Washington Legislative Week in Review

The 2012 legislative session in the Washington State Legislature is now half over, and both the House and Senate will spend most of this week bringing bills to the floor for a vote. The deadline for bills to pass out of their house of origin is Feb. 14.The budget now becomes the highest priority of the session, and indications from Olympia are that budget writers are on track for getting their work done on time. As is the norm, the budget will be released shortly after the upcoming state revenue forecast on Feb. 16. That forecast will give the most up-to-date numbers legislators need to accurately balance the budget.

Public Funds

House Bill 1327 passed the House on Monday, Jan. 30, by a vote of 86-10 with two excused. The bill was then referred to the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee. House Bill 1327 does not include some technical correction language added by the Treasurer’s Office and currently in Senate Bill 5913, which the committee recently passed.

Senate Bill 5913 is in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting a pull to the floor for a full vote of the Senate. If all goes as planned, we expect floor action this week.

Both bills will allow federal credit unions to become public depositaries and raise the amount that public units could deposit at a credit union to the maximum level of federal insurance. Current law allows only state chartered credit unions to be depositaries for up to $100,000.


Garnishment

House Bill 1552 received a do-pass recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, Jan. 30 and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would increase garnishment exemption levels.


Foreclosures

House Bill 2421 received a do-pass recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, Jan. 30, and referred to the House General Government Appropriations & Oversight Committee. The House General Government Appropriations & Oversight Committee then gave the bill a do-pass recommendation on Thursday, Feb. 2, and referred the bill to the House Rules Committee. The bill modifies various provisions relating to Washington’s meet, confer and mediation requirements, with most amendments creating greater clarity during the process.

Its companion measure, Senate Bill 6364, received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 1, and was sent to the Senate Rules Committee.


Drivers’ Licenses

House Bill 2433 is scheduled for executive session before the House Transportation Committee on Monday, Feb. 6. The bill would make facial recognition mandatory on all drivers’ licenses and “identicards.” The Association supports the legislation because it will increase the reliability of state-issued identification cards, which are relied upon for their accuracy by financial institutions.
Its companion measure, Senate Bill 6150 is scheduled for executive session before the Senate Transportation Committee on Monday, Feb. 6.


Short Sales

Substitute Senate Bill 6337 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions, Insurance & Housing Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The original bill provided that if a lender accepts a short sale price that is less than what is owed on the property and files a 1099-C, IRS forgiveness of debt form the lender cannot collect on a deficiency balance. The substitute version narrowed the scope of the bill to only owner-occupied residential real property.

Substitute House Bill 2614 received a do-pass recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, Jan. 30 and was referred to the House Rules Committee. The original bill prohibited the beneficiary on a deed of trust from obtaining a judgment on a deficiency balance in conjunction with a short sale of owner-occupied residential real property if the beneficiary had filed an IRS forgiveness of debt (1099-C) OR the beneficiary consented to the sale of the property in writing. The substitute bill: (1) removes the provision prohibiting a beneficiary from obtaining a deficiency judgment when the beneficiary consented to the short sale; and (2) specifies that the bill only applies when the property was occupied by the borrower as the borrower’s principal residence at the time of the sale.


Deed of Trust Recording

Substitute Senate Bill 6070 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The original bill required every assignment or transfer of a deed of trust to be recorded in every county in which all or part of the land is situated. The substitute bill strikes that language and establishes a stakeholder group made up of homeowner advocates, lenders and their servicers, representatives of county governments, and representatives of electronic registry systems to convene and discuss the issue of recording deeds of trust of residential property, including assignments and transfers, among other issues. The stakeholder group is to provide at least one specific legislative proposal to the legislature by December 1, 2012.


Legislative Rules

Senate Bill 6464 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee on Thursday, Feb. 2, and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill requires that significant legislative rules of an agency under the authority of the Governor be signed before they are adopted. There is no definition of “significant legislative rules” included in the bill.


Raffles

Senate Bill 6465 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill authorizes bona fide charitable or nonprofit organizations (including credit unions) to conduct raffles that exceed five thousand dollars if the organization obtains a license from the gambling commission.


Penalty for False Swearing

Substitute Senate Bill 6199 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. Under current law, the transfer of a deed of trust requires the beneficiary (lender) to certify under penalty of perjury that it is the actual holder of the promissory note or other obligation secured by the deed of trust. Senate Bill 6199 makes a false certification a Class C felony. False swearing is generally a misdemeanor.

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Advocacy team:
Mark Minickiello, Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in Advocacy News.