OLYMPIA — Families who have lost their homes due to an inability to pay their property taxes are being targeted by individuals who want to take the little money they have left after the foreclosure sale. Legislation proposed by the Attorney General’s Office aims to protect these families from scammers and help them keep as much of their money as possible.
PROTECTING FORECLOSURE VICTIMS FROM “SURPLUS FUNDS” SCAMS
House Bill 2428 will be heard by the Local Government and Housing Committee at 1:30 p.m. today, Jan. 25, in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room E.
The bill is prime-sponsored by Rep. Dean Takko, D-Longview. It addresses firms and individuals who contact owners of foreclosed properties offering to obtain the surplus money on their behalf – in return for a cut. The bill places a 5 percent cap on such finder’s fees, the same amount allowed for other kinds of unclaimed funds.
ENFORCING THE PUBLIC RECORDS ACT
Washington residents who are denied access to public records and public meetings currently have no choice other than to go to court. The attorney general and state auditor jointly propose legislation to amend the state Public Records Act to create an independent office to enforce the Public Records and Open Meetings acts.
House Bill 2736 will be heard by the Government and Tribal Affairs Committee at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room D. The bill is prime-sponsored by Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam.
Companion bill SB 6383 has also been introduced.
PROTECTING VICTIMS OF SERIAL DOMESTIC ABUSERS
Attorney General Rob McKenna has also asked for legislation to toughen Washington’s domestic violence laws. Senate Bill 5208, prime-sponsored by Sen. Dale Brandland, R-Bellingham in 2009, will be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, in the J.A. Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 4.
Companion bills SB 6203 and HB 2427 have also been introduced and referred to committees.
LEMON LAW FIX
The Attorney General’s Lemon Law program has proposed a bill that would require used car dealers to disclose whether a vehicle was ever bought back from a manufacturer under a Lemon Law program.
House Bill 2429 will be heard by the Commerce and Labor Committee at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room B. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Alex Wood, D-Spokane.
AGO 2010 Legislation
Kristin Alexander, AGO Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725