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Friday, July 10, 2020 1:30 pm

Committee Report: Supporting issues that benefit our members and consumers

By Ben Hemmert, Chair, Government Affairs Forum Committee

Our Government Affairs Forum is an opportunity for members to meet with and hear from our public and elected officials to understand the public policy issues impacting our industry. This year, our advocacy efforts are important as ever; it’s our goal to ensure our members are kept up-to-date as information is ever changing.

Your advocacy teams have worked daily with local, state and federal officials to ensure REALTORS® are able to conduct business and convey real property during the Governor’s “State at Home” order while also advocating to include key provisions in the passage of the “CARES Act.” Here are a few highlights:

  • Worked directly with the Governor’s Administration to deem real estate as an essential service.
  • Advocated to ensure County Recorders, Auditors, Map offices, and County Title offices remain open, in a limited capacity, for the continuation of real estate business.
  • Led the way in Congress to include independent contractors’ eligibility for unemployment compensation.
  • Conducted a panel discussion (virtual) on the Payment Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Washington Update with United States Small Business Administration Officials and the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Shannon McGahn, of the National Association of REALTORS®.
  • Government Affairs Forum (virtual) with Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano.
  • Discussions with County Auditor’s on state mandated property valuation updates and second half property tax delays.

Additionally, although the NAR Mid-Year Legislative Meetings were held virtually, Columbus REALTORS® still took the time to meet with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and Congressmen Steve Stivers and Troy Balderson. These virtual “Hill Visits” were conducted in May and were led by Federal Political Coordinators Michael Jones (FPC to Congresswoman Beatty), Brad Bennett (FPC to Congressman Stivers) and Greg Hrabcack (FPC to Congressman Balderson).

Our nearly 50 members who joined the meeting were part of the discussion as we advocated for:

  • Continued funding and extension of small business loan programs and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance,
  • Secure Remote Notarization,
  • Increased Mortgage Liquidity,
  • Forbearance & Eviction Assistance,
  • Rental Assistance,
  • Business Liability,
  • Providing Tax Incentives for Homeownership for those who lack them,
  • Expanding Opportunity Zones,
  • Eliminating the SALT Marriage Penalty,
  • Investing in Infrastructure, and to
  • Support Financial Assistance to State & Local Governments.

Our “Hill Visits,” meeting directly with our members of Congress, provide an opportunity to tell our stories of how decisions made at the Federal level impact their constituents, consumers, and the real estate transaction.

Unfortunately, our first program of the year, Policy & Political Forecast, was postponed; but we are working to re-create the panel in late Summer. Additionally, our advocacy team is working to conduct our Joint Congressional Roundtable, typically conducted in odd-numbered years. With so much on the table, fair housing, tax implications, GSE reform, the National Flood Insurance Program and so much more, this is an opportune time to provide our members with an opportunity to hear directly from their Congressional representatives on the issues impacting our daily lives and our industry.

Again, it is my goal as Chair of the Government Affairs Forum to ensure that we are providing relevant information in a timely fashion to assist our members and consumers. If you are not receiving our weekly “Three for Thursday” Government Affairs Update, please email Brent Swander, RCE, Vice President of Government Affairs at [email protected] for the timely and easy to read weekly update, which highlights one topic at the local, state, federal level!

The ”Three for Thursday” update is sent out on Thursday mornings.

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