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Capital Thinking: General Legislative

The Senate will convene today, Monday, January 27, at 2:00 pm. After any leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 1926, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. At...more

Senate Confirms FHA Commissioner And Other Key Agency Nominees

On December 30, the Senate confirmed Carol Galante as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration Commissioner. Ms. Galante, who was nominated for the position in October 2011, has...more

A Christmas Wish: Fix Dodd-Frank (Just a Little)

The election’s over and elections matter we’re told, albeit most of the denizens of Washington seem to have remained in their seats. The fiscal cliff awaits. We wait, with various levels of trepidation, for a workable...more

House Members Release Data Brokers’ Responses to Congressional Inquiry

On November 8, a bipartisan group of lawmakers released the responses of nine firms the lawmakers targeted in July 2012 as “major data brokerage companies” and from which the members sought information about how each firm...more

Florida Attorney General Announces Plan to Distribute $300,000,000 in Foreclosure Settlement Proceeds: News Release of the Week

A few weeks ago, we discussed the fight between Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Legislature over $334,000,000 that came to Florida as part of its settlement deal with the five Big Banks in the national...more

Local Government Economic Development Property Tax Exemptions

Over the last several years, county and city governments have looked anew at a more than 30-year-old provision in the Florida Constitution that permits using property tax exemptions as economic development tools. The Florida...more

Property Taxes Impacting Ballot Access and FOIA Requests

Issues related to property taxes extend beyond levies, collections, assessment appeals and refunds. Two recent decisions, one from the Illinois Supreme Court and the other from the Illinois Appellate Court, examine the...more

Proposition 218’s Ban On Tax Increases Without Voter Approval Does Not Apply To Annexations

In Citizens Association of Sunset Beach v. Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (--- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, Cal.App. 4 Dist., October 5, 2012), a California Court of Appeal considered whether Proposition 218’s ban on...more

Legislators Accuse Assistant AG of Inappropriate Interference in Disparate Impact Case

On September 24, Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), and Darrell Issa (R-CA), along with Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder alleging that Assistant...more

House Member Introduces Eminent Domain Bill

Recently, Representative John Campbell (R-CA) introduced a bill, H.R. 6397, that would prohibit Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from buying mortgages originated in localities that employ eminent domain to rescue borrowers from...more

Are Courts Actively Limiting CEQA’s Scope In The Absence of Meaningful Legislative Reform?

Governor Jerry Brown was recently quoted in a Capitol Alert piece as calling legislative reform of CEQA “the Lord’s work” – hopefully he didn’t mean the quest for the Holy Grail – although he admitted in the same article he...more

Could the CFPB’s first filed enforcement action result in a challenge to Director Cordray’s appointment?

The CFPB has filed its first enforcement action. It did so in a sealed complaint filed on July 18 in federal court in California against a law firm that offered mortgage assistance relief services to consumers. The complaint...more

House Members Urge CFPB To Adopt QM Rule With Safe Harbor

This week, 90 members of the House of Representatives reportedly sent a letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray urging the CFPB to include a clear and strong safe harbor in its final “ability to repay” or “qualified mortgage”...more

Massachusetts State Senate Advances Foreclosure Legislation

The Massachusetts Senate last week passed Senate Bill 2298, “An Act to Prevent Unlawful and Unnecessary Foreclosures.” The Senate vote came just weeks after the House of Representatives passed similar legislation, (see MLS...more

DOJ’s Response to Grassley Gives Details, but Not the Right Details

The Justice Department showed off some fancy dance moves in a recent sidestep it used to respond to an inquiry from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Grassley wanted detail from Justice to support its claims that it has...more

CFPB Seeks More Input on Ability-To-Repay Rule

Consistent with recent rumors that adoption of a final ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule would be delayed until after the November election, the CFPB has reopened the comment period on the proposed rule. (The original...more

Congressional draft letter favors QM “safe harbor”

U.S. Representatives Capito (R, WV) and Sherman (D, CA) are circulating a draft of a letter on the Hill which urges the CFPB to “craft a safe harbor [in the Ability to Repay/QM rule] that strikes the right balance between...more

Massachusetts House of Representatives Advances Foreclosure Legislation

The Massachusetts House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed House Bill 4087, “An Act to Prevent Unlawful and Unnecessary Foreclosures.” The bill is designed to get “borrowers and lenders to the table,” according...more

Future With Fannie and Freddie Lesser Evil Than With Wall Street?

Margaret Chadbourn of Reuters recently reported {April 23} that both Republicans and Democrats have “found a rare point of agreement.” They want to phase out or at least substantially reduce the role of the Federal National...more

Bipartisan "Consumer Mortgage Choice Act" Introduced in U.S. House to Expand Dodd-Frank's Exemption for "Qualified Residential...

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both parties filed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 the "Consumer Mortgage Choice Act" ("CMCA"). If enacted, CMCA would amend Dodd-Frank Act's calculation for determining if a...more

Grassley’s Case Against DOJ Stance on Financial Fraud Is Vastly Overstated

In recent weeks, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has criticized the Department of Justice’s handling of executives that some argue are responsible for the financial crisis. Sen. Grassley, the ranking minority member of...more

HAMP Program Expansion

On January 27, Treasury and the Obama Administration announced updates to the HAMP program which will aim to extend the reach of HAMP to a broader pool of homeowners. The updates to the program include: (i) extending the...more

Florida AG Pam Bondi Vindicated - Report Finds No Wrongdoing in Firing of Foreclosure Fraud Attorneys Clarkson and Edwards

Back in August 2011, we began following the official request by two Florida Legislators, Representative Darren Soto and State Senator Eleanor Sobel, to have the termination of two assistant attorneys general, June Clarkson...more

Court-Appointed administrators of Condo Corporations (Part One)

The Condominium Act provides that the affairs of the condominium corporation are to be managed by a board of directors elected by the owners. Should the owners become dissatisfied with board members or the way they manage the...more

Thoughtful Refinancing or Lipstick on a Pig?

A few weeks ago the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a white paper entitled “An Evaluation of Large-Scale Mortgage Refinancing Programs,” analyzing the potential impact of a so-called stylized refinancing program...more

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