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  • Archive for January 21st, 2015

    Jan 21

    PRESIDENT SIGNS TRIA REAUTHORIZATION

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Earlier this week President Obama signed into law the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015,” (H.R. 26).  Just last week the bill passed Congress by large margins in both houses – making this the first bill passed by the new Congress.

    The bill extends the terrorism insurance program that expired on December 31, 2014 by six years. It increases the insurer co-pay from 15 percent to 20 percent, gradually increases the program’s trigger from $100 million to $200 million, and increases the recoupment amount by $10 billion, to $37.5 billion. These changes represent several years of negotiations between the House, Senate and business community.

    All of our national organization have been very active in making this happen, but we want to especially thank ICSC, RILA, BOMA, and NAIOP for going above and beyond to provide the leadership and advocacy needed to make this happen!  They have worked together for several years with Congress to draft and support a compromise bill that ensures the continued availability and affordability of coverage for terrorism risk in the commercial marketplace.

    Click here for a story from The Hill about TRIA reauthorization and what it means to Commercial Real Estate.

    Jan 21

    NEW LEGISLATION

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    With the start of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session we are starting to see new bills introduced.  Legislators can introduce new measure up until the “Bill Introduction Deadline,” on February 27.  We expect up to 2,500 introductions, with a large majority of them coming the two weeks before the deadline.  Below are a few bills of interest that have been introduced to far.

    Jan 21

    ADA LAWSUIT REFORM

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Below are three bills regarding reformation of ADA “drive-by” lawsuits.  We expect several more bills on this topic.

    SB 67 (Galgiani D)   Disability access: statutory damages.

    Summary: Would except a small business from statutory damage liability in connection with a construction-related accessibility claim, and would instead limit recovery to injunctive relief and reasonable attorney’s fees as deemed appropriate by the court. The bill would also extend the period for correcting construction-related violations that are the basis of a claim from 60 days to 120 days of being served with the complaint, for purposes of reducing a defendant’s minimum statutory damage liability to $1000.

     
      AB 52 (Gray D)   Public accommodations: construction-related accessibility claims.  
      Summary: Would provide that a defendant’s maximum liability for statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation is $1,000 for each offense if the defendant has corrected all construction-related violations that are the basis of the claim within 180 days of being served with the complaint and the defendant demonstrates that the structure or area of the alleged violation was determined to meet standards or was subjected to an inspection, as specified.  
      AB 54 (Olsen R)   Public accommodations: construction-related accessibility claims.  
      Summary: Would, when a plaintiff brings a claim alleging a violation of a construction-related accessibility standard within 3 years of a change in that standard, allow a plaintiff to collect statutory damages only if the plaintiff also provides the owner, agent, or other party responsible for the place in violation with a written notice or demand letter at least 60 days prior to filing any action and the violation is not cured. The bill would require the written notice or demand letter to contain specified information.  

    Click on the bill number to read the full text.

    Jan 21

    “CALL BEFORE YOU DIG” REFORM

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    This bill seeks to reform the state’s “call before you dig – 811” system.  The current version of the bill removes all exemptions from calling.  Question is, would this impact your operations?  Are there instances where you break the surface of the ground that should not trigger a call.  We’d like to hear from you.

     

    SB 119 (Hill D)   Protection of subsurface installations.

    Summary: Would require the Contractors’ State License Board to adopt a program to enforce violations of provisions relating to excavation. The bill would authorize the board to require a contractor to undergo training, levy a fine, and suspend a contractor’s license for a violation.

     

    Click the bill number to read the text.

    Jan 21

    GOVERNOR’S GHG REDUCTION GOALS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Last week the Governor offered the following goals in his State of the Union speech to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state:

    “In fact, we are well on our way to meeting our AB 32 goal of reducing carbon pollution and limiting the emissions of heat-trapping gases to 431 million tons by 2020. But now, it is time to establish our next set of objectives for 2030 and beyond.

    “Toward that end, I propose three ambitious goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years:

    1. Increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources;

    2. Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent;

    3. Double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner.”

    To meet these goals we expect a combination of legislation, regulation, and Executive Orders that may impact a wide variety of commercial real estate operations.  From new building energy standards, increased operational efficiencies of HVAC and ductwork, solar installations, to more EV Charging stations.

    We are sharing proposals as they are offered, but want to be proactive and see what policy ideas our members may have and/or support that could help the state meet these goals.

    Jan 21

    GOVERNOR RELEASES 2015-16 BUDGET PLAN

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    From the Governor’s press release:  “This carefully balanced budget builds for the future by saving money, paying down debt and investing in our state’s core needs,” said Governor Brown. “Our long-term fiscal health depends on the wise and prudent actions we take today.”

    When Governor Brown took office in 2011, the state faced a massive $26.6 billion budget deficit and estimated annual shortfalls of roughly $20 billion. Since then, the state has eliminated these deficits with billions of dollars in cuts, an improving economy and new temporary revenue approved by California voters.

    To maintain the fiscal stability that has been achieved, the budget reflects the continuation of spending cuts made in the last two years, continues to pay down the “wall of debt” and recognizes risks that remain.

    Click here to read the Governor’s Press Release.

    The full summary of the Governor’s Proposal can be viewed at www.ebudget.ca.gov or www.dof.ca.gov.