In many states, ASHI members have enlisted the aid of professional lobbyists and joined state coalitions to educate legislators about what legislation is best for the public and the profession. In addition to being effective, home inspector lobbying can be exhilarating and empowering, as shared by ASHI Member Joey Caballero.
"I just got back from Tallahassee and couldn't wait to give everyone an update," Joey Caballero wrote to ASHI's Legislative Committee members. In addition to serving on the Legislation Committee and operating 5th Avenue Building Inspections, Inc. in Boynton Beach, Fla., Caballero had been in Tallahassee lobbying with the Florida Association of Building Inspectors, a coalition of home inspectors that includes ASHI members. The group has been instrumental in the drafting of SB1830 and its companion bill, HB315, and it was now time to support these efforts with their presence.
Twenty-five home inspectors arrived at the capitol on Monday afternoon, March 7, 2005, and met with the lobbyist Matt Dempsey and his two assistants
to prepare for the next day. The following morning, Dempsey arranged for the president of a lobbyist association to join the home inspectors for breakfast and to brief them on legal, lobbying and political mechanics, and current Florida issues. "It was great," Caballero said.
After the briefing, Dempsey handed out packets of information, explained the planned activities and, according to Caballero, "told us what to say and what not to say."
"Around 9:30 a.m., we took a bus from the hotel to the capitol," he continued. "At the capitol, we broke up into small groups of four, some went to the House offices and others went to the Senate offices. We spent two hours visiting the offices of the state representatives. The hallways were quiet because it was the first day of session, and all the big wigs were in the chamber in live session.
We met with the assistants of key representatives, gave them information about and requested support for our bill, and we asked them to be sure the representatives got the information. My group alone met with more than 15 aides and assistants. It was an experience for everyone! We even saw Jeb Bush (our governor)."
Bob Allen, sponsor of HB315, was one of several state representatives who joined coalition members for lunch at the old Capitol across the street from the new building. Representatives and their staffs mingled with the home inspectors, some gave speeches. A professional photographer captured the event. Two national home inspector organizations, the Florida state organization and several ASHI chapters, were represented.
"It was a well-represented group that really worked well together," Caballero told the members of the Legislative Committee. "I now know how the President of ASHI feels when he travels to Washington, and how much hard work goes into lobby days."
Florida Legislation SB 1830/HB315SB1830 and companion bill HB315 would create the Florida Home Inspection Advisory Council.
The Council would be responsible for developing standards of practice and assist in review of complaints against home inspectors. It would consist of eight home inspectors with at least five years of experience, one consumer member, and one non-voting member from the staff department.
The bill also would establish licensure and continuing education requirements for home inspectors. In order to become a licensed home inspector, a person must: be of good moral character, have successfully completed high school or its equivalent, have completed a course of study of at least 90 hours, and have passed an examination that meets the standards of the Council of Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation. The bill also outlines grandfather requirements. In order to obtain a license under these requirements, the person must have been engaged in home inspection for at least three years, have performed more than 250 home inspections, and have completed an examination that meets the standards of the Council of Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation. To keep a home inspection license, one must complete at least 14 hours of continuing education each calendar year.
SB 1830 also states a home inspector must maintain a commercial general liability insurance policy of no less than $300,000. Also outlined in the bills are prohibited acts of businesses employing home inspectors and disciplinary procedures for violating home inspecting rules.
SB1830 was filed by Senator Argenziano on February 24, 2005. On March 11, it was referred to the Regulated Industries Committee and the General Government Appropriations Committee.
HB315 is sponsored by Representative Bob Allen. On April 6, 2005, it received a favorable House vote-15 yeas, 2 nays-with CS amendment by Business. Review it, comment on it, or influence it-all via ASHI Legislative Action Center
Track home inspector legislation in your state, contact you local representatives by e-mail or mail to let your wishes be known or take part in grassroots activities. It's all as easy as typing www.homeinspectorregulation.com in your browser address box. Or, visit the Members Extranet on www.ashi.org, click on Resources, then Legislative Action Center
State and chapter ASHI leaders are invited to inquire about using the Center to mount a letter or e-mail campaign to affect local legislation. Send a memo to Bob Kociolek, ASHI director of chapter relations and legislative activities at ASHI HQ, requesting that he place the memo in the Center so that local members have access to it. ASHI Membership is encouraged to take an active role in shaping state legislation that is in the best interest of the public and of the profession.