Forty-six state legislatures will convene this year and thousands of bills will be filed at the state level. While CAI focuses on issues and trends that directly impact the 73.5 million Americans living in community associations, there are dozens of other emerging trends at the state level that our members should be aware of.
Affordable housing is one of the latest issues impacting community associations in 2020. However, our industry is not alone; realtors, homebuilders, and the rental apartment industry also are addressing the lack of affordable housing. The U.S. is currently grappling with rapidly growing housing needs and how to make homes more affordable for Americans, focusing on how to increase the stock of housing within reach for lower-income households. On January 24, 2020, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson announced a nationwide bus tour centered on affordable housing.
Over the last few years, we have seen several states, including Maryland and North Carolina, litigate the issue of gerrymandering—defined as manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favor one party or class over another—at the federal level. However, the U.S. Supreme Court decided last summer that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the scope of federal courts. This issue must now be reviewed at the state level.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, elected officials began to sign the “End Gerrymandering Pledge,” an initiative by the Common Cause of Maryland advancing fair redistricting reform. We will wait and see how states try to legislate this issue.
Policymakers continue to review healthcare reform at the state level, specifically transparency laws, payment reform, oversight and regulation of costs, among others. This topic likely will also take the lead during the 2020 election cycle.
State lawmakers are constantly discussing how the government can regulate a safe space for consumers and their data on the internet. Personal data breaches are sadly becoming a common occurrence, and our state legislators continue to review how legislation can help defend consumer privacy rights.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that states and other governmental bodies had the right to authorize sports betting. Prior to this decision, the practice was only legal in Nevada. In 2019, 20 states legalized sports betting, and we anticipate this number to rise during the 2020 state legislative sessions.
At the forefront of new issues from 2019 was the public health issue of teen vaping. According to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, an estimated 3.6 million middle- and high-school-aged youth reported using e-cigarettes or vaping devices in 2018. States will continue to address bills in 2020 that may impose a tax on e-cigarette products, raise the age of consumers allowed to purchase an e-cigarette, or enact ban on these products.
Community association residents, homeowner volunteer leaders, community managers, and business partners should maintain vigilance over how these legislative trends could benefit or affect their communities. Keep up with the latest updates on federal and state legislative and regulatory affairs, as well as court cases, by visiting www.caionline.org/advocacy.