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BOMA Calls on Congress to Consider Industry Concerns

Friday, May 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christine Miclat
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Article by BOMA International 
 
BOMA Calls on Congress to Consider Industry Concerns - April 30, 2020
 

 

 


This past month, we have all been faced with new challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our new normal consists of stay-at-home orders, long work hours, evolving family obligations and uncertainty about what the future holds. In just a short period of time, our daily lives have been upended and we are still adapting.

 

For our part, BOMA International’s advocacy team has been tirelessly working on your behalf on multiple fronts, from partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to include commercial real estate professionals in their Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce to directly lobbying Congress on a host of issues impacting commercial real estate.

This is in addition to the materials we have created on our Coronavirus Resource Center, including our just-released new guidance document, "Getting Back to Work: Preparing Buildings for Re-Entry Amid COVID-19."

 

The following stories highlight our most recent activities, including several new resources we’ve created to help BOMA members stay current on the best information available. Please reach out to our team for any other support you need. We stand ready to assist however we can.

Sincerely,

 

 


 

 

John R. Bryant

Vice President of Advocacy & Building Codes

 

 

 

In This Issue

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BOMA International Calls on Congress to Consider Industry Coronavirus Concerns

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U.S. Congress Approves Additional Relief Funding

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BOMA Releases New Tool to Track COVID-Related State Legislation

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BOMA Language Added to DHS Guidance on Essential Personnel

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BOMA International Wins 13th ENERGY STAR Award

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American Red Cross Needs Help Now

 

 

 


Federal

BOMA International Calls on Congress to Consider Industry Coronavirus Concerns

As the U.S. Congress considers additional legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic, BOMA International is asking lawmakers to take into consideration measures that ensure both the physical safety of property professionals and tenants and the financial security of the commercial real estate industry.

BOMA’s most pressing concerns are outlined in an April 16 letter to congressional leadership, authored by BOMA International Chair Scott Jones and BOMA International President Henry Chamberlain. The key concepts were vetted by BOMA International's Government Affairs Committee Chair Geoff Wardle, BOMA Fellow, and Vice Chair Mary Lantz, LCAM, RPA, as part of their ongoing work to help BOMA formulate legislative strategies and priorities for issues affecting commercial real estate.

Specifically, we are asking Congress to consider and act on the following:

• the safety of and liability protection for property owners and operators;

• the need for business interruption and pandemic risk insurance;

• improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); and

• inclusion of (c)(6) trade associations in the small business programs created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This letter to Congress is just one of the many ways BOMA International and its members have sought to partner with the public sector to help keep Americans safe and sustain the industry. While it does not encompass all the issues the commercial real estate industry is currently facing, this communication highlights the most significant, pressing concerns as BOMA continues to advocate at every opportunity. As the situation further develops, we will continue to engage Congress directly and work with our coalition partners to identify comprehensive solutions.

 

 


Federal

U.S. Congress Approves Additional Relief Funding

On Thursday, April 23, Congress overwhelmingly passed additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the most prominent small business assistance program from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or “Phase 3” of Congress’s coronavirus response.

Intended to prop up struggling small businesses during the pandemic shutdown, the PPP ran out of funds within days of coming online. Nearly $350 billion in funds was originally available for businesses with less than 500 employees to take out loans up to $10 million. While this program was just one of many loan programs created in the CARES Act, its ability to convert into a grant if used towards payroll, rent and utilities made it a favorite among cash-strapped businesses.

Congressional leaders have since spent the last few weeks negotiating plans to infuse the program with additional funds and help protect smaller, “Main Street” businesses. These negotiations resulted in what is being referred to as “Phase 3.5.” This phase includes $380 billion for PPP and other smaller business loans; a $75 billion increase in funds for hospitals; and an additional $25 billion for COVID-19 testing. BOMA will continue to work with Congress on practical solutions as the long-term economic effects of the coronavirus shutdown impact our members and tenants.

 

 


State and Local

BOMA Releases New Tool to Track COVID-Related State Legislation

U.S. state and local governments have been at the center of the COVID-19 emergency, and BOMA local associations have been hard at work ensuring that policies both slow the spread of the virus and also allow essential services to continue. Most government actions have taken place through executive orders, but a next wave of policy activity will be coming soon as many state legislatures are still in session. Some of this activity may significantly inform commercial real estate operations, especially as governments across the U.S. consider plans for reopening businesses. As first reported in BOMA International's Insider last week, to assist members with tracking any COVID-related state legislation, BOMA International has prepared a live report that details all current bills introduced at the state level that directly relate to the pandemic. The report will automatically update with the latest information, and members are welcome to share it.

Additionally, to see a comprehensive list of non-legislative actions in your state—including executive orders, emergency declarations, travel restrictions, school closures, etc.—visit our partner, the National Governors Association. Between these two resources, you can track major actions that have already taken place in your state and stay on top of potential upcoming legislation.

 


State and Local

BOMA Language Added to DHS Guidance on Essential Personnel

Recommendations from BOMA International have been incorporated into federal guidance on identifying essential personnel—a key issue during the COVID-19 emergency. As state and local governments began to implement stay-at-home orders, many turned to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for guidance. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of DHS had released an advisory document; commercial facilities were specified as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, but the guidance was otherwise vague on how that related to specific personnel. BOMA sent a letter to CISA requesting revisions based on the advocacy efforts already underway by many BOMA local associations. CISA has released the latest update of its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce and it includes our suggested language word-for-word:

 

Workers supporting the operations of commercial buildings that are critical to safety, security, and the continuance of essential activities, such as onsite property managers, building engineers, security staff, fire safety directors, janitorial personnel, and service technicians (e.g., mechanical, HVAC, plumbers, electricians and elevator).

 

This DHS guidance document will likely remain an important reference point going forward. Please contact Director of State and Local Affairs Ken Rosenfeld with any questions.

 



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