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House Bill 532 Controversy Thickens

As you may know I had the honor of testifying before the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee during its May 24, 2016 Hearing.  Click here to read the testimony I gave. Below are my current remarks with an update and commentary on recent developments.

The Committee heard from a number of proponents and opponents to H.B. 532, focusing primarily on a narrow provision in the legislation that allows students to sit for the real estate exam with coursework that is not accredited.  At the conclusion of the testimony, the Committee amended the legislation to keep the “noncredit bearing” coursework, but provide for advance approval of the noncredit bearing coursework by an ” appropriate state authorizing entity.”  Huh?

I consider myself a pretty smart person but I’m going to need some help on this one.  We currently have a regulatory scheme for approving credit bearing coursework.  Why is it necessary to create a separate regulatory scheme for approving noncredit bearing coursework?  We know from the Committee testimony that credit bearing courses are not more expensive than noncredit bearing coursework.

So I must wonder why such extraordinary steps are being taken to allow noncredit bearing coursework for pre-licensure education.  This process and the hidden agendas of lobbyists and interested parties has certainly helped me to understand why the US  tax code is more than 10 million words.  Nonetheless, there is some reason why the industry wants to shortcut the accreditation process for pre-licensure courses.  We may never know why, but what we do know is that more bureaucracy has been proposed to pave the way for it.

The day following the Committee hearing, the Ohio House approved the measure sending it to the Ohio Senate.  Because the legislature is now on summer recess, the bill will not progress any further until the fall.  In the meantime, I applaud the efforts of all that joined Hondros in its efforts to make sure Ohio’s newest members of the real estate profession receive the best education possible.

Although the amended legislation does require “noncredit bearing” courses to pass some scrutiny before being offered, an amendment prompted by Hondros’ concerns, it does not go far enough.  The fact remains that no other profession has the maze of pre-licensure requirements being proposed in Amended HB 532, and real estate professionals deserve only the best education that credit bearing courses provide.

I urge you that want to see common sense reforms for distance education with one standard for pre-licensure education, to familiarize yourself with Amended HB 532.  In the fall, the debate will begin again in the Ohio Senate.



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