Dear ARA Member,
We want to provide you some details of the Arkansas REALTORS® Association (ARA) great successes in the recent legislative session. When you have an opportunity, please remember to thank your fellow REALTORS® who served on the ARA Legislative Committee and the ARA Legislative Task Force during the 2017 Legislative Session. They did a tremendous job of making calls, sending emails and texts and otherwise communicating with state legislators…and, they were heard! Several ARA members spent hours in legislative committee meetings this session, visiting with legislators and waiting to testify at hearings. As you know, they generously give their time so you can be home selling real estate with assurance the real estate industry is being protected and promoted.
Our greatest victory of the session was the passage of Senate Bill 25, the eviction bill that ARA wholeheartedly supported. In fact, ARA waited almost two years for the opportunity to run this legislation. Following the 2015 Legislative Session, a Pulaski County Circuit Court struck a portion of the Arkansas eviction statute as unconstitutional. REALTORS® the state told us that their local prosecutors were not enforcing the eviction law because of the Pulaski County Circuit Court decision. Because so many REALTORS® availed themselves of the process provided in the eviction (Failure to Pay Rent / Failure to Vacate) law, this legislation was a high priority for ARA.
ARA had opposition on the legislation from legal aid organizations in the state, law school professors, tenants’ rights activists and others. But ultimately, ARA was successful in seeing Senate Bill 25, that benefits both landlords and tenants, passed.
ARA successfully supported the bills brought forth by the Arkansas Real Estate Commission. Additionally, there were a number of other bills of high interest for ARA including
HB 2053 – Transfer of the Fair Housing Commission – Defeated
This legislation threatened to remove the independence of the Fair Housing Commission.
HB 2054 – Housing Trust Fund Repeal – Defeated
This legislation would have repealed the existence of the Housing Trust Fund.
HB 2135 – Warranty of Habitability Bill – Defeated
This legislation would have expanded tenants’ rights in a way that disrupted the healthy balance of rights of landlords and tenants.
HB 1551 – Lawful Right to Occupation – Defeated
This legislation would have undermined the regulatory authority of the Arkansas Real Estate Commission along with a myriad of other Arkansas boards and commissions.
HB 1125 – Joint Tenancy in Real Property – Defeated
This legislation proposed changes to the conditions under which a joint tenancy could be severed. House Bill 1125 would have had the effect of overturning over a century of well-settled property law.
SB 785 – Auctioneer Exemption from Real Estate Licensure – Defeated
This legislation would have permitted auctioneers selling real property to be exempt from the requirement to hold a real estate licenses in certain circumstances.
HB 1011 and HB 1012 – Proposed prohibiting PACs from making direct campaign and other contributions – Defeated
These bills would have made it impossible to use ARA PACs to support the candidates of our choice.
And, finally we successfully supported bills to simplify the handling of small estates and the quiet title processes.
We want to thank every ARA Member who supported the legislative efforts with special thanks to our 2017 Legislative Committee and Legislative Task Force Members.
Maurice Taylor Dana Parent
ARA President ARA Legislative Chair