A Georgia state representative wants to make it a little tougher for lenders to foreclose on homes.
Dar’shun Kendrick (D-94) will attempt to tackle the foreclosure problem with a proposed bill that would institute a judicial foreclosure process. The bill would require personal service for all foreclosure notices.
This bill, called the Homeowners Fairness Act, would also require financial institutions to prove to a judge what amount the homeowner owes “to make sure lenders are giving accurate amounts out,” Kendrick said.
A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Feb. 15 and a rally following the hearing is being planned.
This is just one of the many issues being addressed by DeKalb’s legislative delegation, which is meeting weekly during the General Assembly session.
Kendrick is also sponsoring a bill that would restrict employers from checking the credit histories of potential employees unless it is directly related to the role of the job.
“There’s no reason a veterinarian or a dog keeper…would need a credit check,” Kendrick said.
Because the legislature is Republican-led, Kendrick said, she does not expect her foreclosure and credit check bills to garner much support.
Rep. Stephanie Stucky Benfield (D-85) said she will be reintroducing her “farm to school” initiative, an effort to improve the quality of school lunches.
“That’s been a passion of mine since I have two children in public school,” Benfield said.
The bill would create Georgia Grown Week, “to encourage schools, during that week, to serve healthy nutritious local products in the schools,” Benfield said.
“Regardless of whether that bill passes, there’s a lot of energy around this issue,” Benfield said. “At the state Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture, there’s a lot of effort to improve access to local markets.”
Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-91) also has a bill that deals with home ownership. Mayo said his No. 1 priority is a bill that would “help prevent the free-fall on home assessment values.”
“The bill would change the law to require that tax assessors consider distressed sales when assessing values of homes but not require that they use the distressed prices as the predominant factor for home assessments,” Mayo said.
Mayo is also sponsoring a bill that would require hands-free cell phone technology for drivers.
Rep. Elena Parent (D-81) is working with Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-83) on a bill to “improve the General Assembly’s current procedures on incorporating a new city,” Parent said.
“Observing the discussion in my district with incorporating this new city of Brookhaven, while already representing Chamblee, Doraville and a very small part of Dunwoody, I see that the procedures are a little bit out of whack,” Parent said.
Currently, the procedures are “favoring the wishes of the new city and not really taking into account the residents who remain in the unincorporated area or the wishes of the existing municipalities,” Parent said.
“The proposed procedures would require the proponents of the new city to engage in a conversation with existing cities that are adjacent [and] lay out the financial ramifications of the incorporation of the new city on the county and on existing cities in the county,” Parent said.
“It would be a different way of moving a bill for a new city through the legislative process here at the General Assembly,” Parent said.
Rep. Howard Mosby (D-90) said the proponents and opponents of the proposed city are evenly split.
“The people aren’t saying they don’t want a city,” Mosby said. “They’re saying, ‘Let’s postpone [it] and let’s do a further study.’ The legislature may be willing to hear that argument.”
Mosby said state legislators “are tired of listening to DeKalb County fight its local issues out on the floor of the house.”
Sen. Steve Henson, the Democratic leader in the Senate, said he is sponsoring an ethics bill that would cap gifts to politicians at $100 and one that would require workers in the governor’s office and other executive offices to wait a year before working as a lobbyist.
“We’re trying to restore faith in government and improve ethics,” Henson said.