The North Carolina General Assembly convened in late April of this year. This was the end of the two-year legislative calendar and a major election year. Instead of dealing with holdover issues from the long session in 2019, lawmakers found themselves focusing on a pandemic and how to navigate through the unknown.
The NC REALTORS® advocacy team quickly adjusted to a new way of working, developed strategies and was able to show the true strength of REALTOR® engagement. What could have been a dismal year, like so many other businesses are continuing to experience, ended up being a successful year for our industry.
The 2020 REALTOR® government affairs efforts resulted in:
- Successfully advocating to continue funding of the Housing Trust Fund and Housing Finance Agency.
- Enacting liability protections for employers and offices to protect them from claims arising from contraction of COVID19.
- Securing a permanent change to the definition of the year-round school calendar to prevent schools from skirting the school calendar law enacted in 2004.
- Passing legislation to allow real estate transactions to continue during the pandemic:
- Legalizing remote, video conference notarizations.
- Allowing disbursement of funds prior to deed recording if the Register of Deeds was closed.
While these are significant victories, our stellar victory of 2020 is successfully negotiating with Governor Cooper’s office to ensure real estate was given an essential services designation. This was a monumental accomplishment in a year where so many businesses were not deemed essential and were unable to operate.
2020 was a banner year for local victories as well. Advocacy efforts from the local associations resulted in:
- Successfully influencing local ordinances to remove restrictions so that real estate was designated as essential.
- Legalizing alcohol sales in Trinity, expanding opportunities for economic development.
- Participating in the process to formulate Greensboro’s 10-year affordable housing plan, ensuring fair housing policies are implemented correctly.
- Working with Durham as they considered rewriting their sign ordinance. Advocacy efforts along with the help of a few REALTOR® champions, preserved the rights of property owners and protected REALTOR® member usage of "Open House" and other signs necessary for business.
REALTOR® support resulted in an incredible success rate for the NC REALTORS® Political Action Committee (NC REALTORS® PAC) and Property Rights Fund (PRF) candidates. NC REALTORS® PAC had a 95.6 percent success rate of NC REALTORS® PAC supported NC General Assembly candidates. In the state Senate, 100 percent of our NC REALTORS® PAC funded candidates won their races and in the state House, 93 percent of our NC REALTORS® PAC funded candidates won their races. While 91.3 percent PRF supported candidates won their races.
Our advocacy efforts continued until the end of the year as our industry was faced with yet another battle. A proposed 25 percent rate increase by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. REALTORS® quickly responded to this request by sending over 5,070 emails to Commissioner Causey in opposition of this increase. REALTORS® also demonstrated our strength by participating in the Department of Insurance public comment period. We had a record participation with REALTOR® advocates from around the state making live comments at the public hearing.
Thank you for helping to make a challenging year a successful one and showing the true power of REALTOR® engagement. Our advocacy strength and the success of NC REALTORS® PAC is not possible without your support. We encourage your continued support of our advocacy efforts and NC REALTORS® PAC so that 2021 will be another successful year.
On behalf of the NC REALTORS® Government Affairs team, we would like to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and much success in 2021!