REALTOR® issues from the 2012 legislative session

Illinois REALTOR® Magazine | October 2012

Fighting for homeowners’ rights in Springfield

By Julie Sullivan  | Assistant Director, Legislative and Political Affairs

Final votes:

A look at REALTOR® issues from the 2012 session

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® closely tracked a number of bills as the final hours of the 97th General Assembly ticked away.

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 sampling of issues from the 2012 session:

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.

Tax liens on homestead exemptions

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 battles

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.

Changes to license law

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. 

Battling back on fees

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). 

OUTLOOK FOR THE FALL SESSION – Nov. 27-29 & Dec. 4-6 

  • There were several key issues left unresolved in the spring session. They include: vacant and abandoned properties and fast-track foreclosure issues; the erroneous homestead exemption proposal; the auctioning of real property; and the RELAF fund raid.
  • We must CONTINUE our fight to educate both state and local elected officials that want to impose a mandate for installation of fire sprinklers in all new residential construction. 


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