October 2019

Government Affairs Update for October 25, 2019

Governor Cuomo signs NYSAR-supported continuing education legislation
Governor Cuomo signed legislation to expand the mandatory “core” continuing education requirement from four to 7.5 hours and eliminate the exemption from continuing education for full-time real estate professionals licensed prior to July 1, 2008, for at least 15 consecutive years. The legislation will take effect on July 1, 2021, after which real estate licensees will be required to complete 2.5 hours of instruction on ethical business practices and one hour of legal updates every two years. The total number of continuing education hours to be completed every two years will remain the same, at 22.5. NYSAR worked with Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz to get the legislation passed and signed into law.

Early voting set to begin throughout the State
After the enactment of legislation in this session, New York will have early voting sites for the first time in the State’s history. Early voting will last for nine days, beginning Saturday, October 26, and ending on Sunday, November 3, which is two days before Election Day. Contact your county board of elections to find out more about early voting, including the hours of operation for the sites in your county. To find an early voting site in your county, click here.

Governor again seeks a State Budget that holds spending growth at two percent
In a letter to state agencies, the Governor’s Budget Director outlined a plan to hold growth in the fiscal year 2021 budget to two percent. The Governor’s Executive Budget is expected to be released in mid-January and must pass the Legislature by March 31 to be considered on-time. For more information and to view the Budget Director’s letter,  click here.

Public Financing Commission expected to release final plan near Thanksgiving
The nine-member commission charged with implementing public funding of political campaigns in New York met this week in Long Island. Among the items being considered by the commission are the lowering of contribution limits and the ratio at which contributions will be matched. The commission is expected to release its final plan for the $100 million voluntary, publicly funded campaign finance system on November 27. Find out more about the Commission’s meeting here.

Government Affairs Update for October 18, 2019

DOS proposes updated rule for advertisements not listed with a broker
The Department of State published an updated rule regarding advertisements not listed with a broker. The proposed rule clarifies the requirements around the use of third-party advertising by a broker, including when such advertisement references property subject to an exclusive listing agreement with another broker. The rule is subject to a 60-day comment period. The final adopted rule will not be published until January or February of 2020 and will take effect 180 days after the final publication. You may view the text of the rule here. REALTORS® may comment on the proposed rule by contacting the Department of State at [email protected].

State Senate holds hearing on “Gig Economy” legislation
NYSAR staff attended a public hearing to examine legislation introduced by Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo that seeks to address the gig economy’s impact on workers. California enacted a law earlier this year to provide various workers classified as independent contractors with additional labor protections. The law exempted real estate professionals. Senator Savino’s and Assemblyman Crespo’s legislation would create a class of workers known as dependent workers and provide these workers with labor protections, which include collective bargaining rights and overtime pay. This legislation currently does not exempt real estate professionals. NYSAR intends to work with the sponsors to have its concerns addressed and seek the exclusion of real estate licensees.

National Grid to reconnect gas service for approximately 1,000 customers after PSC order
National Grid is reconnecting gas service for nearly 1,000 residential and commercial customers in the downstate region, after the Public Service Commission issued an order directing the utility company to reinstate service. National Grid maintains that there is a long term need for more gas in the region, which they hope can be met through the approval of the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project. NYSAR currently has a Call for Action in support of the NESE project, which you can use to contact your lawmakers and encourage them to support the project.

Hudson Valley Congresswoman Nita Lowey to retire
Rep. Nita Lowey announced that she will not seek reelection in 2020 after serving in Congress for more than three decades. Lowey is currently the chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Several names have been mentioned as potential candidates, including Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains), who declared his candidacy a few days after Lowey’s announcement. Former Obama administration staffer, Mondaire Jones, previously declared that he is running for the seat. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, announced that she will not run for the seat.

Government Affairs Update for October 11, 2019

Democratic-Socialist candidates want to abolish private property
A slate of Democratic-Socialist candidates are mounting primary challenges against Democratic incumbents for state Assembly and Senate seats on a platform of eliminating private property and increasing eviction protections for tenants. Candidates so far include Boris Santos, former chief of staff to Senator Julia Salazar, running against Assemblyman Erik Dilan in Brooklyn, Jabari Brisport, a public school teacher, running for Sen. Velmanette Montgomery’s Central Brooklyn seat, Phara Souffrant Forrest, a tenant organizer and nurse challenging Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Prospect Heights) and Marcela Mitaynes, a tenant organizer challenging Assemblyman Félix Ortiz (Sunset Park).

NY to sue for $1 billion in flood damage on Lake Ontario shoreline
Governor Cuomo announced that the state would sue the International Joint Commission (IJC) for $1 billion in damages to the Lake Ontario shoreline due to the new lake-level regulation plan implemented in 2017. The IJC is explicitly shielded from litigation by federal law, however, state officials believe that a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision would allow New York to pursue a negligence claim. Read more here.

NAR spotlights guidance on flood insurance and disclosures
Flood-related disclosures can generate legal and ethical questions. REALTORS® are also reminded that flooding is a material fact to a real estate transaction, and failure to disclose flood damage can result in liability. NAR Associate Counsel Deanne Rymarowicz answers these questions and more in this month’s Window to the Law video. NAR’s state by state flood disclosure survey can be found here.

Government Affairs Update for October 4, 2019

Long Island Democratic Senators urge DEC to approve NYC/Long Island natural gas pipeline project
Six state Senators on Long Island (Sens. Todd Kaminsky, John Brooks, James Gaughran, Anna Kaplan, Monica Martinez, and Kevin Thomas) sent a letter Wednesday to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urging conditional approval of a 24-mile natural gas pipeline expansion project called the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project. NYSAR continues to support the NESE Project so that residents and businesses in the region have proper access to natural gas hookups and conversions. Learn more and  urge your state lawmakers to support the NESE Project.

Congressman Chris Collins pleads guilty to felonies, resigns
Former Rep. Chris Collins announced his resignation and pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two felony counts tied to insider trading. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the authorization to announce a special election to fill the seat, or he could leave it vacant until the general election in November 2020. Three Republicans – Senator Rob Ortt, Senator Chris Jacobs and attorney Beth Parlato – and a Democrat – Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray – have already announced their campaigns for the seat.

Federal judge dismisses NY lawsuit challenging SALT cap
On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by New York and three other states which argued that the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions were unconstitutional. Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that New York would consider an appeal. Learn more.