2014 HBAI Legislative Affairs Committee Review
Here are some interesting statistics from this past legislative session, provided by Legislative Chairman Glenn Siders (Iowa City).
- The Session opened January 13, 2014. The House adjourned 109 days later on May 1. The Senate adjourned Friday 110 days later on May 2.
- The Committee shared a total of 15 votes: Ames 1; Cedar Rapids 2; Des Moines 3; Dubuque 1; Fort Dodge 1; Iowa City 2; Northeast 1; Northwest 1; Quad Cities 2; and Sioux City 1.
- The Committee had 11 calls, averaging 36 minutes in length, and we averaged 12.5 members.
- The Committee reviewed 94 bills that included 10 carried over from the 2013 Session. It also included bills that changed from a study bill to a numbered bill.
- The Committee took positions on 18 bills, supporting 11 and opposing 7. The average vote cast per position was 8.2 and all votes were unanimous.
It was a relatively quiet year as far as legislation directly impacting the building/development industry. Some of the highlights included:
- Radon legislation was reduced to schools only. The residential component was removed.
- Window Fall Protection legislation was re-orchestrated and good future alliances were formed.
- Mechanics Lien legislation was thwarted.
Ames HBA Membership Meeting
Iowa State Football Coach Paul Rhoads spoke at last week’s Ames HBA membership meeting. He’s super optimistic about the prospects for the upcoming season, with some amazing early talent. They have three quarterback choices who will all be trying super hard to start. Coach Rhoads said that the Big 12 easily has more depth than any other conferences. Depth that is equally spread over many schools, which is going to make it an awesome season. He’s running a program that will not tolerate individuals who break the rules and has released a few players that had NFL sized talent, just because their ethical conduct was unbecoming. Good stuff and a great talk.
The Perils of Patent Trolls
Our HBAI Legislative Committee discussed the possibility of building bills based on patent trolling. At that time it was decided to take a wait and see approach – quite a few states passed legislation to safeguard our members from this growing trend.
NAHB Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Jim Rizzo, is attending the Spring Policy Conference of the Democratic Attorneys General Association in Seattle this week to represent the home building industry in a panel discussion examining the scourge of patent trolls.
Joining Jim on the panel will be representatives of other business sectors that have been targeted by patent trolling including retailing, financial services and the software industry.
NAHB was invited to participate in the forum shortly after a situation affecting home builders came to light in the Pacific Northwest. Builders there received letters charging that they were – or may be in the future — infringing on a construction-related moisture removal patent. The letters demanded that the builders enter a licensing agreement and pay the patent owner a fee per home to use their patented “process” or face legal action.
We will continue to monitor this and it may be something that we need to clean up in the next session. Google patent trolling and you’ll see exactly how this works. Crazy stuff.
HousingIowa Awards – Get Your Nominations In
The 2014 HousingIowa Conference will feature the 7th annual awards to honor awesome and outstanding leadership throughout all facets of Iowa’s housing industry.
The HousingIowa Awards recognize programs or projects based on their contributions to advancing the affordable housing industry in Iowa in three categories:
- Special Needs Housing Development
Eligible projects may represent new construction, rehabilitation or a new housing program/initiative. Please consider nominating an awesome program or project, by returning this nomination form and supporting materials to the Iowa Finance Authority no later than Thursday, July 3, 2014. Nominations for an individual project may only be received in one category.
May is National Home Remodeling Month
In May, during National Home Remodeling Month, this is your chance to reach out to your local media and consumers with a focus on the benefits of hiring a professional remodeler. Whether it’s tips for why, when and how to choose a professional remodeler, May is the time to celebrate the remodeling industry.
The campaign includes sample social media posts, web banners, press releases, fact sheets and other consumer materials. Members and local remodelers councils can download government proclamations, articles and op-eds, fact sheets and a how-to kit for implementing the campaign. These materials are easily customizable and can be used however you wish. Or follow our simple step-by-step guide to lead you through the campaign. Click here for the entire package.