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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Building Jobs4Colorado will host a discussion on the Senate Bill 205, the state’s new paid sick leave law. The online meeting will be on Thursday, October 15, from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. It is open to all Colorado contractors. The discussion will be led by attorneys Kristin White and Todd Fredrickson with the law firm Fisher Phillips. To RSVP, please visit https://iec.flashpoint.xyz/Lite/Event/Profile/331275000.
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:
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:
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:
Test and Trace:
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:
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:
The full letter is available by clicking here.
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.
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 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.
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:
If you have any questions about temperature checks, symptom monitoring or face coverings, please contact Ted Leighty at email@example.com. Thank you for your adherence to these regulations and guidelines.
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.
For Critical Businesses, Critical Gov't Functions, Non-Critical Office-Based Businesses, Personal Services, Limited Healthcare Settings & Non-Critical Retail shall follow protocols:
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:
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:
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:
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
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:
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.
Last week, the National Association of Home Builders announced a COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down on Thursday, April 16. The Colorado Association of Home Builders has been working with our local HBAs, members, partner groups such as Associated General Contractors of Colorado (AGC), Colorado Contractors Association (CCA) and Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors (CAMPC) and state and local officials to ensure that construction remains an essential service—and that our jobsites remain safe and healthy and following all state and local health guidelines.
The CAHB is asking its members to host a Job Site Safety Stand Down this Thursday. Doing this will help educate our workers and show solidarity across our industry.
The NAHB has developed a COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down toolkit to educate residential construction workers on how to protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak. The stand down will focus on the steps needed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on job sites. These include maintaining a distance of no less than six feet from others at all times, limiting the number of workers in groups to 10, and properly sanitizing frequently used tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces. NAHB has developed a blueprint for builders, available in English and Spanish, to conduct these COVID-19 safety stand downs.
Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner:
You’re invited to join the Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB) for an upcoming Virtual Home Builder Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner on April 21 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:
Multi-Family Call to Action:
URGENT: Ask Congress for Further Relief for Renters & Housing Providers from COVID-19
Congress recently enacted the Coronavirus Aid and Economic Security Act, (CARES Act), the largest stimulus package in our country's history. NAHB has, and will continue to, work with Congress to voice our concerns and difficulties that be will placed on multifamily development and management.
While the CARES Act includes a number of helpful provisions for individuals and businesses, housing providers, employees and their residents will need additional economic relief to avoid a collapse of the housing sector. Specifically:
NAHB has joined other real estate partners in sending a letter to Congressional leaders as part of a broad coalition of housing stakeholders. We now need you to take action.
We have joined forces with other real estate stakeholders to launch a coalition Call to Action campaign that aims to educate Congress about the need for additional relief for both renters and housing operators in future COVID-19 stimulus and recovery packages.
Click here to access a letter that outlines the rental housing industry's requests of Congress. We also request you please consider sharing this message and encourage others at your company to also take action. Messages like these really do make a difference.
The Government Affairs Committee met last Friday to receive updates on the paused General Assembly session. Legislative leadership has tentatively set May 18 to resume the 2020 session—noting that a lot could change between now and then, according to House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver. The current plan is to reconvene to finalize all budget issues and then adjourn until a possible summer session.
The Joint Budget Committee will meet in early May to finalize the state’s $32 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. A March economic forecast estimated that the budget would need to be cut by at least $1.5 billion related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are expectations that the state’s revenue loss may get worse as a new forecast is planned for May. Governor Polis recently asked all state departments to start identifying at least 10 percent budget reductions.
The JBC aims to finalize the Long Bill (state budget), School Finance Act and any other budget-related bills by the end of May to allow state departments, local governments, school districts and others the time necessary to finalize their budgets by the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30. The timeline for the JBC to finalize the budget is:
Executive Orders and Actions:
On Friday, Governor Polis provided an update from the Colorado Convention Center, which is being converted to a Tier 3 treatment center to be used to step down patients from critical care that will not be ready to go home. Polis said he does not expect that the Convention Center to be totally full, nor empty, during the COVID pandemic. The site will be able to accommodate 2,000 patients. The state is also establishing a similar alternate care site in Loveland at the Ranch fairgrounds complex.
The governor also pointed out that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing (DOH) awarded more than $1.9 million of emergency assistance to 19 agencies to serve low-income Coloradans in need of emergency rental and mortgage assistance due to economic hardship due to COVID-19. Two agencies will provide assistance to eligible Coloradans in all 64 counties: Salvation Army and Colorado Housing Connects. DOH has also developed an Eviction Resources Map that can be used with 211 to help renters avoid eviction.
On Thursday, the governor signed an Executive Order extending the disaster emergency declaration for an additional 30 days. The new order expires May 8. The new order amends the previous order:
The governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 033 which is a one-time extension of state severance taxes from April 15 to May 15, 2020.
Finally, the Division of Real Estate within the Department of Regulatory Agencies has issued guidance on real estate transactions. Closings, inspections, and final walkthroughs are considered essential to closing a transaction. Open houses and showings are not permitted under the stay at home order.
Governor Polis gave a rare televised address to the state of Colorado on Monday night. The governor stressed that the sacrifice of staying at home is not easy, but when it comes to the choice of temporarily shutting down the economy or catastrophic loss of life, then the choice is easy, he said.
The governor extended the statewide “stay at home” order, slated to expire on April 11, to Sunday, April 26. The governor referenced data that lead him to this decision: Before the stay-at-home order, Colorado’s infection rate was doubling every 1 to 2 days. Current data has the doubling rate at every 6 to 7 days. Governor Polis said these numbers demonstrated that statewide social distancing efforts were working. Finally, the Governor noted that the statewide order could be released earlier, if data continues to show that hospitals can handle COVID patients.
By extending the statewide order, it appears that construction and other essential services will be able to continue through April 26.
Also, on Monday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock extended the city’s “stay-at-home” order to April 30. By extending the Denver order, Mayor Hancock is also allowing construction and other essential services to continue through April 30.
On Tuesday, the Governor executed several items to correspond to the stay-at-home order extension to April 26, including:
To review all of Governor Polis’s executive orders and other actions, please click here.
With the current extensions, it’s important that our industry proactively works to ensure that all workers are following social distancing practices as much as possible. Working through these extended orders is a privilege. We need to demonstrate that we have responsible jobsites so the privilege isn’t revoked.
The CAHB has several resources to ensure that your jobsites have the proper signage and information to keep workers safe and healthy. The CAHB has an English and Spanish-language handout that can be distributed at worksites and posted in key locations. The handout is available by clicking here. Please take a moment to review the content and to ask all jobsite managers to distribute this handout.
In addition, the NAHB has developed a toolkit (available by clicking here) with COVID-19 prevention, preparedness and response plans.
Our goal is to follow the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guidelines on jobsite safety—available by clicking here.
Daniel Hayes, the proponent of Initiative 122, was quoted Monday in a Colorado Sun, indicating that his petition drive for 122 is over due to the statewide “stay-at-home” order. From the Sun article:
In 2018, Hayes’ informed the media that he would not collect any signatures, but he never formally pulled the measure with the Secretary of State. The campaign against 122 will continue to monitor this closely until the June 5 signature deadline to ensure that 122 officially does not qualify for the ballot.
The CAHB and its partners have worked closely with the state of Colorado and local officials to ensure that construction remains an essential service during the current COVID “stay-at-home” orders. In order to remain working during the current and future orders, we need to work together to ensure that all workers are following social distancing practices as much as possible. Remember, working through this Order is a privilege. We need to demonstrate that we have responsible jobsites so the privilege isn’t revoked.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released guidance on worksite safety—please click here to review.
The CAHB has an English and Spanish-language handout that can be distributed at worksites and posted in key locations. The handout is available by clicking here. Please take a moment to review the content and to ask all jobsite managers to distribute this handout.
For more information, please click here for a toolkit from NAHB that will help further promote and institute COVID-19 prevention, preparedness and response plans. The toolkit can help make your company’s policies safer and demonstrate to local government partners, trade partners and the community that we are going above and beyond to promote safe and clean worksites.
CARES Act Programs:
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Phase 3 economic-stimulus package passed by Congress last week includes two important programs for small business: The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
PPP will expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) loan program to include nearly $350 billion for payroll. The program is for companies with 500 or fewer employees. It is not provided through SBA directly, so the first step to qualifying for a loan through PPP is to find an SBA-approved lender in your community. If your bank is not an SBA lender, you can contact the SBA at 1-877-475-2435 or visit the SBA 7(a) loan program by clicking here.
The NAHB has put together FAQs on how to apply for a small business loan under the Payroll Protection Program. The FAQs are available by clicking here.
For HBAs and local associations, the NAHB has put together a Stimulus Resources for State and Local Associations guide document. Please click here to review.
According to the Treasury Department, the SBA should have this program up and running by tomorrow, April 3, so that businesses can go to a participating SBA 7(a) lender, bank or credit union to apply for a loan—and be approved on the same day.
If you have questions about the SBA program, please complete an NAHB web form at https://www.nahb.org/other/forms/open/feedback-on-small-business-administration-loan-programs.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans program will allow small business owners to apply for low-interest loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19. Applicants may request an advance in the amount of $10,000 to be delivered within three days of the request. This advance must be used to:
An applicant will not be required to repay this advance if it is used for these purposes, even if they are subsequently denied a loan under the EIDL program. Qualified businesses can apply online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. For application assistance, please contact the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAHB CARES Act Seminar:
Join NAHB for a series of member-only webinars on today and Friday to learn what the CARES Act means for home builders.
Visit the registration page to learn more and register today. There is limited capacity for these sessions, so be sure to register early. If the session you want to attend is full, the recordings will be available after the conclusion of the series.
Colorado General Assembly:
The Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon issued its opinion on the adjournment of the current legislative session. The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in favor of Democrat legislative leaders who argued that the state’s Constitution doesn't explicitly count legislative days as consecutive and instead can be separate working days—especially during a public-health emergency. The majority also concluded that the constitution also does not set an end date for the 120-day session, but that it does specifically sets a session start date.
This likely means the General Assembly will continue to adjourn until the stay-at-home orders are lifted, possibly with exception of finalizing the state’s budget and other fiscal matters. Those must be completed before the first day of the state’s fiscal year on July 1. This likely means the General Assembly will reconvene in the summer, with 52 days left in the 2020 regular session.
Updates on Executive Orders from Governor Polis:
Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that he is extending school closures through April 30, consistent with federal guidance on in-person gatherings. Gov. Polis is expected to issue an Executive Order on the extension. In addition, Denver Mayo Michael Hancock has said he is preparing an extension of Denver’s “stay-at-home” order through April 30 and will then have a phased approach to slowly reopen Denver—if the order is not extended into May.
The Governor recently signed an Executive Order temporarily suspending the personal appearance requirement before notarial officers can perform notarizations. The EO authorizes the Secretary of State to promulgate and issue temporary emergency rules in order to facilitate remote notarization.
Colorado receives Major Disaster Status:
On March 28, the federal government approved a Major Disaster Declaration request for Colorado, unlocking access to more federal resources for the state. This designation, combined with the legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President, is welcome relief on both the emergency management front and the economic front. The Governor has held daily calls with Colorado’s federal delegation. The federal delegation also supported the request with a joint letter.
REMINDER – PPE Donations:
The CAHB and local HBAs are still working to collect excess personal-protection equipment (PPEs) for our hospitals and frontline medical providers working hard to defeat COVID-19. This equipment, specifically protective masks and eye protection, are commonly used in construction.
The Metro Denver and Northern Colorado HBAs are accepting donations at the following locations:
**At both of these sites there will be containers in the parking lots that you can simply drop your supplies into. **
For other donation locations in Colorado Springs and statewide, please click here.
After donating supplies, please let us know by tweeting us at @COHomeBuilders and use the hashtags: #doingmypartco and #HBAs4PPEs