Last Friday, the Legislature's Republican leaders announced plans to meet in extraordinary session this week to take up legislation responding to COVID-19.

The Assembly Organizational Committee is voting today to: 1)allow the Legislature to meet in Extraordinary Session; 2) to allow the Legislature to meet virtually; and 3) to introduce a COVID 19 legislative package which may be addressed during the Extraordinary Session call.

The COVID-19 legislative package is expected to include the following items affecting municipalities:

  • Waiver of Property tax interest payments: Under current law, a late installment payment of property taxes is subject to interest and penalties, with the interest accruing from February 1 of the year in which the taxes are due. Under this bill, for property taxes payable in 2020, after making a general or case-by-case finding of hardship, a municipality may provide that an installment payment due after April 1, 2020, that is received after its due date will not accrue interest or penalties if the total amount due is received on or before October 1, 2020. Interest and penalties will accrue from October 1, 2020, for any property taxes payable in 2020 that are delinquent after October 1, 2020. 

  • Claims for recovery of unlawful taxes and excessive assessments. Current law allows a person to file a claim to recover the unlawful imposition of property taxes or a claim for the excessive assessment of property taxes. However, no person may file a claim for recovery of unlawful taxes or excessive assessment unless the person has paid his or her property taxes on time. The bill provides that this restriction does not apply to taxes due and payable in 2020 if paid by October 1, 2020, or by any installment date for which taxes are due after October 1, 2020.  

  • Authorize trust fund loans to municipal utilities. Allow the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) to offer loans from the common school fund and other school trust funds to municipal utilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency so they may maintain liquidity. The public health emergency allows commercial and residential ratepayers to temporarily suspend utility payments without losing service. The provision is intended to allow BCPL to extend loans to municipal utilities so that they may continue to meet obligations in the event of a temporary loss of revenues.  

  • Government deadlines and training requirements during a public health emergency. Allow the state or a local government, during an emergency period, to suspend any deadline associated with a program or action that the state or local government administers or enforces. "Emergency period" is defined as the period covered by the public health emergency plus 30 days after the end of the emergency. Define "deadline" to mean any date certain by which, or any limitation as to time within which, an action or event is required to occur. Specify that the state or a local government may not charge any interest or penalties that would otherwise apply with respect to the suspended deadlines. 

  • Board of Review meeting. Under the bill, regardless of whether the 2020 local assessment roll is complete at the time of the 45-day period beginning on the fourth Monday of April, the board of review may publish a notice that the board has adjourned and will proceed as provided under current law notice requirements for Board of Review sessions.