Editor's note: This column was published in the December edition of Oklahoma Builder magazine
By Kurt Dinnes
Oklahoma State Representative
We reap many benefits from our NAHB membership. Certainly, the ongoing advocacy efforts are one of the most valuable and often the most overlooked because they may seem slow and intangible. The NAHB advocacy efforts are very broad and diverse, from environmental regulation, regulatory overreach, to labor policy and reforms that include taxation, finance and immigration. Unless you make it your full-time job, most of us simply do not have the time to keep up with all the governmental issues that affect our industry. That's why your NAHB membership is so important.
There are simply too many key initiatives and updates to issues important to our industry to effectively address them here due to limited space. An updated and very comprehensive outline of the NAHB priorities is available on the NAHB web site. Here is the link;
https://www.nahb.org/en/research/nahb-priorities.aspx. I encourage you to open this link and see first-hand the issues that affect our industry and the efforts the NAHB takes on our behalf.
Overtime Rule delayed
The Overtime Ruling is just one example of the NAHB's commitment to never give up even after a ruling is passed. The House of Representatives voted to delay the Department of Labor's (DOL) controversial overtime rule by six months. The Regulatory Relief for Small Business, Schools and Nonprofits Act (H.R. 6094) would push the effective date of the overtime rule from Dec. 1 to June 1. The DOL had issued a final rule that will double the current overtime limit from $23,660 to $47,476. The rule further stipulates that the salary threshold will be pegged to inflation and automatically adjusted every three years.
Although the six-month delay would be helpful as employers attempt to comply with the new regulations and absorb its impact, the NAHB firmly believes stronger legislative action is needed to reduce the harmful effects of this rule on the nation's small business community. The NAHB is working to find a path forward for the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5813), legislation that will provide permanent reform to the Department of Labor's onerous rule by allowing small businesses operating on tight budgets sufficient time to adjust.
H.R. 5813 would provide a four-year phase-in of the $47,476 salary threshold and eliminate a provision in the rule that requires automatic increases to the overtime salary threshold moving forward. So, if you're like me and you employ a number of salaried individuals, this overtime rule is definitely a piece of legislation we want to watch closely.
NAHB dues increase delayed
Earlier this year, the NAHB Board of Directors approved a corporate resolution proposing several increases in dues paid to NAHB by affiliated local associations for their members and members-at-large. In addition to the dues increase that took effect in 2014 and 2015, the resolution approved a tentative dues increase that would take effect Jan. 1 if, by Dec. 31, (a) 2016 IBS space sales failed to reach 525,000 square feet, and (b) the average number of Builder and Associate members failed to reach 156, 000. Because it appears that these performance standards will not be met, the Senior Officers recognize that, without further action, a $16 dues increase will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
However, at the mid-year meeting of the Board of Directors, there was considerable discussion about proceeding with the anticipated 2017 dues increase given the financial hardship it would cause to a significant segment of Affiliated Local Associations. As a result, the Senior Officers announced that at the January 2017 meeting of the Board of Directors they would bring forth a motion to amend the Board's prior action with respect to the 2017 dues increase. Accordingly, the motion would defer the $16 dues increase for one year to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
The NAHB has announced the winners of its inaugural Defender of Housing awards. The awards recognize federal legislators who have demonstrated strong support for housing and NAHB positions on key issues facing our industry. To view a list of the award recipients go to; www.nahb.org/en/find/award-programs/defender-of-housing.aspx
The upcoming NAHB 2017 International Builders Show (IBS) will be held in Orlando Jan. 10-12. This design and construction week which includes IBS and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show will also feature the new CEDIA Smart Home Pavilion designated specifically for exhibitors who specialize in technology solutions for the home. IBS promises to be better than ever, with more than 100 educational classes and 800-plus trade show partners. A few other IBS highlights include Payton Manning as the opening speaker, an IBS house party at Mangos Tropical Cafe, a Spike Party featuring the Little Big Town Band and the new NAHB Member Summit. The new-member Summit is a great opportunity to learn how NAHB grassroots efforts guide the association's direction and activities.
Up the national ladder
Lastly, I have considered it a great honor to serve you, the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association as the NAHB State Representative for Oklahoma over the last few years.
At the NAHB Summer Board and associated meetings, I was nominated and elected by Area 11 of the NAHB to serve as the Nation Association Chairman for Area 11 or NAC for short. In this position, I will represent Area 11, which includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
I am very proud to announce that Tony Foust will serve the remaining year of my term as the Oklahoma State Representative, since I cannot serve as both the state rep and as the NAC. At our fall OSHBA Board meeting, Tony accepted the position and was officially voted in by the Board.
Tony is a leader and a long-time participating member. Tony is a past president of BASCO, past CPB Chairman and is currently on the ladder at COHBA as its Second vice president. Tony is also very active with the NAHB, where he was past chairman of the Residential Construction Performance Guidelines Single Family Committee, Certified Graduate Builder Board of Governors, and the Certified Graduate Associate Ambassador program. Tony also serves as our State BuildPAC Chairman and Trustee.
Speaking of NAHB BuildPAC, we are going out with a bang with respect to our 2015–2016 contribution cycle. We are currently at more than 200 percent of our NAHB BuildPAC goal for our state. We have eight Capitol Club members, three Platinum Club members and 25 Gold Key members and many Fair Share donations from all across our state. A big thanks all those who invested in BuildPAC for your generous contributions. Remember those contributions help elect lawmakers all across our country who advance key policies that support our industry.
Tony, congratulations on your new position and special thanks for your work as our Oklahoma BuildPAC Chairman.
I would like to personally thank you. By reading this very article, you are wisely taking advantage of the work done on behalf of you and our industry. This is made possible because of your valued membership in OSHBA and NAHB. Once again, if I can be of any help as your NAHB State Representative, please contact me. I would enjoy hearing from you.