Volume 6, Issue 2:  January 18, 2013


The first session of the 147th THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The 147th General Assembly began on Jan 8th. They meet Tuesday through Thursday with Committee meetings on Wednesday. The General Assembly consists of Senate and House members. The General Assembly is in session from the second Tuesday in January through June 30 each year. They break for six week (Jan 26-March 7) for Joint Finance budget hearings. They also break for two week in April (April 2-11) and two weeks in May (May 21-30) for budget mark up.  You can keep track of legislation, committees, etc. by going to www.legis.delaware.gov.

There are 21 members of the Senate (13 Democrats and 8 Republicans). The President Pro Tem is Patricia Blevins and leads the Senate. Other Senate leadership includes David McBride as Majority Leader, Margaret Rose Henry as Majority Whip, Gary Simpson as Minority Leader and Greg Lavelle as Minority Whip.  Here is a list of the Senate members.

The House of Representatives has 41 members (27 Democrats and 14 Republicans). Pete Schwartzkopf, The Speaker of the House, presides over the body. Other House Leadership includes  Valerie Longhurst as Majority Leader, John Viola as Majority Whip, Dan Short as Minority Leader and Deborah Hudson as Minority Whip. You can find the House membership here.

The first three weeks have been busy looking at ways to make our schools safer, a temporary solution to allow slot machines for a fraternal or veterans organization, a task force to look at the  increases in Worker’s Compensation for businesses and Senate Bill #3 that says, “ Act to require the Diamond State Port Corporation to obtain the approval of a majority Assembly and the Governor, through the passage of legislation, before entering into any agreement or transaction whereby the Corporation would transfer, sell, privatize, or lease all or substantially all of the Port of Wilmington to a single entity, or to a related group of entities.”


The Governor has proposed his 2014 budget. A few of the new initiatives include expanding in-school behavioral health services, grant money to target prevention programs for youth, accelerate development of school safety plans and adding 6 more state police. Decreases include no state salary increases, reductions for the Transportation Trust Fund, grant-in Aid, open space and others. Tax increases that were set to sunset have been adjusted. The budget can be found at: http://budget.delaware.gov/fy2014/budget2014.shtml


DAR has finalized changes to our Commercial Lien Bill and it will be introduced and placed in Committee when they come back in session after the Joint Finance meetings in March.

DAR has a new member benefit, dotloop, online software that allows real estate agents, buyers and sellers to complete the transaction process from offer to close, all in one place. The target live date is February 7. You have and will receive several emails from dotloop explaining the process and training dates. We hope this will help members streamline their transaction process and reduce paperwork. The benefit is free to all members.


Home Sales End 2012 up 9.2 Percent
Existing-home sales eased in December but for the year sales ended well above a year ago, NAR says. Total sales in 2012 were the highest in five years, while the annual price rose the most since 2005. Total existing-home sales declined 1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million in December from a downwardly revised 4.99 million in November, but are 12.8 percent above the 4.38 million-unit level in December 2011. The preliminary annual total for existing-home sales in 2012 was 4.65 million, up 9.2 percent from 4.26 million in 2011. It was the highest volume since 2007, when it reached 5.03 million and the strongest increase since 2004. More.  

Supreme Court Case Raises Takings Issue
NAR is watching a U.S. Supreme Court property rights case that looks at the conditions agencies impose on property owners in exchange for allowing development in a regulated area. In Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, a property owner believes he’s owed compensation after the regulating agency declined to grant him a permit to develop in a wetlands after he wouldn’t agree to certain conditions. A decision is expected in the spring. For more info contact Russell Riggs

Rules Regulate High-Interest Rate Loans
Creditors will have to have a complete report on a physical inspection of the property by a licensed or certified appraiser when making high-interest rate home loans, the federal government says in final rules released by banking regulators. The rules implement changes in the big Wall Street reform act enacted three years ago and set out requirements for protecting consumers of high-priced loans. The rules exempt certain loans and include provisions to protect against fraudulent property flipping. Effective date is January 18, 2014. For more info contact Sarah Young.  

NAR Legislative and Regulatory Year in Review
Your national association had a number of significant accomplishments in the Beltway and beyond during 2012. Review them all in this presentation at REALTOR.org.




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