Coming off our most successful year ever, Community Associations Institute will recognize the Pennsylvania Legislative Action Committee (PA LAC) as CAI’s Legislative Action Committee of the Year. The award will be given at the national conference in Las Vegas in May.
“This prestigious award is further recognition of the growth of PA LAC over the last decade, the increasing effectiveness of our advocacy efforts, and the significant accomplishments we have achieved for Pennsylvania’s community associations,” said chapter Executive Director Tony Campisi. “In Harrisburg, PA LAC is recognized as the voice of community associations by legislators and legislative staff. This award underscores the significance and seriousness of the work of the LAC.”
PA LAC is coming off its most successful legislative session in over a decade. In the 2015-2016 legislative session, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law three Bills authored primarily by LAC delegates. “This success is a direct reflection of the hard work of the PA LAC delegates,” added Campisi. Each year, the LAC makes a trip to Harrisburg to walk the halls of the state capitol meeting with legislators to discuss issues of importance to community associations. “We’ll be back at it again on April 24, 2017 with a new set of issues to put before the legislature. The work of the LAC continues,” said Campisi.
In 2015, PA LAC successfully moved Senate Bills 687 & 688 through the legislature. The Bills cure a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision (Shaffer v. Zoning Hearing Board of Chanceford Township) which created a conflict in statutes and presented a potential impediment to the viability of residential and commercial associations and communities throughout the Commonwealth. This important Bill was signed by Governor Tom Wolf in July, 2015.
In June of 2016, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1340, which ensures that community associations’ lien for assessments is not affected negatively by a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision. The Bill also preserves association eligibility for federal mortgage underwriting with regards to lease restrictions.
Finally, on January 3, 2017, per parcel recording fees charged in nearly half of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, became a thing of the past. Senate Bill 1282 saw final passage in October, 2016 after a dramatic legislative battle that literally came down to the final hours of the legislative session. Governor Wolf signed SB 1282 into law on November 4, 2016. PA LAC fought a five-year effort to end these outrageous recording fees that were costing some community associations tens of thousands of dollars to record a simple two or three page declaration amendment. Pennsylvania was the only state in the nation where this outrageous practice was happening. It is now a thing of the past and Pennsylvania’s community associations can spend their funds on more important items such as capital improvements, community programs and other critical association needs.
“It is also important that we note the significant opposing forces PA LAC had to overcome to secure passage of the Shaffer Case legislation as well as SB 1282,” Campisi said. In each of those legislative battles, there were significant special interests on the opposing side, most notably the PA State Association of Township Supervisors, in the Shaffer Case legislation, and the County Commissioners Association in the battle over SB 1282. Those organizations have significant clout in Harrisburg and the LAC was able to prevail with better arguments, facts and data supporting our positions.
These legislative victories, however, do not come without a cost. The LAC is almost completely self funded. Your contribution through the Legislative Advocate Sponsor program or the Community Association Back the LAC Campaign will help the LAC continue to be effective on your behalf. Please consider a financial contribution today to PA LAC.
PA LAC is grateful for the continued support of members of CAI in Pennsylvania as well as the recognition from the national organization as the Legislative Action Committee of the Year for 2016.