IREM'S Legislative Force Working for You Members and Technology Have Improved Lobbying Efforts over the Years

Journal of Property Management, September-October 2008 | Go to article overview

IREM'S Legislative Force Working for You Members and Technology Have Improved Lobbying Efforts over the Years


NEARLY EVERY ASPECT OF AN IREM MEMBER'S BUSINESS OR REAL ESTATE PORTFOLIO IS AFFECTED BY A LAW OR REGULATION. Decisions by Congress and federal agencies, as well as state legislatures, can profoundly impact a real estate professional's business and financial success. In order to bring attention to commercial real estate issues, IREM created a legislative affairs program in 1972. Over the past three decades, several additional legislative services have been added, improving members' experiences. As a result of IREM's efforts, Congress and federal agencies, as well as state and local governments, consider IREM's positions before making decisions. The following components comprise IREM's legislative efforts over the years.

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Capitol Hill Visit Day Event

Members of Congress count on their constituents to educate them about their livelihood and how they can better serve their needs while in Washington. That's why every spring, IREM Members head to Capitol Hill to speak directly with their representatives to convey the commercial real estate message that is vital to their business and the economy.

At the request of membership, the first IREM Capitol Hill Visit Day event was held on May 18, 1999. During the event, IREM Members presented IREM's first Legislator of the Year award to Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who was very vocal a: the time in support of the rental tenant bankruptcy issue.

Due to the success and growing popularity of this legislative event, legislative staff began scheduling it during IREM's Leadership and Legislative Summit. Attendance soared with the 2001 IREM Capitol Hill Visit Day when more than 215 members stayed an extra day after the summit ended to lobby their members of Congress.

CCIM Institute joined IREM on the Hill for the first time in 2003, and continued to attend in 2005, 2007 and 2008. The total number of attendees at the 2008 Capitol Hill Visit was 275.

Preparation is a key factor contributing to the success of IREM's Hill Visits. Each year before members head to Capitol Hill, an on-site orientation is held to give legislative staff the opportunity to speak about the federal legislative process, inform attendees about what to can expect at meetings and give an overview of the issues to discuss with members of Congress. Attendees are also informed about five issues that are important to commercial real estate.

IREM Members find the trip to Congress to be a valuable experience. Clark Lindstrom, CPM[R], of Wichita, Kan., has participated in numerous Capitol Hill visits in the last 20 years, but he ranks his trips with IREM as the best.

"The knowledgeable and engaged IREM staff prepares you to personally meet with congressional representatives and discuss legislative issues that significantly impact and influence our daily professional and personal lives," said Lindstrom.

Legislative and Public Policy Committee

IREM has not always has one committee that addresses all legislative and regulatory issues. A few years ago, IREM reorganized its national governance structure and consolidated three different standing committees on legislative affairs into one--the Legislative and Public Policy (LLP) Committee.

The LPP Committee is comprised of nearly 40 IREM Members with a strong interest in legislative affairs. The committee is responsible for adopting statements of policy and IREM positions on current issues. Members of the committee also annually review numerous legislative and regulatory issues, vote for the IREM Legislator of the Year award and play a role in the promotion of the Capitol Hill Visit Day event. The Governing Council of IREM ultimately approves positions taken by the LPP Committee during semiannual meetings.

Many of IREM's national officers and leaders chaired the committee at one time, gaining valuable experience and knowledge concerning legislative affairs. …

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