Thu Mar 14, 2013, 11:58 AM
Fire Walk With Me (38,893 posts)
Last rites in foreclosure fight? Minnesota Senate Dems block hearing on Homeowners' Bill of Rights
via Carlos, Occupy Fights Foreclosures
This is not the way Minnesota housing rights activists thought it would turn out when Democrats regained control of the the State Legislature: Hopes for passing a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights to protect Minnesotans from needlessly losing their homes to foreclosure all but died Friday.
A Homeowners’ Bill of Rights — similar to one that was adopted by California last year — would require automatic mediation between banks and homeowners facing foreclosure and prohibit the practice of “dual-tracking,” in which banks negotiate with homeowners while simultaneously moving them towards foreclosure, often without their knowledge. Activists have been hoping that the Legislature will adopt such protections to help end the foreclosure crisis but got a cold dose of political reality: Without banking industry approval, some Democrats in the Senate appear unwilling to support a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights.
In a polite but tense, closed-door meeting between activists and staffers for the Democratic chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. James Metzen of South St. Paul, supporters of the proposal were told that it will not be given a hearing this session. This news contradicted an understanding that representatives of the group Isaiah/Faith in Democracy thought they had reached with Metzen at a meeting last month. Metzen, a banker in private life, did not attend Friday’s scheduled meeting in his office, with staffers telling Isaiah that the DFLer had chosen to attend a different meeting.
The ministers and volunteers from Isaiah, a coalition of more than 100 congregations plus clergy members and people of faith, were openly disappointed at Metzen’s absence and at the news that the housing reforms they have been pushing for will not be given a hearing. As a small circle of clergy prayed outside Metzen’s office in a Capitol corridor, the discussion between Metzen’s staff and a dozen volunteers from Isaiah turned difficult.
(More text and a short video at the link.)
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