April 18, 2019

In This Issue:

  • Legislative Update: Major News in the Years-Long Battle Over Re-Regulation in Texas
  • Texas Senate Passes Property Tax Bill, Avoids 'Nuclear Option' Procedural Move
  • VIDEO: Kraninger: 'The Next Phase for CFPB'
  • Mark Calabria Takes Over as FHFA Director, Begins Push for Housing Finance Reform
  • UBS Hires Jeb Hensarling

Legislative Update

There's major news in the years-long battle over re-regulation of Texas' successful promulgated rate system. We worked out a resolution that's been endorsed by TLTA's board of directors, the legislators carrying the standing bills with whom we've been working this session, and Texans for Free Enterprise, who joined their network of allies in commitment to this long-term solution. 
We are now working together to support passage of legislation that will resolve this lengthy debate while preserving our promulgated rate system and improving statutory language regarding our rate hearing process.
Putting this matter to rest will allow us to focus our time and resources on the many other matters of key importance to our industry and the consumers we serve.
The compromise language that is now being advanced would do the following:
  • It clarifies the process whereby an interested person can request a rate hearing, and it outlines the process for the Insurance Commissioner's consideration of that request. The parties that currently have the ability to automatically trigger a hearing, including TLTA and OPIC, remain unchanged. 
  • Additionally, the bill sets up a process whereby an interested person who has requested a hearing can ask that the hearing be moved to a contested format, and it sets out a process for the Commissioner to review and accept or deny that request through a hearing on the request. 
  • Finally, the bill provides interested individuals access to participate as a party in the hearing while retaining other parties' opportunity to challenge the standing of that individual and remove their party status.
TLTA believes the legislation as now drafted provides needed clarity regarding who can participate in the rate hearing process, and it outlines a process for how that access is attained while still maintaining the commissioner's discretion to act as appropriate when setting hearings or providing standing. 
This is good public policy that clarifies the ways in which the public can continue participating in the rate setting process.
A committee substitute for HB 3228 that's limited to the new measures listed above was heard in the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday. The bill was favorably received and the committee chair, members and bill author all expressed appreciation to the two parties for finding common ground so that a resolution could be reached in this longstanding dispute. It was also noted importantly that everyone has agreed there will not be any attempts to amend this bill throughout the process.
Watch a Video of the Hearing on HB 3228 (Advance to 2:01:30) »

Click the image above to watch the hearing (advance to 2:01:30)
TLTA's other legislative priorities are advancing in the Texas House and Senate. Both chambers held hearings on the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333), and the House committee recommended it for their local/uncontested calendar.
Likewise, the RON-related 'papering out' legislation we support (HB 3060/SB 2128) has been voted out of the Senate and received in the House. The House County Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear HB 3060 today. TLTA Legislative Chair Steve Streiff will be testifying on behalf of TLTA in support of the bill. 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) was approved by the House Business and Industry Committee for consideration by the entire House and will now be taken up by the House Calendars Committee. We continue working toward a hearing soon in the Senate.
We are monitoring the progress of these 77 bills. We continue engaging in productive dialogue with stakeholders and the authors of bills that cause concern for our industry or our strategic partners.
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, efforts to repeal the franchise tax and a constitutional amendment that would lower property taxes by raising sales tax rates (a measure endorsed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Texas House) continue to fight through choppy legislative waters.
Only 39 days remain until the Texas Legislature's 86th Session adjourns Sine Die. 

Texas Senate Passes Property Tax Bill, Avoids 'Nuclear Option' Procedural Move

KUT | April 15, 2019
The Texas Senate broke a logjam Monday that had paralyzed a piece of priority legislation for weeks — blunting a controversial provision in its property tax reform package and then advancing the bill, without having to deploy a procedural “nuclear option" to move it.
A vote on SB 2, a top imperative for state leaders, had been expected last week. But an apparent lack of support stalled the vote in the upper chamber, where the backing of 19 senators is generally required to bring a bill up for debate. After Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threatened to blow past decades of tradition and bring the measure to a vote with a simple majority, state Sen. Kel Seliger, a vocal dissenter, relented Monday, allowing the bill onto the floor. He did not support its passage.
Seliger’s announcement came alongside a reworked bill with a handful of technical changes and one notable concession. As updated, SB 2 will force cities, counties and other taxing entities to receive voter approval before raising 3.5% more property tax revenue than the previous year — a change from the 2.5% trigger originally proposed. School districts would still face the 2.5% threshold under the version of the bill approved Monday.
Read More »

VIDEO: Kraninger: 'The Next Phase for CFPB'

MReport | April 17, 2019
On Wednesday the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger in a keynote address titled “The Next Phase for CFPB”. In this video spotlight, Kraninger spoke on consumer emergency savings issues and how the CFPB is addressing these problems.
Kraninger also discussed rulemaking and guidance in regards to financial services.
“Articulating clear rules for the road for regulated entities will promote competition, increase transparency, and preserve fair markets for financial products and services,” said Kraninger.
“When Congress directs the CFPB to promulgate rules or address specific issues to rulemaking, we will comply with the law.”
Watch the Video »

Mark Calabria Takes Over as FHFA Director, Begins Push for Housing Finance Reform

HousingWire | April 15, 2019
After being confirmed by the Senate earlier this month, Mark Calabria officially took over Monday as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the federal agency charged with overseeing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and much of the U.S. housing finance system.

Calabria was sworn in Monday as director of the FHFA, replacing Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, who was picked by President Donald Trump to serve as acting director of the FHFA while Calabria awaited Senate confirmation.

Calabria received confirmation from the Senate two weeks ago, when the Senate voted to confirm him as FHFA director by a 52-44 margin. Now, Calabria, who previously served as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief economist, will take the reins at the FHFA.

Calabria has long been outspoken about housing finance throughout his career, including calling for the end of the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while serving as Pence’s chief economist.

And in remarks delivered at his swearing-in ceremony at the FHFA, Calabria emphasized the pressing need for housing finance reform.
Read More »

UBS Hires Jeb Hensarling

Dallas Morning News | April 11, 2019
Swiss banking giant UBS has hired Jeb Hensarling, the Dallas Republican who spent his final six years in Congress chairing the committee that oversees the financial sector.

Hensarling will serve as executive vice chairman of the Americas region, based in UBS's Dallas office, the company announced Thursday.

The move mirrors the path taken by Hensarling's political mentor and former boss, Phil Gramm, who had chaired the Senate Banking Committee before joining UBS Investment Bank as vice chairman. Gramm spent three terms representing Texas in the U.S. Senate.

Hensarling chaired the House Financial Service Committee, which deals with housing finance, bank regulation, monetary policy and securities. 
Read More »

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!