Big news last week on AHPs for REALTORS®. The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) finalized its long-awaited Association Health Plan (AHP) rule to expand the definition of “employer” to include “working owners.” This change allows real estate professionals and other self-employed individuals to participate in association health plans. A key provision, forwarded for inclusion in the rule by NAR, will allow many REALTORS® who have access to coverage through a spouse to be eligible to choose an AHP option. The ruling is a major step forward for NAR’s long-standing advocacy efforts to expand AHP eligibility to independent contractors. This ruling allows NAR to keep up its ongoing program to evaluate potential options for expanding REALTORS® options for access to health insurance coverage. It does not mean that a REALTOR® AHP will be available in the near term, but action continues to explore such options.
Another big win last week for REALTORS® came when the Supreme Court announced its holding in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a case on internet sales tax fairness, in favor of NAR’s position that states should be able to require online sellers to collect/remit sales tax on purchases. The Court held that the South Dakota law, requiring some online retailers to charge and remit sales tax on purchases, may stand, and that the “physical presence” requirement is out of date in an e-commerce era. NAR has been advocating for this position for many years in Congress, and joined two amicus briefs with a coalition of other real estate groups in support of the South Dakota law being challenged. NAR is also a member of the Marketplace Fairness Coalition, which advocates for e-fairness and supports HR 2193 Remote Transaction Parity Act.
The House voted 213-211 to approve the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (aka the Farm Bill), which included an amendment by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) permanently repealing the 2015 water rule. According to Rep. Banks, “WOTUS (Waters of the United States) gave unelected bureaucrats at the EPA the power to broadly interpret what is a navigable waterway in a way where even a puddle could be subject to federal regulation. This rule has been harmful across all industries in our country and it is time we remove the regulation once and for all.”
In Columbus, the Ohio State House has been moving briskly through business after voting in Rep. Ryan Smith as Speaker of the House. Ohio REALTORS® has been advocating for the passage of HB 211, which would establish a licensing requirement for home inspectors. The bill passed on June 27th with a count of 87-7. The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate.
June was a busy month for DARPAC (Dayton Area REALTORS® Political Action Committee) as it hosted the annual DARPAC Auction. The event was a success, raising over $35,000 and producing 11 major investors (members investing at least $1,000 in a calendar year)! National RPAC Trustee Tray Bates flew in from Texas to speak and was impressed by the event. Eudora Brewing Company from Kettering helped supply a special brew for the auction and was very warmly received.
Locally, Dayton REALTORS® is monitoring city council activity in Oakwood. They are considering an ordinance that would restrict a property owner’s ability to rent out their property by placing restrictions on how many unrelated tenants can live in a rental unit. A vote is anticipated the when the city council meets on July 16th.