Capitol Insider: Analyzing the 2015 Legislative Session

17088728895_f4d6431d10_zAfter the long Memorial Day weekend, VP of Government Affairs Matt Robison returned from the Oklahoma State Capitol with news about the legislature’s adjournment. Below are his thoughts on this year’s session:

The Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® actively represents our members on issues important to the real estate industry. Although this year’s legislative session contained many challenges, our industry was not negatively affected by measures considered at the State Capitol due in part to the actions of OAR and its members.

SB 379 (Newberry/Brumbaugh)

This measure, called the Real Estate Owner’s Rights Act, was an attempt to give property owners the right to conduct improvements to their own property (i.e. minor electrical, plumbing, etc.) without hiring a licensed service provider. The bill initially included language allowing unlicensed individuals to manage, rent, lease or sell property in which they did not have ownership.

OAR opposed the bill due to the “property management” language and the measure was eventually sent to a conference committee. Although the property management language in which OAR opposed was removed from the bill, the committee version was not considered before the end of session.

Outcome: SB 379 is dead for this year (OAR will work over the interim to develop a “property management” statutory definition for consideration during the 2016 Session).

SB 429 (Brinkley/Wallace)

This bill, requested by OAR, revises the current statute regarding the number of names OAR submits to the Governor in cases of Oklahoma Real Estate Commission (OREC) vacancies.

Outcome: Signed by the Governor

HB 1965 (O’Donnell plus 86 additional Representatives and more)

“Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015” makes unlawful the use of a hand-held electronic communication devise for the purpose of physically texting while operating a motor vehicle. OAR policy supports this measure.

Outcome: Signed by the Governor.

SB 809 (Bingman and Hickman)

This measure, requested by the oil & gas industry, declares municipalities have the authority to establish reasonable ordinances regarding noise, odor and setback requirements, but may not effectively prohibit or ban drilling operations. Speaker Hickman authored an amendment assuring Oklahoma can still participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Outcome: Sent to the Governor.

SB 695 (Holt/Dank)

This measure would have allowed municipalities to place liens on property whose owners are delinquent on municipal trash service payments. OAR opposed.

Outcome: Not heard in the House

SB 325 (Halligan/Denney)

This measure would have allowed municipalities containing Institutions of Higher Learning to create fee-based registries for rental property. OAR opposed.

Outcome: Not heard on the Senate Floor

SB 350 (Stanislawski/Derby)

This measure would have required extensive property condition disclosures for every real property transfer transaction. Although OAR supports disclosure, this measure would expand government intrusion into our industry; was un-enforceable; and, would lead to an insurmountable level of litigation. OAR opposed.

Outcome: Not heard on the Senate Floor