Home Construction is a noble profession, it is important as a Residential Construction Professional that you know what it takes to ensure that you are able to continue your profession with minimal intrusion to your bottom line!
Here are some of the many obstacles and rules we have been able to stop on our members behalf –
NAHB Legislative Update
NAHB Testifies Before Congress on Regulatory Reform. NAHB First Vice Chairman Randy Noel on March 29 testified on Capitol Hill regarding a top priority for home builders. He called on Congress to work with federal regulators to fix the regulatory rulemaking process by ensuring that effects on small businesses are a primary focus for existing and future regulations. Noel told lawmakers that regulations account for more than 24 percent of the price of a new home and that it is therefore imperative that federal agencies work with the business community to create more effective regulations that reduce compliance costs for small businesses.
Grassroots Outreach on SCOTUS. As Senate Democrats prepared for a filibuster, the Administration sought NAHB’s help to move forward the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Recognizing the importance of having a fully seated Supreme Court when important industry issues come before it, NAHB sent a grassroots message asking members to tell their senators to allow the vote to move forward. NAHB also began an advertising and social media campaign targeting those states whose senators can work to avoid the filibuster.
Congress Strikes Down OSHA Recordkeeping Rule. In a victory for NAHB and the small business community, Congress has approved legislation that will force the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to reverse a recent recordkeeping rule that would needlessly harm small business employers. OSHA had overstepped its authority by unilaterally extending a six-month statute of limitations on recordkeeping violations to five years. This would do nothing to minimize workplace hazards but would subject small businesses to needless fines and excessive paperwork requirements. NAHB led the charge to reverse this rule. The new law reduces the statute of limitations on recordkeeping violations from five years to six months.
House Approves NAHB-Supported Association Health Plan Bill. The House on March 22 approved the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101), association health plan legislation that would put small businesses on an equal footing with large employers and unions when it comes to negotiating lower insurance costs. NAHB has been a long-time proponent of association health plans and continues to work with Congress to ensure that this market-based health care option remains a viable alternative for small businesses and their employees.
House Bill Would Boost Effectiveness of Low Income Housing Tax Credit. House Ways and Means Committee members Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.) on March 21 introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, legislation that contains a number of changes to enhance the effectiveness of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Of note to the housing community, the bill would:
- Establish a permanent minimum 4% credit floor for the acquisition of existing properties.
- Allow the 60% area median income (AMI) ceiling to apply to the average of all units. Tenants with incomes up to 80% of AMI could be served as long as the whole project remains at the 60% average.
- Prohibit state Qualified Allocation Plans from requiring, or granting additional points for, local approval or financial contributions.
- Allow states to provide a 30% basis boost for bond-financed projects.
More details on the House bill can be found here.
NAHB Senior Officers Call on Congress to Adopt a Strong Housing Agenda. NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald and First Vice Chair Randy Noel met with several bipartisan congressional leaders on March 1-2 to urge Congress to pursue a strong national agenda for housing. The NAHB senior officers made it clear that the association wishes to work with Congress and the administration to:
- Reform and streamline the regulatory process.
- Ensure that any tax reform efforts protect vital housing tax incentives that are needed to keep housing and the economy moving forward.
- Ease tight credit conditions for home buyers.
- Enact comprehensive housing finance reform.
- Promote policies that will keep homeownership and rental housing opportunities affordable to all Americans.
Mark Your Calendars for June 14. That’s the day of the 2017 NAHB Legislative Conference, when members visit their congressional delegations on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate for issues of vital interest to the home building industry. Especially in these challenging times, participation by NAHB members can make a huge difference as various interest groups compete to push their agendas in Washington. A strong builder turnout on Wednesday, June 14 will send a powerful message to members of Congress that housing must remain a top national priority.
In NH our volunteer Legislative Committee along with our hired lobbyist have worked on the following:
NH Home Builders Association’s Legislative Successes
Since one of our first victories of getting a statewide building code adopted, the NH Home Builders Association has continued to advocate on behalf of its members. Noteworthy achievements include:
- Consumer Notice & Opportunity to Repair – reducing expensive construction dispute lawsuits; benefitting tradespersons and consumers alike
- Modified rules at the Current Use Board – affecting changes to the timing of paying current use fees: as they’re taken out of current use versus enormous upfront lump sum payments
- Workers’ Compensation exemption – reversed the law requiring company owners to cover themselves with workers’ compensation insurance. Owners now benefit from the ability to exempt themselves (principals), savings (tens) thousands.
- Shoreland Protection Act – the NHHBA was involved in a comprehensive rewrite of state guidelines to allow developers reasonable opportunities to develop land while still protecting NH’s water bodies
- Workforce Housing Act – this legislation prohibits towns from restrictive zoning against affordable housing
- Growth Management Ordinances – restricts towns from unfairly limiting building permits in an effort to minimize town/city growth
- Definition of Independent Contractor – Protecting NH’s building trades from over-burdensome definitions of employee vs. independent contractor, thus saving exorbitant penalties
- Residential Sprinklers – Eliminated the residential (one and two-family) sprinkler requirement from the NH state building code and overriding two governor’s vetoes to accomplish such thereby leaving the choice to the consumer in all towns which had not previously adopted said sprinklers.
- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) – Expanding housing opportunities by preventing local restrictive ordinances against accessory uses such as “in-law” apartments, providing additional affordable housing options. This law becomes effective July 1, 2017.
And we’re not done yet! The NH Home Builders Association is working on the following issues:
- Working with the NH Attorney General’s office to simplify the approval and qualifications for subdivision developers
- Building codes – ensuring the adoption of newer building and fire codes by adopting amendments that still protect the consumer without pricing them out of the market
- MS-4 permits – the NHHBA is considering a challenge of the EPA’s MS-4 municipal stormwater permit, that if passed, could mean a considerable fiscal impact to land development leading to tens, if not hundreds (or greater), of thousands of dollars (depending upon the size and scale of the project)
These are just the “big ticket” items. The NHHBA Government Affairs Committee works on a myriad of legislative issues affecting the daily operations of builder, remodeler and associate members’ interests.