LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: July Legislative Update

Philip Weiden | July 2020

We are four months into the COVID-19 crisis and much of the legislative activity continues to center around COVID issues on both a state and national level, not to mention the myriad of related local rules and regulations.

On the federal level, Congress is beginning to debate a third round of stimulus for the economy. When asked, a number of federal representatives have stated unequivocally that another stimulus package will be passed. Given that this is an election year for many, that is a likely scenario. Although millions of jobs have come back online, the number is nowhere near where job numbers were before the pandemic started.

Some of the ideas being talked about are a traveler tax credit to get people to spend money on a vacation or a getaway somewhere, extending unemployment insurance with the extra $600 a month, which expires this month, and possibly more direct payments to Americans below a certain income. Realtors also support the expansion of the SALT cap. The full reinstatement is needed at this critical time. If another stimulus package passes, it will likely be the final one of the year.

At the state level, some eviction moratoriums could be extended beyond Aug. 20 under a new state law if a region is still under a state of emergency. Landlords can continue to pursue arrears in court, but they cannot evict someone impacted by COVID-19 at this time.

Elections and primary votes have also taken place and hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots must still be counted. Every local board of elections hand counts the ballots so it could take a while especially given that more people this year are voting by mail because of fears of exposure to the Coronavirus.

On a local level, it is important to remember that many states now are on a New York-mandated quarantine list. If potential buyers or sellers are from a state that is on that list and they come to New York, they must quarantine here for two weeks.

This could as always change as the pandemic and the quarantine spreads or shrinks. Stay tuned for updates on these matters.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.