April 2009


REGULATORY NEWS

Minerals Hearingat Texas Department of Insurance

As reported in the last Dateline there were minor discrepancies between the Minerals proposal submitted by TLTA and the version published by TDI in the Texas Register. In March, we submitted the following amendments to correct any discrepancies.

We're actively preparing for the April 23 Minerals Hearing at TDI and will provide a full report after the proceedings. If you have any questions please contact TLTA Director of Governmental Affairs Aaron Day.

Preparations Underway for June Rate Hearing at SOAH

In February, TLTA submitted pre-filed testimony for the upcoming Rate Hearing scheduled for June 2-5 at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. As previously reported TLTA expert Dr. Nelson Lipshutz has indicated the basic premium rate level should increase by 13.55%. Dr. Jared Hazleton, TLTA's economist, testified that the Texas economy and housing markets may appear healthier than the overall United States, but our housing activity is still very weak.

TLTA's pre-filed testimony, as well as other interested parties, is now available on our website and we encourage you to read it. Please contact TLTA if you have any questions.

Basic Manual Update

The April 1, 2009 update to the Basic Manual contains non-substantive and conforming changes from legislation passed during the 2007 legislative session. Click here to view the Section One update online.

Basic Manual Subscribers Please Note
We anticipate the TDI Commissioner to render his decision on the October 2, 2008 Rule Hearing in the coming weeks. TLTA will publish the April 1, 2009 hard copy update at the same time as the Rule Hearing update. For a complete list of the Rule Hearing agenda items and TLTA's official positions please click here.

Not a Basic Manual Subscriber?The easiest and most cost-effective way to update your Basic Manual is to sign up for our annual subscription service. Not only will you save money but you will automatically receive all updates for 2009. Click here to download the subscription service order form.

LEGISLATIVE NEWS

TLTA Bills Scheduled for Hearings

This week, TLTA has several bills scheduled for hearings in both the House and Senate. Much is happening all at once in this process and you can look forward to a comprehensive report of the following TLTA bills which are scheduled for hearings this week. For a complete list of TLTA's bills click here.

MON. 4/6/09 TUE. 4/7/09 WED. 4/8/09
H.B. 3945 - Release of Lien

H.B. 2394 - Management Certificates

H.B. 2395 - Certificate of Dues Update
H.B. 3441 - TRCC Clean Up
S.B. 2065 - Foreign I.D. at Closing

S.B. 1661 - Child Support Lien Renewal

In addition to our legislative agenda there are several bills that would have a negative impact on our industry. We are in the midst of discussions with TDI addressing insolvency issues and language in the Sunset Bill which would require annual outside audits of operating accounts for all title agents.

The industry has also faced a significant threat in the form of H.B. 1852 and S.B. 1938 which would require all escrow accounts to become interest bearing accounts and the interest would be swept into the fund for indigent legal services. TLTA opposes this approach because it would increase costs to small businesses and consumers. After discussions with the advocates for legal aid, as well as the hard work of the TLTA lobby team and lobbyists representing some of our members, the advocates have agreed to no longer pursue this legislation. Legislators are currently proposing a $22,000,000.00 appropriation for the legal aid fund and we believe this is best approach to address the revenue shortfall. TLTA has sent a letter supporting the appropriation to members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Committee on Appropriations.

The legislative session is well under way with new issues are arising daily and we will continue to bring you the latest updates.

TLTA's Day at the Capitol a Success

On March 25,sixty-two members helped make TLTA's Day at the Capitol a success. The day started with a morning regulatory and legislative update at the AT&T Conference Center and featured special guest speakers Rep. Drew Darby and Speaker Pro Tempore Craig Eiland, both of whom serve on the crucially important House Appropriations Committee.

After the morning program, members proceeded to the Capitol where they managed to meet with over 100 legislators or their staffs to discuss the importance of our industry and share our concerns regarding certain legislation.If you would like to view photos from TLTA's Day at the Capitol, please click here.
If you were unable to attend the Day at the Capitol please know there is still plenty of time and ways to get involved. Over the coming weeks be on the outlook for legislative "Calls to Action" where we'll be asking you to either call or write your elected officials.

TLTAPACUPDATE

Summer Is Just Around The Corner - Where Do You Want to Get Away?

Help TLTA and We'll Help You Escape With a $3,000 Travel Voucher

Sign up for the chance to win TLTAPAC's Dream Vacation Giveaway and start thinking about where you want to spend your summer vacation. Will it be a weekend in Las Vegas, a rejuvinating spa getaway in Arizona or maybe touring the wineries of Napa Valley? The possibilities are endless for the winner, who will receive a$3,000 Travel Voucher courtesy of Simplifile.

For your Dream Vacation Giveaway tickets, please contact any of the TLTAPAC Board of Trustees,TLTA Board of Directors, or Joey Prohaska,TLTAPAC Fundraising Chair. If you have questions or would like additional details please contact the TLTA office.

FEDERAL NEWS

TLTA Submits RESPA Comments to HUD

As reported in the last Dateline,Andrew Fay from HUD's RESPA office spoke at TLTA's RESPA Round Up and More program in February and urged all TLTA members to submit their questions regarding the practical application of the new RESPA rule.

Several members submitted their questions to TLTA and we'd like to extend a special thank you to Dawn Enoch Moore and Janet Minke for reviewing and compiling all of the questions. Last week, TLTA submitted its RESPA Implementation Questions for HUD along with a request for HUD to officially address our concerns. We will provide an update once we've received an answer from HUD.

Announcing New RESPA Taskforce Panel at ALTA's Business Strategies Conference

April 19-21 - Grand Hyatt San Antonio - San Antonio, TX

ALTA has expanded their program at the Business Strategies Conference scheduled for April 19-21 in San Antonio. In the hopes of identifying the most practical questions and effective implementation of the new RESPA rule, ALTA formed the RESPA Implementation Taskforce. The RESPA implementation has been long and at times very difficult. ALTA's REPSA Taskforce will present their to-date findings at the Business Strategies Conference and you won't want to miss this opportunity.

For additional details please click here or contact Erica Hampton with ALTA at ehampton@alta.org or 202.261.2942.

Industry Stats
Release Date Latest Release
Change from Previous Release

30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 3/26/09 4.85% -0.13
15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 3/26/09 4.58% -0.03
10 Year Treasury Rate 4/1/09 2.68% -0.04
Existing Home Sales (in millions) 3/23/09 4.72 +5.1%
New Home Sales 3/23/09 337,000 +4.7%
Supply of Housing Inventory 3/25/09 9.7 months +5.2%
Information Provided by ALTA.

NEWS TO KNOW

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