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State legislators soundly reject bills to combat Calif. foreclosures

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This week in Sacramento, the banking committees of both houses considered two bills designed to mitigate the effects of California's foreclosure crisis, and both failed in hearing rooms packed with supporters. Both bills, however, will be re-heard next week.

Even in light of tremendous involvement from constituents, consumer advocates, labor and grassroots organizations—and on the heels of robo-signing scandals that have caused thousands of wrongful foreclosures—legislators continue to oppose fair and simple legislation that would help Californians and the economy.

"Legislators listened to citizens who'd been wrongfully foreclosed and said, 'too bad.' What's really too bad is it appears big banks have more influence than their constituents and their communities," said Paul Leonard, California director of the Center for Responsible Lending.

SB 729, which would have prevented banks and servicers from pursuing "dual-track" servicing by requiring them to finish the loan modification process before beginning the foreclosure process, failed to pass the Senate Banking Committee by a 3-3 vote. A Senate bill similar in nature made it as far as the Assembly floor in 2010. Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima failed to vote.

AB 935 would have levied a foreclosure process fee on banks and servicers to help cover the costs associated with maintaining foreclosed properties, a burden which currently falls to cash-strapped local governments. It failed by 4-4 vote, with four members failing to vote.

The tallies:

SB 729 (Sens. Mark Leno and Darrell Steinberg) FAILED: Would require banks and servicers to complete the loan modification process before beginning the foreclosure process. Will be heard again next Wednesday, May 4.

Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) NO
Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) NO
Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) AYE
Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) AYE
Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge) AYE
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) DNV
Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) NO

AB 935 (Asm. Blumenfield) FAILED: Would have charged banks and servicers a fee to proceed with foreclosures, helping to ease the strain onlocal budgets burdened with caring for vacant foreclosed properties. Will be heard again next Monday, May 2.

Asm. Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park) AYE
Asm. Katcho Achadjian (D-San Luis Obispo) NO
Asm. Charles Calderon (D-Whittier) AYE
Asm. Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego) NO
Asm. Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles) AYE
Asm. Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) AYE
Asm. Diane L. Harkey (R-Laguna Niguel) NO
Asm. Roger Hernandez (D-Baldwin Park) DNV
Asm. Ricardo Lara (D-South Gate) DNV
Asm. Mike Morrell (R-Redlands) NO
Asm. Henry Perea (D-Fresno) DNV
Asm. Norma Torres (D-Pomona) DNV

For more information: Ginna Green at (510) 379-5513 or