Sometimes the ayes don’t have it.
As the Senate Ways and Means Committee rushed to beat a deadline earlier this week for bills to advance, it quickly approved Senate Bill 6648, aimed at reducing foreclosures by requiring large banks to enter mediation with homeowners before foreclosing. At least that’s what it sounded like the committee did.
There were a few “ayes” and at least one “no,” and Chairwoman Margarita Prentice declared the bill passed, moving it on to the Rules Committee.
But it was the end of the line for the bill.
Just four senators signed the majority report, not enough to give it a majority of the committee’s support.
The bill’s cost concerned Sen. Debbie Regala, she told me, so she signed without recommendation. “We’re desperately trying to figure out how to balance our budget, so no matter how wonderful some new idea might be, this is not the time,” she said.
The bill would cost nearly $20 million over the next three years, according to projections. But the cost would be paid by fees on lenders and the borrowers who choose mediation, said Statewide Poverty Action Network director Beverly Spears, who pushed the bill.
The poverty network’s lobbyists left the meeting thinking they had scored a win, but soon learned their bill was dead without the signatures of Regala and Sens. Rodney Tom, Ed Murray and Steve Hobbs, Spears said.
“Once again, big banks win out over taxpayers and people in trouble,” she said.