Bell-Meyer brings with her over 10 years’ experience working with chambers of commerce and economic development initiatives.
LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: The Year in Review: Some Victories in Spite of Challenges
This year, we defeated Good Cause Eviction again and lifted the ban of solicitous phone calls — both highlights for HGAR's advocacy efforts and big wins for members.
As the days grow colder and the holiday parties roll joyously on, it is a time for reflection and possibly even optimism about the future. January will mark my one-year anniversary as the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association. It has been an exciting year of self-discovery and learning the ins and outs of the Realtor world. So, let’s go through the ups and downs of 2023.
All in all, HGAR and our members have a lot to be thankful for. We have a new CEO, we surpassed our RPAC goals and HGAR advocacy has had a few exciting wins, including when HGAR came out big for the 2023 Lobby Day. With multiple buses, the use of the capital’s largest lecture hall, and more than 110 people attending, HGAR represented about one-third of the total number of Realtors that participated in Lobby Day this year.
Better yet, we had a very strong response from 20+ Assembly and Senators who attended our Lobby Day.
Our participation from both our members and the elected officials led to two notable legislative wins for HGAR and the Realtor community.
First is that we advocated against and defeated Good Cause Eviction for another year. The other direct success is that our Lobby Day led to the NYS Assembly to unanimously pass the bill lifting the ban on solicitous phone calls during a State of Emergency.
Outside of Albany, HGAR experienced some accomplishments here in the Hudson Valley. 2023 saw the streamlining and execution of six HGAR-sponsored “County Days. These informative events all had a Government Power Hour where State Representatives, County Executives, trustees, and other officials gave us their time to answer our questions and hear about their plans. Each County Day had at least three elected officials who handled questions from potholes to housing. Additionally, HGAR’s relationships with area elected officials really came into focus in an unexpected way. After the July rainstorm in Rockland, Orange, and Westchester counties, HGAR granted thousands of dollars in support for residents in this area who were affected by the storm through the Relator Relief Fund. Because of our strong relationships with local elected officials, from Congressman Pat Ryan to local mayors, HGAR was invited to participate in the multiple resource fairs and our messaging and grant information was disseminated by several elected officials’ networks. In the end, HGAR awarded more than $350,000 to over 200 families who experienced damage from the storm. Because of our efforts to help our community, New York State Senator James Skoufis awarded HGAR with the New York State Senate Empire Award.
To be accurate, the year did not produce all good news. Unfortunately, it is likely that Good Cause Eviction or something else along the lines of Rent for Life will make its return in the 2024 NYS Legislative Session. Also, although the NYS Assembly passed the bill lifting the ban on solicitation calls during a State of Emergency, we still need to push for it to pass in the NYS Senate. So, there is still a lot of legislative work we need to do. Now feels like a good time to mention that Lobby Day 2024 will be on April 30th.
To be less tongue-in-cheek, 2024 has every right to be a challenging year. Now, more than ever, what we do as individual Realtors and as Realtors who are part of an organization like HGAR has never been more important. 2024 will be a transformative year and we can choose how we are defined as Realtors and members of our community and not wait for someone else to decide our worth. That path to self-determination in the upcoming year is paved with collected advocacy and hope.
Joining HGAR and the year I have had in 2023 has been transformative. It is an opportunity that I have greatly enjoyed so far. I have found a lot of success and opportunity that I hope to continue through 2024 and beyond. Happy Holidays.