BOMA Insider (from the BOMA Advocacy Update)

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


July 30, 2020

With a national election looming this fall, the U.S. Congress is still struggling to pass a new trillion-dollar stimulus bill. Republicans recently unveiled their long-awaited plan, while Democrats remain firm on their proposal that already passed the House of Representatives in May, resulting in a contentious debate. As the negotiations continue between House and Senate leaders, BOMA is well positioned to lobby on a host of issues currently being considered as part of a congressional deal, including liability protections for businesses and property owners and new tax credits to offset the costs of cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19-related expenditures.
At the state level, our team continues to work with BOMA local associations to provide meaningful advocacy support and in-depth analysis of state legislation. With certain states experiencing new surges in confirmed COVID-19 cases, we anticipate increased legislative activity—making our advocacy efforts more important than ever.
We compiled the following stories to highlight our recent activities, further demonstrating the value proposition of advocacy at all levels.

Cleaning Tax Credit Looks to Play Role in Larger Relief Package
On July 21, BOMA International called on its approximately 20,000 U.S. members to urge Congress to ensure that language from the Clean Start: Back to Work Tax Credit Act (H.R. 7079), a top legislative priority of the commercial real estate industry is included in the next coronavirus relief package. H.R. 7079 would allow a refundable tax credit of up to $25,000 per location (and $250,000 per business) for cleaning and cleaning-related products, supplies, training and personal protective equipment. In addition to the Clean Start Act, there are several other bills that similarly address increased building reentry costs. BOMA supports these efforts; measures to keep buildings and businesses clean and our tenants and staff safe are our top priority as we emerge from this crisis.

COVID-19 Cases on the Rise
Many states across the country began their reentry process at the beginning of summer as cases began to trend downwards. Now, just two months later, some states are beginning to roll back the reopening process after experiencing a spike in the number of cases.
A recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report estimated there have been approximately 4 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States since March, with more than 100,000 deaths. More than 50 of Florida’s hospitals have reached bed capacity in their ICUs and Missouri reached a single-day record for new cases. As of July 23, case numbers in only six states are trending in a downward direction. These alarming statistics further highlight the importance of following federal, state and local guidelines and mandates related to the virus. BOMA will continue to work with DHS as the situation develops to provide our members with the latest information.

2024 Code Development Process Under Way
The International Code Council’s (ICC) 2024 code development cycle will incorporate hundreds of code change proposals brought forward by the public and agreed upon through a consensus process. In advance of the formal code process, ICC created several committees tasked with writing and vetting proposals on various building codes topics. BOMA’s codes team is participating in almost every ICC workgroup to ensure that the codes continue to protect building occupants, first responders and properties. Topics that are currently being discussed include: passive fire protection features; occupied and vegetative roofs; fire fighter communications; electronic inspection reports; lockdown egress safety; energy storage systems; 3D printing; valet trash collection; and sleep pods.
An additional topic of interest to BOMA members is the discussion of sprinkler retrofits of single-exit high rises, hotels and motels, and other specific hazards. As the proposed codes are developed, BOMA will work to ensure that realistic timeframes are built into any new regulations so that building owners and managers are able to manage the retrofits into their workflow.

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