order, employers must retain the screening logs for at least 3 months and provide them to public health upon request.

A sample Employee Health Screening log is available from the state by clicking here.
 
The updated Public Health order has changed for critical businesses other than construction. This includes all offices.

For Critical Businesses, Critical Gov't Functions, Non-Critical Office-Based Businesses, Personal Services, Limited Healthcare Settings & Non-Critical Retail shall follow protocols:

  • Employers and sole proprietors shall take all of the following measures within the workplace to minimize disease transmission:
    • deputize a workplace coordinator(s) charged with addressing COVID-19 issues;
    • maintain 6 foot separation between employees and discourage shared spaces;
    • clean and disinfect all high touch areas;
    • post signage for employees and customers on good hygiene;
    • ensure proper ventilation;
    • avoid gatherings (meetings, waiting rooms, etc.) of more than 10 people;
    • implement symptom monitoring protocols, conduct daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees at the worksite to the greatest extent possible, or if not practicable, through employee self-assessment at home prior to coming to the worksite. A sample form can be found here. If an employee reports any symptoms, refer symptomatic employees to the CDPHE Symptom Tracker and take all of the following steps:
      • send employee home immediately;
      • increase cleaning in your facility and require social distancing of staff at least 6 feet apart from one another; exclude employee until they are fever-free, without medication, for 72 hours and 7 days have passed since their first symptom; and
      • if multiple employees have these symptoms, contact your local health department; and
      • eliminate or regularly clean and disinfect any items in common spaces, such as break rooms, that are shared between individuals, such as condiments, coffee makers, vending machines.

Face Coverings:

The state of Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has advised our industry to continue to follow the Multi-Industry Construction Guidance document released on April 1.  That document is available by clicking here.

Please continue to follow this document on jobsites-and please pay attention to the guidance on face coverings, highlighted below. With individual jurisdictions, such as Denver, having their own face-covering rules, its important that our industry adhere to this guidance. The current guidance from the state on face coverings includes: 

  • Use of personal protective equipment for hygiene and safety: employees should wear all standard worksite personal protective equipment (PPE), especially eye protection and gloves, as well as other standard safety equipment (e.g. reflective vests or jackets). In addition, workers should wear a mask or cloth face covering at other times if consistent with OSHA and other applicable safety requirements. PPE may not be shared between members of a work team.
If you have any questions about temperature checks, symptom monitoring or face coverings, please contact Ted Leighty at ted@hbacolorado.com. Thank you for your adherence to these regulations and guidelines
Monday, 27 April 2020 23:16

Governor Polis today released the Safer at Home public health order, which takes effect today. To review the entire Safer at Home order, please click here. Key dates in this new order include:

  • April 27 - Curbside retail can begin as well as real estate showings, but no open houses
  • May 1 - Retail and some personal services can begin, with best social-distancing practices
  • May 4 - Offices can reopen at 50 percent capacity and social-distancing best practices

Specific to real estate, the order states that "Field Services, including real estate, may resume operations, in accordance with the requirements of this Order including Appendix B. Real estate includes in-person real estate showings and marketing services which must adhere to Social Distancing Requirements with cleaning and disinfection between each showing, but may not hold open houses." 

Click here for the state's Field Services and Real Estate guidance.

Under this order, Coloradans are asked to stay at home as much as possible and vulnerable individuals will continue to abide by the stay at home order. Key parts of the safer at home order include wearing masks, no public gatherings over 10, limited reopening of certain businesses and limited post-secondary instruction may resume. Normal in-person P-12 school is still suspended through the end of the school year.

Local jurisdictions will also have flexibility to go above and beyond the state guidelines or apply for a variance to loosen restrictions.  A county may apply for a variance to CDPHE if it meets certain criteria, including support from its local public health agency; demonstration that local hospitals can verify they have the capacity to serve all the people needing care; and county commissioners adopting the alternative plan in place of the statewide order. 

If local governments choose to ignore the options available to them they are breaking the law and jeopardizing their emergency preparedness grant. Businesses who willfully disregard the regulations in the public health order will be issued a Cease and Desist Order.  

 

Denver and Surrounding Counties:

Despite this order, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock last Thursday extended Denver's Stay at Home order until May 8. Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield and Jefferson counties also extended their orders to May 8 to be in line with Denver. Douglas County, which participates in Tri-County Health with Adams and Arapahoe, did not extend its order and is now under the state's Safer at Home rules.

If you live, work or operate a business in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield and Jefferson counties, you must follow the local health order. In addition, municipalities are beginning to pass their own health ordinances, with Wheat Ridge, for example, requiring facemasks for all employees and customers at retail locations.

 

Jobsite Safety Change:

The new Safer at Home order instructs employers to implement symptom-monitoring protocols at jobsites and offices. The state provided a sample form to check employees before and after the work day. According to the Safer at Home order, if an employee reports any symptoms to refer them to the CDPHE's Symptom Tracker and then take all of the following steps at your office or jobsite:

  • Send the employee home immediately;
  • Increase cleaning in your facility and require social distancing of staff at least 6 feet apart from one another;
  • Exclude the employee until they are fever-free, without medication, for 72 hours and 7 days have passed since their first symptom

If multiple employees have these symptoms, please contact your local health department. And then eliminate or regularly clean and disinfect any items in common spaces, such as break rooms, that are shared between individuals, such as condiments, coffee makers and vending machines.

The Safer at Home order still asks employees to where masks, and requires them if there is to be close contact between employees and customers. The state prepared a video to show how to set up your workplace or jobsite for temperature and health screenings.

We are working with our industry partners at AGC of Colorado, Colorado Contractors Association and the Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors to receive more specific guidance on this issue before it goes into effect on May 4.  We will update you as soon as we have more direction.

 

NAHB to Host Webinar with HUD Secretary Carson on Tuesday Morning

 
The National Association of Home Builders will host a webinar with Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The webinar is set for tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. MT. Registration is required. Click here to register (member log-in required) for this exceptional webinar.
 
Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery will join Secretary Carson to address HUD and FHA initiatives in response to the economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.
 
From the NAHB:
 
Single-family and multifamily builders, remodelers and related companies are looking to HUD to ensure that critical housing and mortgage insurance programs are operating effectively during this challenging time. This webinar will give NAHB members an opportunity to hear about HUD's actions and plans from the nation's top housing policy officials.
 
Secretary Carson will talk about HUD's efforts to address the needs of housing market stakeholders - builders, developers, remodelers, homeowners, renters, and home buyers. Commissioner Montgomery will provide details and answer questions about HUD and FHA operations and policies developed or expanded in response to the current economic environment.
 
The two housing policy officials will address single-family and multifamily mortgage forbearance, rental assistance, and policies designed to support the housing market. They will discuss initiatives at FHA and Ginnie Mae, as well as grant programs, public housing and HUD's broad range of efforts to strengthen the housing industry.
Tuesday, 21 April 2020 17:32

Governor Polis on Monday announced his approach to reopening Colorado in May and moving into the next phase of living with COVID-19. He also announced that the statewide stay-at-home order will expire on Sunday, April 26. The governor’s announcement comes as several counties are also looking to relax their public-health orders, including Eagle County. That mountain county, which was hit early by coronavirus, submitted a request to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment last Friday to wave some of the statewide requirements in order for the county to begin reopening certain non-essential businesses and activities.

In laying the groundwork for his decision, the governor discussed new modeling that shows the state will not need to extend the statewide order. CDPHE has worked with the University of Colorado to create a model to guide these decisions. The model indicates that the actual number of Coloradans infected with COVID-19 is between 65,000 and 70,000 and also notes that social distancing alone is not enough to keep the amount of infections below the ICU bed capacity in Colorado. According to the state, an approach that includes a sustainable level of social distancing, guidance to older and at-risk citizens to do more than regular social distancing, promoting mask wearing, and pursuing aggressive case detection and containment will get Colorado to the goal of opening back up while also staying within the capacity of the healthcare system. 

When the statewide stay-at-home order lifts next Monday, Colorado will enter a “Safer at Home” phase, which will not be an order, but will be an “encouragement" to follow specific guidelines. The governor said that this phase will incrementally allow businesses and offices to reopen with smaller staffing levels, staggering shifts and strict precautions. Elective surgeries will be allowed again as well as personal services businesses—such as barbers and beauty salons—will be allowed to reopen. More importantly, individual real estate showings will be permitted to resume but open houses will still be prohibited.  School districts and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction until the end of the school year.

Restaurants likely will not be allowed to fully open until around May 15, once data is available to evaluate the effectiveness of the easing of other restrictions. Specific guidance on this will be forthcoming, and local governments will be allowed to modify the statewide standards in order to address localized outbreaks or hot spots.

Finally, the governor noted that Colorado could return to another stay-at-home order if there is a significant increase in cases or spread of the virus. The governor calls this phase a marathon, not a sprint.

REMINDER: Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner:

The Colorado Association of Home Builders will host a Virtual Home Builder Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner today at 1 p.m. Senator Gardner will inform our members about the federal response to the health and economic challenges with COVID-19. Please remember this call is off the record. There will be an opportunity for a limited number of questions after the senator’s remarks.

Colorado Association of Home Builders’ Virtual Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner:

Today—1:00 p.m. MDT
PARTICIPANT LINE: (978) 990-5260
Access code: 8919618#
Please call in five minutes before the call so we can start on time.

CALL AGENDA:

  • Welcome from Colorado Association of Home Builders
  • Remarks from Senator Cory Gardner
  • Q&A
  • Closing Comments

 

COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down



Last week, the National Association of Home Builders hosted a national COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down. The Colorado Association of Home Builders, our local associations and many member companies participated in the event. The event include a short break on jobsites to review protections against the  coronavirus, including maintaining a distance of no less than six feet from others at all times, limiting the number of workers in groups to 10, wearing face covering, properly sanitizing frequently used tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.

Even though Governor Polis has begun to lift the statewide stay-at-home order, and some counties are preparing to do the same, our industry must continue to safeguard the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities. The CAHB has several resources for jobsite safety available by clicking here. The NAHB’s jobsite safety toolkit is also available in English and Spanish to continue to address COVID-19 safety.

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Phone: 303-691-2242
Email: cahb@hbacolorado.com