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Special interests scuttle Kamala Harris’ consumer protection bills

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

imageIt was supposed to be a slam dunk, or so state Attorney General Kamala Harris thought when she showed up to testify before an Assembly committee yesterday on behalf of two bills to give home mortgage borrowers more protection. Turns out the banking and mortgage industries, along with the California Chamber of Commerce, had other ideas. Her “Homeowner Bill of Rights” got torpedoed at the last minute.

Add: It happened abruptly, with Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), chairman of the Democratic-controlled Banking and Finance Committee pulling the bills “amid boos and hisses” from a group that packed the hearing room gallery, says the Sacramento Bee’s Jon Ortiz. An excerpt:

Many members of the group had come from the Bay Area to speak at the hearing, and booed and shouted at Eng for closing testimony, then wildly applauded when Harris began to speak.

"Excuse me, we don't allow applause here," Eng said.

Harris spoke for about four minutes, then retreated into a meeting and wasn't available for questions. That fell to spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill.

Why did the bills get pulled? Weren't there enough votes? What about two pieces of mirroring legislation in the Senate due for a hearing on Wednesday?

"Right now we're working with the (Assembly) speaker's office and the (Senate president) pro tem's office," Gledhill said, "to determine our next step.

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