January 31, 2020
The Big Issues
REGULATION OF BUILDING MATERIALS
- HB 1060 would prevent local ordinances from regulating building materials or aesthetics of residential structures, grandfathering in existing historical preservation or architectural districts.
- Aim opposed this bill because it would have tied the hands of local governments to establish and enforce a locally-crafted set of structural and aesthetic standards that help ensure sustainability and quality neighborhoods that support property values.
- HB 1060, authored by Representative Doug Miller, was removed from the House calendar before being called for Second Reading, so it is now dead. Thank you for contacting your state representatives about this bill – it made the difference!
PIPING MATERIALS FOR PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS
- SB 55 defined PVC piping as an acceptable material for public works projects and would have prohibited requests for bids from specifying the type of piping material necessary for the completion of a public works project. Rather, it would require any acceptable piping material as defined by this bill (i.e. PVC) to be considered.
- Municipalities are required by state law to accept the lowest responsible and responsive bid on public works projects. Under SB 55, if a bid were to come in with a different (less expensive) material than what the project engineer deemed appropriate, it may have caused a municipality to accept a bid with piping materials that are not best suited for the needs of the project.
- SB 55, authored by Senator Blake Doriot, was not called for a vote in the Senate Commerce and Technology committee at their last meeting and is now dead.
BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION
- Under current law, if a taxpayer owns personal property with an acquisition value of $40,000 or less, they are exempt from business personal property tax liability. SB 385 would change this so the assessed value (including depreciation) is used to calculate the exemption.
- Under SB 385, more businesses would qualify for the exemption. Aim opposes this bill because local governments will lose more revenue from the continued chipping away at the business personal property tax without an equivalent revenue replacement mechanism.
- SB 385, authored by Senator Aaron Freeman, passed the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee on Tuesday with a vote of 9-2 and will be voted on by the full Senate next week.
- SB 190 would exempt roads, streets, and bridges from the definition of a controlled project so that a road project would never trigger a referendum or the petition/remonstrance process.
- Aim supports this bill because we do not believe it was ever the intention of the controlled projects statute to include road projects, and we have seen instances of communities throughout the state coming up against these requirements as they grow and develop.
- SB 190, authored by Senator Travis Holdman, passed the Senate this week with a vote of 39-11. We will continue to advocate for its passage in the House.
MUNICIPALLY OWNED UTILITIES
- HB 1165 would prohibit municipal utilities from ever holding property owners liable for the unpaid water, gas or electric utility bills of their tenants unless the property owner specifically requests to hold the utility bill in his/her name.
- Aim opposes this bill because it hamstrings the ability of municipal utilities to recover unpaid bills and undermines existing practice in many of the utilities around the state.
- HB 1165, authored by Representative Woody Burton, passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 64-31. With the bill now pending in the Senate, we will be talking with key senators about the bill’s harmful impact.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
Thank you to the many municipal officials who responded to our Action Alert and SOS emails earlier this week! As you’ll see in this edition of Legislative Summary, your calls, emails, and text messages really did the job on HB 1060, a bill that eliminated municipal control over housing building materials and aesthetics. Further, your continued pressure on HB 1165, a bill that completely eliminates landlord accountability for sewer bills, resulted in a vote that puts us on reasonable footing as we gear up to fight this bill in the Senate. Please continue watching for our alerts and engaging on bills that need immediate attention. We will need even more municipal involvement during the second half of the legislative session.
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