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August 2019

Government Affairs Update for August 30, 2019

Business groups urge gas pipeline approval, end moratorium
Long Island business groups are urging the state to approve project permits to build a 24-mile natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York City and Long Island. The state has twice rejected a water-quality permit for the project. The developer has resubmitted its application. National Grid imposed a moratorium on any new service in May and has so far rejected 2,600 applications for natural gas service to 20,000 commercial and residential units in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Read more here. NYSAR expressed support for this project so that homeowners and businesses in the region are provided with access to reliable gas service.

Federal ruling limits state’s authority in controversial Constitution Pipeline project
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled Wednesday that the 124-mile Constitution pipeline project could move forward, invalidating the state’s 2016 decision to reject the project. The court ruled that the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) failed to act on the project within a required one-year window, thereby waiving its authority. DEC has not yet addressed this federal ruling.

Outside income restrictions for state lawmakers struck down again
State Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin ruled Thursday that a special compensation committee exceeded its authority by imposing limitations on the private income earned by state legislators, which were set to take effect in 2020. Read more here.

Landlord/Tenant Law Guest Speaker at NYSAR Fall Business Meetings
Learn more about recent changes to the law relating to NYS landlord and tenant reforms at NYSAR’s Fall Business Meetings at Turning Stone Resort Legislative Policy Forum (Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 11 a.m.) with featured speaker Nick Mastrosimone, Attorney at Harris Beach PLLC. NYSAR Director of Government Affairs Mike Kelly and NAR Field Representative Zack Rubin-McCarry will also provide insight into the top state and federal issues facing REALTORS®.

Government Affairs Update for August 23, 2019

Landlord/Tenant Law Guest Speaker at NYSAR Fall Business Meetings
Learn more about recent changes to the law relating to NYS landlord and tenant reforms at NYSAR’s Fall Business Meetings at Turning Stone Resort. Attend the Legislative Policy Forum (Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 11 a.m.) with featured speaker Nick Mastrosimone, Attorney at Harris Beach PLLC. NYSAR Director of Government Affairs Mike Kelly and NAR Field Representative Zack Rubin-McCarry will also provide insight into the top state and federal issues facing REALTORS®.

NAR releases flood insurance data for New York
NAR compiled data that shows over 426,000 housing units in New York state within a 500-year floodplain and over 175,000 NFIP policies in force. More than 88,000 residential NFIP claims have been paid in New York since 1996 at an average amount of $50,000. NAR continues to urge Congress to pass the NFIP Reauthorization Act to extend and reform the program before it is set to expire on September 30, 2019.

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Government Affairs Update for August 16, 2019

Governor Cuomo signs workplace harassment and discrimination legislation
Governor Cuomo signed legislation on August 12th to lower the legal threshold for workplace harassment claims. The new law eliminates the previously used “severe and pervasive” standard and now defines harassment as any conduct that subjects someone to inferior treatment based on age, race, sex, religion, or other specified categories. The law covers all private employers and includes a host of other measures designed to address workplace harassment and discrimination.

HUD releases new FHA condo loan policies
The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently issued guidance finalizing new Federal Housing Authority condominium loan policies. The loan policies are expected to yield thousands of new homeownership opportunities, once the new rule takes effect in mid-October. Condominium sales have declined by 3.3 percent since May and 6.5 percent from the same time last year. NAR backed these loan policies and worked with HUD over the last decade on their development. Read more about the new policies here.

Retired Major General prepares to run in the 19th Congressional District
Major General Anthony German, an Oneonta Republican, is preparing to run for the seat in the 19th Congressional District currently held by first-term Congressman Antonio Delgado. German retired from the New York National Guard in February after serving as the 53rd Adjutant General of New York. Two other Republican candidates have registered campaign committees. Congressman Delgado defeated former rep. John Faso by five percentage points in the 2018 election.

State Senator looks to build on the federal Opportunity Zone program
State Senator James Sanders (D-Queens) indicated that the State is exploring the possibility of setting up additional opportunity zones. Sanders plans to meet with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to discuss a plan for opportunity zones in the city and state, which would add more incentives for investors. The federal Opportunity Zone program was established as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to boost investment in low-income areas. NAR recently announced its Qualified Opportunity Zones toolkit, which can be found here.

NYC Property Tax Reform Commission to hold additional hearings amidst challenges
The Property Tax Reform Commission convened in May 2018 by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to hold additional hearings after missing its deadline to issue a preliminary report earlier this year. The hearing dates have not yet been announced. The Commission held several hearings last fall and is expected to issue proposals designed to reform the City’s property tax system. Read about challenges to reforming New York City’s property tax system here.

Government Affairs Update for August 9, 2019

New NAR resource on Opportunity Zones available
NAR has been developing resources to help facilitate and expedite investments in the federal government’s Qualified Opportunity Zone program. RPR, a subsidiary of NAR, announced it has completed the integration of Opportunity Zones into its platform allowing residential and commercial REALTORS® to analyze and search for properties in qualified zones. REALTORS® can review economic and demographic statistics for the area and create reports for investors about the buying potential and marketability. Learn how to access these Opportunity Zones in RPR here.

Important update on new statewide rent regulation law
NYSAR recently worked with outside legal counsel at Harris Beach PLLC to provide REALTORS® with information on the components of the new rent reform and tenant protections law:

  • 13 Things to Know: Expansion of Rent Regulation and Tenant Protections
    This summary document provides an overview of changes in tenant protections and eviction processes in New York State.
  • Reforms to Residential Landlord-Tenant Relations
    This comprehensive document provides an in-depth analysis of the changes in residential landlord-tenant relations in New York State including a breakdown of the new tenant protections and changes to the eviction process. The document also discusses some areas of the law where it’s unclear whether the new law applies (pet deposits, cooperative application fee).

State announces Lake Ontario flood relief funding for homeowners
Governor Cuomo announced up to $20 million will be available to homeowners along Lake Ontario for flood repairs through the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal’s Residential Home Repair Program. This funding is part of the state’s plan to invest a total of $300 million for flood resiliency projects in the region. The governor stated that local governments could seek funding from the state on behalf of homeowners. Read more here.

Katz declared the winner of Queens District Attorney primary race
Public defender Tiffany Caban conceded to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in the Democratic primary race for Queens District Attorney following a weeks-long manual recount of ballots and legal challenges. Katz ultimately won by 55 votes, although Caban held a 1,000 vote lead on election night on June 25. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for August 2, 2019

Important update on new statewide rent regulation law
NYSAR recently worked with outside legal counsel at Harris Beach PLLC to provide REALTORS® with information on the components of the new rent reform and tenant protections law:

  • 13 Things to Know: Expansion of Rent Regulation and Tenant Protections
    This summary document provides an overview of changes in tenant protections and eviction processes in New York State.
  • Reforms to Residential Landlord-Tenant Relations
    This comprehensive document provides an in-depth analysis of the changes in residential landlord-tenant relations in New York State including a breakdown of the new tenant protections and changes to the eviction process. The document also discusses some areas of the law where it’s unclear whether the new law applies (pet deposits, cooperative application fee).

Suffolk officials propose $4 billion wastewater plan
Suffolk County officials announced a $4 billion multiphase plan to install new sewage systems and impose new sanitary code changes. The plan would require the installation of Innovative Alternative (IA) systems, which cost about $20,000, when septic systems fail or when properties are sold. The plan also calls for the creation of a countywide wastewater management district, and a new unspecified revenue stream by 2022 to help finance grants and loans for homeowners and to overhaul the septic systems beginning in 2024. Read more here.

Judge voids future pay raise for state lawmakers removes restrictions on outside income
State Supreme Court Judge Christina Ryba clarified a court decision declaring any pay raise for state lawmakers beyond the $30,500 that already went into effect in January be null and void. She also ruled that the independent pay commission did not have the authority to impose limitations on outside income for state lawmakers. Read more here.