DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado bill looking to give localities the ability to enact rent control was committee at the state Capitol on Wednesday. Renters and leaders alike were weighing in on the topic.

Around 200 people signed up to speak on the bill that was still in committee late Wednesday.

If passed, it would take effect across the whole state, but its potential impact on Denver was in the spotlight at the hearing.

“People are having to sacrifice quality of life just to have a roof, and I’m one of those people,” said Laurie-Ann Mills. Mills was one of dozens of people who came to the Capitol to testify in support of the bill.

Rent-control opponents testify

Opponents, like the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, were testifying too.

“We’re about 225,000 units short of demand. This bill would allow local governments to pass rent control ordinances, which would have disastrous effects on housing supply. When rent control is enacted, it chills new development projects and further exasperates housing shortages, and it creates more housing instability,” said Matt Gorenc, the organization’s government affairs manager.

But others, like Denver City Council Member Robin Kniech, refute the claims that rent control would drive away developers.

“We regulated affordable housing, and development is still happening in Denver. We had a spike of applications before our policy and then we had a slowdown, but there have been 78 new apartment projects proposed since we put our new policy in effect,” Kniech said.

Mayoral candidates take stances on rent control

The measure is gaining the attention of Denver residents as they prepare to elect a new mayor. In a debate hosted by Regis University last week, candidates were asked, “If state law allows, would you support any form of rent control measures?”

The candidates who stood in favor of rent control were: Lisa Calderón, Debbie Ortega, Terrance Roberts, Renate Behrens, Aurelio Martinez, Ean Tafoya and James Walsh. The candidates who stood in opposition to rent control: Chris Hansen, Mike Johnston, Kwame Spearman, Thomas Wolf, Kelly Brough, Robert Treta and Andy Rougeot.

Two candidates running for mayor are also state lawmakers: Hansen, a senator, and Rep. Leslie Herod.

Hansen stood in opposition at the debate and told FOX31 that he is “opposed to rent control because rent control reduces housing investment and would make our supply shortage worse. I will not be supporting that bill because we are much better off doing an income-qualified approach, like 30% AMI (area median income) units, which is what I helped get $~1B (around $1 billion) for in last year’s budget,” Hansen said.

Herod did not stand in favor or opposition to rent control during the debate. She told FOX31 on Wednesday that “all options are on the table, including variations of rent control, as part of a comprehensive approach to keep housing costs down.”

Here is Herod’s full statement: “My priority is to put results over politics and ensure that diverse stakeholders are brought to the table to find collaborative and creative solutions for our community. The goal is to ensure that housing is affordable in Denver, and there are many interconnected and coordinated ways to make that happen. I’m not interested in political sound bites. All options are on the table, including variations of rent control, as part of a comprehensive approach to keeping housing costs down. My administration will look at all avenues to keep housing affordable, including increasing the number of duplexes and triplexes in the city, developing public land into housing units, and repurposing obsolete office buildings into residential properties, all while ensuring we retain the character of our neighborhoods.”

Supporters said they are optimistic the bill will pass in committee.