THE LEGISLATIVE LINE / The Legislative Update from VPAR / 2016 ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE EDITION March 13, 2016

CapitalVIRGINIA PENINSULA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
THE LEGISLATIVE LINE
The Legislative Update from VPAR

2016 ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE EDITION
March 13, 2016

Beloved. Beds. (And breakfast….) Justices. Execution.
The beginning of a novel full of intrigue? Maybe a good mystery? Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, II?

Oh, no. Not at all. Those topics defined the 60-day 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session that adjourned Sine Die – Latin for “without another day” – on Friday, March 12th, one day ahead of schedule.

 

From what became known as “Air B’n B,” the residential lodging legislation that was the sleeper issue of the Session (no pun intended) to the regulation of sexually explicit literature in Virginia’s public schools, with author Toni Morrison’s Beloved being the most notorious example, this Session saw nearly 3,300 pieces of legislation introduced. To date, 1,803 passed; 1,241 failed to pass; 242 have been carried over; and the Governor has signed 366.

 

And in the middle of it all, a new, two-year budget was approved.
In addition, the 2016 legislature was identified from the beginning as divisive and highly partisan, largely due to the appointment surrounding a justice to the Supreme Court of Virginia to fill a vacancy. That issue created an undercurrent of partisan tension that was not resolved until just a few days ago, when Judge Stephen McCullough was elected to the Court by the General Assembly. Not to say that the partisan bickering is over; just that it is over on the floors of either chamber. For now.

 

Finally, among many controversial issues was that regarding executions in the Commonwealth and the means by which the death penalty in Virginia is administered when lethal drugs now used for that purpose are unavailable.

 

Beloved. Beds. Justices. Execution.

 

Throw in casino gambling, lights on motorcycles, fantasy football and gun control, J.C. Penny and Frank Beamer, add a blizzard and a tornado, and this one will go down as one of the most interesting legislative sessions in recent years.
REALTOR® BILLS
By comparison, the VAR legislative agenda was far less heady, although it did attract its fair share of attention, and on some days, considerable confusion and controversy.

Most of our five bills sailed through the House and Senate without attention. However, the home inspector bill introduced in the House by REALTOR® and Delegate Jackson Miller, HB 741 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+ful+HB741ER+pdf did find its way to the House Appropriations Committee, given its minimal fiscal impact to the state budget. After hard work by your lobbying team, that bill reported unanimously out of the House Appropriations Committee, passed the House and met a very favorable read in the Senate where it also passed. What is noteworthy here is that the Senate companion to this bill, SB 453 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=161&typ=bil&val=sb453, introduced by Sen. Bill Stanley, a real estate attorney and the son of a former REALTOR®, has been signed by the Governor. In other words, this bill will become law on July 1, 2017. Good work, team!

 

The remaining three bills regarding Property and Condominium Owners’ Associations, HB 684 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+ful+HB684ER+pdf, carried by Delegate Chris Peace; agency legislation, HB 567, http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+ful+HB684ER+pdf, introduced by Delegate Jackson Miller; and HB 577 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+ful+HB577ER+pdf from Delegate Roxann Robinson all PASSED THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE. In fact, the Governor already has signed the agency legislation! See the chart below for a snapshot of the latest action.
NAME DESCRIPTION POSITION LAST ACTION
HB 567 – AgencyLicensing Law Revisions
Agency / Licensing Law Revisions

Support HB 567- 03/04/16 Governor: Governor’s Action Deadline Midnight, March 11, 2016
HB 577 – Housing Trust Fund – Earnest Money Deposits / Escrow Funds
Housing Trust Fund – Earnest Money Deposits / Escrow Funds

 

Support HB 577- 03/03/16 Passed House and Senate; Waiting for Governor’s Signature

HB 684 – POA/COA Amendments
POA/COA Amendments

Support HB 684 – 03/03/16 Passed House and Senate; Waiting for Governor’s Signature
HB 741/SB 453 – Home Inspector Licensing
Home Inspector Licensing

Support HB 741 – 03/03/16 Senate: Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) ;SB 453 – 03/01/16 Governor: Approved by Governor-Chapter 161

What does this mean? This means that the Association of REALTORS® once again had a 100% success rate during this Session! It wasn’t easy (although we hope we made it look that way), and there were twists and turns, and we even dealt with some drama along the way, but your agenda met with widespread success at the end of the day.

We could not have done this without your responses to Calls to Action, your visits to Richmond and your ongoing support. THANK YOU!

DONE! Sine Die!

Now, onto 2017……yes, already, we are taking your ideas and suggestions for legislation that we need to consider during the next Session. Send your thoughts to Susan Gaston at susan@gastongroup.com no later than May 15, 2016!

For additional information or other details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445, or by e-mail at susan@gastongroup.com.

THE LEGISLATIVE LINE / The Legislative Update from VPAR / Number 1 / January 17, 2016

CapitalVIRGINIA PENINSULA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
THE LEGISLATIVE LINE
The Legislative Update from VPAR
Number 1 January 17, 2016

Welcome to the 1st edition of the weekly legislative report from Richmond! In this first report, you will find helpful details regarding the Session, as well as links to additional information that will help you navigate the General Assembly and better serve you as a Virginia citizen.

Note that from now until the mid-point of the Session on February 16th, the reports will be consist more of “info as needed” and will be posted to the Association’s Facebook page located at https://www.facebook.com/VPAREALTORS/?fref=ts. The halfway mark of Session will produce an additional detailed report such as this edition, and a final detailed report will be compiled upon the Session’s adjournment. We will provide you with specific actions and votes, as well as directions to be involved in any relevant Calls-to-Action via Facebook, direct emails and other Association communications vehicles.

So, with that as a backdrop….

The 2016 General Assembly kicked off its 60-day “long” session on Wednesday, January 13, welcoming 18 new members in the House and Senate. Due to retirements in both chambers, new Committee leaders were announced by the Republican majorities along with the make-up of each legislative Committee. To see the Committee listings, click here: http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/membersAndSession.php?secid=1&activesec=0#!hb=1&mainContentTabs=4 As of Sunday evening, over 2200 bills had been filed; more will be “dropped in the hopper” in the coming days, with the final deadline for filing legislation on Friday, January 22nd.
Each year, the General Assembly session features some key issues that the Association will be promoting on your behalf, and this year is no different. See below for a list of priority issues, and please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the issues on which we will be working. In fact, while we only are requesting legislative action on four issues encompassing six bills, your lobbying team and the VAR legislative leadership will track and take action on hundreds of pieces of legislation. An exhaustive review of the Governor’s proposed budget also is underway.

 

REALTOR® BILLS
NAME              DESCRIPTION      POSITION      LAST ACTION

 

HB 567 – Agency / Licensing Law Revisions
Agency / Licensing Law Revisions Support 01/11/16 House: Referred to Committee on General Laws

 

HB 577/SB 509 – Housing Trust Fund – Earnest Money Deposits / Escrow Funds
Housing Trust Fund – Earnest Money Deposits / Escrow Funds Support HB 577- 01/11/16 House: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice; SB 509 – 01/12/16 Senate: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

 

HB 684 – POA/COA Amendments
POA/COA Amendments Support 01/11/16 House: Referred to Committee on General Laws

 

HB 741/SB 453 – Home Inspector Licensing
Home Inspector Licensing Support HB 741 – 01/12/16 House: Referred to Committee on General Laws; SB 453 – 01/12/16 Senate: Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

 

VPAR’s General Assembly Delegation Contact Information
Del. Gordon Helsel, R-91st , Poquoson (804) 698-1091 DelGHelsel@house.virginia.gov
Del. Keith Hodges, R-98th Urbanna (804) 698-1098 DelKHodges@house.virginia.gov
Del. Monty Mason, R-93rd, Williamsburg (804) 698-1093 DelMMason@house.virginia.gov
Del. Rick Morris, R-64th, Carrollton (804) 698-1064 DelRMorris@house.virginia.gov
Del. Brenda Pogge, R-96th, Yorktown (804) 698-1096 DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov
Del. Marcia “Cia” Price, D-95th, Newport News (804) 698-1095 DelMPrice@house.virginia.gov
Del. Jeoin Ward, D-92nd, Hampton (804) 698-1092 DelJWard@house.virginia.gov
Del. David Yancey, R-94th, Newport News (804) 698-1094 DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov
Sen. Mamie Locke, D-2nd, Hampton (804) 698-7502 district02@senate.virginia.gov
Sen. John Miller, D-1st, Newport News (804) 698-7501 district01@senate.virginia.gov
Sen. Tommy Norment, R-3rd, James City (804) 698-7503 district03@senate.virginia.gov

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY WEBSITES OF INTEREST
We would like to share with you some very valuable (and helpful) information regarding General Assembly Resources: In order to prepare for the 2016 session, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with a few helpful websites and other relevant information. Our goal is for you to be able to follow the action here in Richmond as well as to participate in the process.

To watch the House of Delegates in Session live at Noon each day, click here: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

To watch the Virginia Senate in Session live at noon each day, click here: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

Subscribe to receive daily e-mails with news articles highlighting major political and legislative happenings. http://www.vpap.org/vanews

Virginia Legislative Information System (list of General Assembly members, all legislation, committee action, daily meeting schedule and daily floor calendars)
http://lis.virginia.gov/

Who’s My Legislator?
http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

Governor of Virginia
https://governor.virginia.gov/

Governor’s Cabinet
https://governor.virginia.gov/the-administration/the-cabinet/

Lt. Governor
http://www.ltgov.virginia.gov/

Attorney General
http://www.oag.state.va.us/

REALTOR® DAY ON THE HILL – FEBRUARY 17, 2016
Mark your calendars now for February 17th so that you can attend VPAR’s Annual REALTOR® Day on the Hill! Join REALTORS® from across the Commonwealth as they descend upon the General Assembly to tout the Association’s legislative agenda. Visit with legislators from the region, hear from “in the know” politicos on current issues and tour the Capitol and the Executive Mansion. Join us for a highly beneficial day!
For additional information or other details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445, or by e-mail at susan@gastongroup.com.

We also encourage our members to follow the General Assembly on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VPAREALTORS.

Endorsement of Candidates Seeking Election to the York County Board of Supervisors, Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia

With less than a week until the election, VPAR and RPAC of Virginia are pleased to announce the endorsements for candidates seeking office to the York County Board of Supervisors, the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia:

YORK COUNTY
Sheila Noll District 2
Jeff Wassmer District 4
Tom Shepperd District 5

(NOTE — District 1 is in the WAAR footprint and was included in the WAAR interview process, with Walt Zaremba receiving the endorsement. The VPAR Public Policy Committee recommended no endorsement in District 3.)

HOUSE OF DELEGATES
Gordon Helsel (R) 91st District
Jeoin Ward (D) 92nd District
Monty Mason (D) 93rd District
David Yancey (R) 94th District
Marcia Price (D) 95th District
Brenda Pogge (R ) 96th District

SENATE OF VIRGINIA
John Miller (D) 1st District
Mamie Locke (D) 2nd District
Tommy Norment (R) 3rd District

VPAR encourages its members to consider this important information when going to the polls on Election Day, November 3rd. The REALTOR® Party platform regarding pro-housing, pro-business and pro-economic growth should be important elements that VPAR members use as they make their decision at the ballot box.

VPAR and the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) are non-partisan entities that focus on issues relevant to the housing and real estate markets and the interests of our members.

For more details, go to the official VPAR endorsement announcement that can be found here: https://files.acrobat.com/…/248b83ec-6ac4-4efc-ab8a-2d4b0d8…

For more details on the House and Senate endorsements, go to REALTORS CHOOSE: http://www.virginiarealtorschoose.com/2015-endorsements/

THE LEGISLATIVE LINE Number 5 March 1, 2015

CapitalVIRGINIA PENINSULA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
THE LEGISLATIVE LINE
The Legislative Update from VPAR
Number 5 March 1, 2015
For the first time in recent memory, the General Assembly adjourned a day early, gaveling out “Sine Die,” Latin for “without another day,” on Friday night, February 27th. In a Session that wrapped up with a two-year budget completed in record time, little acrimony, and raises for state employees, state-supported local employees, college faculty, and teachers, this Session has been regarded by some senior legislators from both parties as one of the best and most efficient on record.

 

This short session also produced:
• extra money for state police, sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers;
• better protection of students from campus sexual assaults and of young children in unlicensed day care homes;
• an historic overhaul of the state ABC Board ;
• big boosts to underfunded state employee and teacher pensions;
• stricter oversight of public-private transportation deals, such as the aborted $1.8 billion plan for a new U.S. 460, and a sweeping reallocation of state transportation funds; and
• financial relief for local governments and higher education, as well as a much-needed early deposit to the state rainy-day fund after draining it to plug a projected $2.4 billion revenue shortfall that ended up being less dire than expected.

 

Nothing was more remarkable in the assembly session than the smooth adoption of a two-year, $35 billion state general fund budget on Thursday — two days before the scheduled adjournment and earlier than anyone involved could remember.

 

With bills now on the Governor’s desk for his approval by midnight on March 30th, in advance of the April 8th Veto Session, Delegates and Senators have returned home, primed to begin the election cycle for all 140 seats of the legislature in November.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY RETIREMENTS
Eight members of the General Assembly, five members of the Senate and three members of the House, are not seeking re-election this year. Combined, Senators Charles Colgan (D-Manassas), John Watkins (R-Powhatan), Walter Stosch (R-Henrico), Linda T. “Toddy” Puller (D-Alexandria) and Jeff McWaters (R-Virginia Beach), along with Delegates Mamye BaCote (D-Newport News), Tom Rust (R-Reston) and Ed Scott (R-Madison) represent nearly 170 years in legislative service and institutional knowledge. They will be missed for their budget acumen, their statesman/stateswoman-like qualities and their expertise across a variety of issues including agriculture, transportation, accounting and local government operations. All have been stalwart friends of the real estate and housing industries, and VPAR wishes them well on their next journey. We especially will miss our own Peninsula member of the House, Delegate BaCote. Thanks to each of them for their love of and dedication to the Commonwealth. Well done!

 
STATUS OF THE REALTOR®
2015 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
VAR’s entire legislative agenda PASSED THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY and rests on the Governor’s desk. Governor McAuliffe must take action on ALL legislation by midnight on Monday, March 30th.
IN ADDITION, as noted in last week’s update, we have prevailed on two budget issues: 1.) the language in the Governor’s budget that would have resulted in an increase from $500 to $2,500 for the deductible in mitigating underground petroleum tanks has been removed; and 2.) the $50,000 appropriation needed to enact the criminal inducement policy is in the House budget and also is in the Senate budget.

 

HB 1450 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act;
Representations related to special flood hazard area
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1450
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
Buyers Should Be Aware of Storm Water Maintenance Agreements. Increasingly, local governments are entering into maintenance agreements with landowners that may require the landowner to ill maintain a stormwater facility on the property. For many years, we have advised that REALTORS® tell buyers to identify the existence of these facilities on the property, but not to ask whether or not there is a formal maintenance agreement with the locality in place. To ensure that your buyers and buyers agents know what to ask, we are amending the “buyer-beware” disclosure form to include the existence of stormwater maintenance agreement.
ROLLED INTO HB 1642

 

HB 1452 – Landlord and tenant law; who may recover rent and possession
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1452
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
Different Judges Interpret the Law Differently. We have several judges in Virginia who say that because “family trusts” are not specifically spelled out in the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, or the VRLTA, our property managers cannot appear in court on behalf of their clients. This leaves the owner to have to appear in person or to hire an attorney. This was an oversight in the VRLTA. To make sure our property managers can continue to represent their clients in court, we will propose amending the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act to add “family trusts.”
Passed the House 98-0 on January 28th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s office.

 

HB 1965 – Dept. of Professional and Occupational Regulation; Real Estate Transaction Recovery Fund
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1965
Introduced by: Thomas Davis Rust
Helping our Consumers Recover Funds They Are Owed. Currently, when a licensee is found guilty of a Real Estate Board regulation and the consumer is owed money, the consumer has to petition the general district court for a judgment. The judgment specifically must state the offense that occurred with the real estate licensee or the Real Estate Board cannot award the funds. To fix that, we are amending the Code of Virginia to allow judges to award a general judgment, similar to what already is allowed under the Board of Contractors.
Passed the House 90-0 on February 4th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

HB 2100 – Condominium and Property Owners’ Association Acts; allowable charges; rental of units
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb2100
Introduced by: Christopher K. Peace
Further Clarification to the POA and COA. Each year, issues arise in the relationships between REALTORS®, homeowners, Property Owners’ Associations (POA’s) and Condominium Owners’ Associations (COA’s). VAR will work with the state legislature to make sure there is clarity in the law regarding what fees can be charged and what actions ownership associations can take. It is important to find the proper balance in the agreements between homeowners and POA’s and COA’s to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
Passed the House 100-0 on February 10th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th with amendments. Reconsidered with Senate amendments by the House on February 23rd and passed 98-0. The bill is headed to the Governor for his approval.
SB 775 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; related to special flood hazard zones https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=sb775
Introduced by: Mamie E. Locke
Passed the House 99-0 on January 22nd; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 16th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

HB 1642 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; related to special flood hazard zones
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1642
Introduced by: Christopher P. Stolle
Buyers Need to Determine If a Property Will Need Flood Insurance: Buyers, particularly in coastal regions of Virginia, should be able to identify whether properties will need additional flood insurance because they are located in a FEMA-determined special flood hazard zone. Currently, a flood certification is performed on every property, regardless of where it is in Virginia, by the mortgage lender. This is used as part of the underwriting of the loan and to ensure appropriate insurance coverage is applied as required by federal law. Flood certifications are performed by third-party providers with expertise in evaluating the FEMA flood zone maps. A list of these providers is readily available on the FEMA website. As with home inspections, storm water facilities, and the sexual offender registry, buyers should be educated on what issues to investigate in the transaction. To accomplish this, we propose amending the Code to add language to the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Statement’s list of disclosures that advises the purchaser to exercise due diligence in investigating whether the property resides within a special flood hazard zone, including obtaining a flood certification.
Passed the House 98-0 on January 28th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

1424 – Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act; delinquent payment
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1424
Introduced by: Daniel W. Marshall, III
Landlords and Property Owners Should Not Bear the Burden. VAR helped pass a requiring a landlord or property owner to pay delinquent water bills from their tenants before the services could be turned back on. Unfortunately, the General Assembly missed one Code section. To fix this oversight, we propose amending all of the sections in the Code to prohibit water authorities from requiring landlords or property owners to pay delinquent water fees from tenants.
Passed the House 98-0 on February 10th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 20th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

HB 1493 – Enticing, etc., real estate licensee with intent to commit certain felonies; penalty
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1493
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
SB 1100 Enticing, etc., real estate licensee with intent to commit certain felonies;
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=sb1100
Introduced by: Mark D. Obenshain
Making Sure Predators Get What They Deserve. There have been several high-profile cases in the past several months where REALTORS® have been lured into vacant houses and assaulted, raped, abducted….or worse. In each of these instances, the victim was lured into the property through contact from a potential “client” who wanted to see the property. We are pursuing legislation to ensure authorities have adequate tools in place to prosecute individuals who knowingly lure or trap Realtors® into these circumstances with intent to do harm.  SB 1100 was reported from the Senate Courts of Justice Committee; with its fiscal impact, the bill was re-referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it was left on the table as a result of budget constraints. HOWEVER, HB 1493 reported from the House Courts of Justice Committee AND from the House Appropriations Committee. The House appropriated the needed $50,000 in its budget to enact the policy, and the Senate likewise has appropriated the funds, based on contingency language.

For additional information or other details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445 or email at susan@gastongroup.com. We also encourage our members to follow the General Assembly on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VPAREALTORS.