In the CCIM Washington State Chapter board meeting in April this year, I had the distinct honor of being appointed the new Chair of the Legislative Committee. I would like to use this opportunity to update our CCIM chapter members on the latest legislative issues at the state and national level as well as report on the NAR Legislative Week and Capitol Hill visits in Washington DC, which I attended on behalf of the CCIM Washington State Chapter.
At the state level, Washington State Legislature recently wrapped up their session with a number of issues that might affect us in our practice. Due to the hard work of our lobbyists, we were able to defeat the bill for the ban on dual agency, exclude commercial real estate in the capital gain legislature, reformed the condominium development liability act with more reasonable statutes, and exclude the real estate industry from the B&O tax increase. Unfortunately we were unable to influence the passage of the increase in Real Estate excise tax, which will affect commercial real estate sellers, owners, and developers above the price point of $1.75m.
On the national level, issues that we cared about and pending before Congress include the long term reauthorization and meaningful reform of the flood insurance legislature, all encompassing investments in our infrastructures, effective data privacy and security legislature for the technologies we used, expanded access to association health plans for realtors as independent contractors, Fannie and Freddie reforms, extending the expiring mortgage debt cancellation tax relief, fixing the marriage penalty in the local and state tax under the Jobs Act, indexing to inflation the $750,000 cap on mortgage interest deduction, capital gains exclusion on the sale of principal residence, fair housing protection under the Equality Act, and last but not least, clearer rules facilitating the use of the Opportunity Zones.
The above issues are some examples of where our dues and membership fees have been put to good use and I strongly encourage everyone to pay their dues and support the good work of the lobbyists and various organizations working hard to fight for your rights. The work is never ending, and the opponents have promised to re-visit the legislatures that we have fought and won, so your continued support is vital. If anyone would like more details on the above legislatures, please feel free to contact me.
Thousands of Realtors from across the country and internationally (Yes! We have international Realtors!) congregated on our nation’s capital on May 13-18 this year to discuss the issues facing the real estate industry, public policy and the association. It was also an opportunity to network among the leaders of the various Realtor associations and affiliated organizations, including but not limited to WA Realtors, WSCAR, and of course the CCIM Institute. Key speakers of the Legislative and Political Forum include Governor Terry McAuliffe, former Governor of the State of Virginia, and Governor Haley Barbour, former Governor of the state of Mississippi.
One of the key highlights of this week’s event was the Capitol Hill visits where Realtors marched up the Hill to lobby and advocate the issues facing the Real Estate industry and Realtors. We have Washington state realtors visiting both of our Senators and all 10 of our House Representatives. I was part of the delegation visiting Senator Patty Murray and Representative Kim Schrier. Being the only commercial Realtor in the delegation, it fell on me to advocate on the commercial issues such as the Opportunity Zones.
The grand finale was an address by the President of the United States of America, President Donald J. Trump, which got everyone excited and talking, and of course we had Secret Service agents swamping the hotel days before the actual event.
It was a busy and hectic week, but I would say it was a fruitful and successful week. I would also like to use this opportunity to request that chapter members reach out to me if they have any legislative issues that they are facing that they would like the committee and Realtor associations to look into. Finally, I would like to appeal to Chapter members who have interests on legislative issues to join me on the Legislative committee and all members to actively participate in the CCIM Washington State Chapter and all our activities. Thank you!
Larry Eu, CCIM
Director, CCIM Washington State Chapter
Chair, Legislature Committee