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Old 01-08-2008, 08:39 AM
USPAP Compliant's Avatar
USPAP Compliant USPAP Compliant is offline
 
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State: North Carolina
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Default Appraiser Independence Bill in SC

This was in appraisalbuzz.com from Joan Trice (sorry, I was unable to find a link)

Appraiser Independence Bill in SC

Recently, I spoke with Ed Carter about politics and appraisers in South Carolina. Turns out, they are a fiery mix. Ed is President of the South Carolina Professional Appraisers Coalition (SCPAC), and he was quick to point out that the first rule of politics in South Carolina is that the ‘usual rules’ do not apply. “If you want to pass legislation in South Carolina, you have to build a team of like-minded folks who are crafty, quick and committed to your cause. We have been fortunate to attract talented members who want to make good things happen for appraisers in this state”, he said. SCPAC has drafted the Appraiser Independence Bill and plans to introduce it this month. Ed and I talked about SCPAC and their strategy for this bill.

BUZZ: What is SCPAC and what does the organization do?

CARTER: In a nutshell, we are a group of appraisers working on behalf of our profession. Our mission is to promote the appraisal profession, and to protect the public interest by educating appraisers, consumers and decision-makers about real estate appraisal issues. We track issues of importance, keep our members and other related parties informed, and take action when necessary.

BUZZ: Your members – who are they?

CARTER: Any professional real estate appraiser with a license to practice in South Carolina is eligible to be a member. Many of our members also belong to other professional appraisal organizations, but have joined SCPAC because they believe in our mission and they like the way we pursue it. Having a diverse cross section of members has been a huge benefit for us. We welcome everyone.

BUZZ: Tell us about the Appraiser Independence Bill.

CARTER: The bill is designed to protect real estate appraisers from coercion in a variety of forms, including but not limited to, blacklisting, bribery, extortion, intimidation, and non-payment. This bill is unique for two reasons. First, it protects the appraiser from everyone, not just the usual suspects. Second, it requires violators to pay criminal fines ranging from $1,000 - $5,000 and to be incarcerated between 30 days and one year. Civil fines ranging from $1,500 to $7,500 per instance also apply. In addition, violators found guilty of coercing an appraiser in South Carolina are required to pay all court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees for the plaintiff. Those violators holding a professional license in South Carolina are also subject to lose their license. Our goal was to create a law that would deter coercive behavior. The independent, impartial judgment of an appraiser is fundamental to protecting the public interest. Protecting that independence benefits everyone.

BUZZ: Why did SCPAC decide to draft the bill now?

CARTER: Over the past year, we have worked closely with the SC Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) in the drafting of a bill designed to upgrade the licensing requirements of mortgage brokers and implement licensing for mortgage lenders. The bill was recently pre-filed in the SC Senate as S. 924 - The South Carolina Mortgage Lending Act. The SCDCA incorporated non-coercion language for appraisers into the bill at our request, which a big first step; however, the bill only impacts residential mortgage brokers and lenders. As a result, it simply was not comprehensive enough to correct the problem. The language in the Appraiser Independence Bill dovetails the SCDCA legislation and applies to everyone.

BUZZ: What is your strategy to get this bill passed in 2008?

CARTER: It’s all about the fundamentals. We knew we would have to accomplish five things to be successful. First, we built a strong grassroots program full of members who are educated, committed, coordinated and mobilized. These folks are ready to work. Second, we built a solid leadership team to push the bill. We picked folks within our organization who have experience lobbying at the state and national levels. Third, we hired a lobbyist to represent our interests. Fourth, we wrote a good bill. We know it’s good, because the response from our members, other interested parties and legislators has been overwhelmingly positive. Fifth, we built relationships with other organizations, who have agreed to support our efforts. The bill will be introduced concurrently in the SC Senate and House this month and we’ll be pushing hard in both chambers to get a viable bill passed before the session ends in June.

BUZZ: Do you expect opposition? If so, from whom?

CARTER: Yes. Any individual or group who benefits from coercing appraisers is likely to oppose this bill. We’ll be sure to let our members know who they are as our opponents reveal themselves.

BUZZ: Tell us about the leadership team who will implement your strategy for this bill.

CARTER: We have a very strong board of directors and five were selected from that group to lead this effort and work directly with our lobbyist. Bruce Goff, who served as President in our inaugural year, and had the foresight and charm to bring a diverse group of opinionated appraisers together to create SCPAC. Deborah Tripp is our incoming President in 2008 and has been motivating appraisers to get involved in politics for over a decade. Ira Rosenberg is the statesman of the group with over 25 years of experience in the profession. Ira served as national President of NAIFA in 2004, and brings invaluable insight to our efforts. Kelli Kline runs our Legislative Affairs program. She was instrumental in laying the groundwork for, and successfully pushing, the bill to upgrade the licensing laws in SC to meet AQB requirements. Donna Freeman of DCF Consulting, Inc. is our lobbyist and has two decades of experience working with the SC legislature. And, I am honored to be a part of the team as well. After I hand over the reins to Deborah as President, I will be the public spokesman for SCPAC and will work closely with Kelli and Donna at the Capitol to lobby legislators.

BUZZ: How can appraisers learn more about SCPAC and the Appraiser Independence Bill?

CARTER: Visit our website at www.scpac.net. We will discuss the bill and lobby on behalf of it during our 2008 Legislative Conference in Columbia on January 30th. More information about the conference and registration forms are available on our website.

BUZZ: Does SCPAC get involved in national legislation?

CARTER: Yes, we are building a national presence. We have already begun working with SC Senators and Congressmen in Washington, DC in response to a bill recently introduced by Senator Dodd. The bill contains language that is detrimental to appraisers. We’re working with SC legislators to ensure the interests of appraisers are considered in regards to this bill and several others.

BUZZ: Can state coalitions be effective at the national level?

CARTER: Absolutely. What happens nationally has an enormous impact on every appraiser. Making sure our national legislators understand that impact is a fundamental part of our mission. When state coalitions work together, they have a powerful voice. We are currently working on the creation of an umbrella organization that will bring the collective voices of state coalition members together.

BUZZ: Like a coalition of coalitions?

CARTER: Exactly. We are all constituents of a Senator and a Congressman in Washington, DC. We tell our members that ‘constituent’ is the magic word in politics. It opens doors, and attracts the attention of the folks who make decisions. It is time for appraisers to start using that leverage to their best advantage in every political arena. State coalitions working as a team can make that happen nationally.

BUZZ: Why do we need a unified group of coalitions, when we already have professional appraisal organizations involved in politics nationally?

CARTER: The combined membership of professional appraisal organizations represents a small percentage of all appraisers in this country, which means the vast majority of appraisers have chosen to be unaffiliated. The reasons why are as varied as the appraisers themselves. The result is enormous untapped political potential within our profession. While not every appraiser wants to belong to a professional organization, our experience in South Carolina suggests every appraiser wants someone to look out for their interests and protect the profession. Representation and protection are what coalitions offer. We foresee a unified group of coalitions creating more political clout for appraisers and working hand in hand with existing organizations. A rising tide raises all ships. We’ll be more effective working together if we take an inclusive approach.

BUZZ: How can interested parties learn more about this effort?

CARTER: We welcome help from everyone who wants to work for the good of the profession, whether they are currently a member of a coalition or not. For more information contact me at ecarter@asosc.com or Kelli Kline at kelli@hkmeridian.com.

BUZZ: What else do AppraisalBuzz readers need to know?

CARTER: Legislation impacting the appraisal profession is going to be made whether appraisers get involved or not. When it comes to politics, there are no impartial, unbiased third parties. For our profession to thrive, we must learn to advocate on our own behalf.
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2008, 10:28 AM
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Lawrence R. Lawrence R. is offline
 
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Location: Winchestertonfieldville
State: South Carolina
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
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Default This sounds great, but I have never heard of them.

As per usual, my guess will be that the "grass roots" they refer to are the usual suspects of local instructors, and MAI's. Most of them will be from Greenville, and Columbia. About half of them don't even do fee work anymore would be my guess.

But, since they say they are working against the power of evil, I am going to their website and will probably join today.
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:59 AM
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Coleman Coleman is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
State: South Carolina
Professional Status: Appraiser Trainee
Posts: 89
Default

I received a letter from SCPAC about a conference on January 29-31 addressing the Appraiser Independence legislation. They are coercing appraisers to attend by providing the 14 hours of CE required by the state. Those hours are in the form of the USPAP update and a 7 hour "nuts and bolts" class. The cost is $250 and the conference is at the Hilton Columbia Center. The fee also includes annual dues for SCPAC membership.
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