February – March 2020 Public Policy Update

March 4, 2020

The Downtown Denver Partnership advocates on behalf of its Members and in lockstep with its strategic plans, prioritizing key areas such as transportation, housing, homelessness, business climate, and parks and public spaces – all to ensure that our city continues to be a vibrant place where people and business want to be.

The Partnership is actively engaged in the following issues, while continuing to closely monitor the policy landscape at the local and state levels:

 

SB20 – 151: Administration of the Regional Transportation District (RTD)
A bill modifying the Regional Transportation District Act, SB 151 adds two new appointed members to the RTD Board of Directors; eliminates the current requirement that 30% of RTD’s operating costs comes from fares; and grants riders who feel they were underserved by RTD a greater ability to take legal action. This bill passed out of committee on March 3rd and will next be heard at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Partnership has not taken a position on this measure but continues to be deeply engaged.

 

RTD Proposed Service Changes
In an effort to provide more reliable service and address operator shortages, RTD’s Board of Directors is proposing a series of cuts that would go into effect in May. The proposed cuts include a reduction in 16th Street MallRide frequency. The Downtown Denver Partnership issued a letter of opposition to the RTD Board of Directors. If RTD’s Board approved changes in March, they will go into effect in May 2020.

 

SB20 – 138: Consumer Protection Defect Time Period
Proposed Senate Bill 20-138 has been introduced to increase Colorado’s statute of repose for construction defects from six to ten years. If enacted as proposed, SB20-138 would also start the timer for Colorado’s statute of repose later—only after both physical manifestation AND the cause of a defect are identified.  In addition, SB20-138 would make it easier for claimants to toll Colorado’s statute of limitations for construction defects.  In practice, this means construction defect claims will likely rise with extended time to file, and defenses based on the statutes of limitations and repose will be all but eliminated.

This measure rolls back parts of HB17-1279, a bi-partisan bill that reformed construction defects legislation under Governor Hickenlooper in 2017, aimed at breaking down barriers to for-sale housing – specifically condominiums – in Colorado.  The Partnership advocated in favor of this legislation, citing the critical nature of providing our workforce with access to diversity of housing type and affordability.

Joining with partners convened by the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), the Partnership has signed on to a letter opposing HB20-138.

 

HB20 – 1233: Basic Life Functions in Public Spaces
HB 20-1233 was introduced by Rep. Jovan Melton and Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, and is similar to previous Right to Rest bills, though this one refers to “Basic Life Functions,” and would make it illegal to enforce a camping ban in any city in the state. It specifically prohibited local governments from prohibiting people from living in legally parked cars.

HB 20-1233 was heard in the House Transportation and Local Government committee on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 and failed on a vote of 8 – 3.

The Partnership worked closely with the City, Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Competitive Council (C3) and The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce on their testimony.