The following article is from the Special Midyear 2018 Edition of Austin REALTOR® magazine, which hits mailboxes this week.
It’s only June and it’s already been a busy year for ABoR advocacy at the local, state, and national level. Let’s run through the timeline, shall we?
To kick off the year, ABoR’s Legislative Management Team (LMT) set out to strategically communicate to members about CodeNEXT, the proposed revision to Austin’s Land Development Code. The Growth & Development Policy Team and LMT have both been diving deep into CodeNEXT drafts the last few years. As CodeNEXT heads towards public hearings, it is imperative that you, as a REALTOR®, are informed about the potential impacts a new code will have on your business and the clients you represent. Ahead of the public hearings, ABoR launched ABoR.com/CodeNEXT as a resource for REALTORS® and homeowners alike.
ABoR also kicked off its inaugural “Coffee with a Council Member” with Austin City Council Member Alison Alter. The event was an opportunity for District 10 members to engage with their council member on issues of importance to REALTORS®, such as public safety, affordability, and quality of life. Keep an eye out for future “Coffee with a Council Member” events and opportunities to directly interact with leaders who represent you at City Hall.
Since February, volunteers with the Texas Association of REALTORS® have been hard at work studying issues to create TAR’s 2019 Legislative Priorities. As Austin Independent School District (AISD) and other districts across Texas face budget shortfalls due to the Recapture System, ABoR has encouraged TAR to make school finance a top legislative priority in the 86th Legislative Session. REALTORS® can also expect to see other issues impacting infrastructure, affordability, and land use to be on TAR’s priority list, which will be released later this year.
In April, ABoR’s TREPAC Committee hosted a TREPAC Beer Tasting. The event was held at Austin Beerworks (ABW) and featured tastings of ABW’s Core Four beers as well as two seasonal beers. The 50-plus ABoR members who attended enjoyed food from ABW’s food truck and some friendly competition with corn hole and Texas SAPO.
The lawn games weren’t the only place for competition that night. During the silent auction, there were a few bidding wars over hot items like a limited-edition YETI Tundra 35, a drone, and a Glock 43. Thanks to the support of so many REALTORS®, the event brought in over $7,000 for TREPAC! Funds raised are being put to use immediately to advocate for REALTORS® and homeowners.
Early in May, ABoR was lucky enough to host Congressman Michael McCaul for a luncheon spotlighting NAR’s Broker Involvement Program. The Broker Involvement Program is an opportunity for brokers to increase their office’s participation in NAR Calls for Action and other advocacy programs. Brokers in attendance were treated to a few words from Representative McCaul with most of the conversation with focusing on the strength of REALTOR® advocacy. He mentioned that when his office receives calls from REALTORS® across the district, he is quick to reach out to his REALTOR® Federal Political Coordinator Sheri Brummett to get the REALTOR® perspective on the issue. Representative McCaul also touched on about the impact of REALTOR® advocacy during the recent debate and passage of Federal Tax Reform. Without the voice of thousands of REALTORS®, the final bill could have included measures that would have negatively impacted our nation’s housing market, particularly in housing markets like Austin where affordability is a concern.
The lunch with Representative McCaul was good preparation for the 40+ ABoR members who attended NAR Mid-Year Meeting & Legislative Visits in the nation’s capital in mid-May. REALTORS® spent time meeting with their Members of Congress to discuss issues like State & Local Tax Deduction, Net Neutrality, and the National Flood Insurance Program, each of which directly impacts homeowners and the way REALTORS® conduct their business.
Will you join us?
There are 435 US Congressional Districts, 150 Texas House Districts, and 10 Austin City Council Districts; and there is a REALTOR® in every single one. Our diverse and engaged membership is the strength behind REALTOR® Advocacy, and when we speak up together, we can make a tremendous impact in our industry and in our community.
There are many ways you can get involved in ABoR's local, state and national advocacy efforts, but one of the most effective ways you can make a difference is by supporting TREPAC. Your investment in TREPAC allows ABoR to engage policymakers and connect REALTORS® and homeowners as a unified voice for their community.
TREPAC Movie Night: Thursday, June 21
And supporting TREPAC can be a lot of fun, too! Next Wednesday, TREPAC is hosting its annual Movie Night, where attendees will see an exclusive screening of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom the day before it opens in theaters! There will be drink tickets, appetizers, great networking, and more. Learn more about TREPAC Movie Night at ABoR.com/MovieNight. We hope to see you there!