Weekly Update: February 13, 2014

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Speaker of the Iowa House Kraig Paulsen (left to right) meets with HBAI President Drew Retz, Tari Dailey, Mike Farr, and Doug Kohoutek yesterday at the Capitol.

Most Regions Meet with Key Legislators

In a rare moment when all the stars align, we had an excellent HBAI Legislative Day. It was a little shaky with the snowy weather right at the beginning, but our participants were able to meet with most of their area senators and representatives. It was nice to build and maintain those relationships without being at odds over any issues in particular. We presented a brochure containing our talking points. Click here for a copy of it. Our issues included:

Taxation: The membership of the HBAI appreciates the legislature and Governor’s successful 2013 session, which included property tax relief for Iowans. HBAI seeks to educate policy makers and the public on issues that will keep Iowa competitive and to ensure that future generations of Iowans have the opportunity of economic prosperity through home ownership. 

Housing Affordability: Our members are true patriots for housing affordability-they are small business owners under constant attack through unnecessary code changes and increased government regulation. These proposals drive up the cost of home ownership, which keeps Iowans trapped in less-efficient, less-safe existing housing. Our efforts with the National Association of Home Builders resulted in a savings of $6,200 per housing start in 2013. Policy makers must be able to review proposed and existing regulations to confirm that they do not inhibit our housing affordability.

Statute of Limitations (HF572):  It is very important to note that this bill is not related to, nor does it impact, the Statute of Repose (HF2094) bill.  The proposed reduction from five years to a three year discovery period is very important to the consumer because the earlier that problem mitigation begins, the less overall damage there will be, reducing repair time, loss of use of the home, and a positive economic impact by reducing their insurance rates.

 Collaboration: We enthusiastically keep ahead of safety, energy, and health issues. As the industry evolves we prefer to collaborate and work within the market, rather than constantly change Iowa Code. Window fall protection, which has been in the news and in front of the legislature for the past few years, would be an example of how collaboration is working. Rather than duplicate Iowa Code, we are working with Blank Children’s Hospital, the Iowa Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, the Hannah Geneser Foundation and Governor Branstad to promote child safety.

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First HBAI BOD Meeting at New Office

Our first HBAI Board of Directors meeting in the new offices worked out great. We were able to walk to the Capitol and it all seemed to come together very well. Great Caterers of Iowa provided great food for breakfast and lunch.

Health Care Help for Housing Professionals

As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes full effect, housing professionals have questions about its impact on businesses and employees. One of the largest concerns is the potential for penalties.

Join NAHB for the How to Avoid Paying Penalties Under Health Reform Webinar, Wednesday, February 19, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET. We will help you understand the new mandates in the law requiring you to have health coverage and the possible penalties if you forgo health insurance. This webinar is free to NAHB members. Topics include mandates and penalties, exchanges – Individual and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), and tips for meeting coverage requirements. Register Now! 

Inaugural Doug Mayo Golf Invitational

hbaiowa-3We haven’t formally released all of the information on the inaugural Doug Mayo Golf Invitational set for June 27, but it will be sold out in the next few weeks. A tsunami of support is upon us, everyone seems to want to be involved. Click here for the official flyer

 

NAHB Urges OSHA to Withdraw Silica Rule

On Tuesday, NAHB requested that OSHA withdraw a proposed rule that would drastically lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry.

The rule also requires impractical medical surveillance of construction industry workers, extensive and costly recordkeeping processes, and restrictions on certain construction site work practices, which contradict existing safety procedures.

OSHA has determined that a rule is needed to substantially reduce the risk of serious disease from exposure to airborne concentrations of silica dust. This, however, runs contrary to data from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows a sharp decline in the incidences of silicosis in recent decades. To date, OSHA has not explained how drastically lowering the PEL will effectively reduce the current number of silica-related illnesses and deaths.

As such, NAHB is recommending that OSHA use the existing PEL for silica in construction until a comprehensive study demonstrates that the PEL must be made lower for legitimate health reasons. NAHB has also advised OSHA to focus mandated control methods on silica-generating tasks – within the construction industry – that have been proven by silica exposure monitoring data to generate high levels of silica exposure above the existing PEL.

In addition to the drastic 80 percent reduction in the PEL, NAHB believes the rule is economically and technologically unfeasible for the industry to comply with. OSHA has estimated that the rule will cost the industry approximately $511 million to implement, however, analyses show that this number is grossly underestimated. Economic analysts estimate the cost to be closer to $2.2 billion per year, and likely to increase given the present state of the economy. 

Weekly Update: February 6, 2014

HBAI Board of Directors to Meet With Legislators Next Week

Your HBAI Board of Directors meets next week, February 12, and will take our messages to the hill.  It should be an interesting day.  Here are some items of interest: 

HSB 573 Land use restrictions (Judiciary: Baltimore) [undecided]
HSB 575 Private construction contracts (State Government: Vander Linden) [undecided]
HSB 583  Regulating Multi-housing (Judiciary: Baltimore) [undecided]
   
HF 460  Drainage/levee districts (Ag: Maxwell, Muhlbauer, Moore) [undecided]
HF 2010 Common interest commn (Jud: Brandenburg, Heartsill, Meyer) [undecided]
HF 2011 Hourly wage increase (Labor: Forristall, Murphy, Watts) [against]
HF 2048 Eminent domain (Judicial) [undecided]
HF 2052 Education requirements for heating licensing (State Government) [undecided]
   
SSB 3059 Fairness for construction contracts (State Government) [undecided]
SSB 3068 Restriction of rental property (State Government) [undecided]
SSB 3071 Hiring rights criminals over 10 yrs (Judiciary: Hogg, Petersen, Schneider) [undecided]
SSB 3115 Land use restrictions (Judiciary: Hogg) [undecided]
   
SF 431 Solar income tax credit (Ways & Means: Windschitl, Oldson, Sands) [undecided]
SF 2003 Rural improvement zones (Local Government) [undecided]
SF 2017 Tax exemption wetlands (Ways & Means) [undecided]
SF 2039 Minimum wage increase (Labor) [against]

Scenes from the International Builders Show

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This picture is from just a short time ago on the mega screen as HBAI State Representative Don Beal addresses the NAHB Board of Directors.