Just a few highlights from last weeks CAR Mid-winter conference in Monterey. There will be lengthier posts on a couple of specific items including the debate over point-of-sale retrofit legislation and some discussion on REO property issues.
First off – normally this meeting would have been extremely hectic because it falls right at the beginning of a new 2 year legislative session. That usually means CAR is considering legislation to sponsor, looking to members for authors for the bills and dissecting some of the 2,000 bills that are customarily on the table by this time of the session.
That didn’t happen for the very simple reason that Sacramento has ground to a halt. Until there’s a budget in place there will be very little legislative activity on other fronts. In a normal 2 year cycle there may be upwards of 5,500 – 6,000 different pieces of legislation considered. CAR lobbyists and legislative analysts look at each and every one of these bills to see if they will have any impact on real estate, housing, Realtors or private property rights.
Fully 1/3 of the bills introduced usually have some impact on the housing market in some fashion. Those bills are then presented to the various CAR committees (made up of your local Directors from across the state) for consideration – do we want to support the bill, oppose it, encourage the author to amend it to make it more Realtor friendly or just stay out of the fray. That process would normally consume our January meetings.
However, this year there have only been about 250 bills authored so far, roughly 10% the normal amount. And House Speaker Steinberg has threatened to cap legislators to a max of 15 new bills introduced. That means instead of 2,000 or more during this 1st session, we might only see 600 – 800. That might be a good thing – assuming the bills that do get introduced are worthwhile instead of the plethora of garbage bills that usually make it. You might think that if a legislator is limited to only 15 bills they might actually try to introduce only great bills, legislation that would make you proud and would be of infinite benefit to your constituents. Sadly you would be wrong as many of our legislators are barely competent to introduce garbage, let alone bills of substance and import.
Some of the general issues we took a position on include:
- CAR’s recognition of the need for healthcare reform. It is appropriate for Realtors to be involved in this issue as it impacts our cost of doing business and our quality of life. We are supporting NAR in their quest to re-introduce a bill providing healthcare & insurance to small businesses that was narrowly defeated a couple years ago.
- CAR voted to oppose SB 49, a bill introduced by the California Building Industry Association. This bill seeks to grant a $10,000 tax credit to all sales of NEW single family residences intended for principle residences. We are opposing this bill unless the CBIA amends it to include purchasers of ALL homes, not just new homes. We understand their point, we just believe that all prospective homebuyers should have the same opportunity.
- CAR voted to support a DRE license endorsement implementing the Federal SAFE Act allowing loan origination by a real estate licensee and providing for certification of those lender/agents through the DRE.
- CAR approved the adoption of procedures allowing local association to appoint an Ethics Advocate Subcommittee whose members would assist parties to a disciplinary process by helping with the paperwork and representing the party at hearings.
- As discussed in a prior post, CAR announced the selection of a vendor for the statewide MLS system, adopted the brand of CalREDD and to grant a line of credit up to $3 million to CalREDD for acquisition & start-up costs, such loan to be fully amortized at 6% interest and repaid to CAR within 7 years.
- That subject to NAR approval, CAR adopt the model mls rules and policies as set forth per the DOJ vs NAR Settlement Order. The full MLS Committee Issues Briefing Paper regarding the treatment of VOW’s is available at CAR.org
Stay tuned for more discussion of Shortclosures, Point of Sale and Lender Access to REO properties coming soon.