Legislative Action News, August 21, 2012

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Four Governors Ask to Suspend Renewable Fuels Standard
By Stephen Frerichs

Citing the ongoing drought and associated high feed prices, four governors (AR, DE, NC, and MD) have now sent letters to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking EPA to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS requires 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol to be made from corn this year. The Governors, all from large poultry producing States, are arguing the RFS is imposing severe economic harm to their state’s livestock industry.  The EPA has not commented on the requests. It is unclear that a waiver would diminish corn prices. Refiners will likely continue buying almost as much ethanol even without the mandate since they use it as an additive to make cleaner-burning fuel required in much of the country.

In other ethanol related news, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit recently rejected multiple challenges to the EPA’s plan to allow E15 ethanol to be introduced into the commercial marketplace.

Farm Bill Comparison Details Differences between Senate and House
By Stephen Frerichs

The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri recently published analysis comparing the impacts of the Senate passed and House Agriculture Committee passed versions of the farm bill. The two bills, while similar in many respects, contain significant differences in individual commodity support.  The House Committee bill provides substantially more support than the Senate bill to producers of some commodities, including wheat, rice, barley and peanuts. Production of those crops would be greater under the House Committee bill than under the Senate bill according to FAPRI. Similarly, corn and soybean production would be greater under the Senate bill than under the House Committee bill according to the analysis.  For a copy of the report go to http://www.fapri.missouri.edu/outreach/publications/2012/FAPRI_MU_Report_05_12.pdf

Congressional Recess
By Stephen Frerichs

Congress is in recess and will be until September 10.  This is a good opportunity for you to meet with your Representative and Senators as many members are holding town hall meetings as they run for re-election.

North Carolina Enacts BPO Legislation
By Scott DiBiasio, Appraisal Institute

North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue signed S.B. 521 into law July 12, and the legislation will significantly expand the ability of the state’s licensed real estate brokers to offer a broker price opinion or comparative market analysis.
The legislation included two amendments provided by the state’s appraisal organizations.  
Prior to the new legislation, North Carolina real estate brokers were limited to providing a CMA only in the real estate sales context, and they had to have a reasonable expectation that a listing would result from the performance of the CMA.
Under the new law, brokers (other than provisional brokers) also are permitted to perform BPOs and CMAs for other third parties “making decisions or performing due diligence related to the potential listing, offering, sale, option, lease or acquisition price of a parcel of or interest in real property,” or for an “existing or potential lien holder or other third party for any purpose other than as the basis to determine the value of a parcel of or interest in property, for a mortgage loan origination, including first and second mortgages, refinances or equity lines of credit.” 
The new law also requires that BPOs and CMAs must be done according to a list of standards and clearly state that they are not appraisals and may not be used for mortgage loan origination purposes.
During consideration of the bill in the General Assembly, appraisers in the state successfully fought for the addition of two important provisions. The first one clarified that an appraiser who also is dually licensed as a real estate broker in North Carolina can provide a CMA without being bound by the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. The second one clarified that “No appraiser shall be disciplined for completing an appraisal that includes a reduced scope of work or reporting level as long as it is appropriate for the intended use and is performed in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.”
S.B. 521 had started out as a piece of legislation unrelated to BPO or CMA. However, real estate lobbies took advantage of the fact that the legislation already had passed the Senate (in 2011) and by amending it in the House to include the BPO/CMA language it avoided a public hearing and Senate consideration.
On July 10 — two days before the governor signed the bill — the North Carolina Real Estate Commission approved rules for promulgation that will further clarify what a licensed broker or appraiser must do in performing a BPO or a CMA. These rules will be published in the near future and will be available for public comment.
View the final version of S.B. 521: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2011/Bills/Senate/PDF/S521v5.pdf

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