Today concludes the fourth week of the 2020 General Assembly Session and things are still going well for our Legislative Agenda.

Both of our Association Health Plans advanced with strong bi-partisan support this week. SB 235 passed the Senate on a 40-0 vote and HB 795 was recommended by the House Labor and Commerce Committee on a 18-0 vote.  HB 795 will be considered on the House floor early next week.

You may wonder why we introduce identical pieces of legislation in both chambers of the legislature?  It’s not a necessary practice, and it would require less work in the early days of Session, but it’s a best practice for ensure your bill makes it through.

In the jet-wash of a 60-day Session that is considering well over 3,000 pieces of legislation and budget amendments, things can get a little squirrelly, especially if you are working with a complicated bill.  Introducing legislation in both the House and Senate allows for a back-up option should one bill get unexpectedly sidetracked in the legislative process.

We’ve gotten a couple questions recently about our legislative agenda bill SB 653 that codifies the requirement to put rent money into escrow. SB 653 sets into law what is best practice for licensees, which is to put rent money initially into an escrow account before it is disbursed according to any written agreement. The bill doesn’t specify how long the money must remain in escrow. By having rent money initially deposited into the escrow account, rather than operating funds, it provides a layer of protection for the consumer funds.

You can keep up with our legislative agenda on the Virginia REALTORS® website.

Member (or Association or Local Visit) Highlight:

Five local associations brought REALTORS® to Richmond this week for Day on the Hill advocacy efforts. We had visitors from the Roanoke Valley, Virginia Peninsula, Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg Area, and Richmond associations of REALTORS®.

The strategic benefit of having REALTORS® visit on different dates throughout Session is that it allows for us to target key legislators as bills are moving through the committee process. It also gives us the opportunity to focus more on issues that are specific to that local association.  We look forward to welcoming several more groups in the coming weeks.