2012 Legislative Session: The good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly

March 7th, 2012 by dlombardi

The Good –

Foreclosure Reform: Oregon homeowners facing foreclosure can breath a sigh of relief as new protections that will require lenders to meet face to face with borrowers before initiating foreclosure were passed during the legislature’s final hours.  While this legislation won’t end foreclosures for some, it will allow them to sit down and speak with their lender in a mediated session at the borrowers request – bringing a sense of humanity to a process that has impacted so many hard working Oregonians.  The bill will also end the “dual track” foreclosures while negotiating a loan modification, a practice blindsided by a foreclosure notice while they thought they were nearing an agreement with their bank.

This is a victory for Oregon’s working families against the Wall Street giants that caused this economic mess, but it doesn’t mean we can let them off the hook.

The (not so) Bad –

– Oregon Investment Act: While we didn’t introduce a state bank bill this session, we tracked legislation that took some steps towards helping get loans to Oregon small businesses – a key piece of our state bank legislation in 2011.  The bill wasn’t all good, for example, we feel it overly focused on attracting “venture capital” to the state.  However, we were able to make some amendments to the bill that shifted focus back to bread and butter lending that would benefit main street businesses.

That said, we applaud the legislature’s efforts to focus the State’s investment practices towards helping small businesses, and will continue to track this issue at it moves forward.

The Ugly –

Paper Mill Closures: Behind closed doors, away from the hearing rooms, a good jobs bill was scuttled without a public vote.  HB4142, a bill that would have helped protect Oregon paper mill jobs was killed by deep pocketed lobbyists who didn’t speak one word at a hearing.  This back room dealing had the power to overshadow historic support from Oregon’s environmental community and pulp and paper workers after decades of tension.  It’s truly a shame when you do everything right to get a bill passed, to see it killed by powerful out-of-state forces thinking only of their bottom line.

We deserve better from our government and that’s why the Oregon WFP is fighting to hold candidates and elected officials accountable.

Help us accomplish this in 2012 by donating today.

2012 is going to be a big year for the Oregon WFP and your help will go a long way to make it even bigger.

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