Legislation will save homeowners money on wildfire mitigation, invest in statewide wildfire prevention efforts and ensure Coloradans displaced by wildfires receive fair insurance payouts
DENVER, CO – The House advanced three wildfire bills today to build a healthier, safer Colorado. These bills move forward as Colorado faces the worst fire conditions in over a decade.
“The time to act on wildfire prevention efforts is now,” said Rep. Donald Valdez, D-La Jara, sponsor of HB22-1007 “My heart goes out to all those displaced by the recent wildfire in Monte Vista and yet this is another reminder of why we need to invest in prevention efforts to protect communities and build a safer state. Our bill saves homeowners money on removing debris, restoring fire damaged land and other mitigation efforts.”
“Damage from wildfire trickles down our watersheds, endangering our access to clean drinking water and making it harder for agricultural producers to supply the products we need,” Rep. Karen McCormick, D-Longmont, sponsor of HB22-1379. “Our bipartisan bill makes investments to improve our watersheds so we can protect Coloradans’ access to clean water and reduce widespread wildfire risk. We are taking steps to combat destructive wildfires in Colorado by protecting our watersheds.”
“We are making it clear, Coloradans who’ve lost everything in a wildfire should receive the insurance payouts they are owed,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder, sponsor of HB22-1111. “This bill cuts the red tape for Coloradans displaced by wildfire, so they can file and receive insurance claims faster. Recovering after a wildfire is stressful enough, and our bill ensures Coloradans face fewer insurance barriers and have more time to rebuild.”
Saving Homeowners Money on Wildfire Mitigation: HB22-1007, sponsored by Representatives Donald Valdez and Mike Lynch, passed the House by a vote of 56 to 8 and would save people money on wildfire mitigation measures. The bill extends an existing income tax deduction and creates a state income tax credit to reimburse landowners for the costs incurred in performing wildfire mitigation measures on their property.
A landowner with a federal taxable income at or below $120,000 is allowed a state income tax credit equal to 25% of mitigation costs, up to $625 per year. It also creates a grant program to fund local outreach efforts to communicate best practices in wildfire mitigation and prevention to landowners.
Preventing Wildfires and Conserving Colorado’s Watersheds: HB22-1379, sponsored by Representatives Karen McCormick and Marc Catlin advanced the House on a preliminary vote and would invest $20 million to protect Colorado’s watersheds and reduce the risk of wildfires.
HB22-1379 directs $20 million in federal pandemic economic relief funds to prevent wildfires and conserve Colorado’s watersheds through mitigation, watershed restoration and flood mitigation grants ensuring that Colorado can compete for other available water and wildfire funds.
Insurance Coverage For Loss Declared Fire Disaster: HB22-1111, sponsored by Representative Judy Amabile, concurred with the Senate amendments and the House repassed the bill by a vote of 54 to 10. HB22-1111 now heads to the Governor’s desk. The bill takes a proactive approach to ensure homeowners displaced by wildfires receive a fair and comprehensive payout for lost property after deeply traumatizing and catastrophic disasters.
This bill would update a 2013 law by standardizing what insurers will pay out in claims for lost property and additional living expenses after a declared wildfire disaster. More specifically, it would require insurers to pay disaster victims 65 percent of the value of the contents of their home up front without requiring the victim to do a comprehensive inventory of their personal property. Current law only guarantees 30 percent upfront, creating a burdensome process for many people to claim what they are owed after a deeply traumatizing event. The bill also puts in place several provisions that would streamline the insurance claims process for disaster victims.