Nothing is more important than the safety of our members and consumers. In the past, HAR has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to produce classes specifically tailored to the business needs of REALTORS® precisely because of the importance of the issue. A recent murder of an agent in Iowa, coupled with the return of the “foot fetish creep” has renewed our commitment to making sure our members stay safe.

At the time of publication, the Texas Senate had passed SB 1353, which would clarify the 1995 Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) legislation to include real estate brokerage services in the definition of professional services that are not subject to the law.  The courts have consistently ruled in this manner so this would just formally make that law.  If you have ever been sued under this Act—or even if you haven’t, you should recognize the role that TREPAC played in pushing this legislation that will benefits us all. If you haven’t made your TREPAC investment this year, please don’t wait

Staying on the subject of politics, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that would preserve the mortgage interest deduction. According to a recent HAR member survey, 78 percent of our members support the current structure of the deduction so please read the article to find out how you can contact your legislators and respond to NAR’s Call to Action.

We are constantly striving to provide the best and most functional MLS in the industry. The next Tempo enhancements are scheduled to roll out on May 9, and should include the ability to text listing information to a cell phone (yours or a client’s) directly from Tempo. An improved photo gallery that will allow easier navigation will also be added. The new FIND feature, quick access to zip code and city level statistics as well as many other new additions will be available. Please read page 12 to find out more.

Last month, the HAR communications department did a “soft launch” of the website  This site is intended to be the one-stop shop for all HAR communications.  The weekly Five Minute REALTOR®, The Edge and online Houston REALTOR® magazine may all be found in one convenient location. HAR staff directors will also be posting articles about current topics and events so this will be the place for all the latest real estate Association and industry news.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to submit your application to run for the 2012 HAR Board of Directors. The Association is only as effective as its members are involved. The Board members help shape the industry and make decisions that impact each and every member. That is a big responsibility but it is also very rewarding to know you are helping your fellow REALTORS® and consumers. You may read about the board member responsibilities and find the application form on HAR.connect.