SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) praised federal rules to protect homeowners announced this week by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
“California has been a leader in assisting homeowners facing foreclosure and in reining in abusive practices following the collapse of the housing market, so I’m pleased to see the CFPB take these important steps,” Pérez said. “We know that the economic recovery of many states, including California, has a lot riding on stable housing markets and these new rules move us closer to that goal.”
According to the CFPB the new rules announced today include:
Restricted Dual-Tracking: Under the CFPB’s new rules, dual-tracking – when the servicer moves forward with foreclosure while simultaneously working with the borrower to avoid foreclosure – is restricted. Servicers cannot start a foreclosure proceeding if a borrower has already submitted a complete application for a loan modification or other alternative to foreclosure, and that application is still pending review. To give borrowers reasonable time to submit such applications, servicers cannot make the first notice or filing required for the foreclosure process until a mortgage loan account is more than 120 days delinquent.
Notification of Foreclosure Alternatives: Servicers must let borrowers know about their “loss mitigation options” to retain their home after borrowers have missed two consecutive payments. They must provide them a written notice that includes examples of options that might be available to them as alternatives to foreclosure and instructions for how to obtain more information.
Direct and Ongoing Access to Servicing Personnel: Servicers must have policies and procedures in place to provide delinquent borrowers with direct, easy, ongoing access to employees responsible for helping them. These personnel are responsible for alerting borrowers to any missing information on their applications, telling borrowers about the status of any loss mitigation application, and making sure documents get to the right servicing personnel for processing.
Fair Review Process: The servicer must consider all foreclosure alternatives available from the mortgage owners or investors – those with decision-making power over the loan – to help the borrower retain the home. These options can range from deferment of payments to loan modifications. And servicers can no longer steer borrowers to those options that are most financially favorable for the servicer.
No Foreclosure Sale Until All Other Alternatives Considered: Servicers must consider and respond to a borrower’s application for a loan modification if it arrives at least 37 days before a scheduled foreclosure sale. If the servicer offers an alternative to foreclosure, they must give the borrower time to accept the offer before moving for foreclosure judgment or conducting a foreclosure sale. Servicers cannot foreclose on a property if the borrower and servicer have come to a loss mitigation agreement, unless the borrower fails to perform under that agreement.
Clear Monthly Mortgage Statements: Servicers must provide regular statements which include: the amount and due date of the next payment; a breakdown of payments by principal, interest, fees, and escrow; and recent transaction activity.
Early Warning Before Interest Rate Adjusts: Servicers must provide a disclosure before the first time the interest rate adjusts for most adjustable-rate mortgages. And they must provide disclosures before interest rate adjustments that result in a different payment amount.
Options for Avoiding Costly “Force-Placed” Insurance: Servicers typically must make sure borrowers maintain property insurance and if the borrower does not, the servicer generally has the right to purchase it. The CFPB’s rules ensure consumers will not be surprised by this insurance, which often can be more expensive than the insurance borrowers buy on their own. The rules say servicers must provide more transparency in this process, including advance notice and pricing information before charging consumers. Servicers must also have a reasonable basis for concluding that a borrower lacks such insurance before purchasing a new policy. If servicers buy the insurance but receive evidence that it was not needed, they must terminate it within fifteen days and refund the premiums.
Payments Promptly Credited: Servicers must credit a consumer’s account the date a payment is received. If the servicer places partial payments in a “suspense account,” once the amount in such an account equals a full payment, the servicer must credit it to the borrower’s account.
Prompt Response to Requests for Payoff Balances: Servicers must generally provide a response to consumer requests for the payoff balances of their mortgage loans within seven business days of receiving a written request.
Errors Corrected and Information Provided Quickly: Servicers must generally acknowledge receipt of written notices from consumers regarding certain errors or requesting information about their mortgage loans. Generally, within 30 days, the servicer must: correct the error and provide the information requested; conduct a reasonable investigation and inform the borrower why the error did not occur; or inform the borrower that the information requested is unavailable.
Maintain Accurate and Accessible Documents and Information: Servicers must store borrower information in a way that allows it to be easily accessible. Servicers must also have policies and procedures in place to ensure that they can provide timely and accurate information to borrowers, investors, and in any foreclosure proceeding, the courts.
Speaker Pérez noted that the new federal rules are expected to complement the 2012 Homeowners Bill of Rights passed by the California Legislature, which has been called the most comprehensive homeowner protection act in the nation.
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) spoke at the UC Regents Meeting today in San Francisco where he urged the Regents to put a freeze on the student fee increases at the 10 University of California campuses. Speaker Pérez, who has served as a UC Regent since becoming Assembly Speaker in 2010, authored the Middle Class Scholarship Act last year in an attempt to reduce college fees by two-thirds for middle class families in California. The Speaker plans to continue his efforts in passing legislation this year to make public universities more affordable to middle class families in the state.
Below is the audio link:
Speaker’s remarks at today’s UC Regents meeting (9:22) mp3
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) released the following statement today regarding CalPERS and the additional wages made by managers:
“During a time when many Californians are out of work and many state workers have been required to take furloughs, it is disturbing to learn that some CalPERS managers were paid additional wages potentially outside of state personnel policy. While we understand the urgency involving the delivery of CalPERS’ new computer system, we need to look at a better way of handling the extra work. The Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security will be looking further into this matter.”
SACRAMENTO – Sacramento—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) was pleased to welcome members of the public to view the Stanley Cup, which was won by the National Hockey League Champion Los Angeles Kings this year. Several hundred hockey fans lined up in the Capitol to view the Cup, which has been handed down to each successive NHL Champion team for more than a century. The Speaker was joined by Luc Robitaille, President of the Los Angeles Kings and a National Hockey League Hall of Famer, as well as Tim Leiweke, Governor of the Los Angeles Kings, and Mike Bolt of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and the “Keeper of the Cup.”
“I was so pleased to be able to welcome members of the public to view one of the most prestigious awards in professional sports,” said Speaker John A. Pérez. “Generations of kids have grown up imagining winning the Cup as part of a champion hockey team, and it was a genuine pleasure to see the excitement on the faces of kids as they saw the Cup in person.”
The Stanley Cup is one of the most ubiquitous awards in professional sports. For more than one hundred years, this very cup has given players the inspiration to win. Every year, the winning team receives the cup for the duration of their championship, and every player is given the opportunity to take the cup with them to recognize their victory.
The Cup was created by Lord Stanley, who began the tradition of presenting it to each successive championship team. Coincidentally, today’s public viewing fell on the 172nd Anniversary of Lord Stanley’s birth.
“I want to congratulate the Los Angeles Kings on a phenomenal season that was capped with such a prestigious honor,” added the Speaker. “Their win is a victory every Californian should be proud to celebrate.”
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez released the following statement upon the announcement of the Governor’s 2013/2014 State Budget Proposal:
“This is a proposal that clearly shows California has turned the corner. The Governor’s budget is sober, restrained and forward thinking, and I believe it’s a solid foundation for the budget process. I am looking forward to thorough and insightful public hearings as we work with the Governor to adopt the final budget by our Constitutional deadline.”
Legislation Responds to State Appeals Court Ruling Overturning Rape Conviction
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) today joined Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) in introducing bipartisan legislation to close an archaic loophole in state law and expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator deceives a victim into sexual activity by impersonating the person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
“This is an appalling failure of justice, and I am committed to acting swiftly to prevent a similar occurrence in the future,” said Speaker Pérez. “Like every Californian, I was deeply disturbed by this decision, and my colleagues and I will work on eliminating this glaring loophole in state law and protect Californians from such a gross violation.”
Last week, the State Court of Appeals overturned a rape conviction in a 2009 Los Angeles County case where a perpetrator impersonated his friend and had sex with his girlfriend. The Court last week overturned the initial conviction, pointing to an outdated provision in state law in ruling that a person who impersonates someone is guilty of rape only if the victim was married and the person pretending to be their spouse.
“Today, Republicans and Democrats are joining together to make an important statement – the Legislature will not stand for rapists getting away with their heinous acts because of an ancient provision in state law,” said Achadjian. “The overwhelming response last week to an injustice in the law that I’ve been fighting to end for quite some time will give our proposal the strong momentum it needs to be enacted into law. Our legislation is just the start of a bipartisan movement to change the law and ensure that no one else experiences the injustice that the victims in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara have had to endure.”
Assembly Bill 65 (Achadjian and Pérez) would fix this outrageous provision in the law, and expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator impersonates a person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
In response to a similar case in Santa Barbara County, Achadjian last year authored Assembly Bill 765 to expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator deceives a victim into submitting to sexual activity be impersonating the victim’s cohabitant (live in girlfriend or boyfriend). The measure won unanimous approval in the State Assembly, but was held in the Senate Public Safety Committee. Assembly Bill 65 is very similar to last year’s legislation, but will be expanded in response to the Los Angeles County court ruling to include cases where the boyfriend or girlfriend did not live together.
In addition to Acahdjian and Speaker Pérez a bipartisan coalition of 13 State Senators and 30 Assembly Members has signed on as co-authors of AB 65.
Assembly Member Achadjian proudly represents all of San Luis Obispo County and part of Santa Barbara County, including the cities of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Paso Robles, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and surrounding communities.
Assemblymember Achadjian passing the bill across the desk: https://vimeo.com/56950179
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
Website of Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian: http://republican.assembly.ca.gov/member/AD35/
CONTACT: John Vigna (Pérez ) (916) 319-2408 or Craig Swaim (Achadjian) (916) 319-2035
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the death of former Assemblymember Barbara Alby:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Barbara Alby. She was a fierce advocate for the people of her district, and a passionate voice for the principles she believed in. During her service in the Assembly, she left an indelible mark on issues she cared greatly about, especially in areas like public safety where she was instrumental in passing significant and far-reaching legislation. I had the privilege of serving with her on the Voting Modernization Board, and even though we often differed on policy issues, I deeply respected and admired her commitment to public service. She will be greatly missed, and my thoughts and prayers are with her family, her friends, and the people of her community for whom she fought every waking moment of her life.”
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the Supreme Court Decision to take up the Prop 8 Case:
“Today’s announcement that the Supreme Court will take up Hollingsworth v. Perry and the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act is a reminder that the pathway to justice is long and difficult. The plaintiffs in the initial challenge to Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, presented a powerful and compelling argument that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, which was eloquently recognized in Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling in that case. I am very confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of our community in Hollingsworth v. Perry, as it is now known, and affirm that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. But until that outcome is secured, our community must continue to fight for justice on every front, from working to secure the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to addressing the issues of homelessness among LGBT Youth.”
SACRAMENTO—Marking the start of the 2013-2014 legislative session, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) this week introduced the first pieces of legislation he will be authoring in the coming year. The Speaker’s legislation includes bills spurring economic development and jobs in underserved communities, benefitting consumers, retailers and farmers by creating the California Food Farms and Jobs Act, and increasing protections for domestic violence victims by closing a loophole in the state’s existing domestic violence laws.
“In the coming legislative session the Assembly will pursue the kind of smart planning and investment that I believe will finally put the great recession behind us and usher in the next great era of California’s history,” Speaker Pérez said. “We will also, of course, continue to help address the myriad of challenges that make up life in a diverse state of almost 38 million people.”
The Speaker’s bills introduced so far are:
AB 32 -- California Organized Investment Network: AB 32 increases the annual cap on qualified investments in the California Organized Investment Network (COIN) program from $10 million to $20 million, which in turn increases the amount of tax credits available from $2 million to $4 million. So far, COIN has facilitated the investment of more than $135 million into some of California's most underserved urban and rural communities. In 2011 Speaker Pérez authored legislation extending the life of the COIN program.
AB 38 -- Healthy Foods: AB 38 enacts the California Food, Farms, and Jobs Act to improve state programs that support local and regional farm and food system infrastructure, expand access to healthy foods for consumers, and create new job growth and economic development through increasing the number of direct and retail markets. This bill builds on previous legislation by the Speaker that created the Healthy Foods Financing Initiative and Healthy Foods Financing Council.
AB 16 -- Domestic Violence: AB 16 brings conformity to existing law governing the definition of a felony domestic violence victim by including: (1) current and former fiancés or fiancées and (2) persons currently or formerly in a dating relationship. This bill will ensure that domestic violence offenders are charged with the appropriate crime and provide their victims with the crucial protections and resources afforded to them under current law.
These bills and others introduced by the Speaker and the other members of the Assembly will be eligible to be heard after the legislature reconvenes January 7.
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross today announced the release of a report by Secretary Ross’s AB 581 Healthy Foods Advisory Group, given to the state Legislature, which contains recommendations on ways to increase Californians’ access to healthy foods.
“This report highlights a number of important steps we can take to ensure that every Californian has access to quality, nutritious food, which is a major issue in urban and rural communities alike,” said Speaker Pérez. “Children, especially in low-income families, need the best possible start in life, and that begins with making sure they have access to food that will help them grow up healthy and perform better in schools. This report provides a pathway to ensuring that every child in California has access to healthy foods by eliminating food deserts.”
The report’s recommendations fall under four categories: improving the distribution of fresh produce, expanding retail options for healthy food, helping low-income consumers purchase healthy food, and supporting nutritious school meals.
“I want to thank the diverse and broad base of stakeholders who contributed to the development of this report,” said Secretary Ross. “Improving access to healthy, California grown food for the most needy among us is a passion we all share and is most poignant during this Holiday Season.”
Secretary Ross convened the group of stakeholders established in the Speaker’s 2011 bill AB 581, designed to improve access to affordable, healthy and quality foods, such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products, in food desert areas, which occur in rural and urban regions throughout the state. Residents of food deserts suffer from higher rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, leading to preventable and premature deaths.
Speaker Toni Atkins, District 78
“I want to thank the members of the Assembly for their hard work and their commitment to the people they represent. The water bond and a groundwater management plan, a fourth on time budget that ensures stability and expands opportunity, a fix to the longtime underfunding of STRS and a real Rainy Day Fund that will help end the cycles of boom and bust are among the chief successes we can be proud of this year.”
Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, District 7
“A critical element of addressing the water challenges facing California involves ensuring a sustainable supply of groundwater. Over drafting our groundwater leads to subsidence and contamination; consequences we cannot afford.”
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, District 17
“We need [Assembly Bill 885] to stop the few prosecutors whose seal for convictions lead them to cut corners on justice. We can’t wait decades to free the innocent while the true perpetrators run free.”
Assemblymember Das Williams, District 37
“The tragedy in Isla Vista is a horrific example of how our mental health laws and gun laws are not working together. [Assembly Bill 1014] will help close the gap and provide the necessary legal tools to empower immediate family members and law enforcement to protect loved ones and the public from the dangers of gun violence.”
Assemblymember Steven Bradford, District 62
“Folks with certain disabilities may not be able to complete their [voter] registration forms with a traditional signature. [Assembly Bill 1311] will ensure their right to vote is protected, by allowing them to complete their forms by making a mark, a cross, or affixing a stamp to their form.”
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, District 80
“It's clear that paid sick days are not only good for working people who are able to keep themselves and their customers healthy, but good for business owners who will see less turnover and better productivity from workers who are able to perform to their best ability.”