Weekly Update: February 2, 2017

GCRHBA Helps Homeless Veterans with $5k Donation

The Greater Cedar Rapids Housing and Building Association (GCRHBA) put together a Community Gala and helped support HACAP’s Operation Home to end veteran homelessness.  Over 25% of the homeless population has served our country in the military.  The GCRHBA proudly presented a $5,000 donation to the program.

Word is that Home Builders Do Not Care Much about the Statute of Repose Reduction – That’s What Legislators are Saying Anyway

Our call to action on this issue has been very weak.  Thanks to those members who did follow through with sending a note to legislators, but word at the Capitol is that the home builders must not care that much about it since they haven’t heard much from constituents.

Our number one legislative priority this year is reducing our state’s Statute-of-Repose from 15 years to eight.  We have the longest in the entire U.S.  Reducing it will bring in new insurance companies and reduce your insurance rates due to the shorter risk exposure.  All of our surrounding states have ten or less years.

We are working tirelessly to convince members of the House Judiciary Committee to pass the bill (HF3) as written.  It covers all real property.  There is a movement to take residential construction out of the language.  We need you to contact your representatives and you can email them by clicking on their name below.  Just to keep track, if you wouldn’t mind cc’ing HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson (jayiverson@hbaiowa.org ), that would be great.

 

Iowa House Judicial Committee

Republicans:

Chair

Chip Baltimore  – Boone Area – District 47

Vice Chair

Jim Carlin – Sioux City Area – District 6

 

Stan Gustafson – Cumming/Winterset/Norwalk Area – District 25

Greg Heartsill – Chariton Area – District 28

Lee Hein – Monticello/Anamosa/Manchester Area – District 96

Ashley Hinson – Marion/Hiawatha/Robins Area – District 67

Megan Jones – Sioux Rapids/Emmetsburg/Okoboji Area – District 2

Kevin Koester – Ankeny/Saylor/Crocker Area – District 38

Andy McKean – Anamosa/Maquoketa Area – District 58

Zach Nunn – Bondurant/Altoona/Elkhart Area – District 30

Ross Paustian – Walcott/Eldridge/Blue Grass Area – District 92

Ken Rizer – Marion/Bertram/Ely Area – District 68

Matt Windschitl – Missouri Valley Area – District 17

 

Democrats

Mary Lynn Wolfe – Clinton Area – District 98

Liz Bennett – Cedar Rapids Area – District 65

Vicky Lensing – Iowa City Area – District 85

Brian Meyer – Des Moines Area – District 33

Jo Oldson – Des Moines Area – District 41

Rick Olson – Des Moines/Pleasant Hill Area – District 31

Ras Smith – Waterloo/Evansdale Area – District 62

Beth Wessel-Kroeschell – Ames Area – District 45

Talking Points:

If you can add a personal story or way to express that this affects you directly, that would be better than copying and pasting the following talking points.  These are here to help you add to the argument:

Address them as “Representative (last name)”

  • Nationally 93% of all claims happen by month 96 and over 99% by 120 months.
  • Reducing the statute-of-repose will spur more development and support more jobs.
  • Surrounding states (MN, WI, SD, NE, IL, MO, KS) all have ten years of less.  We are at a disadvantage when competing with border cities.
  • From a small business standpoint, we believe that our members could see a 20% reduction in insurance premiums due to a competitive environment.  Nearly 70% of the insurance companies stopped offering builders risk insurance products during the recession and as a result of our 15 year Repose.
  • A large insurance company is called 2/10 Warranty group – two year limitations and ten years repose is the national standard.  They once had a five year extension, but it failed miserably.
  • It will help with housing affordability
  • Support HF3 as it is written, covering all real property.
  • Iowa is out of the mainstream for construction litigation claims.  We have a 15 year statute of repose for improvements to real property (i.e. buildings, highways, bridges, etc.), which is the longest in the nation.  Just compare us to neighboring states – all are at ten years or less, plus many other states have recently reduced theirs to as low as four.
  • Most claims occur within the first three years.  The reduction will have very little impact on the consumer.
  • Cases are difficult to manage at the end of that 15 years – people die, companies are sold or closed, documents are lost, memories fade, etc.
  • These laws encourage timely resolution of disputes and promote justice by disposing of old claims and shifting liability to those in control of the property.
  • Without these laws construction professionals could be liable for their work indefinitely.
  • A shorter statute of repose would be a significant benefit to construction professionals in Iowa. An eight-year statute of repose perhaps strikes a better balance between the need for the law to afford a redress for an injury and the need to limit liability for construction professionals after a certain amount of time has passed.
  • A reduction in the repose period would not impact construction project owners’ ability to assert breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud or any other claims.
  • Studies have shown that bad building practices and deficiencies can reasonably be discovered within 5 years.  Certainly there are instances in which it takes longer, but the question remains as to what is a fair and reasonable timeline.  15 years in not fair and reasonable.

Legislative Committee Report for 1/27/17

It’s not all about Repose, we’re also following dozens of other bills that may directly affect you.  There are some exciting new offerings on the horizon as well.  The following were discussed last week in our HBAI Legislative Committee.

SF1Job impact statements for administrative rules – This bill would codify Governor Branstad’s Executive Order 71, which would require state agencies to conduct a jobs impact study on all administrative rules. FOR

SF14 – An Act relating to revenue and taxation by increasing the sales and use tax rates (to 6 and 3/8ths and sunsets in 2030), establishing transfers to the natural resources and outdoor recreation trust fund, and including effective date provisions.  UNDECIDED

SF16Property taxes on wind energy conversion property:  Division and allocation of property taxes levied against wind energy conversion property located in an urban renewal area and including effective date provisions. MONITOR

SF32An Act relating to private sector employee drug testing.  This bill provides that such private sector drug testing may be conducted on hair samples in addition to saliva, urine, blood, etc.  FOR

SF42Small claims – This bill makes jurisdictional changes to small claims court cases.  FOR

SF80 – An Act relating to wage payment collection issues arising between employers and individuals who provide services to employers, providing penalties and remedies, and including effective date provisions. MONITOR


SSB1009 – An Act relating to the authority of cities to regulate and restrict the occupancy of residential rental propertyMONITOR

SSB1010Statute-of-Repose – This bill relates to the statute-of-repose period in a case arising out of the unsafe or defective condition of an improvement to real property. Under current law, a case arising out of the unsafe or defective condition of an improvement to real property is subject to a 15-year statute of repose. Such cases are based upon an injury to property or an injury or death of a person. The bill reduces the period of the statute of repose from 15 years to 8 years. A statute-of-repose period differs from a statute-of-limitations period in that a statute of repose establishes a time period after which a lawsuit based upon negligence in an improvement to real property cannot be filed regardless of whether an injury to a person or to property has occurred. A statute-of-limitations period begins at the date of the injury or upon discovery of the deficiency. The bill does not reduce the statute of repose for real property improvements in existence prior to the effective date of the bill.  FOR

SSB1013 and SSB1014Decoupling bonus depreciation – Last year’s bill covered tax year 2015 only.  We are investigating potential tax benefits for our members.


HF3Statute-of-Repose – Our top priority, 15 years reduced to eight.  FOR

HF16Electrical supervision – This bill would allow a licensed electrician to only be present for 25 percent of each day’s work period for the apprentice electrician or unclassified person to perform electrical wiring.  We are checking in with our members to gathering opinions.  If you are an electrical contractor, please look at the bill and email Jay Iverson.

HF23Worker shortage loan forgiveness – This bill creates a worker shortage loan forgiveness program to be administered by the college student aid commission. MONITOR

HF64Utility cost disclosures in connection with rental properties – a landlord shall disclose to a prospective tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy, or to an existing tenant at any point during the tenancy, the gas, electric, water, or sewer utility service costs for a dwelling unit. MONITOR

HF75 – Study of the economic, fiscal, and social impact of the living wage in Iowa – This bill directs Iowa state university, contingent upon funding, to conduct a study regarding the economic, fiscal, and social effects that a living wage, or self-sufficiency wage, would have in Iowa. The bill details the criteria that the study must include. Three Iowa state university professors with specialized knowledge in this area shall conduct and coordinate the study.  MONITOR

HF98Workers compensation benefits to be calculated with overtime and premium pay – includes an annual cost of living adjustment. UNDECIDED

HF100Nullification of US EPA Regulations – This bill nullifies the regulations of the United States Environmental protection agency in this state. The bill states that the regulation-making authority of the United States environmental protection agency is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States in any article or amendment and violates the Constitution’s true meaning and intent. The bill makes the department of natural resources responsible for the protection of the environment in this state. All laws and funding appropriations related to environmental protection shall be enacted by the general assembly of this state.  MONITOR

HF104Open school enrollment through property tax equalization – if the parent or guardian of a pupil requesting open enrollment the amount of the property tax equalization fee is an amount equal to the assessed value of the parent or guardian’s homestead located in the district of residence.  MONITOR

HF105Minimum wage – This bill increases the state minimum hourly wage to $8.00 as of July 1, 2017, $9.00 as of January 1, 2018, $10.00 as of January 1, 2019, and $11.00 as of January 1, 2020. The bill increases the state minimum hourly wage for employees employed for less than 90 days to $7.10 as of July 1, 2017, $8.10 as of January 1, 2018, $9.10 as of January 1, 2019, and $10.10 as of January 1, 2020. MONITOR

HF117Property tax levy for flood and erosion control – County boards of supervisors can levy a property tax not to exceed 6 ¾ centers per 1,000 of all agricultural lands.  This bill strikes language limiting the levy to agricultural lands and provides that the property tax is imposed on all taxable property in the county.  MONITOR


HSB39Manufactured housing program fund – creates the manufactured housing program fund within the Iowa finance authority to further the  goal of providing affordable housing to Iowans. The moneys in the fund are annually appropriated to the authority for the purpose of providing funding to financing agents or financial  institutions to finance the purchase by an individual of a manufactured home that is in compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and standards that are applicable to manufactured homes and manufactured housing.  MONITOR

Mortgage Money  

After peaking at 40.8 million in 2007, the number of tax returns claiming the mortgage interest deduction has steadily fallen, and as of 2013, the latest year from which data is available, stands at just 33.3 million. Not surprisingly, the amount of mortgage interest paid also peaked in 2007 at $491 billion and is now $296 billion, while the average amount of MID claimed/filer has fallen from $12,052 to $8,900. Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

The Coyote Principal

This goes back a few years, but just resurfaced again.  Too close to reality!

California

The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor’s dog, then bites the Governor.  The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie “Bambi” and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.

  • He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
  • He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.
  • The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.
  • The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.
  • The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a “coyote awareness program” for residents of the area.
  • The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.
  • The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re the nature of coyotes.
  • PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against the state.

TEXAS

The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.  The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.  The buzzards eat the dead coyote.

And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not

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