ARA Social Series: Vol 3
When I started with the Arkansas REALTORS® I knew I wanted to do something different, something that struck at the heart of communication. After many cups of cold brew and brainstorming sessions came Social Series: A place for REALTORS®, by REALTORS®, with real REALTOR® experience.
Welcome back, REALTOR®! Today on Social Series we are discussing the 2019 legislative year with former ARA President, Maurice Taylor, who also serves as the 2019 Legislative Chair. In 2018, Taylor was asked by the then President-Elect, Angie Johnson, to serve as legislative vice chair, which positioned him to assist in this years legislative season.
What you may or may not know is that here at Arkansas REALTORS® Association we have an entire wing of work, led by staff member Amy Hair, dedicated to government affairs and legislation. So why is this important to you as a REALTOR®?
“During the legislative session, there is legislation introduced on how property is transferred, how property is taxed, and private property rights, so us as the legislative committee- we keep our eye on all of those inner-workings. So if something is coming that is going to affect any of that, we go lobby and educate the legislators why this may be good or why it may be bad” said Taylor.
Tuesday, February 12, was REALTOR® Day at the Capitol. An event held every legislative season, this is where 170 agents from the state of Arkansas visited the state capitol and speak with their local representatives on issues pertaining to their district and business. Our number one goal here at ARA to push for legislation that benefits and supports the work of our members.
“We’ve developed relationships with our legislators so that we can go have a conversation on why this is good, or why this is bad for whatever issue it may be affecting. It gives us a seat at the table when it comes time to address any of our issues. We don’t care, [whether they’re] Democrat or Republican, as long as they are REALTOR® friendly and private property friendly. We always like to make sure that we are investing in legislators or causes that help us with our cause- [that] the free transfer of property is fluid” according to Taylor.
The importance of ARA’s involvement in legislation can’t be understated; as the voice of real estate in the state of Arkansas, if we are not working with legislators someone else will. That someone may not have the best interest of real estate at the forefront of their mind. As an organization, we must be leading the conversation on real estate to ensure that REALTORS® interests are best served.
So how can you as a member affect the cause at hand?
“Calls for Action is the piece of the association that when legislation is coming up we support or don’t support, by virtue of an email, telephone calls or smartphone apps, we can alert our nine-thousand member base to contact their legislator to voice our opinion on certain legislation. You have one of the largest trade organizations in the world, with the members calling their elected officials saying: ‘good bill, bad bill’, [that] has a lot of weight. [It] Has a ton of weight.”
Taylor couldn’t express enough how being involved truly strengthens not only the agent but the organization as a whole. It helps spark interest and passion within the members, which in turn leads to members being more educated in what we as an organization does and how we do it.
“I think it’s going to be a very interesting legislative year. We need to make sure all of our members are ready for Calls for Action. Always be on alert for things that are happening on legislation. Even on the city level, not just national and state, even on a local level- [these] things can affect how they run their business every day.”