Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532
04/03/2018 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 279 "An Act extending the termination date of the Real Estate Commission; and providing for an effective date." 10:57:44 AM MEGAN HOLLAND, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE ANDY JOSEPHSON, discussed HB 279. She stated that the bill would extend the termination date of the Real Estate Commission. She stated that the commission oversaw brokers, associate brokers, and sales licensees. They were responsible for the regulation of supervisors and licensees, and enforcing their requirements. The commission currently oversaw approximately 2500 licensees, and received a full recommended eight-year extension from Legislative Audit. KRIS CURTIS, LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR, ALASKA DIVISION OF LEGISLATIVE AUDIT, addressed the document "A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Real Estate Commission" (copy on file). She stated that report conclusions began on page 7. The audit concluded that the commission was serving the public's interest by effectively licensing and regulating real estate licensees and real estate offices. The commission monitored licensees and worked to ensure that only qualified individuals practiced. Furthermore, the commission developed and adopted regulations to improve the real estate industry and protect the public. The audit recommended an eight-year extension. She noted that the audit period was fairly short, at less than two years, because the prior sunset audit was dated July 2015. The prior sunset audit identified that the board was not serving the public's interest, because it had failed to adopt a Master Errors and Emissions Insurance Policy. The commission was required by a 2008 law to obtain a master policy, and make it available to licensees. The statutes also stated that licensees could obtain an insurance policy independently through a private firm or through the master policy provided to them. 11:02:22 AM Senator von Imhof referenced the surplus on page 12. She wondered whether the provision of the recovery balance related to the surplus. Ms. Curtis wondered whether Senator von Imhof was referencing exhibit 4. Senator von Imhof replied in the affirmative. Ms. Curtis stated that page 15, exhibit 6 showed the recovery fund balance. Senator von Imhof asked if exhibit 4 and exhibit 6 were two separate financial transactions. She wondered how the fees were collected for exhibit 6. Ms. Curtis replied that they were part of the charged fee to the applicant. There was a separate fee established on exhibit 5. Co-Chair MacKinnon wanted page numbers. Ms. Curtis replied that the fee was collected as part of the licensing process. Senator Stevens looked at page 17, and queried the acceptable period of inactivity. Ms. Curtis believed there was a six-month goal. Co-Chair MacKinnon asked about how the division measured the length of extension. Ms. Curtis stated that there were few courtesy licensees. She remarked that it was not a material recommendation. 11:06:54 AM AT EASE 11:07:27 AM RECONVENED Co-Chair MacKinnon OPENED public testimony. TRACI BARICKMAN, CHAIR, REAL ESTATE COMMISSION, PALMER (via teleconference), testified in support of the bill. She stated that the commission operated well. 11:08:46 AM DEBORAH BAROLLINI, SELF, ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), spoke in opposition to the bill. She asserted that the commission did not offer the transparency that the public deserved. She stated that she had a complaint, which was ignored by the commission. Co-Chair MacKinnon relayed that the committee was in receipt of Ms. Barollini's email pertaining to the difficulties that she had experienced in working with the commission. 11:13:28 AM Senator Micciche asked Ms. Barickman about a complaint that was submitted, asked why the complaint was rejected. Ms. Barickman stated that the complaint process first went through the division, where it must be determined that the REC had jurisdiction. She understood that Ms. Barollini's complaint was not within the jurisdiction of the commission, and it had not been received by the commission. Senator Micciche asked what it would take for a complaint against a licensee to be within the jurisdiction of a licensee. Ms. Barickman stated that in the case of a complaint that was deemed to be within the jurisdiction of the commission, the division would open a case. Typically there was a consent agreement, and the respondent would be notified. Co-Chair MacKinnon // Senator Micciche asked Ms. Barickman if there had been discipline on any realtor. He wondered if the process worked if there had been issues within the jurisdiction of the committee. Mr. Barickman answered in the affirmative. She added that the commission's quarterly meetings were public, but were not the appropriate forum for hearing complaints. 11:19:18 AM Senator Micciche asked Ms. Chambers why Ms. Barollini's complaint had not reached the commission's jurisdiction. SARA CHAMBERS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS, BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, affirmed she had reviewed the investigative file containing Ms. Barollini's complaint. The concerns were found not to be within the jurisdiction of the commission, but rather under the purview of the Department of Law and the Landlord Tenant Act. Ms. Barollini was provided with the information. Senator Micciche asked if the Landlord Tenant Act covered a home in a condominium association. Ms. Chambers deferred to the Department of Law. She also agreed to provide further information. Senator Micciche thought it sounded as though the commission was not allowed the opportunity to act on the matter. He wanted to reconcile the complaint. Ms. Chambers was happy to work with the chief investigator to ensure a thorough review of the case. Co-Chair MacKinnon believed that Ms. Barollini was suggesting that if a person was not competent to act in the other role as a licensure, the board should make an examination. 11:24:08 AM ERROL CHAMPION, ALASKA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, JUNEAU, spoke in support of the bill. He appreciated the efforts. Senator Micciche discussed the fiscal note. Co-Chair MacKinnon CLOSED public testimony. HB 279 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration. 11:27:15 AM AT EASE 11:27:47 AM RECONVENED Co-Chair MacKinnon discussed committee business.