To: Missouri Association of REALTORS Legislative Report List
From: Sam Licklider
Subj: Legislative Report
Date: January 8, 2008
It’s kind of exciting; I’ve had a bunch of calls from people wanting information in advance of the Capitol Conference to share with others at staff meetings and other venues. With that in mind I’ve revised a report I did earlier and am sending it to everyone. Now, we’ll not cover all these issues with the talking points that are created for the meeting, probably will limit them to the recording fee increase, the license law change and the cell phone issue. However you can use this material as a guide to move you visit beyond those issues and into other areas if you wish.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of issues that I believe will be before the Missouri General Assembly this coming session. It merely hits the highpoints and, where appropriate, gives past positions that have been taken on similar legislation.
Since I don’t have copies of all bills introduced to date I’m basing some of my comments on the bills that were introduced last session or bills that have been introduced in other jurisdictions.
Predatory Lending-I’m not fond of that description but it has become embedded in the vocabulary so I’m going to use it nonetheless. There will be at least two and possibly as many as 5 bills introduced on this issue. The problem that these bills create is that if they are too restrictive they limit the amount of capital that comes into Missouri, in addition I’ve seen predatory lending bills from other states that would make the real estate agent responsible for determining if the client or customer can really afford the property-while I don’t believe that language has passed anywhere. While it is not popular to be opposed to limiting predatory lending I believe that the problem is a national one and needs to be addressed in that context.
Mortgage Fraud-there will be two or three bills on this issue. There is an interdepartmental task force working on this issue.
Recording fee increases-Senator Justus has filed her bill which would increase the fees from $3.00 to $10.00. I believe that there will be another one filed which moves the fee up to $12.00 incrementally. I’ve told all concerned that our position has not changed. In addition Senator Yvonne Wilson has filed legislation similar to that of Senator Justus. Both are from Kansas City.
License Law changes-we have a bill being drafted consistent with a position taken at the fall BOD. This removes the phrase in brackets in the italic type section below. This will alleviate concerns expressed by the homebuilding associations that the MREC will attempt to fine their members.
*6. The provisions of sections 339.010 to 339.180 and sections 339.710 to 339.860 shall not apply to: *
*(1) Any person, partnership, association, or corporation who as owner, lessor, or lessee shall perform any of the acts described in subsection 1 of this section with reference to property owned or leased by them, or to the regular employees thereof , provided such owner, lessor, or lessee is not engaged in the real estate business]; ***Note: The material in the brackets is to be removed from the statute.
** Commercial Portability-there was a meeting with representatives of the MREC on December 19 to present a draft modeled on the Ohio act. It was apparent that the commission was not excited about the proposal. Fortunately Lew Melahn the General Counsel to the Association was at the meeting and he proposed an alternative that, once he gets completed should achieve our objectives. The two real estate brokers, who attended, Dan Sight and Carl Conceller, were extremely helpful in framing the issue.
Private Transfer Fee rights-I’ve discussed this issue with other interested groups, while all feel it is a potential problem there is no consensus on how the bill should be structured. It is a work in progress. Hopefully something will be in draft form by the meeting next week.
***Cell Phones–there are two or three bills that criminalize cell phone use in some circumstances. They are uniformly bad ideas. ***
**Limiting access to public records–**I’ve adopted that as kind of a catch-all phrase because it covers at least two issues. The first was an attempt to prohibit assessors from posting more than one photograph or any diagrams of property on their web site; the second was an attempt by the County Collectors to prohibit the distribution of personal and real property tax information. Both failed last year but the issues will be back this year.
Home Inspector licensing-this one is an extremely interesting issue; there is significant division within the home inspection industry about the need. The Missouri Association of REALTORS® position is quite clear. We feel that some reasonable system of licensing home inspectors should be maintained. We feel that reasonable competency should be expected of inspectors and that a method should be adopted to allow the public to raise complaints with a state licensing agency if they feel that the inspection was not conducted to a proper standard.
Tax Credit issues-this is an area that we will have to watch very carefully, there are a number of proposals being floated that would either severely limit all tax credits, do away with them, or expand them. The message we want to send to the General Assembly is that Historic Tax Credits and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Neighborhood Preservation Tax Credits and Rebuilding Communities Tax Credits are responsible of a huge amount of development in Missouri and essentially pay for themselves over the long term.