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6.14.19 Governor Charlie Baker and legislative leaders agree to seek a three-month delay to paid family and medical leave tax

On the night of Tuesday, June 11th, Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo announced that they had agreed to seek a three-month delay to the start of the new paid family and medical leave (PFML) tax. This development will help brokers adjust to this significant change in law, giving you the benefit of seeing final regulations before the law takes effect and to providing you with adequate time to implement procedures for the collection and remittance of this tax. MAR will continue to educate policymakers on this law’s significant impact on the real estate industry.


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6.14.19 House Financial Services Committee advances the National Flood Insurance Program Re-authorization Act of 2019

The House Financial Services Committee voted on June 12th to advance the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019. Introduced by Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, H.R. 3167 reauthorizes the NFIP for 5 years, increases the program's mitigation tools and updates its mapping scope and technology, among other reforms. John Smaby, President of the National Association of REALTORS®, issued the following statement:

“NAR is pleased to see the House Financial Services Committee take a critical first step in the process toward long-term National Flood Insurance Program reform and reauthorization,” Smaby, a second generation REALTOR® and broker at Edina Realty in Edina, Minnesota, said. “We thank Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry for considering various NAR priorities within this legislation, including policies that address mapping, mitigation and private flood insurance, and we look forward to working with them to move responsible NFIP reforms through the House and Senate in the coming weeks.”

The House Financial Services Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to move H.R. 3167 to the House floor, with a vote expected in the coming weeks. The NFIP has been extended through a dozen separate short term extensions over the past two years, with two brief lapses occurring over that time. The program retains authority to issue flood insurance through September 30, 2019.


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6.14.19 Salem Joint Hearing on Municipal and Religious Reuse, June 17th, 2019

On Monday, June 17th, 2019, the Salem City Council and Planning Board will hold a joint hearing about the proposed changes to zoning ordinance regarding “municipal and religious reuse” by special permit. The hearing will take place at 6:00pm at Salem City Hall, 93 Washington St.

Brokers working in Salem may be interested in the results of this hearing, as passage of this long-debated zoning ordinance change could lead to redevelopments of older buildings to increase the housing stock in the city. The effort began with an overlay district proposal that failed to reach the required supermajority vote in the city council, and, due to Salem’s time limits on bringing back proposals, has been revived as a plan to create a new zoning code allowing for a special permit to reuse any municipal or religious building for housing. Thank you to NSAR Town Monitors Cynthia Nina Soto and David Friedberg who have been active in working support of the municipal and religious reuse ordinance through its many iterations.

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6.14.19 Lynn and MBTA Launch Lynn Transit Action Plan

Earlier this year, the MBTA identified Lynn as a Focus40 community, and area to prioritize improvements to public transportation. With this designation in mind, the City of Lynn is, in conjunction with the MBTA, launching the Lynn Transit Action Plan, which will create a roadmap for improving the City’s MBTA transportation to make local hubs within the city as well as the economic hub of Boston more accessible. The plan aims to use improvements to public transit within Lynn to make the city a more economically incorporated part of the Greater Boston Area as well as the North Shore region.

The project will operate in three distinct phases: Understanding existing conditions; testing potential strategies; and developing recommendations for improvement. Residents will be given opportunities to provide input at public meetings, and are also encouraged to email Alexandra Markiewicz, at with ideas for the plan or to arrange for the Transit Action Plan team to attend a community event.

The first Advisory Committee meeting will be held Monday June 17th, 2019 from 1pm-3pm at Lynn City Hall, Room 302. Objectives for the first meeting include: developing a common understanding of the purpose of the committee and the study scope and process; previewing initial groundwork for the context analysis; and soliciting input on the goals and objectives for the study to help inform the development and evaluation of alternatives. Additionally, there will be a short public comment period at the end of the meeting.

Because this plan aims to make the City of Lynn more accessible to economic hubs in Boston and the North Shore, the outcome could have a major impact on the City’s real estate market, as Lynn becomes increasingly commuter friendly.


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6.12.19 North Shore REALTORS® Advocate for Homeownership and Property Rights on Beacon Hill

On June 12th, NSAR members joined REALTORS® from across Massachusetts at the Statehouse to discuss real estate related bills with their Senators and Representatives in the state legislature for the 34th annual Margaret C. Carlson REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill. After a morning issues briefing featuring a keynote by Rep. Kevin Honan, the REALTORS® dispersed across the capitol for their meetings.

The twenty NSAR REALTORS® and affiliates in attendance each took two meetings throughout the day with their legislators, briefing them on MAR’s positions on housing production, expansion of homeownership opportunities, continuing education for real estate brokers, transfer taxes and mandatory energy scoring, all of which are issues of great importance to both homeowners and brokers.

Thanks to our bus sponsor, Tony Barletta from Total Mortgage, a large group of committed North Shore REALTORS® and affiliates were able to travel to Boston to bring energy and enthusiasm to the day’s meetings. NSAR would like to thank the following members and affiliates who took the time to travel to the Statehouse to speak on behalf of REALTORS®, homeowners, and property rights:

Jim Armstrong, Franco Carullo, Richard Ciarletta, David Friedberg, Richard Gindes, Eileen Jonah-Daly, Elizabeth Johns, Bridget Kimball, Patrick Maguire, Adeline Matton, Cynthia Nina-Soto, Jan Pellegrini, Henry Pizzo, George Roark, Kim Sandler, Tim Shea, Arthur Thompson, Roberta Tiplady, Linda Turcotte, Amy Wallick, and CEO Susan Kline.

The NSAR Delegation to Day on the Hill 2019


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6.7.19 Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Deductions Begin July 1: What Brokers Need to Know

In 2018, Massachusetts enacted a law that provides paid family and medical leave (PFML) benefits to workers. This requires businesses, including real estate businesses, to begin taking payroll deductions from their employee and contractor’s wages to contribute to the Family and Employment Security Trust Fund, beginning  July 1, 2019.

Most Massachusetts real estate brokerages will be covered by the law because it counts contractors towards the total number of individuals covered if they make up more than half of the workforce of the company. MAR recommends that Brokers open an account with MassTaxConnect, as all earnings reports and contributions will be made through this system.

All workers must receive proper notification of the changes by June 30, 2019, which includes hanging a readily visible poster about the changes as well as releasing a written notification and giving workers an opportunity to acknowledge receipt of the notice.

MAR hosted a free webinar on PFML on Thursday, June 6th, which can be viewed here.

For more information about how PFML effects real estate brokers, view MAR’s infographic. For more information on Paid Family and Medical Leave, visit the Department of Family and Medical Leave Website.

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