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A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

November 17, 2008
A moratorium mystery beneath the Capitol dome
 It's never easy to know what's really going on beneath our lovely Capitol dome.

I went there this morning expecting a hearing and vote on a bill by Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, for a 120-day foreclosure moratorium. Lieu had a news conference last week saying he expected the idea -coauthored by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles - would get a vote and be on the Assembly floor this week. The idea is to make those lenders with poor track records for loan workouts endure 120-day foreclosure moratoriums. Lenders that are modifying loans would be exempt.

It's not a lot different than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal. But his is 90 days. The  Administration says when you start getting over 100 days it starts to look like giving an excuse for people not to pay their mortgages.

So the first thing that happened was the hearing before the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee turned into an informational hearing.
 So right off, you have to think that something changed. The three-hour hearing then revealed all the fault lines that have made this foreclosure issue so hard to deal with politically for nearly two years. Democrats, Republicans, bankers, regulators and consumer groups all have ideas that effortlessly checkmate one another.

 I asked around afterward to see what's going on. I mean, there's only two weeks of this special session to pass something before they swear in a new Legislature on Dec. 1.

Lieu's office said only that its bill, ABX4 4, is still in negotiations and hopes are for quick resolution. The Banking and Finance Committee Chair, Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, said the debate Monday over the bill had flushed out issues that would be helpful when the new Legislature returns in January. The governor's office said it is still hoping for some kind of movement on the issue in the next two weeks, preferably on its version. And by most accounts, the Senate has no bill in the works.

Then again, two weeks is forever in legislative work where the real deals often come in the final hours of the final day.

And the beat goes on...

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