Mark Cohen vs MO ASHI ... and Mark Wins

Two identical bills were introduced in the Senate and House in January, putting home inspection licensing on the fast track. The House bill had 23 co-sponsors from both political parties and ASHI and MAR were toasting to their “inevitable” success when … mysteriously … the train derailed.

The bill in the House (HB 1291) was rejected by the Licensing Committee and a month after the public hearing a substitute has yet to be introduced with only 60 days left in the legislative session.

How did this happen?

While there are many efforts being made by people in many different occupations, interests, and parts of the state to prevent this harmful ASHI bill from becoming law, a part of the reason (there has been much going on behind the scenes) for this success in the MO House of Representatives goes to Nick Gromicko and INACHI’s legal counsel, Mark Cohen.

Mark reviewed the proposed bill in depth and found several liability issues which he highlighted in his letter that was sent to the committees reviewing the bill in the House as well as the Senate before each public hearing. His letter was well received and has been a topic of conversation in several discussions with and between several Missouri Senators in recent days as they have been reviewing the same bill that failed to make it through the House committee last month.

I want to publicly thank Mark for his expertise in discovering and communicating his concerns and helping us to fight this attempt to create a licensing board for ASHI’s present and past presidents to use to promote their agenda.

This year, we have several lobbying groups who have joined us in fighting these opportunistic bills designed to exploit home inspectors at the expense of home builders and contractors.

Whether or not home inspectors should be regulated in Missouri is a discussion that is still up for grabs, but the five man board of ASHI presidents writing a statewide building code is being soundly rejected. As long as MAR continues to present that model year after year, their PAC money continues to go down the tubes.

Mark’s observations helped us to address the concerns of some of the individual home builders, contractors and some other groups supporting us — as well as those of the home inspectors who would be exploited for private gain through the ASHI initiative.

Thanks again, Nick and Mark. There is still more fighting to do and you have certainly helped us off to a great start.

Well done

Thanks, Mark, and Nick.

It is still just unbelieveable that special interest groups want home inspectors licensed, and home builders, repair persons and contractors of all trades are not educated, required to have insurance, or have any rules or regulations to go by when they build and repair homes in Missouri.

These groups and the RE associations behind them, only want inspectors to write soft reports, inspect no built-in appliances, one outlet, one door, one window, and nothing else, all by the laws that they put into play.

The shafting of all residents of Missouri, Kansas, and other states continues on many fronts, all to appease their buddies and their campaign funds. The people are not being served at all, and in many cases, are getting served less by ASHI inspectors who write, and push, these cheap $199 reports onto unsuspecting home buyers, all welcomed by RE agents.

That, is what is sad.

The ASHI logo is the inspection industry’s symbol of shame.

We also have many home builders and contractors who have written their senators to protest the ASHI bills being pushed with help from the Missouri Association of Realtors.

In addition to that — we have had phone calls, letters and personal visits to individual senators and reps (as well as testimony at public hearings) from the Executive Directors of Missouri conservative action groups such as “United For Missouri” and the “Freedom Center of Missouri”.

Newspaper columnists are following the story and asking questions as well.

Expanding the size and role of government into private enterprise is not a popular thing to do this year.

Missouri needs a state building code, IMO … but it shouldn’t be written by four home inspectors and a dentistappointed to a board. It would amaze you to learn of how many legislators agree with that … even those who believe that home inspectors need to be regulated.

Licensing is not “inevitable” as some have claimed and there is definitely no need to be compromising with those who are trying to use legislation for private gain.

ASHI can and will be stopped if we continue the measures that are already in place. The right people are listening.

When victory is achieved we will have many people to thank. Today, we start with the big guys … who have been with us from the beginning of this fight … Nick and Mark, for their outstanding and valuable support.

Whenever I see an ASHI logo, the first thing that comes to my mind is… idiot.

Another point is that the RE’s that are pushing legislators and these special interest groups, are actually hurting themselves.

The number of agents operating in Kansas has dropped dramatically in the past few years, and since licensing of home inspectors started. I have heard one large RE company at one time had over 5,000 agents just a few years ago, now are down to 2,000.

The wasting of time of trying to implement home inspection licensing laws have drastically hurt the integrity of real estate agents. With more and more sales and shopping by buyers via the internet, and home lending done online, the life of the RE industry is limited.

RE associations are hurting themselves by placing sub-par legislation into play, thinking that it benefits them. How wrong they are.

Same with ASHI. They are losing members by the hundreds. What Missouri lawmakers need is defibulators for their brains. Schools in St. Louis and KC both, are now not accredited. And they want home inspection laws? Get real.


Actually, the Missouri lawmakers are smarter than what ASHI had hoped and their bill in the house is stopped. The House Licensing Committee told them to write a new bill that addressed their many concerns … even some of the 23 co-sponsors, after having a little education, came to see how harmful the bill was to Missouri and chose to pull their support.

Our legislators are doing pretty good, so far … although I know a few ASHI chapter presidents who would disagree with me on that.

Thanks, Nick and Mark. It is nice to know NACHI is helping out, instead of just leaving the fight of licensing up to the members of their state. Thanks again!

Thanks Mark & Nick for helping us down here. With a little over 2 months left in the legislative season this year we hope it stays down.

This last week at the Senate hearing it was very gratifying to see more people there opposing the Bill other than just John Kurtz and myself from Kansas City and Bruce Hillis the political activist from Mexico Missouri as we had in the last few hearings this year.

This time James Braun from Jefferson City came over and testified against the Senate Bill, and as Jim B. said above we also had testimony from the XO’s of 2 Missouri conservative action groups (United For Missouri" & “Freedom Center of Missouri”).

We also had many meetings by Mark Adams (Pres of MAREI - Missouri Association of Real Estate Inspectors) with rural Representatives and Senators opposing this. Pat Carter from Independence, MO has written and talked to many legislators opposing this and John K. has had multiple conversations with the ex-legislators / lobbyists in his building about this.

Jim Bushart also came this time and testified. So hopefully we’re going forward, BUT the realtors lobbyist and the ASHI lobbyist are putting forward some changes to try and keep it going and not dying. This year for the 1st time I can ever remember in the 10 years I’ve gone to Jeff City to testify against unneeded legislation WE actually had as many of us standing against it as promoting it.

As usual the realtors, ASHI, and trial attorneys are in favor of the licensure.

By the way it would have been nice to know what Mark was saying so we could have reinforced it.

So here we are again. And as they always say … It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

I wholeheartedly agree James, I don’t understand why the inspectors in Kansas didn’t take this approach before it was to late.

A good attorney like Mark is a huge trump card.

You’re right, Dale. This was a big help to us and one of several weapons we have used so far as we have fought the ASHI bill. We have a whole bunch of things going on under the radar and Nick and Mark’s participation has been extremely valuable to us.

When it’s all over, I’ll email you an outline of how we approached the bills this year. It’s been pretty effective and the push for legislation this year has been at an unprecedented level of intensity. We began preparing for it last summer.

We really can’t say too much until everything has been implemented and completed. We are still fighting the efforts of a few ASHI members wanting to see a new bill introduced but we know who they are and have it pretty much under control. The new bill is pretty much dead on arrival (according to the people we are speaking with in both houses of the legislature) but they have to humor the lobbyists and make it look like they are getting their money’s worth.

Nick had a different approach to Kansas that did not go well for him. Looks like he learned some things from the Kansas debacle.
I really do not think it was all the Kansas inspectors’ fault. A lot more money was spent in Kansas then it has been in Missouri. I am not saying MAR will not throw more huge amounts of money at home inspection licensing; I except wheelbarrows of money to be spent because it is starting to became an embarrassment to them, that they cannot get such a small group of home inspectors licensed. Also Kansas’ political process and government is different then Missouri’s. And we must have smarter legislators in Missouri.
It amazes me how just a few home inspectors and some consumer advocacy groups can keep killing these bills, one after another. What is really amazing is how A$HI inspectors can be still be for licensing, when they know that if a bill passes the committee, the trail lawyers will get rid of the liability limit in the bill. Even a lawyer group spoke against the Senate bill because of how it limits liability to just one year after discovery. We all know darn well that MAR will help these trail attorneys in changing the language in this bill, just to get their support. MAR is playing these A$HI inspectors for suckers, and these inspectors do not apparently know it.
Again I would like to thank Nick, Mark, Dan, John, Patrick, and even Bushart, and others for their help.

ASHI wants licensing, so their inspectors will write soft, basic reports, as they do in Kansas, all to appease RE agents.

I can see a major lawsuit coming if the liability language is ever greater than what home builders of new homes give their buyers, which is one year. That is favoritism to the MAR. All these legislators need to do is look at the Texas Real Estate Commission, who regulates home inspectors AND agents in Texas. They get new lawsuits weekly and employ dozens of attorneys.

Do you now see how trial attorneys, ASHI, and RE’s want these laws?

As always, to benefit themselves; no one else. It is only about following the money. When board members write the rules, SOP’s, and regulations, it is always for them; not the residents of Missouri, or any other state.

Fighting the law … not changing the language … is how to win in Missouri. We are doing exactly that and, so far, are seeing a degree of success. Both bills were fast tracked and supposed to have been approved by now. Fight the bill. Leave the fight to change the language to the guys playing both sides to waste their time on.

We don’t want another Kansas, here.

Correct. ASHI is the real estate agent’s source for patty-cake inspection reports.

According to the Missouri Association of Realtors, they have lost 10,000 of their members who sell houses in the last six years.

ASHI continues to bleed members as well.

NAHI is hurting so bad they are emailing their membership cards (I heard from a member) so members can print it, themselves, and cut them out with scissors. They have no card stock on hand and cannot afford to replace it. Odds are that they will not make it through the year.

Not only do these unfortunate organizations share the common bond of miserable failure … but the desire to be in charge of the industry and each have legislation pending in Missouri as they waste away to nothing. Is it because they want to take all of us with them?

I’ve personally met with several ASHI members who feel betrayed by their leadership who, against their wishes, continue to push these moronic licensing bills. They fear objecting to them, publicly, for fear of being alienated by the used house salesmen who are in cahoots with the leadership. It’s like a Mafia for pussies.

It is a left-right thing. Just look at government and the media.

Live left, live failure.

Live right, live success.

In any real estate orginization, the NAR, KCRAR, MAR, whomever, it is their fudicary duty to provide the best for their clients. ASHI does not supply the best for any client, hence pushing for laws that allow basic reports that the agents want.

Sad for home buyers.

InterNACHI provides the best services for the home inspection industry in every category. Every CMI and/or InterNACHI inspector provides the best home inspection services to any home buyer.

Why real estate agents do not provide the best services is beyond my understanding. These associations just do not understand why they are losing thousands of members. Duh.

If they want to present themselves as professionals, they best act like it, work like it, and do it right. Or not, and fail.

Jim -

Looking back over 10 years of fighting un-needed legislation in both Kansas and Missouri although quite a few people have written letters, called legislators, etc to help fight - our NAHI inspectors in KS and MO have been the most active at taking their own time and going to hearings to give the committee’s a face to see testifying against bad and un-needed licensure.

I have not seen one NAHI member out there begging YES bring it on. The bill in Missouri this year that had NAHI references in it was put out by a political action group / not NAHI.