Posts Tagged ‘Senator Lee Beyer’
Bill increases access for struggling homeowners by closing loophole
SALEM – A Senate Committee today held a public hearing on a bill that would expand Oregon’s foreclosure mediation program. Senate Bill 558 will give homeowners at risk of foreclosure the ability to request mediation with their lender regardless of the procedure that may follow.
“There are many Oregonians still struggling to stay in their homes because of the foreclosure crisis,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland). “The benefits of mediation should be extended to all homeowners at risk of foreclosure, and we must act now to give middle class families the opportunity to keep a roof over their heads.”
Senator Rosenbaum and Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield), two chief sponsors of SB 558, testified at the bill’s first public hearing this afternoon.
SB 558 would expand the Foreclosure Avoidance Mediation Program (FAMP), which requires lenders to meet with homeowners in the presence of a neutral third party before a lender can proceed with a foreclosure sale. The program started operating for out-of-court foreclosures last summer, but soon after, the Oregon Court of Appeals invalidated record keeping practices used by many large lenders, which forced these banks to seek foreclosures through the courts.
“Extending the mediation program to include judicial foreclosures is just common sense,” said Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield). “This is a key step to ensuring that we can make a difference for Oregonians who are eager to work with their lenders and find a way to keep their home.”
While Oregon has made inroads into providing struggling homeowners with alternative options to foreclosures, the court decision has led most banks to conduct only judicial foreclosures. After the implementation of FAMP in July 2012 the overall foreclosure rate started to drop, and the amount of judicial foreclosures started to rise. According to a report from a Eugene company, lenders reported filing 681 judicial foreclosures in December 2012, up from 446 in November 2012.
“Passing SB 558 will strengthen the foreclosure avoidance program,” said Rosenbaum. “Let’s make sure that homeowners and lenders always have options to mutually resolve, and hopefully avoid, foreclosure.”
In the 2011 and 2012 Legislative Sessions, Senate Democrats took the lead on foreclosure issues, passing legislation that created the foreclosure avoidance program and prohibiting “dual-track” foreclosure sales when the homeowner is actively engaged in mutual negotiations or in compliance with a modification agreement.
Senate Bill 558 awaits further action in the Senate Committee on General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection.
Small business owners, state leaders testify on legislation from recent session
SALEM – Two Senate Interim Committees have small business support and job growth on the agenda for the first of three September Legislative days being held in Salem today. The committees will hear from experts on how to grow Oregon jobs and help small businesses prosper.
“Job creation and business growth continue to be the top priority for Senate Democrats and for Oregon families,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland). “We are focused this interim on proposals to help Oregon’s struggling families and small business owners. When we convene in February 2012, job creation will continue to be at the top of our agenda.”
This morning, the Senate Interim Committee on General Government, Small Business, and Consumer Protection heard from business owners located in Northeast Portland and McMinnville. They spoke of how small business loans and assistance through the state can continue to help home grown businesses prosper and create jobs.
“These business owners have a firsthand perspective that is crucial to our conversations about how to revitalize our economy,” said Senator Chip Shields (D-Portland), chair of the General Government, Small Business, and Consumer Protection Committee. “We’ll be hearing from local businesses over the months leading up to the 2012 session to better understand how we can work in partnership to make it easier for them to create jobs.”
Following this morning’s testimony, the Senate Interim Committee on Business, Transportation and Economic Development will meet at 2:00 this afternoon to take testimony on several key pieces of the Senate Democrats’ successful 2011 agenda. Items included in that discussion include:
- “One stop shop” for Oregon business registry (HB 3247) – Directs the Secretary of State to create and maintain a “One Stop Shop for Oregon Business” web portal to help businesses start, expand, relocate, or operate in Oregon. Business owners will be able to update, maintain, and track progress on their registration information online through this portal.
- Streamlining industrial lands permitting to accelerate growth and create jobs (SB 766) – Establishes an expedited process for approving significant industrial development projects throughout the state. Senate Bill 766 assures that proposed industrial projects with the greatest jobs potential are able to get fast and definitive approvals for required state and local land use approvals.
- Removing barriers for Oregon’s small businesses, creating jobs (SB 494) — Removes barriers to loans and capital for Oregon’s small businesses by removing the sunset and making permanent the changes in the Access to Business Capital Act, passed by the Legislature in February 2010. This bill frees up hard-to-come-by business capital and has already helped create hundreds of jobs across Oregon.
The Committee will hear from statewide elected officials, including Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. Brown will be on hand to discuss the the implementation of the “One Stop Shop” legislation and Wheeler will testify on the state’s work to expand access to capital for Oregon businesses.
“We passed significant legislation in the recent session that will help make it easier to do business in Oregon,” said Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield), chair of the Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee. “Legislative oversight is key to making sure that our intentions are followed and that legislation is being implemented effectively and efficiently. This hearing gives us the first such opportunity to see what kind of progress we’re making.”
The Business, Transportation and Economic Development committee will meet at 2:00 PM this afternoon in Hearing Room B. The meeting can be streamed live here.
Legislative days are being held three times prior to the start of the 2012 short session. The consolidation of interim work over designated three day periods was implemented in 2009 to save taxpayer dollars and improve government efficiency while the Legislature is not in session.
(SALEM) – The leaders of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees announced today that have reached an agreement on a Congressional redistricting map. If passed by both chambers and signed by the Governor, this would be the first Congressional redistricting map drawn by the Legislature and adopted into law since 1981.
Senate Bill 766 passes off Senate floor this afternoon
A major piece of jobs legislation that will expedite the development of industrial projects of state significance was voted on in the Senate this afternoon. Senate Bill 766 sets an expedited standard for projects of state significance and outlines a process for establishing regionally-significant industrial areas.
SB 863 will raise funds to help struggling families pay power bills
SALEM – Legislation that increases resources available to help struggling families with their electricity bill passed in the Oregon Senate this morning. Senate Bill 863 has the support of ratepayer watchdogs, advocates for low-income Oregonians, and Oregon’s major power providers. By raising an extra $5 million for the Oregon Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) over the next two years, Senate Bill 863 will help thousands of Oregon families keep the lights on and stay in their homes.