Legislative Update: May 28, 2019

Legislative Update: May 28, 2019

Legislative Update: May 28, 2019

NHAR private roads bill moves forward

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:

NHAR backed legislation on private roads passes committee;
NHAR to conduct Call for Action

The House Public Works Committee voted 14-6 to recommend final passage of Senate Bill 39, which would allow VA and Fannie Mae to take a mortgage on a private road even if the owners do not have a written maintenance agreement.

Veterans, active service military, seniors and families are often stymied in obtaining a mortgage because both the Veterans Administration and Fannie Mae require a written road maintenance agreement for the property to appraise. Many private roads, if not most, do not. However, the VA and Fannie Mae will take the loan if there is a statutory requirement simply stating that each property owner must pay their fair share toward maintenance – basically taking a court-tested common law principle and putting it into statute. And that is exactly what SB 39 does.

In the past, similar legislation has sailed through the Senate but has stumbled in the House. Some Representatives somehow thought the legislation would mandate that property owners enter into an agreement, even though the legislation does the exact opposite.

This year appears to be different, and there is a decent chance the legislation will land on the Governor’s desk. NHAR is pushing hard, but we will need your help.

Please, take one minute to participate in the NHAR Call for Action on Senate Bill 39 which will be coming out this Thursday, May 30. Let’s guarantee that veterans, active duty military and families have access to the most affordable mortgage products available.

Association Health Plan legislation moves forward, but with major caveat

Senate Bill 228 is designed to give trade associations, such as NHAR, the opportunity to provide comprehensive and affordable health insurance by allowing sole proprietors to band together to negotiate as a large group. The legislation was a result of a new regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) last summer.

However, before the bill was debated in the House of Representatives, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down parts of the Association Health Plan (AHP) rule finalized by the DOL (State of New York v. US Dept. of Labor). The Court determined that the DOL did not have the authority to reinterpret the rule relative to sole proprietors and that the change could create disruptions in the individual and small group markets.

The House Commerce Committee altered SB 228 to make it effective only when, and if, the federal case is overturned, or Congress passes legislation permitting sole proprietors to pool together when seeking health insurance in the large group market. This means that any attempt by NHAR to offer health insurance to its members will not happen this year.

Some committee members felt the legislation was too restrictive and would place unnecessary burdens on associations attempting to access more affordable insurance plans. The House will have a final vote on legislation next week.

To view the most recent legislative chart, click here or view the attachment. If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2019 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact New Hampshire REALTORS Vice President of Government Affairs Bob Quinn at bob@nhar.com 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."

Ben Cushing, 2023 President, New Hampshire REALTORS