This Week In Policy

Chamber Testifies to Protect Education Reform Policies

On Thursday afternoon, Chamber Government Relations Vice President Mizraim Cordero testified in opposition to two bills that would remove key measures of students and accountability for educators. Both bills died in the committee.

  • Senate Bill 67 would eliminate the requirement that at least half of a teacher or principal’s evaluation be based on students’ academic growth. This accountability is important, especially among the people who are absolutely critical to a student’s success in school.
  • Senate Bill 101 would allow districts to decide whether to administer state assessments for ninth grade English language arts and math or either of the two college entrance exams to 10th and 11th grade students. Those assessments inform decisions by students and families about school options and any need for academic intervention; it also gives us a better understanding of the performance of our educational system. Removing requirements for these assessments means we will lose significant data that will help us continue to improve our education system.

We’re encouraged that there is continued support for high standards that help our students, families and educators make the most-informed decisions.

Read our testimony 

Chamber Continues to Track Bills on Housing, Construction Defects

Earlier this month, we told you about a bill that would address the onslaught of litigation that is suffocating development of entry-level housing. Senate Bill 156 is scheduled for a committee hearing on Feb. 27, and we’re hopeful that the General Assembly will support the variety of actions proposed in these bills—which includes informing owners of any potential litigation over a defect with the building and requiring alternative dispute resolution before bringing a case to court.
For the last four years, we’ve held that these are both commonsense policies that protect consumers by keeping them informed of any potential disputes that could tie up their property and saving them time and money in the long run by resolving any issues outside of a courtroom.

We are continuing to track other bills related to housing and construction defects but have not yet weighed in. Here’s why: We want to see all accompanying bills that get at the heart of the construction defects issue.

The bills we’re tracking include:

  • House Bill 1169: This bill clarifies that once notified of a possible construction defect claim that a construction professional may inspect and elect to repair the defect—or offer a monetary settlement. Unlike similar laws from other states, this law still allows a claim to be brought after a repair or settlement is made, which can still act as a deterrent for builders.
  • Senate Bill 45: This bill aims to speed up construction defects litigation (and, as a result, lower costs) by requiring the court to apportion the costs of defense within 90 days of a claim filing.
  • Senate Bill 155: This bill creates a statutory definition of a construction defect to “a defect in the design or construction of any improvement to real property that causes (a) any damages to, or the loss of use of, real or personal property; or (b) personal injury.”

These other bills only create meaningful improvement as a complement to legislation that allows for alternative dispute resolution and requires a majority vote of properly informed homeowners before taking legal action on behalf of a homeowner’s association. There is no silver bullet to solve construction defects—it takes a comprehensive approach and that’s what we want to see from the General Assembly.

We’ll continue to update you as more bills are introduced and begin to move through the legislature.

Read all the bills we are tracking.