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Thursday, October 8, 2020 9:00 am

Three for Thursday 10/8/20 – Government Affairs Update

REALTORS® Political Action Committee supported candidates - here(Purple font because CORPAC/RPAC is bi-partisan; red & blue together)

Election 2020: The Columbus Dispatch Voter Guide

EARLY IN-PERSON VOTING HOURS FOR OCTOBER

October 6-9: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October 12-16: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October 19-23: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

October 24: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

October 25: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October 26-30: 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

October 31: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

 

Local –

  • Many Franklin County voters receive wrong absentee ballots in mail;  via Columbus Dispatch
    • Franklin County elections officials are scrambling to figure out how many voters received the wrong ballot in the mail as thousands more lined up across the state for the first two days of in-person early voting.
    • Problems with a thus-far undetermined portion of about 250,000 ballots mailed to Franklin County voters emerged Tuesday afternoon as the first wave of a record number of absentee ballots hit mailboxes.
    • New ballots will be mailed to affected voters "in the coming days," according to a press release the board issued Wednesday afternoon. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office directed the board to provide replacement ballots along with a letter explaining the error to all voters affected by the problem.
  • Join the Columbus REALTORS® Foundation for a blast from the past fundraiser – a drive-in movie!
    • Bring your family along to the South Drive-In Theater for a night of spooky fun and a showing of the Halloween classic, Ghostbusters. Halloween costumes encouraged and prizes will be given for the best costumes! The gates will open at 6:15p on Thursday, October 22 and we encourage you to arrive early to get the best spot. Ghostbusters will begin at 7:15p after a brief message from our sponsors. Event flier.
    •  Tickets: $50 per car if you pre-order & $55 at the gate. Each ticket includes a $10 complimentary concession coupon. Concessions like popcorn, soda, candy, nachos, and even burgers and pizza will be available for purchase from the theater – see their full menu here. Social distancing measures will be enforced and masks are required for visiting the restrooms/concession stand.

State –

Federal – All provided by Zack Rubin-McCarry our NAR Political Representative:

  • SBA To Begin Processing PPP Forgiveness Application
    • The U.S. Treasury Department has announced that the SBA will begin processing PPP loan forgiveness applications, following a delay that left many caught in a backlog.  PPP borrowers are eligible for forgiveness if they meet the program’s requirements, which include using at least 60% of the funds for payroll costs and the remainder for other eligible uses (including rent, utility bills, and mortgage interest) during the covered period. For full forgiveness requirements, visit nar.realtor/coronavirusSBA. PPP borrowers should submit their forgiveness applications directly to the SBA lender with whom they worked, who will them pass them to the SBA for processing.  For detailed instructions on how to fill out the PPP EZ Forgiveness application form, watch NAR’s step-by-step video.

The SBA is expected to quickly approve forgiveness applications for loans less than $2 million, with reports that the backlog may be cleared in as little as two weeks.  PPP borrowers have 10 months from the end of their loan’s covered period to apply for forgiveness before any payments are due on the loans.

  • DOL Proposes Independent Contractor Rule
    • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking revising its interpretation of independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with a streamlined economic reality test in an effort to promote certainty for stakeholders, reduce litigation, and encourage innovation in the economy.

In determining a worker’s status as an employee or independent contractor, the proposed rule examines a workers’ economic independence based on:

  • The nature and degree of workers’ control over the work(i.e. setting your own schedule; selecting your own projects; ability to work for others.) and,
  • The workers’ opportunity for profit and losses based on workers’ investment(i.e. individual management of investment or capital expenditure on material to further work).

Should additional analysis be needed, DOL proposed three additional guideposts for deciding a worker’s status based on (1) the amount of skill required for work; (2) the degree of permeance of the working relationship between the worker and the potential employer; and, (3) whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production. In evaluating the individual’s economic dependence on the potential employer, the actual practice of the parties involved is more relevant than what may be contractually or theoretically possible. For example, a business’s contractual authority to supervise or discipline an individual may be of little relevance if, in practice, the business never exercises such authority.

Worker classification is governed by state and federal law. Authoritative federal guidance on this matter may help mitigate the increasing threats on the ability to be classified as an independent contractor posed by new state laws and courts around the country. Improper classification of a worker could result in penalties or legal action at the federal or state level, in addition to litigation by workers seeking unpaid minimum wage or overtime benefits under the FLSA.

Comments on the proposed rule are due on October 26, 2020. Given the timing of this proposed rule and how long it may take to finalize, the rule could be subject to repeal under the Congressional Review Act. NAR will be submitting comments and encourages state and local associations and members to also consider providing feedback. Stay tuned to nar.realtor for more information

Additional Resources:

Comment Submission (link is external)
Rule Summary (link is external)
DOL Press Release (link is external)
NAR FAQs on IC Status
FLSA Background (link is external)

  • NAR Responds to CFPB's Proposed Seasoning QM Rule
    • NAR's submitted a response (link is external) to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on a Qualified Mortgage (QM) seasoning rule. Under the rule, loans that meet product restrictions are held on bank's portfolios for at least three years (e.g. season), and experience no more than two 30-day delinquencies and no 60-day delinquencies will gain the preferred safe harbor legal status versus their initial rebuttable presumption QM or non-QM status.

NAR commented that:

  • A seasoning rule may improve liquidity of mortgages (we supported the small-lender rule), particularly for borrowers with income or employment that are more difficult to document;
  • CFPB should analyze and monitor for differences in risk-taking by large banks vs small banks. The assumption is that holding the loan in portfolio aligns incentives, but if the bank is too-big-to-fail, it might circumvent this design;
  • CFPB should reform the QRM rule to allow and incentivize investors to push back dangerous loans that are designed to circumvent the QM rule.

NAR's Comment Letter to the CFPB (link is external)

  • NAR Responds to One-Year NFIP Extension, Renews Calls for Long-Term Reform, Reauthorization
    • WASHINGTON (September 30, 2020) – NAR President Vince Malta issued the following statement after the Senate passed a continuing resolution on Wednesday, funding the government to December 11 and extending insurance writing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2021. The president is expected to sign the bill – which last week cleared the U.S. House of Representatives – in the coming hours.

“NAR thanks lawmakers for including a one-year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program in this Continuing Resolution, but the job is not done,” said Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “As the 116th Congress nears its end, the House and Senate are missing a golden, bipartisan opportunity to move meaningful NFIP reform legislation authored by Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, which addresses the program’s viability and affordability. NAR urges Congress to make long-term reform a priority moving forward.”

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

  • Study: More ‘Blue State’ Americans Searching for Homes in Swing States via REALTOR® Magazine
    • Americans are leaving largely Democratic urban areas to search for affordability in the suburbs and rural areas that tend to skew Republican, a new analysis from realtor.com® shows. For example, the majority of out-of-town searches for homes in key battleground states—such as Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—are coming from states and counties that tend to lean blue, the report says.
  • American Bar Association: Tenants and Landlords Both Need Help During Pandemic via Inside Sources
    • The American Bar Association, the largest voluntary association of lawyers and legal professionals in the world, is urging Congress to immediately prioritize American housing stability and safety through emergency rental, mortgage and foreclosure relief to the millions of tenants and landlords experiencing hardship.
    • This assistance is desperately needed to supplement and reinforce the important but limited protections American families received under the Sept. 4 evictions moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    • While the CDC’s moratorium provides critical relief from the threat of eviction for adults and children in many locations across the country, it doesn’t include federal rental assistance to address the mounting rental debt and landlord expenses.
    • It’s a temporary and incomplete remedy. As the debts of both renters and property owners accumulate, they will suffer severe financial harm when the moratorium expires at the end of the year.

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