Maine league successful with expedited foreclosure bill

June 26, 2015

WESTBROOK, Maine (6/26/15)--The Maine Legislature overwhelmingly overturned Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill sponsored by the Maine Credit Union League that will expedite the foreclosure process in the state.

The Legislature initially approved the bill unanimously. Then, after LePage vetoed the bill--likely for political reasons due to the bill sponsor’s party affiliation and unrelated to credit unions or the league--the House voted 140-4 and the Senate voted 34-0 to override it.

“This is a result of the communication and legwork that took place throughout the process,” John Murphy, Maine league president/CEO, told News Now. “Coming out of the gate, many would view this kind of legislation as dead on arrival, attempting to change the foreclosure process in a state that’s got pretty strict foreclosure laws.”

Murphy said the league committed significant resources over the past six months to help guide the proposed amendment to Maine’s foreclosure law through the legislative process, including working with legislators, the Judiciary Committee and other stakeholders to properly craft legislation that would create relief for Maine’s credit unions.

“When you introduce legislation, you have to realize you have your view on things, and then there’s a segment of the population that views thing differently,” Murphy told News Now. “Ultimately it takes compromise to develop a bill that will work all around.”

“It isn’t as simple as writing the language and introducing it,” Murphy added. “It’s understanding that every piece of legislation introduced is not a slam dunk. Like any legislation, it requires compromise” without conceding the true purpose of the bill.

The bill provides both credit unions and consumers relief, as shortening the foreclosure process allows all parties to move forward in a timely manner.

Murphy also said that the process of promoting the amendment served as a litmus test for the league’s overall legislative advocacy efforts.

“This exercise allowed us to assess our level of legislative support, and to also assess the process we use to introduce bills,” Murphy said. “It allowed us to look at how our grassroots efforts are working, how our relationships are in the Legislature, where they may be strong and where they could be strengthened.”

The proposed amendment becomes law 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.