Monday, February 6, 2017

Long Time Industry Leader Speaks Out on Regulations

This is a response from Steve Snyder, Esq, to a recent article on this blog:


Steve Snyder, Esq

IN ORDER TO CONDUCT LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS REPRESENTATION EFFECTIVELY, YOU NEED MONEY AND MEMBERS

I served as the executive director of the Modular Building Systems Association (MBSA) for approximately 18 years, until 2009 when the economy and the housing market got so bad that the MBSA began to lose members and eventually went out of business. Today I am an attorney with a law practice representing modular manufacturers, modular builders and set crews with specific legal issues.  As such, I continue to follow the industry and participate as a member in the industry trade associations that work to represent the modular industry. Some years after the MBSA went out of business, when the housing market began to improve, a group of manufacturers, mostly the dedicated few that have always supported an industry association, approached Tom Hardiman to get a modular trade association up and running again. Tom and his organization are a natural to take over the organization, as a result of their success in representing the commercial modular industry. This time, the new organization, the Modular Home Builders Association (MHBA), in addition to representing modular manufacturers, has determined to focus more on attracting modular builders, which I believe has the potential to increase dues revenue and creating a larger voice in support of the association’s legislative and regulatory affairs mission.  But as Tom has pointed out here, the only way the association works is if the companies who are a part of the industry join and participate. It’s that simple.

This industry has always had a group of modular manufacturers that have maintained their membership in the association and contributed both their time and their finances.  The industry has also always had modular manufacturers who were content to sit back and let the other manufacturers pay for the representation from which their company benefits.

The reason legislative and regulatory representation in the modular industry is so important, is because the majority of legislators and regulators who make decisions on how the modular industry will be regulated, are extremely misinformed.  And in order to properly represent the industry on the legislative and regulatory issues that can cripple the industry if they don’t go our way, is to have a presence in the states where those issues are being addressed.

I found, early on in my tenure as a lobbyist for the modular industry, that it was not necessary, as many would think, to be one of the “good old boys” in the state where those decisions were being made. However, what you do have to do, if you want to have an effect on the laws and regulations affecting your industry, is be there and talk with the legislators and regulators who are making those decisions. You don’t have to make big campaign contributions in order to have a voice in your own laws and regulations. But you have to be at the state capitals and state offices when the decisions are being discussed, get involved in the discussions, and explain why what is good for the modular industry is good for the state and for its homebuyers. And in order to get involved in those discussions and have meaningful input, your lobbyist will have to be able to say that he represents members from the particular state where the issue is being addressed.

I agree with the gentlemen who seemed to infer that modular housing, government affairs is not a part-time endeavor. But in order to conduct legislative and regulatory affairs representation, effectively, you need money and members. Otherwise, you will have people making decisions effecting your industry, who don’t understand your industry.

Steven R. Snyder, Esquire

(717) 975-7799

2 comments:

Builder Bob said...

Steve,

Thank you for your insight into what has been a problem for modular housing in the East for decades. Let's hope that openly talking about it begins to bring about long overdue results.

Tom Hardiman said...

I'll be in Massachusetts on March 6-7th for the public hearing on the proposed new 9th Edition of the building codes. New administrative procedures, new "reviewing authorities", new codes. Other than that, no worries! If you want the details for MASS - email me at tom@modular.org.