The 88th Legislature’s regular session began Jan. 10 and runs through May 29. Republicans again control both chambers. From the state budget to immigration and education policy, we focus on what Texans need to know about the biennial lawmaking session. You can find the elected officials who represent you here. Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get all the latest session news.
The Texas State Chapter of NARPM is pleased to announce that registration to our State Conference is now open! Please note the conference is taking place in September of this year in San Antonio. Follow this link for further details: www.texasnarpmconference.com
April 11, 2022 | Texas REALTORS® Staff
The Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule requires specific training and certification when performing certain work with pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978.
If your property management company performs any activity that disturbs paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978, it is performing a regulated renovation requiring certification, including remodeling and repair/maintenance, electrical work, plumbing, painting preparation, carpentry, and window replacement. That part of the rule has not changed. However, the EPA broadened the rule to also require certification for these administrative actions:
If your company is subcontracting the renovation work that disturbs paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 to other firms, your firm needs only to complete the firm certification. However, you are still responsible for ensuring the renovating firm that is selected for the renovations is certified and has at least one certified renovator on staff.
To become a certified firm, submit a short application and fee of $300 to the EPA. The firm certifications are good for five years. Go to epa.gov and click Apply Now to get started. First search for your firm to make sure it doesn’t have a current or pending certification. Then you can begin an application to certify a new firm using the link provided at the bottom of the Results page.
If your company engages in any of the regulated renovation or demolition work that disturbs paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978—not just the administrative actions included in the bulleted list above—your property management company employees may need to obtain individual certification as certified renovators.
They can complete the renovator certification by taking a one-day course in addition to the firm certification. The certified renovators are responsible for on-the-job training of individuals who will participate in the renovations. Such training must be documented, and the documents must be retained. Find an RRP training class or provider in your area at epa.gov.
The National Lead Information Center provides a hotline for more information on becoming certified 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday at 800-424-5323.
Penalties for a failure to maintain required documents can reach $40,576 per violation, per day and “knowing violations” can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000 per violation per day, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in addition to or in lieu of civil penalties.
NARPM and others have filed a lawsuit and motion for temporary restraining order against CFPB in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee for doubling down on the unlawful eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last September. The plaintiffs, including NARPM, are represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance. The plaintiffs in this case seek a declaratory judgment setting aside and invalidating the CFPB rule and an emergency temporary restraining order preventing CFPB from enforcing its rule pending further action in the case. More information about the case is available here.
Click the link below to read the blog post:
A Voice for the Vision
NARPM Legislative and Educational
Conference Registration is Open!
Join us May 17-18, 2021 - Click HERE to register!
Also join us for:
- Breakout Education Sessions with NARPM Partner Sponsors
- In-Person & Virtual Happy Hour – Wine Down with Us!
Hilton Washington DC Capitol Hill (formerly Washington Court Hotel)
525 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001 Room block pricing closes April 14, 2021
* Tentative Topics - Subject to change
Click HERE to Register!
RSVP now for virtual REALTOR® Day meetings
REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol is a cornerstone event in the association’s advocacy efforts.
This event is usually held in person at the Texas Capitol during the legislative session; however, Texas REALTORS® is adapting this year’s event by hosting virtual meetings with members of the 87th Texas Legislature in March and April.
The 2021 legislative session looks different than years past, and the need for REALTORS® to advocate for Texas real estate is greater than ever.
How to participate
Visit texasrealestate.com/realtorday to RSVP for meetings with your state senator and state representative and to add the Opening Session and Closing Session to your calendar.
· March 15, 10-11 a.m.: Opening Session
· March 15-April 9: Meetings with Texas legislators—Scheduling is based on each legislator’s availability.
· April 9, 2-3 p.m. Closing Session
When are the meetings?
Texas REALTORS® is scheduling meetings with the offices of all 181 legislators. Meeting times and dates will be based on the legislators’ availability.
Please contact Jami Sims for questions about scheduling meetings with legislators.
Who will lead the meetings?
REALTORS® who serve as Key Contacts on the Texas REALTORS® Legislative Contact Teams will lead the discussions with legislators.
Please contact Joanna Ramirez for questions about how REALTORS® can join a Legislative Contact Team.
In this edition …
This edition of Legislative Liaison focuses on a new federal COVID-19 relief bill, elections in North Texas, and Legislative updates.
New federal relief bill includes state and local aid
The U.S. House of Representatives early Saturday passed President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan legislation, which next moves to the U.S. Senate. This would be the sixth major coronavirus relief package passed by Congress.
The legislation includes …
Read more from NAR about the legislation.
HD 68 win makes a full House
On Tuesday, February 23, TREPAC-supported candidate David Spiller won the special election in House District 68 with 62.9% of the vote to replace now-Sen. Drew Springer.
Turnout was 6.62% across the 22-county rural North Texas district.
This fills the last vacant seat in the Texas House of Representatives. This also completes the game of political dominos that began when former Congressman John Ratcliffe (TXCD-06) was appointed as National Intelligence Director. Texas Sen. Pat Fallon won the special election to replace Ratcliffe, then-Rep. Drew Springer won the race to replace Fallon.
Election dates set for CD 6
Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an order for a May 1 special election to replace the late U.S. Representative Ron Wright (R-Arlington), who represented Congressional District 6 covering Ellis and Navarro counties and the southeast corner of Tarrant County.
Candidates must file with the Texas Secretary of State by March 3. Early voting begins April 19. As of Monday morning, 11 candidates have filed for the CD 6 seat and four others have expressed interest.
The filed candidates include Susan Wright, who is the widow of the late Congressman Wright, and freshman state Rep. Jake Ellzey, who lost to Wright in the 2018 Republican primary for the CD 6 race.
Lege committees hold multi-day storm response hearings
Thursday and Friday brought marathon simultaneous hearings for the Senate Business & Commerce Committee and a joint meeting of the House State Affairs and House Energy Resources committees regarding the utility outages in February.
The energy leaders who testified included ERCOT CEO Bill Magness, Public Utility Commission Chair DeAnn Walker, and Railroad Commission Chair Christi Craddick.
In the Senate hearing, ERCOT’s Magness was in the hot seat for about six hours, followed by PUC’s Walker, who was questioned into the night on Thursday. In the House hearing, critique largely focused on the lack of communication from agencies/companies to consumers.
See the schedule of upcoming committee meetings for the Senate here and for the House here.
Lt. Gov.’s 31 priorities
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced his 31 top priorities for the legislative session on Tuesday.
Following the Governor's direction, ERCOT reform and power grid stability is high on the list of priorities for the Senate to address along with statewide broadband access, protecting state-held personal data, removal of racist restrictions from deeds, and redistricting.
See the full list here.
House begins referring bills
The Texas House started referring bills to committees last week. This is a promising step to see the legislative process moving forward, as the Legislature has been making slow, deliberate steps due to COVID-19 precautions and the severe weather and utility outages.
Texas REALTORS® continues to review every bill as the March 12 filing deadline approaches.
A judge in Texas has struck down the CDC Eviction Moratorium (see below for the opinion). The judge ruled that the moratorium is unconstitutional and the CDC is ordered to not apply or enforce the order moving forward. As you know, NARPM has participated in 3 cases challenging the CDC eviction moratorium. While this was not one of those cases, we will nonetheless keep a close eye on it. We expect CDC to appeal, and we will be sharing more information as we get it. In addition to the court's opinion, here is press coverage from The Hill.
The Paycheck Protection Program, a federal stimulus meant to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic, came back online Monday at 8 a.m. Businesses that received the low-interest, forgivable loans from the first iteration of the program in 2020 will soon be able to apply for a second, and restaurants and hotels will soon be able to qualify for larger loans proportional to their payroll costs.
The program is open to businesses with 500 or fewer employees, which are eligible for first-draw loans of up to $10 million, while second-draw loans are limited to businesses with 300 or fewer employees and capped at $2 million. For their second-draw loans, restaurants and hotels can receive as much as 3.5 times their average monthly payroll, while all other loans are limited to 2.5 times. The funding is part of a second, $284 billion, relief bill signed into law last month.
This time, following criticism that the first round of the program served disproportionately few minority-owned businesses, it began a little differently. It rolled out first with community institutions, which tend to have stronger relationships with minority communities.
“For smaller businesses, first-time applicants, community institutions and minority businesses, this round of funding is designed to correct the issues of the first round of PPP funding,” she said. “While it still may not be perfect, seize this opportunity to get funding.”
Houston’s construction industry took a bigger hit than any other major city in the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic raged in 2020, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
The economic uncertainty of the pandemic, in tandem with the energy downturn, is considered to blame for the slowdown in construction activity and subsequent job losses. While the numbers are dire, some construction executives in Houston pushed back against the data, saying they don’t see that much pain in the market and are continuing to add jobs and move forward on schedule themselves.
From November 2019 to November 2020, the Houston metropolitan statistical area lost more construction jobs than any major metro area in the country — 22,500 jobs or 9% of the local construction job market, according to an AGC analysis of government data.
That figure was well ahead of the second hardest-hit location, New York City, which lost 16,700 jobs, or Midland, Texas, which came in third at 9,800 jobs. Nationally, large numbers of contractors have had to lay off workers once they complete projects that started before the pandemic, because private owners and public agencies are hesitant to commit to new construction, the AGC said.
AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson told the Houston Chronicle that the Houston construction industry has likely been left much weaker than other parts of the country because the downturn in the energy sector suppressed demand for construction workers.
Incoming 2021-2022 AGC Houston Chairman John Marshall said that while he doesn’t know for sure, he also believes that challenges in the energy sector prior to the pandemic contributed to job losses in Houston. Combined with economic uncertainty, it isn’t surprising that projects were delayed or canceled in 2020, taking jobs with them.
“I think it's that continued uncertainty, almost being exponential on top of [the energy downturn],” Marshall said. “I think it's the uncertainty that's really driving the slowdown.”
Marshall is a vice president at Houston-based Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, and said the firm has seen some projects slow down or be pushed back because of the pandemic, though few have actually been canceled outright. Commercial development projects have been more likely to hit the brakes than public works, which have continued mostly as usual, Marshall added.
In terms of where job losses have hit hardest, Marshall said that delayed or slowed projects have forced subcontractors to bear the brunt.
“We've seen the effects of COVID on subcontracting firms, which can ripple through the owners that we work for, and how that causes people to react. So it continues to be the big influencer,” Marshall said.
Some construction companies and subcontractors have fared better. GT Leach Construction President Gary Leach said that his firm briefly laid off two people earlier in the pandemic, but has since rehired them. The company actually increased its total staff in 2020 because things have been so busy, he said.
Leach said that the AGC’s number of job losses in Houston surprised him to the point that he questioned the accuracy, as it didn’t add up to what he has seen in daily business life.
“It really surprised me. I mainly work in the residential high-rise area [and] hospitality, and we've actually added more jobs this year,” Leach said. “I've never been busier.” con't article by link
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