The 2013 legislative session promises to be interesting, observers say, but not necessarily in a good way for business groups such as the REALTORS®. With a new Speaker of the House and a new Senate President, the leadership has changed and REALTOR®-friendly legislators such as Rep. Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) lost their seats on powerful committees such as the Joint Budget Committee.
Although the session officially opens on Jan. 9th legislators have already faced the first deadline to submit their first bill titles. Senator-Elect John Kefalas (Fort Collins) and Rep. Claire Levy (Boulder) have announced their intent to introduce a bill related to Colorado insurance regulations as a result of the High Park Fire. Sen. Scott Renfroe (Greeley) said he would introduce a bill dealing with the rising water tables in the South Platte basin. Rep. DelGrosso has announced his intent to sponsor a bill that would eliminate personal property tax on new equipment.
In general terms, some observers have said this session could be “open season” on economic development. Rep. DelGrosso said the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate has already voiced its intent to further weaken enterprise zone regulations — one of the few economic development tools available from the State of Colorado. It also appears certain that some legislators will push for more restrictive gas and oil development regulations above and beyond the rules currently under consideration by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a move that will cause anxiety in areas such as Weld County that are seeing record revenues from these industries.