REALTOR® advocacy brings D.C. to TX this week

Members will have unprecedented access to national leaders this week during the 2020 REALTORS® Legisaltive Meetings, appropriately themed “Home Front: Fighting for the Future of Real Estate.”

Registration for this three-day event (May 12-14) is free at legislative.realtor … and the experience is priceless.

Check out the full schedule at 2020.legislative.realtor/sessions.

Here are a few highlights …

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

  • Federal Legislative & Political Forum, 11 a.m.-Noon CDT
    Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, and Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago and former White House chief of staff, will discuss the current political climate.
  • Regulatory Issues Forum, Noon-1 p.m. CDT
    Hear about legislative and regulatory responses to the COVID-19 public health crisis with remarks from key administration officials including Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger, U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

  • General Session, 10-11 a.m. CDT
    Majority Whip James Clyburn, chair of the Select Committee on the COVID crisis, and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (SC) of the Senate Banking and Finance Committees will share their views of current events at the U.S. Capitol.

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 3:30-5 p.m. CDT

  • Region 10 Caucus (Texas and Louisiana)
    All members of Texas REALTORS® are invited to hear updates from NAR Region 10 Vice President Kaki Lybbert.

NAR has scheduled three days of amazing speakers and specialized programming that provides extremely relevant information. Never in history have REALTORS® had access to so many national leaders from the convenience of your own home. This demonstrates the power of REALTOR® advocacy.

Elections update
Gov. Abbott moved the May 26 primary runoff elections to July 14 to avoid large gatherings. He also allowed, by executive order, for political subdivisions to postpone their 2020 local elections from May 2 to November 3, 2020.

Primary runoffs
As a result of the pandemic response, the Republican and Democratic primary runoffs, originally scheduled for May 26, were delayed until Tuesday, July 14, with early voting beginning Monday, July 6.

In all, 31 congressional and legislative nominations will be decided by this runoff—you can see the REALTOR®-supported candidates at www.texasrealtorssupport.com (log in to see the full slate).

Local elections
Nearly all cities, school districts, and other jurisdictions postponed their elections until November due to coronavirus. (Click here to see a list of postponed local elections that Texas REALTORS® is maintaining.)

But now, ten cities recently sent a letter to Gov. Abbott requesting that he allow them to hold their municipal elections at an earlier date.

Representatives of the cities cited “legitimate public health and safety concerns, and other important considerations,” including:

  • Coronavirus could be worse in November due to colder weather
  • Municipal elections could get overlooked or overshadowed
  • Newly elected officials could participate in FY2021 budget meetings.

The cities are Abilene, Addison, Allen, Anna, Big Spring, Cedar Park, Fairview, Haskell, Round Rock, and the Town of Providence Village.

Mailing it in?
Under Chapter 82 of the Texas Election Code, voting by mail is an option for qualified voters who:

  • Are 65 years or older on election day;
  • Have a disability—which includes having a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from voting in-person without a likelihood of injuring their health;
  • Are out of the county during early voting and election day; or
  • Are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible to vote.

But now, there are three lawsuits asking courts to recognize the right of all Texas voters to vote by mail. Plaintiffs in two of the suits contend that, under state law, all voters currently have a disability based on the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, plaintiffs argue that the right to vote by mail based on age is an unconstitutional burden on the voting rights of voters under 65.

All three suits are tied up in the courts, and it remains unclear if voting by mail will be an option for all Texas voters in the upcoming elections.