Land Use and Environmental Committee
Taxation and Government Finance Committee
Transaction and Regulatory Committee
The following is for study only and has NOT been approved by
Legislative Committee, Policy Committees, Executive Committee, or the Board
What strategic questions should C.A.R. consider in evaluating proposals for
Status/Summary: Sponsoring legislation expends
political "capital," which reduces C.A.R.'s ability to react to legislation
of others and can come at the expense of defensive legislative activity.
Since the early 1990s, C.A.R. Directors have taken into account C.A.R'.s
available political capital, but have still been more willing to sponsor
legislation with a calculated risk.
Given the dramatic turnover of membership in the legislature as the result
of term limits, and the consolidation of legislative power in one party,
reactive ability is increasingly important for lobbying entities like
C.A.R. In response, C.A.R. has reduced the number of sponsored bills and
increased reliance on so-called "targets of opportunity" presented in
legislation of others. In addition, the on-going California budget crisis
has made it dramatically more difficult to acquire a legislative author,
and of course, to pass any legislation that has a fiscal effect.
C.A.R. has already voted to sponsor eight bills in 2010 to:
a. SB 206 (Dutton) - REO homebuyer tax credit
b. Local property maintenance ordinances
c. Anti-Deficiency protection
d. CID unit owner right to rent
e. Portable appraisals
f. Appraisal Management Company (AMC) regulatory oversight
g. DRE "poison pill" reserve protection
h. Advance fee definition clarification
Set out below is a discussion of some of the considerations relevant to
whether or not additional legislation should be sponsored.
Discussion: Unanticipated Challenges - In each legislative session it seems
that some major, but unanticipated, reactive challenge emerge. Recent high
profile opposition issues have ranged from restructuring the real estate
lending license; to DRE reserve fund raids and department elimination; to
point-of-sale water and energy retrofits, Ellis Act repeal and various tax
changes. Due to the states continued budget shortfall, C.A.R. is sure to
face additional of battles in 2010 that could include transfer tax, service
tax, flat tax, split roll, independent contractor withholding, new
point-of-sale issues, changes in the license structure and new liability
Member Mobilization Implications - If C.A.R. sponsors a bill, will
the whole Real Estate industry, including the rank and file volunteers,
turn out to support it? Or, will their enthusiasm be exhausted by multiple
demands on their time? C.A.R.'s legislative prowess has historically been
based upon the ability, or perceived ability, to mobilize its membership on
a particular issue. Any strategic decision regarding sponsored bills must
also take into account the allocation of member mobilization
Important Questions to Consider: What is C.A.R.'s
real goal? Is there a major policy goal to be achieved in the proposed
legislation? How significant is the proposed change to the whole real
estate industry and the everyday activities of REALTORS®? Bills that are
introduced just to posture may needlessly expend resources and erode
C.A.R.'s credibility with the legislature. Further, little legislative
sympathy is given to attempts to fix more than the problem at hand.
Is it Real Estate Related?" C.A.R. is regarded as a powerhouse within its
particular "turf," but like other lobbying entities, C.A.R.'s influence
declines rapidly as it moves away from "core" concerns.
Does the political "cost" justify the improvement that might be gained by
the bill? Because sponsored legislation comes at the expense of reactive
efforts, even a well thought out, desirable change, may not be as important
to REALTORS® as other competing proposals. It should be remembered that,
whether described as "chits," "bullets," or "trips to the well;" any
lobbying entity's ability to marshal votes declines with the number of
issues attempted. How big an effect on day to day real estate practice will
Has it been tried before? How come it didn't work then? Even in this era of
term limits, the legislative "do-ability" of various types of proposals
changes relatively slowly. Once a proposal has been tried and found
wanting, any repeat attempt should take into consideration whether or not
previous opposition can be dealt with before it is reintroduced.
Does C.A.R. really need to be the sponsor? Oftentimes REALTOR® policy goals
may be paralleled by other interest groups and C.A.R. can simply
"piggyback" by supporting their legislation rather than sponsor a parallel
competing measure; or, C.A.R. can sometimes force a desired change as a
price of removing opposition.
Position Options (Based on the necessary investment of political capitol
and resource allocation; 1 being the least, 4 being the most):
1. Support, but not Sponsor - Active efforts in support. The proposal
is not an appropriate subject to expend the level of legislative resources
(at this time) that actual sponsorship would require.
2. Sponsor as an Amendment - Actively seek to insert the proposal in
relevant bills of others as opportunities present themselves.
3. Co-Sponsor - Share in the drafting, control and required
expenditure of resources with another lobbying entity. This option requires
much more political resources than simple support of legislation of others,
but carries with it more control of the final product.
4. Sponsor - Adopt as a portion of C.A.R.'s own legislative program which
results in the highest investment and legislative resource priority.
Please see the State Legislative Issues Report for a detailed discussion of
the implications of the various possible positions on legislation of