Legislative Update: February 26, 2019
By BOB QUINN
Vice President of Government Affairs
Here are a few items being explored in the New Hampshire legislature that are of potential interest to the real estate community and being watched closely by your New Hampshire REALTORS government affairs team:
Association health plans get a hearing
Last week, the Senate held hearings on two bills (Senate Bill 227 and Senate Bill 228) which create the opportunity to allow Associations, such as NHAR, to offer comprehensive, affordable health insurance to members.
A recent poll of NHAR membership showed that 18 percent have no health insurance coverage. Many Realtors are forced out of the industry due to the lack of access to affordable health insurance.
A federal rule change by the Department of Labor this past summer has created an opportunity for Associations to be considered "large group" employers and therefore eligible to offer a more affordable health insurance product. Both bills require the NH Department of Insurance to certify that any Association health plan meets or exceeds coverage on the existing health exchange (Healthcare.gov).
NHAR testified in a favor of the bills. You can read more about the debate here.
Bill would allow towns to tax vacation rentals
House Bill 641 would allow municipalities to charge a fee of up to $2 a night on all hotel stays – including vacation or short-term rentals. NHAR opposes the bill.
The supporters of the bill argued that towns need additional dollars to offset the cost of services associated with tourism and transient traffic. However, vacation rentals already pay a 9 percent Meals and Rooms tax which goes to the state – about 30 percent of that revenue goes back to cities and towns.
The bill passed out of the House Municipal and County Government Committee and will be voted on by the full House this week.
NH Real Estate Commission proposes rule changes
Proposed rules relative to post-licensing continuing education requirements for new licensees, new guidelines for late or lapsed license renewal and other items can be found here.
Governor’s budget proposed $2.5 million in lead paint revolving loan fund
The Governor’s budget proposes a lead paint remediation fund within the Housing Finance Authority to make loans to owners of rental or owner‐occupied property for the costs of remediation of lead paint hazards. The creation of the fund was authorized under 2018 legislation (Senate Bill 247), which altered New Hampshire’s lead paint law.
To view the most recent legislative chart, click here. If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2019 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact NHAR Vice President of Government Affairs Bob Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-225-5549.
"Amidst the sea of change to which the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS has played witness in its 85 years, one thing that has remained constant is the Realtor 'R' and the value we bring to every real estate transaction in which we take part. We are part of a unique community where our familial cooperation transcends our business competition. These are not mere platitudes, but our living ideals, and they are, in fact, the foundation on which we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day affairs."
Jim Lee, 2021 President, New Hampshire REALTORS