Our Oregon is reporting the following news:
Taming Abusive Debt Collectors
The House of Representatives helped to protect consumers from abusive, illegal debt collection practices by passing SB 328. The bill finally closes a decades-old loophole that gave the debt collection industry a special exemption from enforcement.
SB 328 will give the Oregon Department of Justice the authority to protect consumers by enforcing the laws we already have. This means putting a stop to the worst abuses and creating a strong deterrent against breaking the law.
The Senate passed SB 328 in February, and the bill now goes to the Governor's desk.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate passed SB 386, introduced by Senator Bonamici and co-sponsored by Senator Monnes-Anderson and Representative Holvey. As Senator Bonamici explained, SB 386 will stop the "sue first, ask questions later" tactics of aggressive bill collectors.
SB 386 makes it illegal for a debt collector to attempt to collect a debt that they know, or have good reason to know, does not exist, and removes obstacles facing consumers who deserve to have their day in court.
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
Preventing the Next Mortgage Meltdown
On Wednesday, the Oregon House passed House Bill 2188, which will take solid steps towards preventing the next mortgage meltdown.
HB 2188 will help prevent the same type of risky lending that got us into the current foreclosure crisis, by tightening lending rules around "negative amortization" loans. These loans have been especially risky contributors to the mortgage meltdown and the resulting financial crisis.
HB 2188 also provides homeowners equal access to justice when violations occur, ensuring that all consumers have the ability to protect themselves if they are victimized by unlawful lending practices.
Further, the bill requires that when a lender purposefully solicits business from people who speak a language other than English, the disclosures be translated to the language in which the sales pitch was made.
HB 2188 now moves on to the State Senate.
While the struggling economy continues to pose serious threats to the vast majority of Oregonians, it's encouraging to see that there are so many leaders in this state who are willing to stand up for policies that will level the playing field for average consumers.