Kansas Licensing Update

The following excerts were taken out of a letter that the President of the KAREI inspectors group in Wichita (Ashi member Kerry Parham) recently sent to their members.

AS you are aware, in the **ORIGINAL **Bill, a member of the Kansas Revisors Clerical Staff **SUPPOSEDLY **made a MISTAKE in recording (typing) the HB-2260 into the state record books / In that part of the Bill now states we’re liable for $2,000 per inspection **AND **part says $10,000. The CORRECT amount was to be $2,000 (what the House & Senate voted and agreed upon). When the CLERICAL ACCIDENTAL MISTAKE was discovered we were told by the State “NO BIG DEAL”, we’ll just introduce a new Bill NEXT year and CORRECT this for youse guys.

Well, it DIDN’T happen #1, **AND **now #2 - the TRIAL attorneys are trying to go back AND raise the limits on us next year (especially Paul Davis).

The KAREI excerpt is below.

**“LEGISLATIVE RECAP: **A recap of this year’s legislative battle is also a story of highs and lows, as several times it seemed we had all our ducks in a row only to have a group of House democrats rally enough support to shoot us down. We introduced an uncontested “blessed” bill that should have gone straight through the legislature without debate. This bill and subsequent bills introduced later were all attempts at simply correcting mistakes made by clerical staff during the previous session regarding contradictions around the $10,000/$2,000 limit of liability that was accidentally left in last year’s HB2260. On each attempt made, our bills cleared their committees with little or no opposition and then received unanimous support in the Senate, thanks in no small part to the excellent work of our lobbyist. Despite our previous lobbying and initial acceptance from minority party members, opposition suddenly materialized following a democratic breakfast held just before the first vote, and it seemed our efforts were just downhill from that point on. The ardent opposition was primarily led by attorneys Paul Davis, Marti Crow, and Jim Ward. We hope our members in Lawrence, Leavenworth, and Wichita will remember these names when they next appear on a ballot. We believe one of these House attorneys may introduce their own bill next session attempting to reinstate the previous $10,000 liability amount. This is one of the legislative perils we’ve warned about, as once you have legislation on the books you are a target. These attorneys see us as an easy mark; after all the Kansas Bar Association has us out numbered about 50 to 1”.

As per my conversations with Senator Wysong two years ago at hearings, Dan and I recommended that the limit of liability would be lowered to $2,000 for many reasons.

One, that the $10,000 cap on liability would be ate up with one lawsuit if a new inspector put up a $10,000 surety bond. Since new inspectors could not get E&O insurance, and were not established, this would be a burden to them.

Two, that most veteran inspectors that had E&O insurance had deductables in the range of $2,000 to $2,500. As I mentioned this to Senator Wysong, he agreed that the $10,000 limit was high, as most other claims would fall under E&O policies.

Three, Dan mentioned that over 90% of all claims of needed repairs where under $2,000 in cost. Anything over that was just a try at getting money in someone’s pocket.

I gave many examples of lawsuits in Texas, talked to several other committee members, and all agreed, and voted, on the $2,000 limit. I am sure, since most of these meetings were recorded, that transcripts can be found of these hearings. Concerned about lawsuits, Senator Wysong agreed to me to put the sunset rule into play, and was voted and approved by the committee. By co-incedence, Senator Wysong shortly after this voting, resigned.

Apperantly, something is still amiss in Topeka. The KAR must be pushing these three “attorneys” to get the number back up. I suggest someone or some upper Kansas entity, such as the attorney general’s office, investigate what is happening here, again.

If these attorneys are after us, then they should investigate contractors, who are not licensed or insured or require education. These contractors are being recommended by RE agents. These contractors are doing free home inspections for home buyers, and not under any laws, rules or regulations. The contractors are doing free inspections for a reason. This, in itself, is not consumer protection in any capacity.

As you know I spent 5 days in a row at the Senate hearings. A few of the things that I brought to the attention of Senator Wysong and Senator Holland were:

  1. the Realtors Lobbyist (Luke Bell) and trial attorneys lobbyist had kept telling the legislation about the HUGE amount of Home Inspector complaints or problems in Kansas. HOWEVER, letters and reports from the Kansas BBB, AG’s office and the leading Consumer Complaint Association in Kansas (Nancy Seats - President of HADD), CONTRADICTED that BIG TIME. We had very few complaints compared to most trades.

  2. the Realtors Lobbyist (Luke Bell) and trial attorneys lobbyist had kept telling the legislation that IF a HOME INSPECTOR was allowed to use a Limit of Liability clause in their contract **AND **anything EVER went wrong, the poor consumer’s ONLY recourse was a refund of their fee.

I explained that was total BS and demonstrated instances of litigation; mediation; arbitration; and small claims court.

  1. the Realtors Lobbyist (Luke Bell) and trial attorneys lobbyist had kept telling the legislation that NO OTHER PROFESSION or BUSINESS was allowed to use Limit of Liability Clauses. I showed them LoL clauses or forms from: the Realtors Contracts; the Home Builders Contracts; Hospital Surgical Release Forms; High School LoL forms for your kid to play soccer or football; **AND **a LoL form from the local Junior College that they had EVERYBODY sign when registering for classes stating **YOU **would NOT hold them liable for ANYTHING if you got hurt on Campus.

  2. the Realtors Lobbyist (Luke Bell) and trial attorneys lobbyist had kept telling the legislation that EVERYONE except for Home Inspectors carried E&O insurance, etc. I demonstrated with copies of the state law for REALTORS, doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc that this was pig crap.

  3. finally, I brought in 11 brochures from Kansas MECHANICAL Warranty companies showing that EACH one of them had a clause with wording somewhere in there that states “The MECHANICAL WARRANTY Company” LIMITS their TOTAL cash outlay on your house in any 1 year to between $2,000 and $3,000 AND each company was charging about $400-$435 for a MECHANICAL WARRANTY alone.

My position to the Senate Committee was that IF the Realtors and Trial Attorneys had their way / With no ability to limit our liability AND mandatory E&O insurance, home inspectors in Kansas were going to be forced into being a mechanical, structural and roof warranty policy for LESS $$$$ than the Warranty Companies were charging for a **MECHANICAL **policy alone.

The Senators agreed and the Bill was written as $2,000 LoL. Then came the **ACCIDENTAL **mistake in the revisors law clerk recording it. As I’m sure you have figured out by NOW, this looks like a deliberate hijacking of the legislative process by SPECIAL INTEREST groups in Kansas. AND there are only 2 groups that had that clout or SPECIAL INTEREST.

  1. Couple of nights ago one of our inspector members out by Topeka, attended a ceremony with the Governor and a bunch of legislators in attendance. I’m told that Rep Paul Davis (attorney) was there (he helped kill correcting the Bill language this year) and discussing his plans for a NEW Bill next year AND either RAISING inspectors liabilty OR taking the ceiling off it.

I hope Mr. Davis realizes that if his legislative goals come about, it had better apply to every other business industry in Kansas. All for one, one for all.

The quiet and complacent home inspectors of Kansas…and those who sought compromise with the hope of schmoozing a better deal…are now being fed their reward, anally, on an annual basis.

Some people think they will avoid being raped by sitting at the table with their rapist and mutually admiring his penis…hoping that he will change his mind and settle for a quick blow job and go away.

It ain’t gonna happen, folks.

While it is too late for Kansas…it is not too late for other states to benefit from the lessons we learned watching. Everyone gets the HI licensing law that they deserve.

Just like food…no legislative bill comes out tasting, looking or smelling the same way it goes in.

When legislation is good and necessary, support it. When you know it is unnecessary and bad for your industry and your business, fight it with everything you have…no matter who you pis s off in the process.

AND whats realy pathetic, as Gary can verify, WE had almost NO home inspectors there helping fight it. Just the go along inspectors.

It is simply amazing how all lawmakers and attorneys have no idea how our business operates. Joe Ferry can verify this fact. All these people care about is lining their pockets and campaign funds. They listen to the special interest groups (RE associations, “other” associations, insurance lobbyists, etc.) and collect their checks. They do not think about the American consumers. I saw committee members reading papers, books, texting, and not caring at all what was going on or being said. Very sad.

I remember the first hearing I attended a few years ago about the proposed HI legislation. The room was filled with high school kids learning about the legislative process. I saw about 8 home inspectors. Makes you wonder if that was planned.