January 30, 2019

In This Issue:

  • Legislative Update: Special Election Results, Day at the Capitol
  • Guaranty Fee to Be Reinstated May 1, 2019
  • TDI Quarterly Audit Results Published
  • Why the Shutdown Was a Big Deal for Housing
  • Five U.S. House Freshman to Watch on Housing Issues

Legislative Update

The Senate Finance committee started meeting last week to continue its budget-writing process. Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), who chairs the committee, said she is pursuing an aggressive agenda that would enable the Senate to debate the budget on the Senate floor in February. Prior to Feb. 7, House and Senate committee actions are limited to organizational meetings and agency briefings, unless the item under consideration is on the Governor’s list of emergency items.

Special elections were held yesterday to finish out the terms of state Reps. Joe Pickett of El Paso, who stepped down earlier this month for health reasons, and Carol Alvarado of Houston, who won a special election in December to take over the state senate seat of Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. 

In El Paso's HD 79, Art Fierro prevailed in the three-way race with 53 percent of the vote. In Houston's HD 145, two candidates are advancing to a run-off election: Christina Morales and Melissa Noriegan.

There will be another special election Feb. 12 to fill the seat of former state Rep. Justin Rodriguez, who took over as Bexar County Commissioner after Commissioner Paul Elizondo died in December. 
More than 1,746 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
Additionally, TLTA's legislative team is working to advance our Legislative Agenda for the 86th Session. Our priorities include maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association, clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session, and certificates of authority for entities.
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.

Guaranty Fee to Be Reinstated May 1, 2019

TLTA | Jan. 28, 2019
The board of the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (TTIGA) voted Monday to reinstate the Guaranty Fee at $2 per policy effective May 1, 2019. A detailed announcement will be issued soon. 
Learn More About TTIGA »

TDI Quarterly Audit Results Published

TLTA | Jan. 28, 2019
The following is a summary of recent TDI audits, violations and enforcement actions from September through October 2018. Read TDI's complete summary of operations for the quarter, or read the key statistics below.

Compliance Audits: TDI's goal is to comprehensively audit agencies at least once every two years. This quarter, TDI conducted 84 audits.

Commissioner Orders: This quarter, TDI signed six Commissioner Orders. As of this report, 42 cases remain active and under investigation.

Compliance Audit Results: Below are TDI's most common audit findings for the quarter that ended in August. The numbers below represent how many agencies had an infraction, not the number of times the infraction occurred:
Number of Agencies
Title Insurance Code
Actual receipts and/or disbursements not in agreement with settlement statement or premium split not disclosed
Escrow Accounting
Outstanding checks not cleared timely
Minimum Escrow Accounting Procedures & Internal Controls
Every disbursement not supported by invoice or sufficient other evidence
Minimum Escrow Accounting Procedures & Internal Controls
Disbursement sheets missing, incomplete or incorrect

Read Full Quarterly Audit Report »

Why the Shutdown Was a Big Deal for Housing

MReport | Jan. 26, 2019
The end of the longest shutdown in the history of the nation is finally in sight with President Trump announcing on Friday that he had agreed to reopen the federal government for three weeks. During this time, he said that negotiations on the border wall would continue with the Congress.

"I am very proud to announce today, that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government," Trump said. "As everyone knows I have a very powerful alternative but I didn't want to use it at this time. Hopefully, it will be unnecessary."

Trump said that if the Republicans and Democrats could not reach an agreement on the wall funding by the February deadline, he was ready to renew the confrontation or declare a national emergency to bypass Congress altogether.
Read More »

Five U.S. House Freshmen to Watch on Housing Issues

National Mortgage News | Jan. 23, 2019
Look no further than the slate of interesting additions to the House Financial Services Committee to see the future of the policy debate around housing. 

The 21 new members of the committee are poised to tackle housing alongside Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and some bring notable qualifications to the table, with extensive backgrounds in consumer protection or experience authoring legislation to benefit homeowners.

Waters has emphasized that affordable housing and homelessness are among her priorities at the helm of the committee, while McHenry has expressed an interest in tackling the government conservatorship of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Observers have pointed to housing as an area that could lend itself to bipartisan compromise in this Congress, as Waters will need Republican support to ensure the survival of her legislation in the Republican-held Senate. The committee’s leadership could find partners in several incoming freshmen, some of whom have already vowed to their constituents that they will use their post on the powerful congressional committee to secure more affordable housing opportunities and protect the rights of property owners. 

While the Financial Services Committee’s agenda has not been unveiled, here are some players who — given their backgrounds — are likely to be prominent voices in the housing space.

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!