January 16, 2019

In This Issue:

  • Legislative Update: Inauguration, Budget Proposals, Bill Tracking
  • Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case Challenging Constitutionality of CFPB
  • The Shutdown's Impact on Financial Services
  • Meet Maren Kasper – The New Head of Ginnie Mae
  • New Push for Eminent Domain Reform Expected at Texas Legislature

Legislative Update

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick—who won second terms with victories in November—were sworn in yesterday at an outdoor inauguration ceremony attended by a large crowd of lawmakers, dignitaries and Texans from across the state.  

Abbott and Patrick’s inaugural speeches focused on reducing property taxes and reforming the way that Texas finances public schools. Lt. Gov. Patrick also endorsed pay raises for teachers, and a recommended state budget released by the Senate included increased funding for that purpose (the House released its preliminary budget proposal on Monday, calling for a 17% increase in funding for public education). We can expect Gov. Abbott to dive deeper into his session priorities during his state of the state address in February.

Calleen Smith, Tirey Smith of Lone Star Title, Shelly Martin and TLTA President John Martin enjoy a barbecue lunch on Capitol grounds following inauguration ceremony

Last week the Texas House and Senate adopted their respective rules, making some minor changes to their committee structures in the process. In the House, the changes in committee makeup suggest that the already powerful House State Affairs Committee may be even more influential this session, and the Senate created a committee dedicated to property taxes. We expect members’ committee assignments to be released as early as the end of this week.

Members and staff of TLTA are working the Texas Capitol and advancing our priorities, including maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association and clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session.

More than a thousand bills have been filed on a wide variety of issues that could impact our industry or industry partners. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these bills.

Please make a plan to join us for TLTA's Day at the Capitol in Austin Feb. 12-13. We'll go office to office at the state Capitol, sharing our industry's powerful story with legislators, staff and other influencers. Register today.

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case Challenging Constitutionality of CFPB

The Hill | Jan. 14, 2019
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). 
The State National Bank of Big Spring, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association had asked the justices to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's decision to reject their challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB’s structure as an “independent” agency.
The federally chartered bank and advocacy groups argued Congress created the CFPB in response to the financial crisis of 2008–2009 for the express purpose of exercising exclusive federal authority over all aspects of consumer finance, but stripped away all traditional checks on the director’s exercise of this power. 
The District of Columbia Circuit's decision to dismiss the case came after the court’s full panel of judges upheld the constitutionality of the agency’s structure in a separate case.
It takes four justices to agree to review a case. The court noted that Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, took no part in the consideration or decision of this appeal. Kavanaugh had reviewed the case when he was on the District of Columbia Circuit and dissented from the court’s en banc ruling.
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The Shutdown's Impact on Financial Services

National Mortgage News | Jan. 13, 2019
The government shutdown is now the longest in American history, officially hitting that mark over the weekend. Though only a partial shutdown, it is having an outsize impact on banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders across the country. Some of these have been mitigated due to actions by the Trump administration, while others continue largely unaddressed. 
With President Trump refusing to end the shutdown until Democrats agree to fund a wall on the southern border, it is unclear when the shutdown will end. Some predict Trump may eventually give up and instead seek to invoke emergency powers to build the wall, a strategy that carries significant legal risk. Others argue the president will keep the shutdown in place in the hopes pressure builds on Democrats to make a deal. 

Following is a look at where financial services are most affected.
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Meet Maren Kasper – The New Head of Ginnie Mae

HousingWire | Jan. 10, 2019
Michael Bright surprised many in the housing industry recently when he abruptly decided to leave Ginnie Mae to return to the private sector, passing on being the permanent director of Ginnie Mae to lead the Structured Finance Industry Group, a trade advocacy group for the securities markets.

So, now we know where Bright is going. But what about what happens now for Ginnie Mae, the government agency that issues mortgage bonds backed by Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs loans, among others?

Ginnie Mae said Wednesday that Maren Kasper, Ginnie Mae’s current executive vice president, will serve as acting president in Bright’s absence. But what do we know about Kasper, who will soon be overseeing an agency that boasts a mortgage bond portfolio of more than $1 trillion?
Read More »

New Push for Eminent Domain Reform Expected at Texas Legislature

KUT | Jan. 14, 2019
If you want to cook up a battle over private property rights in Texas, here’s the recipe:

Take a handful of sprawling cities and growing populations that are expanding into once-rural areas, add a booming oil and gas industry with a desperate need for new pipelines to move record-high volumes of hydrocarbons, and sprinkle in the new electric lines needed to power both of those trends.

In recent years, as companies and governments build more roads, power lines and pipelines across Texas, rural landowners have become increasingly familiar with – and angry about – the powers of eminent domain. Their efforts to check those powers at the state capitol haven’t succeeded, but there’s a new push on the horizon for the 2019 Texas legislative session. Here’s what you need to know about eminent domain in Texas.

TLTA has scheduled a variety of live webinars for 2019! Register now, or explore our library of more than 80 On-Demand webinars and videos covering the title industry topics you need!