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David Blattner Reminds Homebuyers to Establish & Trust Their Real Estate Team

As ‘pandemic migration’ continues, real estate markets outside of city centers are enjoying an infusion of serious buyers and motivated sellers. If you’re exploring a new home purchase, especially if that home is in a new city or state, it is crucial to surround yourself with a team you can trust. I’ve written several blogs over the years explaining the roles and responsibilities of real estate attorneys, title professionals, and real estate agents, and have outlined the consequences of NOT taking those partnerships seriously.

I even recently came clean about making the rookie mistake of acting as legal counsel during my own home purchase, when I blithely disregarded the very different mindsets experienced (and required) by a purchaser and an attorney. It’s also fair to point out that I never corrected my oversight, despite emphasizing in another blog entry that it’s never too late to do so. While my wife and I are enjoying our new home, the process might have been a little less stressful had I taken my own advice and enlisted the objective support of another attorney. It’s as if I’d forgotten about the entire – very talented – Becker Real Estate Team that I collaborate with every day. Just proves you’re never too old to learn from your missteps!

Hopefully, you can take the lessons from both my personal story and professional expertise to set an smooth course as you explore new places to call home.

Specialization: How the ABA Can Make You A Better Lawyer

The great Arnold Palmer was right when he said, “The road to success is always under construction.” This is especially true for lawyers. In the course of our careers, opportunities exist to become better lawyers and enhance our personal satisfaction within our profession. The best approach is to take advantage of those opportunities by becoming board certified. The ABA can help!

The ABA accredits several programs offered by national organizations that provide certification status to qualified lawyers practicing in a specialty area of law. TIPS has many general committees that focus on a wide array of practice areas that correspond to established specialty areas of legal certification that include civil pretrial practice, privacy, professional liability, trial advocacy, truck accident law, and more. Additionally, many state bar associations such as California, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Texas also provide certification programs.

Generally, after five years of practice and devoting a certain percentage of your time each year to your specialty, along with satisfying certain continuing legal education requirements and a peer review process, you become eligible to take a board certification examination.

This is not an easy exam, nor should it be if you are to be held out to the public as an expert in your field. But it will make you a better lawyer, providing you with more confidence in advising and representing clients.

Gaining board certification provides an opportunity to learn more, develop your credentials, and build confidence as a lawyer as well as to elevate your status within your firm.

You should never stop learning or building your credentials because both will lead you to greater satisfaction in your career. Certification can help you achieve your goal. The ABA encourages all of its member to become board certified. For more information about legal specialization, valuable resources, and a listing of ABA-Accredited specialty certification programs, please click here.

Steve Lesser is a shareholder of Becker & Poliakoff, a member of The Florida Bar and is also admitted to practice in Ohio. He is Florida Bar Board Certified in Construction Law and is the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Specialization and the Florida Board of Legal Specialization and Education. He is a former Chair of the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law and a recipient of The ABA Forum on Construction Law Cornerstone Award.

Published in TortSource: Volume 23, Number 1, ©2020 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

“Alligator Signs Questioned,” News-Press

Q: Are “beware of alligator” signs legally required in Florida? (B.K, via e-mail)

A: No, though they may be a good idea where appropriate. The association can be held liable if someone is injured on the property due to the association’s negligence, and will very often be sued just because there was an injury.

Courts have generally held that there is no duty to protect against natural wild animals unless the property owner harbors the animal or has introduced non-native animals. However, in a 1986 case involving a University of Florida student bitten by an alligator while swimming in Lake Wauburg, a split court found that the University was not liable. The court noted that the injured swimmer disregarded clear warning signs on the premises. This suggests that the due diligence of a property owner will be taken into account.

My suggestion is to consult with the association’s legal and insurance advisors to determine what is appropriate for the individual community. The association can contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission for removal of alligators that constitute a nuisance or pose a threat. The nuisance alligator hotline can be reached at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). More information about the program is available online at www.myfwc.com.

Q: My homeowners’ association is trying to fine me over five thousand dollars (one hundred dollars per day) for an alleged violation of our documents. Is the board allowed to fine more than the one thousand dollars as listed in Florida Statute 720.305 if it’s authorized in the association documents? (G.H., via e-mail)

A: The Florida Homeowners’ Association Act provides that a fine may not exceed one thousand dollars in the aggregate unless otherwise provided in the governing documents. Accordingly, governing documents may impose a financial cap higher than the statutory cap. The fine also cannot exceed one hundred dollars per violation, unless authorized by the governing documents. Fines may accumulate for ongoing violations, up to the statutory or documentary cap.

The same statutory caps exist for condominiums, except the governing documents cannot authorize higher amounts.

In both condominiums and homeowners’ associations, a fine cannot be imposed unless the subject of the proposed fine has received at least 14 days’ notice of an opportunity for a hearing before an independent committee.

Q: Is there a time limit on displaying signs in support of a political candidate? (M.N., via e-mail)

A: It depends on the terms of your association’s governing documents and applicable local ordinances. Some governing documents specifically permit political signs for a certain period of time, while others prohibit them altogether. The association’s rights to regulate political signs obviously raise “free speech” issues, which as far as I know, have never been addressed by the Florida courts. In general, the First Amendment only applies to governmental entities, although what case decisions do exist on this issue are somewhat inconsistent.

Even where an association’s governing documents are silent on the issue of political signs, they may still be regulated under local ordinance. Local ordinances governing political signs may provide, among other things, that political signs may not be displayed on public rights-of-way and must be located on private property with the permission of the owner. Some ordinances limit signs to one per candidate or issue. Some ordinances regulate maximum size of signs, and some limit the permissible duration for display.

As an example, the City of Punta Gorda requires that political signs be erected no more than 45 days prior to an election, and must be removed within 5 days after the election. There is an exception for candidates who progress from a general election primary to a general election. In those cases, the sign may remain in place until 5 days after the general election.

If a political sign remains past the timeframe provided in the local ordinance, it is generally a matter for the code enforcement authorities. I recommend that associations adopt specific criteria related to political signs and flags. As we all know and are living through, these issues can generate intense feelings.

Joseph Adams is an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Fort Myers. Send questions to jadams@beckerlawyers.com. Past editions may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.

Becker & Poliakoff Endows Speaker Series at Miami Law; Honors Firm’s Founding Shareholders

Becker & Poliakoff, a Ft. Lauderdale headquartered law firm, recently made a generous donation to the University of Miami School of Law to form the Alan S. Becker & Gary A. Poliakoff Preeminent Leaders in Law Speaker Series. The speaker series honors the legacy of the law firm’s founding shareholders by bringing renowned national and international legal experts to Miami Law every semester.

“As leaders of our firm, Alan Becker and Gary Poliakoff often sought inspiration from successful people in various fields including law, politics, the arts, and business,” said Managing Shareholder Gary Rosen. “Both were dedicated advocates of lifelong learning and would be thrilled to know that this exceptional program will provide law students at their alma mater with enhanced opportunities for enrichment.”

Alan Becker and Gary Poliakoff both graduated from Miami Law in 1969. They met when they were paired for a mock trial competition while attending law school which led to a partnership and ultimately the formation of the firm. Most notably, Becker and Poliakoff helped conceive, draft and pass the laws governing shared ownership housing in Florida. The firm, which has since evolved into a multidisciplinary practice, is now one of Florida’s largest with 11 offices in Florida, plus additional locations in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

“We are so grateful to the law firm for their generosity in creating the Alan S. Becker & Gary A. Poliakoff Preeminent Leaders in Law Speaker Series at Miami Law,” said Dean Anthony Varona. “What a truly wonderful way to recognize two of our most prestigious alumni. We will continue to honor their memory by bringing preeminent legal scholars and experts to our campus through this annual event.”

Becker, who died this past July, began his career at the Office of the Attorney General and as an assistant public defender, a position he held until 1972. He then became the youngest representative in the Florida Legislature at age 26, serving three terms from 1972 to 1978.

While a member of the Legislature, Becker authored several laws governing condominium ownership. He was the principal author and/or sponsor of much of Florida’s housing legislation, including the Condominium Act as well as the Florida Corporation Act, Mechanic’s Lien Act, Evidence Code and more.
He also served as an adjunct professor at Miami Law, where he taught the business of law.

Poliakoff, who died in 2014, served as Managing Shareholder from the firm’s inception in 1973 until 2008. In addition to managing the daily operations and growth of the firm, he devoted a significant part of his career to the practice of Community Association law and was considered one of the foremost authorities on the subject.

Poliakoff served as a member of the State of Florida Condominium Study Commission and as a member and chairman of the State of Florida Advisory Council on Condominiums. Twice he testified before Committees of the United States Senate looking into potential areas of abuse in the sale, development, and operation of condominiums. He served as chair of the H¬ Group of the American Bar Association, which oversees the Common Interest Ownership Development Committee, the Sports Entertainment & Games Committee, the Hotel, Resorts & Tourism Committee, and the Timeshare & Interval Uses Committee.

Q&A with Appraiser Richard Pyle

It is no secret that the real estate market in South Florida is booming, but how has the surge in home values affected how residential properties are appraised? I asked appraiser Richard Pyle, who has served the Florida market for more than a decade, to explain how properties are appraised and how the pandemic has affected appraised values.

Q: What is an appraisal primarily based on?

A: An appraisal for a home is based on comparable sales within the subject’s neighborhood. In the comparable selection process, an appraiser’s goal is to select homes with similar features as subjects. Home features such as bedrooms, living area SF, lot size SF, etc… Variances to any features are adjusted for comparison. Final value is derived from the adjusted values of the comparables selected.

Q: Can appraisals vary depending on the appraiser? If so, by how much?

A: In general appraisal values will be similar no matter which appraiser is used. However, they may not match an exact dollar per dollar value. There may be slight variances as each appraiser chooses their comparables.

Q: How has COVID-19 factored into an appraisal – or has it?

A: These are definitely interesting times for appraisals when dealing with the coronavirus. In saying this, we would still select comparables from the subject’s neighborhood. From my experience in the South Florida market, I’m seeing less homes for sale and in turn less homes to choose from during the comparable selection process.

For more information, or to request an appraisal, please click here to contact Richard Pyle directly.

Elana Friedman Polashuk is a real estate attorney at Becker & Poliakoff and the director of operations at Becker Title. She is well-versed on all legal and practical aspects of commercial and residential transactions.

Washington D.C. Update: President Biden’s Racial Equity & Diversity Plan

In his inaugural address, President Biden called for an end to partisan rancor saying “politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in his path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

One of President Biden’s top priorities is achieving equity and an end to systemic racism through his policies and his new government. He aims to implement that agenda by working to deliver criminal justice reform, equal access to healthcare, education, and housing, and restoring Federal respect for Tribal sovereignty. This includes rolling back several of former President Trump’s initiatives. President Biden faces several roadblocks to achieving his goals thanks to Democrats’ razor-thin margins in Congress. Even the changes he can implement through executive orders may not be evident for some time.

What we know:

  • Biden plans to reintroduce diversity training across federal agencies and contractors after Trump had put a halt to the program.
  • Biden will direct every federal agency to review its operations for potentially discriminatory policies and develop a plan to address those disparities within 200 days. The directive doesn’t include specific parameters on how that would work.
  • The government will create a new “equitable data working group” to assess federal data, often used in allocating resources, to ensure it accurately reflects diversity in America. The Administration also will ensure the U.S. Census has time to complete an accurate nationwide count to ensure federal resources are “efficiently and fairly distributed.”
  • Biden will direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to more equitably allocate federal resources to support communities of color and other marginalized groups. The order doesn’t include financial metrics. OMB manages the federal budget, coordinates interagency operations, and reviews policies to ensure they’re in line with the president’s goals.
  • The Administration will direct all agencies to take all lawful steps to adopt rules reflecting recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings to protect LGBTQ rights, which would mean rescinding certain Trump-era rules limiting such protections.
  • Biden will order an immediate halt to border wall construction and rescission of anti-immigrant policies. The Administration will also move to protect Dreamers – children of undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – in addition to ending the travel ban on majority-Muslim countries.

President Biden’s Build Back Better plan aims to improve racial equity by empowering Black, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native American small businesses. The plan would bolster minority-owned small business opportunities, reform “opportunity zones,” infest in affordable housing and homeownership, and expanding access to resources for entrepreneurs of color.

President Biden’s racial equity plan would devote $30 billion — 10% of his $300 billion research and development portion of his stimulus proposal — to a new small business opportunity fund.

The housing plan includes an up-to-$15,000 refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers to combat racial inequality in housing markets. It also includes funding to construct 1.5 million homes and public housing units, and would eliminate discriminatory housing regulations.

The plan also provides student debt relief and would eliminate tuition costs for public colleges and universities, and private historically Black schools and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), for families with incomes under $125,000.

President Biden’s Plan aims to:

  • Spur Public-Private Investment through a New Small Business Opportunity Plan
  • Reform Opportunity Zones
  • Make Historic Commitments to Equalizing Federal Procurement
  • Makes Bold Investments in Homeownership and Access to Affordable Housing for Black, Brown, and Native Families
  • Achieve Equity in Management, Training, and Higher Education Opportunities Connected to the Jobs of the Future
  • Boost Retirement Security and Financial Wealth for Black, Brown, and Native Families
  • Ensure Workers of Color Are Compensated Fairly and Treated With Dignity
  • Ensure Equity in Biden’s Bold Infrastructure and Clean Energy Investments
  • Support Second Chances for Economic Success
  • Strengthen the Federal Reserve’s Focus on Racial Economic Gaps
  • Promote Diversity and Accountability in Leadership Across Key Positions in All Federal Agencies
  • Build a 21st Century Care Infrastructure
  • Address Longstanding Inequities in Agriculture

Becker’s Federal Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.

“Does Sunshine Law Apply to Smaller Boards?,” Naples Daily News

Q: Please explain the “sunshine law” as it pertains to a three-member condominium board as compared to a five-member board. It seems that two directors discussing association business on a five-member board does not constitute a quorum, whereas two directors on a three-member board would. It seems that a smaller, three-member board is punished since two directors cannot discuss association business outside of a noticed board meeting? (D.N.)

A: The Florida “sunshine law” applies only to certain governmental entities and agencies. It is found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes, and with few exceptions, generally prohibits any two members of a covered board or commission from meeting outside of a noticed and public meeting.

The notice and open meeting requirements that apply to community associations are found in specific statutory provisions of the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, the Florida Condominium Act, and the Florida Cooperative Act. Many attorneys, managers, and board members use the term “sunshine laws” when referring to these provisions, but really in a more colloquial or “industry slang” manner of speaking.

Section 718.112(2)(c) of the Florida Condominium Act contains all of the “sunshine law” provisions regulating notice and meetings for condominium associations. You must also check the governing documents of your condominium association because they may contain additional requirements that must be met as well.

Unlike the Florida “sunshine law” which applies to governmental entities, association board members who constitute less than a quorum may meet at any time and discuss association business. Obviously, without a quorum, formal decisions cannot be made. This legal obligation is especially problematic for three-member boards, as highlighted by your question, because only two directors discussing association business will result in a quorum. Unfortunately, the law makes no exception for three-member boards on this issue. The most practical way to try to solve this problem is to seek to amend the bylaws to expand the number of directors from three to five or more. Until such an amendment to the bylaws is adopted by the association, any time two of the directors on a three-member board discuss association business a quorum is achieved, which means that a board meeting is occurring which must be noticed.

Q: The manager of my condominium association informed me that each of the seven directors serves a staggered, three-year term. Is that legal? I thought that Florida condominium law only allowed for a two-year term maximum. (T.U.)

A: It is legal if three-year director terms are authorized by the condominium documents. In 2008, Section 718.112(2)(d)1 of the Florida Condominium Act was amended to provide that “in the event the bylaws permit staggered terms of no more than 2 years and upon approval of a majority of the total voting interests, the association board members may serve 2-year staggered terms.” This language, however, was later amended (again) and the current version of the Florida Condominium Act does not impose a maximum two-year term for directors.

To view original publication, please click here.

David G. Muller is a Board-Certified Attorney in Condominium and Planned Development Law with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. in Naples. Send questions by e-mail to dmuller@beckerlawyers.com.

Washington, D.C. Update: President Biden’s First Term Plans

While many of President Biden’s plans can be accomplished through executive orders, those requiring congressional approval will be met with slim Democratic majorities. Below are his current goals:

Climate & Energy

  • Ban new oil and gas permits on public land and water.
  • Rejoin the Paris Climate Accords.
  • End the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
  • Make the U.S. electricity system carbon-neutral by 2035 through carbon capture and solar and wind energy.
  • Make the U.S. economy reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through tougher fuel efficiency standards.

Education & Child/Elder Care

  • Forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt per student.
  • Raise Social Security benefits for people over 78, with low income, and for widows and widowers.
  • Guarantee twelve weeks of paid family leave, equaling 2/3 of pay up to $4,000.
  • Make two years of community college tuition-free to all, and all public colleges and universities tuition-free to students whose families make below $125,000.

Guns

  • Create federal grants to encourage states to adopt “red flag” laws.
  • Require more FBI criminal background checks lasting up to ten days, exempting only private sales between close family members.
  • Reimpose the semiautomatic weapons ban and high-capacity magazines.

Health Care

  • Eliminate the earning cap on ACA tax credits subsidizing the purchase of healthcare insurance.
  • Lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60.
  • Create a public option.

Immigration

  • End the current travel ban from majority-Muslim countries.
  • Redirect funds for border wall construction to higher-tech border enforcement.
  • Raise the refugee admittance cap by 18,000 to 125,000.
  • Increase the current 140,000 annual cap on work visas.
  • Restore protections against deportations of 660,000 Dreamers.
  • Create a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Tariffs & Trade

  • Reevaluate tariffs on Chinese goods while working with allies to move China to change its economic practices.
  • Work with labor and environmental groups when engaging in trade negotiations.

Taxes

  • Return the top federal income tax rate to 39.6% for individuals making at least $400,000.
  • Raise the corporate income tax rate to 28% from 21%.
  • Impose a minimum 15% annual tax on profits U.S. companies report to investors.
  • Enact a payroll tax of 12.4% on wages above $400,000 to fund the Social Security system.
  • Tax capital gains as ordinary income.

Other Domestic Policies

  • Extend civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans.
  • Extend the right to unionize to all federal and state government workers.
  • Increase the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2026.
  • Spend $50 billion in the first year on infrastructure.

Foreign Relations

  • Revoke exit from the World Health Organization.
  • Rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal.

To read the full list of Day One Executive Actions, please click here.

To read the full list of proposed Agency Actions, please click here.

Becker’s Federal Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.

“Statute of Limitations Can Prevent Enforcement,” News-Press

Q: Our community was built in 1982. Many homeowners have had screen patios for 38 years. The board now wants the screens removed and if a homeowner does not remove it, the board will, and it will send the bill. Can an HOA do this now after 38 years? (A.W., via e-mail)

A: It depends on several factors, primarily whether the patios are part of the “lot” or are on common areas of the community. In general, the statute of limitations for enforcement of restrictive covenants (I am assuming the screening violates a restrictive covenant) is 5 years, so that would seem to be a major issue.

If the patios were added to common areas, different principles may apply since this property is typically owned by the association. The most common approach to these kinds of situations is for the board, with the assistance of legal counsel, to “grandfather” existing violations and provide the members of the association notice that the restriction will be enforced on a prospective basis. This usually helps cut off defenses of selective enforcement and waiver.

Entering onto another’s property (if that is what is involved) to enforce a covenant is known as “self-help,” which is generally not favored in the law. There are case precedents upholding this remedy if authorized by the governing documents, but it should be considered carefully and in close consultation with legal counsel.

Q: Are access control personnel at our main entry gate permitted to make copies of driver’s licenses belonging to those entering our community? (S.D., via e-mail)

A: Yes, access control personnel are permitted to make a photocopy of the license for the operator of a motor vehicle entering a community. Section 322.143(2) of the Florida Statutes, only prohibits private entities from “swiping” driver’s licenses which could capture personal information from the magnetic strip or bar code.

Q: Must my condominium association hold an election every year? Our bylaws require an annual election meeting on or by the second week in November, but I have never seen an election at my condominium. (Z.A., via e-mail)

A: Section 718.112 of the Florida Condominium Act provides that an annual meeting of the unit owners must be held at the location provided in the association bylaws, and if the bylaws are silent as to the location, the meeting must be held within 45 miles of the condominium property. The law also provides that vacancies on the board caused by the expiration of a director’s term must be filled by electing a new board member at the annual meeting, and the election must be by secret ballot.

However, no election is required if the number of vacancies equals or exceeds the number of candidates. Therefore, while your association is required to hold an annual meeting every year, it is not required to hold an election unless there are more candidates for the board than there are open seats.

Q: A board member of our condominium association has purchased units at foreclosure sales. It was my understanding that board members are not permitted to purchase units in this manner. Is that correct? (G.R., via e-mail)

A: Section 718.111(9) of the Florida Condominium Act was amended in 2017 to provide that a board member, manager, or management company may not purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association’s foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments, nor take title by deed in lieu of foreclosure.

However, if a board member is purchasing units from any other sale, including a sale that resulted from foreclosure of a mortgage, or a tax deed sale, there is no similar prohibition in the law. Some condominium associations also limit the number of units that any one person or entity can own, which has been held to be legally permissible under certain circumstances. Such a restriction could also serve as a limitation on the board member’s right to purchase units.

Washington, D.C. Update: Biden Stimulus Plan Framework

President-elect Biden released his COVID response and relief plan last night, a $1.9 trillion package to meet immediate needs that will be followed by a more expansive infrastructure and recovery bill. We do not have all of the details yet, but following are the key items that we understand will be included.

Consideration of this package should take place soon after his Jan 20 swearing in. NOTE: This is a proposed framework, not legislative language, so there will be some unanswered questions until a form of this hits the floor and we can drill down further.

Direct Payments to Individuals

  • Sends another $1,400 per person to eligible recipients. This money would be in addition to the $600 payments that were approved by Congress in December — for a total of $2,000
  • Would also include households with mixed immigration status, after the first round of $1,200 checks left out the spouses of undocumented immigrants who do not have Social Security Numbers

Aid for States, Locals, Transit & Schools

  • Provides $350 billion to state, local and territorial governments (note that we have not yet seen a distribution formula)
  • Send $20 billion to the hardest-hit public transit agencies.
  • Provides an additional $170 billion to K-12 schools, colleges and universities to help them reopen and operate safely or to facilitate remote learning

Unemployment Aid

  • Increase the federal boost the jobless receive to $400 a week, from the $300 weekly enhancement contained in Congress’ relief package from December, and extend the payments through September (earlier package only extended through March)
  • Applies to those in the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program who have exhausted their regular state jobless payments and in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and certain people affected by the pandemic.

Rental Assistance & Eviction Moratorium

  • Provide $25 billion in rental assistance for low- and moderate-income households who have lost jobs during the pandemic. That’s in addition to the $25 billion lawmakers provided in December.
  • Another $5 billion would be set aside to help struggling renters to pay their utility bills.
  • Provides $5 billion to help states and localities assist those at risk of experiencing homelessness.
  • Would extend the federal eviction moratorium, set to expire at the end of January, to September 30, as well as allow people with federally-guaranteed mortgages to apply for forbearance until September 30.

Hunger Relief

  • Extends the 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September, instead of having it expire in June.
  • Invests another $3 billion to help women, infants and children secure food, and give US territories $1 billion in nutrition assistance

Child Care and Child Tax Credits

  • Creates a $25 billion emergency fund and add $15 billion to an existing grant program to help child care providers, including family child care homes, to pay for rent, utilities, and payroll
  • Expands the child care tax credit for one year so that families will get back as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13

Temporary Increase to Tax Credits

  • Boosts the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for those between ages 6 and 17 for a year and make it fully refundable
  • Raises the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for a year to close to $1,500 for childless adults, increase the income limit for the credit to about $21,000 and expand the age range of eligibility to cover older workers

Restoration of Emergency Paid Leave

  • Would reinstate the paid sick and family leave benefits that expired at the end of December until September 30 and extends the benefit to workers employed at businesses with more than 500 employees and less than 50, as well as federal workers who were excluded from the original program
  • People who are sick or quarantining, or caring for a child whose school is closed, will receive 14 weeks of paid leave and the government will reimburse employers with fewer than 500 workers for the full cost of providing the leave

More Assistance for Small Businesses

  • Provides $15 billion to create a new grant program for small business owners, separate from the existing Paycheck Protection Program
  • Makes a $35 billion investment in some state, local, tribal, and non-profit financing programs that make low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs

Vaccination & Testing

  • Invests $20 billion in a national vaccination program, including launching community vaccination centers around the country and mobile units in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Invests $50 billion in testing, providing funds to purchase rapid tests, expand lab capacity and help schools implement regular testing to support reopening
  • Hires 100,000 public health workers, nearly tripling the community health workforce

Becker’s Federal Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.