PPAR Government Affairs
PPAR Mission Statement:
“The Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS® helps its members to be ethical, professional and successful by providing quality services and protecting the free enterprise system and real property rights.”
PPAR Day at the Legislature – Jan 14, 2015
Call to Action – Stop Patent Trolls!
Tell your U.S. Representative to support H.R. 9, the Innovation Act to stop patent trolls and protect the real estate industry from frivolous lawsuits.
REALTORS® across the country receive threatening demand letters and lawsuits alleging patent infringement based on the use of common business tools such as drop down menus or search alert functions on websites and the scanner function on a copier. These patent trolls buy vague patents and use them to turn everyday business practices into potential lawsuits.
On June 11, 2015 exactly one week after the Senate Judiciary Committee passed its patent reform bill, the PATENT Act (S. 1137) the House Judiciary Committee marked up and favorably reported H.R. 9, the Innovation Act. By making important reforms to the nation’s patent litigation system, the Innovation Act would address abusive practices by patent trolls that bully American businesses, including many REALTORS®, with deceptive and often illegitimate claims of patent infringement.
Despite the momentum behind patent reform, it remains uncertain when the full House and Senate will vote on their respective patent reform bills.
An executive committee member of the United for Patent Reform Coalition, NAR will continue to actively advocate for patent reform and will work closely with Committee members to strengthen the bill as it moves to consideration by the full House.
To learn more about NAR’s patent reform legislative advocay, visit NAR Government Affairs’ Patent Litigation Reform pages.
H.R. 9 is scheduled for House floor consideration later this summer. Congress must pass this common-sense comprehensive patent litigation reform to protect Main Street businesses and REALTORS® from patent troll abuse.
NAR Files Comments with US Copyright Office Regarding Photo Scraping
On July 23, NAR filed comments with the U.S. Copyright Office in its Notice of Inquiry regarding visual works.
NAR suggested a number of changes to the copyright registration and enforcement system that would help the real estate industry combat the problem of photo scraping. These include:
- Ease restrictions on group registrations of photographs
- Improve the copyright registration process to facilitate online registration
- Develop a more comprehensive online database of copyright records
- Permit non-exclusive licensees to seek remedies for copyright infringement
NAR will continue to work with the US Copyright Office as this proceeding moves forward..
Bipartisan Energy Bills Introduced in Congress
This week (July 24, 2015), both Houses of Congress took steps to advance the energy debate on Capitol Hill, incluidng energy efficiency. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released a draft energy bill, with one out of the four titles focusing on energy efficiency. In addition, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved an energy bill, including several energy efficiency provisions.
The Senate bill incorporates many efficiency provisions, including one to assist states and voluntary code organizations to improve building energy codes. Other provisions encourage smart buildings and smart manufacturing, and reauthorization and updating of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program.
The energy efficiency portion of the House bill includes provisions on energy-saving information technologies, energy-efficient data centers, and a provision to add information to appliance Energy Guide labels for products that have smart grid capabilities.
Despite all the activity this week, the path for both bills is uncertain. The Senate Energy Committee will consider amendments to its bill next week, and the full House Energy and Commerce Committee will likely consider amendments in September. NAR will continue to engage in this legislative process to ensure the voice of the real estate industry and property owners is considered.
NAR Signs onto G-fee Letter
On July 21, 2015, NAR along with 8 banking and housing trade groups urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s guarantee fees (g-fees) from being used as a source of funding for the extension of transportation programs.
G-fees are charged and used as a risk management tool by the government-sponsored entities to protect against losses from home mortgages. However, since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were place in conservatorship, Congress has used their funds to pay for unrelated federal spending. Therefore, NAR’s coalition letter conveyed to lawmakers that g-fees should only be used to manage the companies’ credit risk and no longer be diverted for unrelated spending by Congress
Lead Paint Bill Introduced
A bill by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) with bi-partisan support would roll back U.S. EPA’s regulation of lead renovation, repair and painting activities in commercial and residential buildings.
Under the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule that was finalized in 2010, contractors are required to obtain certification in lead-safe practices before performing renovations on homes built before 1978, when lead-based paint was banned.
Cramer’s bill, H.R. 2328, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act, would allow contractors to skip the lead compliance procedures as long as no small children or pregnant women live in the home. In addition, the bill would prohibit EPA from completing a pending rulemaking to expand the lead restrictions to commercial and public buildings unless it conducts a study showing that the change is necessary. The bill also requires EPA to approve a more accurate test kit for lead and to grant exemptions to renovators for first-time violations of record-keeping requirements.
2014 NAR Legislative Year Review
Located just one block from the U.S. Capitol, the headquarters of the National Association of REALTORS® is perfectly positioned to make REALTORS®’ voices heard in Washington, D.C. NAR’s staff uses this physical proximity and its long-standing relationships with legislators to work closely with Congress and regulatory agencies to push forward issues that benefit REALTORS®, the real estate industry and consumers.