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General assembly

State legislators talk successes and failures

Parties found common ground on construction-defects litigation, but clashed on transportation funding


State lawmakers were counting their wins and losses in the days after the conclusion of the legislative session.

Colorado Community Media talked to a couple of high-ranking state representatives, a Democrat and a Republican, for perspective on the session that ended May 10.


House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, and House Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, both count the passage of a construction defects reform bill as a success this year.

House Bill 1279, if signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, will require the approval of a majority of members of a homeowners association to approve a lawsuit against a contractor. It would also require HOA boards to disclose projected costs of proposed litigation to members and call a meeting at which the executive board and the developer or builder will have an opportunity to present arguments.

It drew support from across the spectrum and was sponsored by both Duran and Wist.

“It's a big step in the right direction,” Wist said.

The bill was introduced with bipartisan support after a similar measure died in a committee in the Democrat-controlled House after passing the Republican-controlled Senate. That measure, Senate Bill 156, would have also required HOAs to enter into third-party arbitration with builders before filing suit, and drew broad opposition from House Democrats.

“We were able to find common ground that will hopefully spur more condos being built,” Duran said.

Wist also said he considers House Bill 1150, limiting bail for stalking or domestic violence offenders; House Bill 1220, limiting residential marijuana grows, and House Bill 1302, establishing laws on juvenile sexting, as successes as well.

Duran said Senate Bill 267, converting the hospital provider fee to an enterprise program and funding infrastructure projects, was a success. She also counted some criminal justice reform bills as successes.


Duran and Wist both count the Legislature's inability to come to a consensus on transportation-infrastructure funding as a disappointment, but from different points of view.

Democrats, and a few Republicans, supported a bill that would have put a sales tax increase in front of voters in November in order to fund transportation projects. After passing the house with the support of four Republicans, it was stopped by the Senate finance committee.

“It was a bipartisan compromise,” Duran said of the bill, noting it had co-sponsorship from Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City.

She said she believes it could have passed on the Senate floor.

Wist says the state should prioritize infrastructure funding in the general fund rather that creating new taxes.

“There is waste in this budget that could be reallocated to transportation if only we had the process to do it,” he said.


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