HB 1249 was killed today in the House Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development Committee. Twenty-nine individuals from all across the state came out to tell the stories of predatory lending, banking abuses, fraudulent foreclosures, and an economy that has lost $1.9 trillion in equity because big banks gambled with our investments and put every homeowner at risk with their shady practices.
Even though the Colorado Progressive Coalition, the Campaign to End Unjust Foreclosure, and the bill sponsor, Representative McCann, worked tirelessly with the members of the committee and the banking industry to amend the bill – we still found no protection from our legislators against fraud on this day. The bill, as amended, would simply have provided the homeowners with a degree of due process that does not currently exist. The current foreclosure hearing gives homeowners absolutely no voice against the banking industry when they violate state or federal laws.
The people of Colorado asked the state legislature to follow their oath to protect the people of Colorado under the US Constitution which requires due process prior to one being deprived of life, liberty, and property. In every other instance I can think of, the litigant bringing the claim bears the burden of proving it has standing and is the real party in interest to invoke the court’s subject matter jurisdiction- not so in Rule 120 foreclosures.
Today, our legislators ignored this simple for the state of Colorado to protect our due process and property rights. What’s more unsettling was the blatant disregard for the democratic process that we witnessed today. The committee chair limited the testimony to one hour for both the opponents and the proponents – regardless of the number of individuals who had signed up to be heard. This meant that because so many individuals had signed up to support – they were given just two minutes to attempt to tell their story. Not one person who came to testify in support of this bill had either a special interest or a monetary incentive to do so, in contrast the proponents, who produced not one witness who was not connected to the financial industry, were given 5 minutes each to make their statements. The committee members asked virtually no substantive questions of those who support the bill – even those who were intimately involved with the drafting of the legislation. In contrast, they took a significant amount of time dialoguing with the opposing witnesses and many times allowed for long discussions that had absolutely nothing to do with the bill.
I cannot tell how shocked and disappointed I am tonight as I send this message to all of you who have supported these efforts. I do this work because I believe fighting for a better Colorado and ultimately a better America. Our people have had to come together to fight for justice throughout our history – and each and every time we put on our gloves – we take the punches and we keep coming back until we win. Let’s keep our gloves on and keep fighting alongside each other. We will not be stopped and will never lie down – and we will not forget what happened today!