Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (H.R. 3700) – On July 29, President Obama signed this bipartisan legislation into law. This bill impacts the nearly 5 million households that receive rental assistance through HUD, including Section 8 Housing in which tenants pay approximately 30 percent of their income toward rent and the balance is subsidized. The new legislation alters the qualifications for determining federal housing assistance. Specifically, the bill reduces the amount people can deduct for child care and medical expenses for elderly and disabled families, but increases the deduction amount for dependents. In addition, households with more than $100,000 in assets are no longer eligible for assistance. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).
John F. Kennedy Centennial Commission Act (H.R. 4875) – Signed into law on July 29, this bill was sponsored by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA). It establishes the John F. Kennedy Centennial Commission, a committee that will plan activities to honor the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth. The commission is required to submit annual reports on its revenue and expenditures up until Aug. 31, 2017, after which it officially terminates.
Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S. 3055) – This bill amends Title 38 to provide a voluntary dental insurance plan to veterans, their survivors and dependents. Benefits will include diagnostic and preventative services, endodontics and other restorative services, surgical and emergency services. The provision for this bill is scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2021. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and signed into law on July 29.
Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act (H.R. 2545) – This bill, sponsored by Bruce Springsteen fan Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), is designed to mitigate problems associated with the sale of tickets for music, theater and sporting events. It is in response to the increase in surcharges and fees in recent years, which have increased event prices by as much as 40 percent. Furthermore, the market has been gouged by third-party vendors who buy large volumes of tickets at once, then resell them on the secondhand market for exorbitant prices. This bill is designed to crack down on illegal or unfair practices in the ticketing industry by establishing new rules to be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. Specifically, primary sellers would have to provide public disclosure of the total number of tickets being made available to the public and disclose all fees and additional charges. Buyers would be provided a full refund if requested at least one week before the event. Secondary vendors would have to disclose whether or not they actually possess the ticket(s) at time of sale, and reveal the location and price of the event and seats being sold. Finally, the Act would make it a criminal offense to resell any tickets for a higher than face value. This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on May 16 for consideration before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate.