Illinois REALTOR® Magazine | October 2012
By Julie Sullivan | Assistant Director, Legislative and Political Affairs
The General Assembly wrapped up its spring session, as scheduled, at the end of May. Thousands of bills are introduced each year for consideration in Springfield, and so many of these bills affect property owners and real estate professionals that it requires months of research, negotiation and contact with elected officials.
What makes us so successful is our one-two punch of direct lobbying and grassroots involvement. We thank you for your involvement in the process by responding to our Calls to Action and your attendance at the 2012 Capitol Conference in Springfield.
A strong presence in Springfield is never more important than when there is a last-minute push on a horrible idea. While the Senate Democrats floated a list of hundreds of millions of proposed “sweeps” from various dedicated funds early in the spring, a heart-stopping amendment targeting only the Real Estate License Administration Fund (RELAF) was rammed through the Senate without any public debate or hearing at the eleventh hour.
Senate Amendment No. 1 to SB 2365, sponsored by Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), included an appropriation of $24 million from RELAF to the Department of Aging to fund the Circuit Breaker and Pharmaceutical Assistance program.
This virtually unprecedented action of appropriating funds to another state agency for a program unrelated to the regulation of real estate was particularly egregious since our fund was singled out. While this bill narrowly passed the Senate (30-25-4) it was dead on arrival in the House.
Once again we battled against the Cook County Tax Assessor’s efforts to add language to the Property Tax Code to authorize all counties to impose a tax lien and penalties for those who have been granted one (or more) erroneous homestead exemptions (HB 506) even if the violation was unintentional or the homeowner did not realize that they were no longer eligible. The Senate sponsor did not call this bill in the spring, but it could be considered in November.
Foreclosure issues continue to be a focus of legislation in 2012 with various reporting and fees/fines requirements. A standoff between the two chambers resulted in nothing being approved on the issue of fast-track foreclosure process.
HB 5359 made various technical and administrative changes to the Real Estate License Act, including a clarification to the advertising provisions in Section 10-30(g) to provide that the requirement for the managing broker to be listed in all advertisements does not apply to real estate “for sale” or other similar signs.
We were able to stop the Lake County initiative to add another $5 recording fee on all real estate documents after thousands of REALTORS® statewide responded to a Call to Action urging its rejection (SB 3167 and HB 4505). We also stopped a bill to allow municipalities to establish a database for registration of businesses (HB 4018) which had a fee for failure to register and stopped a proposal to permit all municipalities to license and regulate the use and operation of multi-family dwelling units (HB 5667).