February, 2007
Legislative News
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Getting Started in 2007

BOB KOCIOLEK

The holidays are finally over, spring is coming (we hope!) and the legislative sessions have begun. By now, all 50 states have convened their 2007 sessions. There is not much to report, so let’s go over a few things.

Legislative tools available to you
If you haven’t already done so, take a look at January’s Statewise, especially the articles by Janet Swandby. These articles are chock-full of strategic and tactical tips for dealing with regulation, and they point out significant new trends that even the most experienced grassroots organizers may not be aware of.

Position Statement on the Regulation of Home Inspectors
ASHI’s groundbreaking Position Statement, in its fifth edition, is your starting point and road map for navigating the legislative highway. The Statement contains a model bill that you can use as a template for sharing with legislators. With this model, you can determine whether you can support or oppose a draft bill. Even if you are working against regulation, you will need the 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 of key elements of regulation that identify ASHI as the private sector’s leading source for all parties with questions regarding the regulation of our profession.

Want to see how 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. Call 847-954-3177 or e-mail me at bobk@ashi.org if you would like saddle-stitched copies.

Want to read thumbnail descriptions of all 31 existing laws? Want to read the laws themselves and the rules and regulations? Click here.

ASHI Legislative Guidebook

Whether you are just beginning with legislative activity or 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 from contacting your elected officials to building coalitions, to testifying at hearings, to 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.

ASHI’s Legislative Action Center
ASHI has a site, the Legislative Action Center, dedicated to promoting awareness of important home inspection issues and to facilitating discussions involving government regulation of home inspectors. You can access this service through the Members Only area by going to Chapters, clicking on “Legislative Resources” and then “Legislative Action Center.”

The Center allows you to identify your elected representatives from the White House to town hall, and it gives you their e-mail addresses and other contact information. You can also find election and candidate information. One of the best features is an Issues and Legislation page that we can use to develop grassroots campaigns. We will be posting updated information on introduced legislation on this page. Finally, HQ can create alerts and messages you and other members can send to your elected representatives to lobby for your positions on bills. In the last two years, several chapters and states have used these messages to defeat terrible legislation.

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. It’s up to you!

ASHI provides more legislative services and tools for its members than any other inspector organization. These are your dues dollars working for you. Of course, you must decide your positions and strategies for legislation in general and specific bills in particular. Then we’re here to help.