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Legislative Issues facing Homeowners in Colorado - by Janene Johnson

In my position as the Chairman of the Government Affairs Division for the Colorado Association of Realtors, I get to review legislation and issues facing the real estate industry in general and, more importantly, legislation that may harm the right to own private property. Here are a few highlights of pieces of legislation currently be considered by the Colorado State Legislature. Senate Bill 16-12 allows local assessors to grant additional time to landowners to reconstruct residential improvements that have been destroyed by natural causes. This alleviates the homeowner from having to pay higher property tax as though it were vacant land, even though they are trying to reconstruct the residential property. It has passed through the Senate and is now being voted on by the House, with all signs pointing to it passing to go to the Governor for signature. The Colorado Association of Realtors, with the help of Representative K.C. Becker, has proposed legislation that will increase the amount of the wildfire mitigation income tax deduction. Again, all signs point to this legislation being approved by the end of this years legislative session. House Bill 16- 1308 creates a criminal offense of fraudulent misrepresentation of a service animal. The offense applies to a person who intentionally fraudulently misrepresents an animal in his or her possession as a service animal for the purpose of obtaining the rights and privileges granted by law to persons with disabilities with service animals. This is a new bill and is currently under review by the Judiciary Committee. My thought is that this will affect a landlords rights versus a tenants rights with respect to service animals. House Bill 16- 1141 provides a number of protections to the citizens of Colorado from the hazards associated with naturally occurring radioactive materials in buildings, specifically the hazards from radon and mill tailings. The Colorado department of public health and environment (CDPHE) must develop a statewide educational program to educate the public, real estate brokers, and builders about radon gas, including health risks, testing options, and mitigation techniques. CDPHE must also establish a program to provide financial assistance to low-income individuals for radon mitigation in their homes. The bill extends by 10 years (from 2017 to 2027) the uranium mill tailings remedial action fund, which pays for a program that provides information to the public on uranium mill tailings contamination in residences and commercial buildings. This bill has passed through the House and is in review at the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. There are several other bills currently in process in the state legislature process that the Colorado Association of Realtors is monitoring. To me, its a fascinating process. Living in the Winter Park area, many of the existing water laws affect my neighborhood quite a bit so I love to keep an eye on the various legislation being proposed. Staying in contact with your State Senator and State Representative goes a long way to having your voice heard when they review these bills.

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