NARI Takes on Annapolis
NARI members David Merrick and Steve Klitsch have been actively representing NARI in Maryland this past year and wanted to share their accomplishments.
RRP on hold in Maryland
Maryland's planned takeover of the EPA LRRP regulation has been delayed due to NARI's comments. MD Department of the Environment (DOE) had written their new regulation based on the original RRP requirements but added in many provisions from Maryland's Lead Abatement program. NARI pointed out that the RRP program and the Abetment program are two different things, an MHIC license is for residential remodeling and Abatement takes place primarily in rental housing. The MD DOE has taken our comments seriously and placed the takeover on hold for the moment. NARI is in favor of states taking over this program as it should be easier to enforce at a state level but would like to see the program adopted without adding any new requirements.
No more sub-contractor license
The MHIC requested NARI's help with Senate Bill 285 to repeal the Sub-Contractor requirement of the MHIC law. Few subs had registered for this license and ultimately the general contractor is fully responsible to consumers so MHIC wanted to eliminate this requirement and make things easier. What a great idea! The bill was approved almost without any opposition and was signed into law earlier this month. Currently, there are 500 licensed subcontractors and 11,500 licensed general contractors. An amendment to SB285 will grandfather the 500 subcontractors into the general contractor license status upon their renewal of license.
Improving licensing in Maryland
NARI's greatest accomplishment this year almost passed us by. Delegate Kramer of Montgomery County proposed a change to the Right of Rescission period in the Door to Door Sales Act, from 3 days to 5 or 7 days. Like many bills in Maryland, the democratic majority was going to move this bill forward no matter of the comments by NARI. By the time NARI found out about the bill it had already passed through the House of Delegates and passed through the Senate Finance Committee's first review. NARI opposed this change because it was more confusing to consumers and added paperwork and requirements for contractors that still sell door to door. NARI proposed an amendment to the bill which was accepted and also signed into law earlier this month. NARI's amendment is based on Sunset Review Recommendations made in 2010 that had never been implemented. The Amendment calls for a study group of all stakeholders, led by NARI, to make such recommendations and do so by December 16 this year. The new Right of Rescission Law goes into effect June 1, 2016
Some of the recommendations in the Sunset Review of 2010 include tiered licensing and empowerment of MHIC inspectors to write civil citations. Both of these recommendations will take a bite out unlicensed contractors. Governor Hogan has promised to make Maryland a better place to do business. This opportunity allows NARI to review the entire licensing structure and make recommendations leading to future legislation with the consumer and the home improvement contractor best interest brought forward.
Maryland Government Affairs are managed by representatives from Metro DC, Mid Maryland and Chesapeake Chapters working closely with Remodelers from Maryland Building Industry Association. (MBIA). NARI's National team of lobbyists were instrumental in setting up meetings for NARI with the Governor's staff, MHIC and the MD Department of the Environment. Over 3,000 bills were submitted in this legislative session and NARI was part of the success of two of these bills. A good first impression for a group of remodelers trying to make a difference in Maryland.
As we move forward we need your help. What would make it easier to do business in Maryland? How could that benefit your business? We need specific suggestions for changes in the existing MHIC laws. Please share your suggestions with David Merrick, Steve Klitsch and Andy Apter.
We look forward to serving NARI and Maryland government. David, Steve & Andy