BOMA Advocacy Update


Update from John R. Bryant | Vice President of Advocacy & Building Codes

November 20, 2020

Much has already been said about the November elections, and one major takeaway is that people wanted change—just not as much as predicted. Political pollsters and pundits once again misread tea leaves—although by a smaller margin than in 2016—and many predictions were shattered. The victory of President-Elect Joe Biden did not translate into a "blue wave" for Democrats, and Republicans fared well in many Senate races across the country. State elections were less dramatic, with only one governorship changing party control.

Looking forward, BOMA continues to work on COVID-related legislation, including cleaning tax credits and building liability protections and remains ready to work with both parties to help navigate these challenging times.

On a personal note, this will be my last issue contributing to BOMA International's Advocacy Update. While it was a difficult decision, I have accepted a new position as BOMA/San Francisco’s new Chief Executive Officer. My family and I are excited about the opportunity to move back to my home state, and I am grateful that I will remain within the BOMA family.

Lastly, thank you to BOMA International's advocacy team. You are nothing short of incredible, and I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside you. Meg, Emily, Ken and Maria, it has been a true privilege.

 


Federal

Federal Election Day Recap

After an Election Day that became an Election Week, former Vice President Joe Biden will become the next president of the United States. In the Senate, due to two run-off elections in Georgia, chamber leadership remains in limbo until January 5. Currently, the balance of power is 50 Republicans to 48 Democrats. Unless Democrats win both Georgia Senate seats, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will continue to lead the chamber, but with a narrower majority.

The U.S. House of Representatives will stay in Democratic hands; however, the party suffered some unexpected losses from its more moderate members. This situation forces Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) into complex conversations on the direction of the party with the growing group of progressives.

President-Elect Biden’s tax plan outlines a few items of concern to BOMA members, such as the taxing of capital gains as ordinary income for high earners, as well as raising the ceiling of the corporate rate. However, the outcome in the U.S. Senate is likely to thwart any major changes to the tax code. On the energy front, BOMA will work with the Biden administration to continue to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR® program, as well as a permanent and enhanced energy efficiency deduction for commercial buildings. While the new administration will set much of the agenda, much of the policy work will come from Congress.


State & Local

State & Local Election Day Recap

While high-profile presidential and congressional races got the headlines, a different story played out at the state and local level on Election Day. The surprise result: Not much changed at all. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were nearly 6,000 state legislative races and voters elected more than 1,500 new legislators; but in the end, it was a status quo election. Little changed in terms of control of legislatures as only two chambers changed hands—the New Hampshire House and Senate, where the GOP flipped both; if you include last year’s off-year election when both Virginia chambers flipped blue, that means over the two-year cycle, the parties came to a complete draw. In 11 governor races, every incumbent won, while open seats in Montana and Utah produced little suspense.

For commercial real estate specifically, there were mixed signals. There were a pair of momentous wins pushing back against property tax hikes, including California’s historic defeat of Proposition 15 on split-roll taxes (see below), while Colorado passed a mirror-image Amendment B that prevents residential taxpayers from receiving disproportionate property tax relief. But tax issues remain a primary concern and there was also bad news on Election Day, highlighted by San Francisco, where three ballot measures levying new or higher taxes on the business community all were approved by wide margins. While not much changed overall at the state and local level, the industry will need to remain vigilant and advocacy will continue to hold critical importance during a particularly challenging time.


Advocacy

New One-Pager Spotlights Advocacy Efforts During COVID-19 Pandemic

Advocacy has been more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new one-page resource from BOMA International summarizes the highlights. From a series of new preparedness guides to important victories on essential personnel and Qualified Improvement Property (QIP), the advocacy team and our partners have been busy getting BOMA local associations and their members the resources they need during this challenging period. Learn more here, and feel free to share this summary with colleagues to reinforce the power of the BOMA network.

Building Codes Committee Hosts Virtual Meeting

BOMA International’s Building Codes Committee hosted a virtual meeting on October 28. Joined by a number of industry partners, a variety of topics were covered, including a water quality/legionella standard update and the 2021 Group B code development cycle and energy code activities. Additionally, BOMA International Cornerstone Partner Trane gave a presentation on COVID prevention technology for commercial buildings. For those who were unable to join the meeting, you can download a recording of it here.

 


Preparedness

The CDC Needs Your Input

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Legionella team has reached out to BOMA International asking for members to provide insight on how building water systems are functioning amid lower occupancy rates due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Particularly, they are looking to learn about:

  1. The needs and concerns of building owners and managers and other stakeholders related to buildings and building water systems during re-entry.
  2. Stakeholder perceptions and uptake of CDC’s Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation.
  3. Preferences for future educational materials about building re-entry guidance.

Following best practices during re-entry is essential to improve the safety of occupants and avoid unintended consequences such as exposure to mold, lead, copper and biofilm-based pathogens. The CDC is hoping to learn more about building owners and managers’ practices related to re-entry buildings and will use results from this assessment to inform its development of best practices. To access the survey, please follow this link: CDC Building Water System Survey. The survey closes December 18. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact [email protected].

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