The Commission met on November 13th for its regular quarterly meeting and it was one of the most productive – and lengthy – that we have had for many years. Despite its length, we recognized recent accomplishments and achieved some major milestones that we have been working on for over two years. We began by ratifying a very generous set of accommodations implemented in response to the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Harvey. Up to six full months of deadline extensions are available to those who really need them in the 60 counties declared as a Disaster Area by Governor Abbott.
Next, the significant clarification of the advertising rules has been a goal well worth pursuing. To have reached consensus with our major stakeholders on how to simplify the basic requirements is a serious accomplishment. And to have provided additional needed clarity while both protecting consumers and addressing license holder concerns is particularly satisfying. Thank you to all who took the time to offer input on the process; I trust you will be pleased with the results.
We will be focused on getting the word out constantly through a variety of educational media for the next six months so that by next May when the rules go into effect, compliance will not be a challenge. The Broker Responsibility course will have a chapter that teaches these requirements in detail. New informative materials will be posted. Numerous articles will appear in the TREC Advisor and special social media messages and online events will introduce and reinforce the key messages.
Also, through hearing a variety of disciplinary cases, we provided some additional direction to our Standards and Enforcement staff on the delicate balance between protection of the public and the promotion of economic opportunity. Due to the specific circumstances of each case, it is always a challenge to determine the precise application among all relevant factors to reach a conclusion. Our team does a great job of implementing the policies the legislature and the Commission have provided.
In 2018, the Commission will undergo Quadrennial Rule Review, Biennial Strategic Planning and the once every 12 years Review by the Sunset Commission. One theme running through all these will be the identification of any unnecessary barriers that might be removed or lessened to spur economic activity without raising consumer protection concerns. We look for your assistance in finding any of these.
We trust your Holidays will be filled with the warmth and joy of family and friends. All the best in the New Year!