SACRAMENTO - On June 27, in a rushed, partisan vote, the Mortgage Conference Committee approved a misguided new law governing foreclosures in the state. Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner, the sole Republican Assembly Member on the Conference Committee, voted against the misnamed Homeowners' Bill of Rights because it threatens to derail California's already fragile real estate recovery and does not treat all homeowners equally. The legislation was pushed by Attorney General Kamala Harris and written by Democratic staff without Republican input.
Assemblyman Wagner's biggest objection is that the new legislation will damage the real estate market and, rather than help distressed homeowners, will actually make the situation worse. "We heard a lot of testimony in the committee, and have seen many of articles and much evidence from around the country, that efforts like those in the Attorney General's bill undermine the real estate market and slow the recovery of our housing industry. Under this bill, homeowners, those who would like to become homeowners, and communities that are struggling with foreclosures - literally all of our communities - will suffer. This will hurt more people than it helps."
Wagner also identified other defects in the legislation. "For instance," he said, "it doesn't treat all homeowners the same way, but rather, sets up three different classes of homeowners, and gives them different rights, regardless of how similar are their circumstances. That is an odd and inappropriate thing for a so-called 'Bill of Rights' to do." Wagner continued, "there are parts of this bill that were drafted without any input from the professionals in the mortgage industry, and other parts where that input was completely ignored."
"The process by which Democrats drafted this bill was bad. But worse is the substance of the bill," Wagner concluded.
Assembly Member Wagner represents the 70th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the Orange County communities of Irvine, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Tustin and surrounding areas.