Common Interest Development Committee
Housing Opportunity Committee
Manufactured Housing Committee
Land Use and Environmental Committee
Property Management Committee
Real Estate Finance Committee
REALTORS® Commercial Alliance and Commercial Investment Committee
The following is for study only and has NOT been approved by Legislative
Committee, Policy Committees, Executive Committee, or the Board of
Issue: What strategic questions should C.A.R. consider in
evaluating proposals for sponsored legislation?
Options: Not applicable
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
C.A.R. has already voted to sponsor four bills in 2010 to:
1) Expand borrowers anti-deficiency protections,
2) Create an REO homebuyer tax credit (SB 206),
3) Pre-empt local property maintenance ordinances; and,
4) Protect a CID unit owner's right to rent.
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
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 resources.
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 result?
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
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
Please see the State Legislative Issues Report for a detailed discussion of the
implications of the various possible positions on legislation of others.