February, 2006
Legislative News
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



ASHI Legislative Tools

BOB KOCIOLEK

The holidays are finally over, spring is coming (we hope!), and the legislative sessions have begun. By now, 47 states have convened their 2006 sessions. Only Florida, Louisiana and Minnesota convene in March. So, this is a good time to get reacquainted with a few things.

Legislative tools available to you

If you haven’t already done so, take a look at the article by Janet Swandby, “Real-Life Lessons about Home Inspection Legislation,” in the January ASHI Reporter. This article, from a professional with years of experience in tracking inspection legislation, is chock-full of strategic and tactical tips for dealing with regulation, and it points out significant new trends that even the most experienced grassroots organizers may not know.

One specific tip—why every ASHI chapter or group of chapters needs to retain a lobbyist—will be explored in depth by Janet Swandby next month. Keep an eye out for it; read and learn.

Position Statement on the Regulation of Home Inspectors

ASHI’s groundbreaking Position Statement, in its fourth edition, is your starting point and road map for navigating the legislative highway. The Statement contains a model bill you can use as a template for sharing with legislators. Use the model to determine whether you can support a draft bill or must oppose it. Even if you are working against bad regulation, you will need this Position Statement to determine if and when you need to shift tactics and promote a draft that is pro-inspector and pro-consumer.

The Position Statement contains summaries on key elements of regulation that identify ASHI as the leading private sector source for all parties with questions regarding the regulation of our profession.
Want to see how other states have done with their regulations? Turn to the report card in the back of the Statement.

You can download the Position Statement in PDF format from the ASHI Web site. To request saddle-stitched copies, call 847-954-3177 or e-mail bobk@ashi.org.

Want to read thumbnail descriptions of all 30 existing laws? Want to read the laws themselves and the rules and regulations? Go to www.ashi.org/inspectors/state.asp and scroll down until you find the state you’re searching for.

ASHI’s Legislative Action Center

ASHI has created a special Web site, the Legislative Action Center, to generate awareness of important home inspection issues and to facilitate discussion on matters involving government regulation of home inspectors. One of its best features is an Issues and Legislation page where all introduced legislation is posted. You can go to this page to get updates on bills working through committees. And, we can create e-mail alerts and messages that grassroots organizers can use to support or oppose legislation. Last year, the ASHI membership in Florida was able to defeat a terrible bill by mounting just such an e-mail campaign.

The Center allows you to find out who your elected representatives are, from the White House to town hall, and it gives you e-mail addresses and other contact information for all of them. You can also find election and candidate information. You can even register to vote.

Access this powerful service through the Members Only page by going to Resources and then Legislative Action Center in the menu on the left side of the page. Or, you can enter www.homeinspectorregulation.com in the address bar of your browser.

ASHI Legislative Guidebook

Whether you are just beginning with legislative activity or you are a seasoned pro, you’ll want to read the ASHI Legislative Guidebook. Written in 1997 by Janet Swandby, this classic manual gives you detailed information on every aspect of the legislative arena including contacting your elected officials; building coalitions; testifying at hearings; hiring a lobbyist and more. This is an insider’s look at the legislative process that will give you the confidence and tools to make a difference.

You can find the Guidebook on the ASHI Web site in the Members Only area. Click on Downloads and then ASHI Documents in the menus on the left side of the page.

Your ASHI Legislative Committee

Last, but not least, you have the services of the ASHI Legislative Committee (LGC) just an e-mail or phone call away. The LGC will respond to requests for bill review and tips on coalition building, hiring lobbyists, PAC startup and other vital issues. Contact the LGC through Bob Kociolek, ASHI director of chapter relations and state affairs, at bobk@ashi.org or 847-954-3177.

A Legislative Action Center, a Position Statement and Guidebook, the services of top-notch professionals and dedicated ASHI leaders who have fought in the trenches: no other inspector organization offers the depth and breadth of services to members that ASHI provides. All yours, just a click, e-mail or phone call away.

Good news re grandparenting for NY Members

The ASHI membership in New York is aware that the new licensing law went into effect on December 31, 2005. As you know, there are three Methods for grandparenting. Method 3 was included in the law to allow a legitimate home inspector who, for whatever reason, does not meet the requirements of the first two methods to obtain a license if he/she has “Education and experience equivalent to either Method 1 or 2 under the grandparenting clause.”

New York ASHI leaders were disappointed when told by the Department of State last month that they did not anticipate issuing any licenses under Method 3. This decision threatened to lock out many well-qualified, experienced inspectors from their profession. 

Good news! The New York State Association of Home Inspectors’ lobbyist has been working on this issue for weeks and is pleased to announce that the Department of State is aware of this issue and that its intent now is to review Method 3 applications on a case-by-case basis. We have been told that all legitimately qualified inspectors will receive their licenses. More good news! Due to efforts by HQ and dedicated leaders in N.Y., the N.Y. Department of State now accepts the ASHI exams used prior to the NHIE (pre-1999) to meet the grandparenting requirements.