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CAI Government Affairs Blog



  • By Matthew Green

    Did you know that an individualized email to your legislator has nearly the same impact as an in-person visit? This is true according to findings by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), which just released its latest report Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement.

    For more than a decade, the CMF has conducted research and published their findings which have helped shape the way we advocate. The CMF surveys congressional office leaders on the impact that different methods of communication have on officials, of particular importance is when officials have not already arrived at a firm decision on an issue.

    Form emails, such as what is linked to in the calls to action CAI sends, are effective, but are unfortunately half as influential as an individualized email or in-person visit.

    What if you don't have the time to draft a personalized email or drop by the district office? Phone calls to y...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    Music is powerful. Nearly all of us can recall memories associated with a personal memory – a high school dance, an old boyfriend or girlfriend, the summers spent with friends on the lake or at the beach.

    In fact, according to Music and Memory, Inc., our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. Favorite music or songs associated with important personal events can trigger memory of lyrics and the experience connected to the music. Persons with dementia, Parkinson’s and other diseases that damage brain chemistry reconnect to the world and gain improved quality of life from listening to personal music favorites. (Music and Memory, Inc. 2017).

    When I think of my neighborhood, some of my best memories are of neighborhood parties and parades where musi...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    On Jan. 13, 2017, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) reintroduced the ham radio bill that failed to make it out of the Senate at the end of the 114th Congress. Cited as the Amateur Radio Parity Act, the Act was considered in 2015-2016 under H.R. 1301. That bill passed the House with compromise language CAI members advocated for in order to protect the best interest of community associations. The Act was reintroduced with the compromise language and will receive consideration as H.R. 555 in the 115th Congress.

    Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), a ham radio operator and Chairman of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee where H.R. 555 was introduced. H.R. 555 was ushered to the House Floor on the suspension calendar earlier this week. The suspension calendar is for bills deemed non-controversial and where a congressperson moves to have the normal rules related parliamentary procedure suspended. Debate is limited to 40 minutes and two-thirds of the ...Read more

  • By Matthew Green

    Throughout the year CAI will need your help in telling your story to elected officials of how legislation will impact you and your community. Whether you live in or provide services for a community association, legislation will be introduced this year that if passed could impact your home, community and pocket book.

    State legislatures were 17 times more productive than Congress last year, and change does not appear on the horizon. The previous (113th) Congress introduced 9,252 and passed 352 bills; the states in comparison introduced 180,808 bills and passed 45,564. In 2017 CAI and our state volunteer Legislative Action Committees (LACs) will sift through over all pieces of legislation. History has shown that in all about 1,000 pieces of legislation will be introduced that directly impact community associations and about 125 of those will become law.

    The 1,000 bills that were introduced at the state level across the country and directly relevant to community associatio...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    Welcome to 2017!  CAI's Government Affairs team has hit the ground running.  By the end of this week, 19 state legislatures will convene and by the end of next week, nearly 40 state legislatures will be in session.  Members of Congress have already filled their first week with excitement – Vice President Joe Biden captured media attention during the Senate swearing in in ceremony, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was re-elected to the post while demonstrating he was unfamiliar with "dabbing", and the Office of Congressional Ethics was nearly gutted until Democrats and President-Elect Trump stopped the efforts. In 2017, I expect to see the issue of housing finance and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be a topic of conversation for Congress.  Since housing was not a major campaign issue, my guess is the complicated issue of housing finance and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may likely – at least initially – be left up to Congress to res...Read more

  • By C. Scott Canady

    The 114th Congress has finished all legislative business and H.R. 1301, legislation concerning ham radio in community associations, was not approved by the Senate. This means the bill is dead and the legislation’s sponsors must begin the process again in the 115th Congress, which will be sworn in on January 3, 2017.

    CAI successfully amended H.R. 1301 from its original language, securing a compromise that permitted ham radio in associations, but required prior approval by the association and protected association architectural prerogatives. The legislation was opposed by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) both in its original and amended forms and this opposition prevented Senate approval of the compromise legislation. In the 115th Congress, Sen. Nelson is expected to continue in his leadership position as Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation and statutes concerning federal communications policy. Sen. Nelson was instru...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    There are approximately 145,000 to 155,000 condominium projects in the U.S., according to the Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR). As of October 2016, 9,866 condominiums—less than 7 percent of condominium projects nationwide—were Federal Housing Administration (FHA) certified. If a condominium project is FHA certified, that means prospective buyers interested in individual units within a condominium may qualify for an FHA insured mortgage. FHA insured loans are a type of federal assistance and have historically allowed lower income Americans to borrow money for the purchase of a home that they would not otherwise be able to afford.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a new proposed rule to implement HUD's authority under the National Housing Act to set the basic standards condominium projects must meet to be approved as condominiums in which individual units would be eligible f...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    In a game of Chutes and Ladders, the U.S. Department of Labor's Overtime Rule was heading toward the winner's circle when it took the chute half way back to the beginning. A federal judge blocked the new rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay. As a result, the December 1 effective date is indefinitely pushed back.

    Twenty-one states challenged the overtime expansion, arguing that Congress never intended to set any salary threshold for the exemptions or to allow the threshold to be raised every three years, as the Labor Department's rule specifies. The decision by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in the Eastern District of Texas to grant a preliminary injunction affects an estimated 4.2 million workers who were to be newly eligible for time-and-a-half wages for each hour they put in beyond 40 a week.

    The rule, released by the Labor Department in May, would nearly double the threshold at which executive, administrative and professional employees...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    Governments from around the world, including, China, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, U.K. and the U.S. are taking steps to combat climate change by increasing access to clean energy technologies and reduce dependence on oil.  One policy focus has been on programs that will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. 

    A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report suggests that the sale of electric vehicles in the U.S. will hit 41 million by 2040, representing 35% of new car sales.  The future of electric vehicles, however, depends on several factors; including vehicle cost and maintenance, oil prices, government tax incentives to manufactures and purchasers, and … vehicle charging stations. 

    Accessibility to vehicle charging stations at the workplace and at home are critical to the future of the electric vehicle.  Consumers are going to demand they be close to their home or better yet – at their home.  What leadership role will condominium a...Read more

  • By Matthew Green

    As someone who hit the age of 18 prior to 2009 and the enactment of the Credit CARD Act, I can remember when I signed up for a half-dozen credit cards to supplement my student loans and to receive that ‘free’ logo t-shirt, knit cap, or whatever else that was being marketed as an incentive. I had no idea at the time of the implications of my actions and the importance of my credit score. Fortunately for me time and money healed those wounds, and now that I learned the hard way the lesson is now all too clear: your credit history and score are important.

    But what should be reported to the credit bureaus? While I wish my college spending habits were not, I do admit it my score then reflected my borrowing ability for larger purchases. What about the history of our ability to pay our association’s common area fees and assessments?

    Sperlonga Data & Analytics, a data aggregation business for non-standard credit data sources, has begun offering a service to report payme...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    Hurricane Matthew did not discriminate between community association neighborhoods and non-association neighborhoods. Neither should our nation’s natural disaster response and recovery policy.

    On Wednesday, Oct. 11, Tom Skiba, CEO of Community Associations Institute sent a letter to the White House asking President Obama to encourage FEMA to interpret their regulations to help all Americans; including community associations. 

    ...Read more
  • By Dawn Bauman

    In September, the White House released a report called "Housing Development Toolkit". The report discusses local barriers to housing development and housing affordability, particularly in high-growth metropolitan areas. The local barriers discussed in the toolkit are local land use regulations - the city, county, town, or township ordinances that govern the development of new housing. The Housing Development Toolkit calls upon the local municipalities to modernize their housing regulations to eliminate barriers to construction that will lead to more affordable housing for consumers. The toolkit is not a new law, rather it is a white paper of ideals and suggestions for local municipalities to consider.

    The report identifies 10 ideas of action states and local jurisdictions can take to promote healthy responsive, affordable, high-opportunity housing markets, i...Read more

  • By C. Scott Canady & Dawn M. Bauman

    On September 27, 2016, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released a proposed regulatory update to its condominium unit mortgage insurance program. On balance the rule has many positive aspects, including a limited "spot approval" process. The rule further allows individual condominium projects to receive an exemption to approval criteria on a case-by-case basis (excepting activities specifically addressed by statute, e.g., transient housing). The rule does not address association lien priority.

    The proposed rule is published in the Federal Register as of September 28 and provides for a 60 day comment period, which will conclude on November 28. CAI is further analyzing the regulations and will engage CAI members in grassroots efforts to provide comments prior to the deadline.

    A summary of major provisions is below.

    Condominium Approval Requirements

    • retains the baseline property eligibility requirements
  • By C. Scott Canady

    ​​​The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released final regulations September 13, 2016 related to the Fair Housing Act that impact community associations.  The final rule is effective October 14, 2016, and CAI will provide additional information in the coming days.

    Under the rule, community associations may be liable under the Fair Housing Act for the discriminatory actions of residents who harass or create a hostile environment for other residents. The Fair Housing Act prohibits harassment against a person because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status in housing and housing-related transactions. Courts and HUD have long held that Fair Housing Act protections extend beyond the initial transaction and protect a consumer's ongoing use and enjoyment of their home and property.
    In finalizing the new regulation, HUD responded to concerns raised by CAI's Federal Legislative Action Committee in a Dec...Read more

  • By Dawn Bauman

    On the evening of Monday, September 12, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the CAI compromise version of H.R. 1301 by voice vote. The Senate must also vote to approve the legislation if H.R. 1301 is to be presented to President Obama for his signature.

    Community Associations Institute opposed H.R. 1301 as introduced, which preempted association restrictions on ham radio and drastically limited association architectural control of amateur radio antennas.

    CAI's Federal Legislative Action Committee was able to secure key changes to H.R. 1301. These amendments include:

    • ham radio operators are required to obtain the prior consent of the association to install an outdoor antenna

    • ham radio operators are prohibited from placing antennas on common property, and

    • associations may establish written rules concerning outdoor ham radio antennas.

    The compromise legislation will permit community...Read more

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