As the 2021 legislative session comes to an end, I want to thank my Vice-Chair Toni Carlos and all the other members of the Legislative Committee for going above and beyond over the last two years.
The year 2020 saw a legislative session that dragged on through the end of the year, well past the usual mid-June end of session. The legislature hit the ground running again in 2021. The Legislative Committee has reviewed 83 proposed bills this year.
Highlights (or lowlights depending on your point of view) this year were the remote notary bill and the new power of attorney bill.
For those of you not familiar with the Legislative Committee here is a brief synopsis of what we do. The NYSLTA employs Ostroff Associates to find proposed bills of interest to the Association based on a list of key words and phrases. Ostroff sends us a list of those bills as they are filed. The bills of interest are then assigned to a team of two reviewers. Each team is composed of a person from an underwriter and one from an agency so that we get both perspectives. The team then reads the bill and rates it based on whether the bill is something that needs immediate attention, whether it is something that we want to monitor in case the bill changes, whether it is not of concern but we need to inform members if it is passed or if it is not something that we care about. The team will inform us of their rating and give written comments about why they rated the bill as they did. If a bill is given a priority rating the team might be asked to describe the major issues with the bill and make suggested changes. The course of action for a priority bill is decided by the Executive Committee and the Advocacy Committee. Ostroff Associates also helps us decide on the course of action by giving us insight on the interest in the bill in the legislature. The committee might be asked to produce a Memorandum of Opposition for a bill or provide talking points for Ostroff Associates to use in their lobbying efforts. Once a bill has been rated it is added to a tracking file along with the reviewers’ comments. Any actions that we decided to take are also added to the tracking file. Ostroff Associates tracks the bill and informs us of any movement within committees and when bills are passed. Many bills that are not passed in one session get reintroduced in subsequent sessions. Our bill tracking files are very helpful when this happens. The tracking files are also helpful when an underwriter’s home office hears of a bill, or it catches the attention of ALTA or the NYSBA. We can quickly check our bill files and let them know what has been done by the NYSLTA and our position regarding the bill.
COMMITTEE UPDATE BY
Mary Jane Keyse