We Won't Give Up: Realtors® Continue Push for Association Health Plans

realtor professionalism iconAFTER TWO YEARS OF LOBBYING, and despite strong legislative support, Governor Ralph Northam vetoed the health insurance legislation introduced on behalf of Realtors® during the 2020 session.

Senate Bill 235, sponsored by Senator George Barker (D-Prince William/ Fairfax), and House Bill 795, sponsored by Delegate Chris Hurst (D-Radford/Giles), passed the Senate unanimously and the House of Delegates with only a handful of votes in opposition.

Over the course of the past year, Realtor® association staff met with the Governor’s staff and addressed the administration’s concerns with the bill. Unfortunately, Governor Northam and his policy team maintained their opposition to the bill, which the Governor ultimately vetoed.

 During the course of this summer, NVAR needs to hear from members who don’t have health insurance coverage due to cost. Seven thousand Realtors® across the state responded to a Virginia Realtors® survey and said they did not have health insurance. NVAR plans to take those stories to the legislators and the Governor. If you have a personal story about health insurance costs, please email

The Realtor® bill would have offered members the ability to participate in an association health plan, which they are currently unable to do as independent contractors. The bill provided that these plans would include Affordable Care Act compliant coverage and protections from plans that offer little in the way of significant coverage or have exorbitant costs.

This was an impressive effort by the state and local associations’ lobbyists, as well as members responding to Calls-to-Action. While the outcome was disappointing, the Realtor® associations won’t be deterred and will continue to fight for Association Health Plans.


The Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regions will see an increase in the grantor’s tax starting on July 1, 2020. Both regions have increased several taxes to raise money for transportation projects.

In Northern Virginia, the grantor’s tax will increase by a total of 5 cents per $100. The tax will be broken down into two items: a regional Congestion Relief Fee and a Regional Transportation Improvement Fee – but the combined total will equal the 5-cent increase.

The Governor’s proposal would have increased the fee by 10 cents per $100, but NVAR lobbied strongly against that amount. NVAR, the Realtor® Association of Prince William (PWAR), and the Dulles Area Association of Realtors® (DAAR) had agreed in 2018 to a 5-cent increase dedicated to transportation projects in Northern Virginia, but that increase was never enacted. This year, NVAR successfully lobbied to have the new tax reduced to the level previously agreed upon by the Realtor® associations.

Hampton Roads Realtors® agreed to a 6-cent per $100 increase to be dedicated to their transportation projects.

Other taxes, including a hotel tax, were delayed to May 2021 given the impact COVID-19 has had on the industry.

Mary Beth Coya is the NVAR senior vice president for public & government affairs.

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