Legislative Action News, February 4, 2014

Printer Friendly
Bookmark and Share

Senate Approves Farm Bill

Today the Senate approved the Agricultural Act of 2014 by a vote of 68 to 32. The conference report now will be transmitted to the President for his signature. His spokesman has indicated he will sign it. After nearly 3 years of effort, we finally will have a new farm bill!  Once the President signs the bill action will shift to the Department of Agriculture as it begins to implement it.

Need more info on the Farm Bill and its components? Read the January 31, 2014 Farm Bill Update by Stephen Frerichs

January 31, 2014 – On Wednesday the House passed the Farm Bill Conference Report (Agricultural Act of 2014) on a bipartisan vote of 251 to 166. If you would like to see how your Representative voted follow this link: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll031.xml     The Senate is expected to take up the Farm Bill on Monday with a cloture vote (to end debate) and if 60 or more Senators vote to end debate on Monday, the Senate will vote on final passage Tuesday afternoon. Now would be a good time to take a moment to call your Senators and urge them to vote for cloture and final passage. You can find your Senators contact information by going to www.senate.gov. Assuming the Senate does pass the bill, President Obama has already indicated he will sign it into law. Read more: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs132/1102679898406/archive/1116404890508.html

Congressional Budget Office Scoring of Agricultural Act of 2014

Last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its official scoring of the Agricultural Act of 2014.  Overall the Agricultural Act of 2014 is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to spend $956 billion over 10 years. Of that amount, 79% or $756 billion is for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 9% (90 billion) is for the crop insurance program, 6% ($58 billion) for conservation and 5% ($45 billion) for commodity title programs.  Compared to the 2008 farm bill, the commodity title programs took the biggest cut at $14 billion over 10 years (estimated by the Congressional Budget Office); the SNAP cut is $8 billion while crop insurance spending would increase by nearly $6 billion.   If you’d like to read the CBO report, you can find it here: http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr2642LucasLtr.pdf  

CSP Sign-up Deadline February 7

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the deadline for new enrollments in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for fiscal year 2014. Producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS through Feb. 7, 2014.

The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy use.

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through Feb. 7 to be eligible during fiscal 2014. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.

New Jersey Governor Vetoes BPO Legislation For The Second Time

Legislation in New Jersey (S. 3058), that would have significantly expanded the ability of real estate brokers and salespersons to offer broker price opinion (BPO) services, did not become law as a result of a “pocket veto” by Governor Chris Christie on January 21, 2014.

The legislation was passed by both houses of the New Jersey legislature on January 6, 2014, and was presented to Governor Christie for his consideration.  However, because the bill was passed by the legislature during the last ten days of the 2012-2013 legislative session (which ended on January 14, 2014), Governor Christie had only seven days in which to sign or veto the bill, or it did not become law.  Governor Christie did not sign the bill, nor return it to the legislature with an absolute or conditional veto.  Therefore, the legislation did not become law when the seven-day period for his consideration expired on January 21, 2014.

This is the second time in the 2012-2013 legisative session that Governor Christie has vetoed BPO legislation.  Similar BPO legislation was vetoed by the Governor on August 19, 2013.  In his veto message at that time, the Governor noted his concerns about “consumer confusion”, and the impact on “sellers struggling to determine when and why to use broker price opinions, comparative market analyses, or appraisals.”  Because the veto of this bill was a “pocket veto”, with no possibility for furhter legislative action such as an override, there was no similar veto message provided.  

Under current New Jersey law, real estate brokers, broker-salespersons, and salespersons are limited to preparing BPOs for the purpose of giving “counsel and advice on pricing, listing, selling and use of real property, directly to a property owner or prospective purchaser, if the intended use of the counsel or advice is solely for the individual knowledge of or use by the property owner or prospective purchaser.” In addition, brokers, broker-salespersons, and salespersons may offer real estate valuation services for state or federally chartered banks, savings banks, or savings and loan associations in conjunction with federally related transactions for which an appraisal by a certified or licensed appraiser is not required by federal law.

The provisions of S. 3058 would have allowed New Jersey licensed real estate brokers, broker-salespersons, and salespersons to offer BPO services for virtually any purpose, including property tax appeals, litigation support, financial institution portfolio valuation, distressed loan workouts, etc.  The only purposes for which a broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson could not have offered a BPO service would have been “in conjunction with the purchase of a consumer’s principal dwelling as the primary basis to determine the value of a piece of property for the purpose of a loan origination of a residential mortgage loan secured by that piece of property, condemnation proceedings or proceedings filed in a Tax Court.”

Stallman: Privacy protection vital as use of ‘big data’ grows

FBNews – Proprietary data collected from individual farms is valuable and should remain the property of the farmer, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. As innovation and technology using this data expands to provide farmers new management tools, protecting the privacy of this data is paramount.   

See more at: http://fbnews.fb.org/Templates/Article.aspx?id=38422#sthash.f3u3lxtW.dpuf

Fannie Mae Launches Appraiser Quality Monitoring Website

By D Owner, Real Esatte Appraiser at Appraisal Associates Top Contributor on Real Estate Appraiser Connection on LinkedIn

Fannie Mae launched a website Jan. 6 focused on its new Appraiser Quality Monitoring process, which evaluates appraisals for data accuracy and consistency. The site gives lenders access to a list of appraisers whose reports will be subject to 100 percent review or no longer accepted by Fannie. Visit the site here: https://www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/appraiser-quality-monitoring

Sellers and servicers approved by the government-sponsored enterprise can access the review list of appraisers through the website’s Technology Manager. The list is protected content and will be updated monthly.

In a Dec. 10 letter to lenders, Fannie reported that its weekly review of appraisals submitted through the Uniform Collateral Data Portal identified instances where lenders had delivered loans supported by appraisals that were completed by an appraiser whose license or certification had been suspended or revoked. The review list identifies appraisers with licensing or certification issues.

All loans delivered to the GSE that include an appraisal completed by an appraiser on the review list will be selected for a post-acquisition quality control review. Affected lenders will need to confirm the validity of the appraiser licensing information and ensure compliance with Fannie’s policies described in the Selling Guide, B4-1.1-03, Appraiser Selection. Failure to comply with appraiser licensing requirements will result in a repurchase request.

The GSE noted on its website that if there are patterns of egregious issues with an appraiser’s work, there is a high probability that loans delivered to Fannie with appraisals by that appraiser will be selected for additional review even if the appraiser has not been included on the review list. Lenders should not consider placement of an appraiser on the review list as the only trigger for further review of loans with appraisal concerns. Visit the site: https://www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/appraiser-quality-monitoring

Back to top.