May 2009


Minerals Hearing at Texas Department of Insurance

Last week, TLTA represented you at the TDI Minerals hearing where witnesses laid out our proposal and testified in support.In addition to industry members, The Office of Public Insurance Counsel as well as members of the real estate bar also testified in support.

Overall, the comments at the hearing were positive and echoed our view that this proposal is the best possible solution to a complex problem and will not only be acceptable to most parties to the real estate transaction, but is in the best interest of the consumers of Texas.

The Commissioner has not issued a ruling yet, but we are very hopeful that based on the wide consensus on this issue, he’ll adopt this proposal in its entirety in the near future. If you were unable to attend the hearing, we invite you to listen to the archived webcast. If you have any questions please contact TLTA Director of Governmental Affairs Aaron Day.

Rate Hearing Pre-Filed Redirect Testimony Now Online

As we reported in the last Dateline, TLTA submitted its pre-filed testimony in March for the upcoming Rate Hearing scheduled for June 2-5 at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. After reviewing the pre-filed testimony, TLTA submitted the following redirect testimony earlier this month. We encourage you to read our testimony, as well as the redirect testimony of other interested parties which is now available on our website. If you have any questions please contact TLTA at 512.472.6593.

TDI Statistical Report Acknowledgment Form Due May 4

Sign up for TLTA's TDI Statistical Report Webinars

The Acknowledgment Receipt for the Texas Title Insurance Agents Statistical Report must be returned to TDI no later than Monday, May 4. Deadlines for submitting the actual report are as follows:

Hard copy reports must be postmarked on or before June 10, 2009. If submitting the report electronically your email and .xml file must be received on or before June 10, 2009. For additional information from TDI please click here.

TLTA is hosting two webinars designed to assist you in completing the TDI Statistical Report using the NEW Interactive PDF form.Register today to participate in one or both of these programs and complete your report with ease!

Steps for Completing the TDI Statistical Report - Using the Interactive PDF Form Part 1

Wednesday, May 6 - 10-11 a.m. CDT

New to filling out the Statistical Report? Our speakers will walk you through the steps to complete the report and discuss the new filing format.

Steps for Completing the TDI Statistical Report - Using the Interactive PDF Form Part (Plus Troubleshooting Q&A Session)
Wednesday, May 13 - 10-11 a.m. CDT
Still have questions on the Statistical Report? Our speakers will answer your questions on completing the report and using the NEW Interactive PDF form.This webinar will pick up where Part 1 left off.

Attorney General Issues Opinion Regarding County Clerks

On April 7, Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion regarding indexing certain real-property instruments under chapter 193 of the Local Government Code. The opinion states that in the absence of legislative direction, a county clerk has the discretion to index an instrument accepted for filing and recording under Property Code section 12.0011(b)(2) in a manner consistent with the purposes of the indexing statutes and within the constraints of the statutory framework set out in Local Government Code chapter 193.


House Bill 4338 - Agent Insolvency Update

Sign Up for FREE Member Teleconference

On Monday, we asked for your input regarding the agent insolvency legislation currently proposed in House Bill 4338 by Rep. John Smithee. We'd like to thank all of you who submitted suggestions and we appreciate your valuable feedback.

The Task Force met yesterday to review and discuss the comments we received as we continue to refine this legislation. We will be hosting a free teleconference for TLTA members next Friday, May 8 at 10 outline the ins and outs of this legislation in more detail and to address your questions. Additionally, we are in the process of drafting a list of answers to frequently asked questions and will make this available next week.

Please note this bill is still a work in progress and TLTA is committed to continuing to address your concerns and to work with Rep. Smithee and the Senate sponsor to perfect the language. We will continue to update you as details develop. If you have any questions please contact TLTA.

To register for the Agent Insolvency Legislation teleconference click here.

House Bill 4140 - Bulk Data Requests

On Tuesday, Allen Place testified on behalf of TLTA against House Bill 4140 by Rep. Mark Homer. H.B. 4140 amends the Government Code to define a bulk data request involving 100 copies or more. The bill would allow a governmental entity to choose the medium to produce a bulk data request, regardless of the requested medium or the medium by which the public information is maintained, and would set a maximum charge of $.20 per page for information included in the request.

At the hearing,Rep. Homer offered a committee substitute and testified that the bill was "still a work in progress." We will continue working with Rep. Homer to address our concerns and will hopefully be able to reach a solution. If you would like to view the archived webcast of State Affairs Committee hearing click here.

TLTA's Affirmative Agenda

As of publication, all sixteen bills on TLTA's affirmative legislative agenda have received a hearing in their respective committees. We can proudly report the following bills have passed the House chamber,Rep. Hughes'H.B. 2353 regarding the statute of limitations and Rep. Geren's H.B. 3073 regarding e-Filing. Both of the bills have been referred to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and TLTA is actively working to have the bills set.

The Senate has passed the following bills:Senator Harris'S.B. 1661 regarding child support lien renewals,Senator West's S.B. 1918 regarding certificate of dues update,S.B. 1919 regarding management certificates and S.B. 2121 regarding the right to redeem, along with Senator Davis'S.B. 2065 regarding foreign identification at closings. The House companions for these bills have already been heard in the House committees and all have been voted out. Often times when a Senate companion has passed the Senate, the House member will choose to substitute his bill on the floor with the Senate companion so as to speed up the process.

With a little over a month left in the session, the coming weeks are almost guaranteed to be frenzied. Rest assured the TLTA legislative and lobby team are fully prepared and looking forward to giving a successful legislative report in June. For a complete list of TLTA's affirmative legislative agenda click here.

Comptroller Launches Updated Texas Recovery Website

Last week the Texas State Comptroller's Office launched the redesigned Texas Recovery Web site: An Eye on the Texas Dollars. The site offers Texans an in-depth look at the federal stimulus dollars coming to our state. The update site includes:

Direct access from the home page to key stimulus resources you want to view;

A new post to the "On the Money" column with details on how state agencies are receiving money;

A Follow the Money section, providing a high-level view of the estimated impact on Texas;

The latest grants and contracting opportunities in the Apply for Funding section;

A place for future Transparency and Accountability reports and guidelines where stimulus spending will be tracked; and

Updated lists of both Texas and federal resources on the Web.


TLTAPAC's Race to the Finish

Step Right Up and Pick Your Winner

Legislative advocacy is just one of the benefits of your TLTA membership. Our legislative and lobby team has been hard at work protecting your interests at the Capitol and many times this translates to long hours and lots of walking. So we've decided to put our team to the test and help raise funds for the TLTAPAC with our "Race to the Finish."

Here's How It Works:

1. Pledge funds for the PAC based on the amount of walking we do on your behalf for one week -May 18-22, 2009.

2. Pledge an amount per mile or a flat fee and then pick one of the legislative/lobby team members.

3. Complete your pledge form and email it to Tedrah Hutchins or fax it to 512.472.5931 to confirm your pledge.

Aaron Day and Allen Place, Jr. Want YOU to Sponsor Their Many Trips Around the Capitol May 18-22

Please return all pledge sheets by Wednesday, May 13.If you have any questions please contact Tedrah Hutchins at 512.472.6593.

Back the PAC and Improve Your Handicap at the Bert Massey Classic Golf Tournament

Plan to join us on Wednesday, June 17 for the Bert Massey Classic PAC Golf Tournament and get ready to play on one of America's Best Courses, the beautiful championship Palmer Course at La Cantera. Take in the magnificent hill country vistas and have fun with friends all while supporting the important work of the TLTAPAC. Think of this as more than a way to improve your handicap - it's an investment in your business and a commitment to the future of the industry.

Registration fee includes green fee, golf cart, refreshments on the course and the awards luncheon sponsored by Guaranty Bank. Also don't forget to register for thePAC Breakfast, sponsored by Winstead Attorneys, on Thursday, June 18! Remember your registration counts as a PAC contribution --Register Today!

Can't join us for the Golf Tournament?

There's plenty of ways to Back the PAC - sponsor one of the golf tournament holes, prizes, or make a corporate contribution. Our corporate accounts directly support our fundraising activities and the account needs replenishment. Many of you received a letter from TLTAPAC Chairman Bert Massey asking you to contribute or raise a minimum of $500 in corporate funds for the TLTAPAC. Our fundraising activities, like the Bert Massey Classic PAC Golf Tournament and TLTABay, enable us to raise individual contributions that can then be used to directly support our friends in the legislature.Back the PAC and send in your $500 corporate donation today!

No Need to Day Dream - TLTA Can Help Make Your Getaway a Reality

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 vacation. Check out Chicago's rich history and famous deep dish pizza, shoot for stardom at Hollywood's Universal Studios, or reel in one of Florida Keys' goliath groupers. As you can see, the possibilities are endless for the winner, who receives the $3,000 Travel Voucher courtesy of Simplifile.

For your Dream Vacation Giveaway tickets, please contact any of the TLTAPACBoard 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.


House Financial Services Passes Amendment Delaying RESPA

On Tuesday,the House Committee on Financial Services approved an amendment to H.R. 1728 requiring HUD and the Federal Reserve to develop a new joint RESPA rule within six months after the bill is enacted. TLTA lent our support to the amendment and we applaud the efforts of the Texas delegation members Congressman Reuben Hinojosa(D-TX) and Congressman Randy Neugebauer(R-TX) along with Congresswoman Judy Biggert(R-IL) who offered the amendment.

As adopted, the amendment would postpone the current RESPA rule and provide that HUD and the Federal Reserve finalize a proposal within 12 months of finishing the new rule making. Should the two agencies not be able to agree on a proposal, they would be empowered to move forward independently after notifying Congress. Depending on when Congress ultimately enacts H.R. 1728, a comprehensive mortgage reform bill, a new RESPA rule could be delayed up to 18 months or longer.

Another amendment, supported by ALTA and authored by Congresswoman Melissa Bean(D-IL), would require borrowers to get their closing information from lenders four days in advance. The amendment was offered and later withdrawn by Chairman Barney Frank who asked that the bill's sponsor bring the amendment up on the House floor so members of the committee would have more time to investigate the impact of the amendment.

Please note H.R. 1728 is still in the very early stages of the legislative process and has not been approved by the full House of Representatives or the Senate. TLTA is actively engaged in lobbying for the passage of this amendment and will continue to keep you updated. Should you have any questions, contact TLTA at tlta@tlta.comor 512.472.6593.

Industry Stats

Release Date Latest Release
Change from Previous Release

30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 4/23/09 4.80% -0.02
15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 4/23/09 4.48% 0.00
10 Year Treasury Rate 4/27/09 2.95% -0.08
Existing Home Sales (in millions) 4/23/09 4.57 -3.0%
New Home Sales 4/23/09 337,000 +4.7%
Supply of Housing Inventory 4/24/09 10.7 months +0.09%
Information Provided byALTA.


TLTA News Ticker - Providing You the Latest in Industry-Related News

Monday through Friday you can count on us for the latest business and industry news clips in Texas and across the United States with our TLTA News Ticker. Check it out today!