State Rep. Cole Wist has got construction defects on the mind, understandably so.
At midnight on Thursday, after a long day at the Legislature, including sitting on an hours-long committee hearing that concluded with lengthy and emotional testimony on the “Ralph Carr” bill meant to head off Trump-era encroachments on states rights and civil rights, Wist’s Twitter account came to life.
“Construction litigation reform is not dead this session. Lots of time on the clock and work to do,” he tweeted.
Wist, a Republican from Centennial, was probably not tweeting about the chances his construction litigation Senate Bill 156 would make it through the House State Affairs “kill” committee in April.
He has been fielding questions for days on the fact that Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran assigned his bill to State Affairs. It was a move that drew groans from Republican lawmakers and Democratic mayors and sighs from the army of lobbyists hoping to see progress made this session on the thorny issue.
Wist was likely referring to compromise bipartisan legislation he is working up with Reps. Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and Lori Saine, R-Firestone. No new bill was listed under his name on the General Assembly website Thursday night.
For years lawmakers and special interest groups have been wrestling over the state’s construction defects law, which made it easier for homeowners to sue builders for shoddy work. The result is that lawsuits have multiplied, litigation costs have piled up, builder insurance rates have climbed and condo construction in particular has dropped.
Parties have struggled to strike the right balance between protecting builders and protecting consumers.
Democrats generally have guarded the stiff consumer protections current law provides. Wist’s bill would require that a majority of the owners of units in a building green light any planned lawsuit. Homeowners Associations would have to notify members that they plan to sue and also provide legal cost estimates.