May 29, 2018
Senate derails dock bill at 11th hour
By BOB QUINN
Vice President of Government Affairs
As the 2018 Legislative Session winds down, here are a few items being explored in the New Hampshire legislature that are of potential interest to the real estate community and being watched closely by your New Hampshire REALTORS government affairs team:
Hold off on extending that dock: Senate tells bill to take a long walk off a short pier
What a long strange trip it has been for a bill to allow property owners to extend their docks on a lake by 10 feet. Senate Bill 119 took over 18 months, countless hearings and subcommittee discussions, a bi-partisan agreement in a committee of conference, and actually had passed in the Senate and House (twice). Yet, on the last day (in fact, the last hour) of the legislative session, the proposal ultimately fell one vote shy of final passage in the Senate.
Two Senators indicated they owned property on a smaller lake and did not feel their neighbors should be allowed to extend their docks. Other Senators, who had not said anything in the previous 18 months, claimed the extension posed a hazard to other boaters.
The Senate claims were highly questionable, considering the Department of Environmental Services and the NH Marine Patrol both appeared to be satisfied with allowing the 10-foot extension (from the current 30 feet to 40 feet on small lakes, and 40 to 50 feet on large lakes).
While SB 119 is dead, the debate is a long way from ending. The legislature did pass House Bill 1810, creating a “Non-Tidal Public Water Ways Commission,” which will look at placement and sizing of docks, boat lifts and other structures on public waters. NHAR is one of 18 groups to be represented on the Commission, which will make a preliminary report in November.
New licensee continuing education requirement heads to Governor’s desk
Both the House and Senate have passed Senate Bill 461, relative to continuing education for real estate licensees, and it is now headed to the Governor’s desk.
The bill requires that the initial 12 hours of continuing education for all salespersons prior to their first license renewal will be established by the real estate commission in specified topics related to the salesperson’s practice. The bill does not require any additional credit hours for new or established licensees.
The intent is to ensure new licensees receive appropriate training in contracts, agency, state and federal housing laws and other issues relevant to a new licensee. The Real Estate Commission will need to designate those approved courses before the requirement can go into effect.
Expanded mobile broadband could be coming to a rural neighborhood near you
Many rural areas in New Hampshire lack adequate broadband coverage, and that significantly impacts the value of both residential and commercial property in those regions.
Over the next 10 years, the federal government will spend $4.53 billion for primarily rural areas that lack unsubsidized 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. Currently, a very limited number of New Hampshire communities are eligible for these subsidies, but the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) has created a process for local government officials to appeal and become eligible for 4G coverage. Recently, New Hampshire Realtors spoke with our Congressional Delegation about the inaccuracies with the maps being utilized by the FCC.
Interested Realtors concerned with 4G coverage in their area should contact their town officials to determine if they will be challenging the FCC broadband maps, and you can learn more at the FCC site. Only government officials are authorized to challenge the broadband mapping. New Hampshire officials have until the end of the summer to challenge the maps.
If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation from the 2018 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact Bob Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-225-5549.