Fighting Foreclosures

June 30, 2004 The Governor expedited $148 million of Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002, to build affordable housing units throughout the state. As of December 21, 2008, $1.52 billion of Proposition 46 money had been awarded, creating or incentivizing more than 84,300 units of affordable housing.

November 7, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger championed Proposition 1C, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006, which authorized the state to sell $2.85 billion in bonds to fund new and existing housing and development programs. As of December 31, 2008, $1.8 billion of these funds had been awarded, resulting in more than 39,000 units of affordable housing.

Early 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger formed the Interdepartmental Task Force on Non-Traditional Mortgages, making California one of the first states in the nation to establish a task force focused on the non-traditional mortgage market.

October 5, 2007 The Governor signed three bills to expand affordable housing opportunities and increase protections for Californians who own or plan to purchase homes:

• SB 223 made it a crime for licensed appraisers to engage in any appraisal activity that is connected to the purchase, sale, transfer, financing, or development of property if their compensation is impacted by the final price generated by the appraisal.

• SB 385 permitted state agencies involved with residential mortgage lending and brokering to adopt emergency measures and new policies to ensure that all mortgage lenders and brokers are subject to federal guidelines on non-traditional mortgages.

• AB 929 increased the amount of affordable housing in California by raising the total debt that the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) can carry by $2 billion.

November 20, 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger worked with loan servicers Countrywide, GMAC, Litton, and HomEq to streamline “fast-track” procedures to help subprime borrowers who are living in their homes and making monthly payments stay in their homes. 

November 29, 2007 The Governor launched a $1.2 million public awareness campaign to educate homeowners about options that can help them avoid losing their homes to foreclosure.

February 5, 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger successfully lobbied the federal government to permanently raise federal home loan limits. Raising the federal home loan limits to $625,000 limited foreclosures and supported more home ownership.

June 30, 2008 The Governor signed AB 1252, which expedited $300 million in Proposition 1C funding for important transportation and housing projects across California. 

July 8, 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1137, which requires lenders to contact homeowners and explore restructuring options before initiating the foreclosure process.

September 25, 2008 The Governor signed legislation to protect homeowners and home buyers in California and establish a safe, more accountable lending environment, including:

• SB 1461, which required  real estate agents to disclose their license number on all first-point-of-
contact marketing materials and property purchases.

• SB 1737, which authorized the Department of Real Estate (DRE) to suspend or bar a person who has committed a violation of the Real Estate Law if the suspension or bar is in the best interest of the public.  

• AB 69, which mandated that all mortgage loan servicers report specific, detailed data to their licensing agency concerning loan modifications.

• AB 180, which provided a registration and bonding process for foreclosure consultants and prohibits a foreclosure consultant from entering into an agreement to assist an owner in arranging the release of surplus funds after the trustee’s sale is conducted.

• SB 870, which allowed the California Housing Finance Agency to more quickly establish a mortgage refinance program.

• SB 1065, which included the refinancing of home mortgages in the criteria for a city- or county-administered home financing program.

February 20, 2009 The Governor signed ABX2 7 and SBX2 7, which established The California Foreclosure Prevention Act. The Act modifies the foreclosure process to give borrowers more time to work out loan modifications, while providing an exemption for mortgage loan servicers who have implemented a comprehensive loan modification program. By the end of 2009, the State had approved comprehensive loan modification programs for 76 mortgage loan servicers, and 282,717 total loan modifications had been completed.

October 11, 2009 Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation to increase protections for consumers and provide more tools for law enforcement to crack down on deceitful mortgage practices. The bills included:

• SB 94, which banned loan-modification firms from demanding up-front fees.

• AB 260, which codified a fiduciary duty for mortgage brokers, authorized California’s mortgage regulators to apply specified federal mortgage lending laws and regulations to their licensees, and capped pre-payment penalties and yield spread premiums on higher-priced loans.

• SB 36, which established standardized licensing requirements for all individual loan originators who offer or negotiate residential mortgages.

• SB 239, which made it a felony to commit fraud in connection with a mortgage application.

• AB 329, which established the Reverse Mortgage Elder Protection Act of 2009 to provide senior homeowners with greater consumer protections to ensure that they are fully informed about the consequences of entering into a reverse-mortgage agreement.

• SB 237, which created a registration program for appraisal management companies and prohibits any person or entity from acting in the capacity of an appraisal management company without first obtaining a certificate for registration from the Office of Real Estate Appraisers.

• AB 957, which mandated that buyers of foreclosed homes have the choice of using a local escrow office to handle the transaction.

• AB 1160, which required that mortgage loan documents be translated into the language in which verbal negotiations were conducted. As a result, mortgage documents have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, and Vietnamese.

June 18, 2004 Governor Schwarzenegger requested and later received a federal declaration of major disaster in San Joaquin County, where thirty-six square miles of land remained under eight feet of water following a levee break.

June 24, 2005 To bring together state agency secretaries and Central Valley representatives to work to improve the economic well-being of the Valley and the quality of life of its residents, Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-5-05, creating the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley.

August 2, 2005 The Governor introduced new regulations to protect Californians who work outdoors from heat stress illnesses. The regulations required that employers and employees know how to recognize, prevent, and treat heat stress; required that access to a shaded area be available to any worker suffering from heat illness; and refocused attention on laws that make it mandatory to provide water to every outdoor worker at all times.

August 31, 2005 Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 118, making it easier for California wineries to ship to consumers in other states, and increasing small wineries’ ability to access new markets and move beyond traditional distribution channels.

August 10, 2006 After months of working to provide relief to salmon fishermen impacted by severe federal restrictions, Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts paid off when the federal government declared a commercial fishery failure along the West Coast. The announcement was an important step toward providing critical federal assistance to California’s salmon industry workers.

August 29, 2006 The Governor signed AB 450 to improve emergency planning and evacuation procedures for animals during disasters. The legislation requires the incorporation of the California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES) program into the standardized emergency management system. The CARES program, developed in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, ensures that California is prepared to respond effectively to the myriad animal-related issues and needs resulting from a disaster.

March 23, 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger secured federal funding for relief related to the 2006 heat wave and 2007 freeze. The funding included $95 million for California milk production losses due to the heat wave; $100 million to help small businesses and farmworkers recover from the freeze; and $40 million for farmers to rehabilitate or replace citrus trees that were damaged or died as a result of the freeze.

July 21, 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger worked with the California congressional delegation to secure additional funding in the 2007 Federal Farm Bill to support our state’s agriculture industry. He lobbied in Congress for proposals that would provide $1.5 billion to help the growers of fruits, nuts, and vegetables and $150 million to help areas like the San Joaquin Valley reduce the effects of air pollution on their communities.

February 18, 2008 Working to protect consumers from deliberate violations of food safety laws, Governor Schwarzenegger called for swift investigation and action following the February 17 recall of products from the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company and offered the full support of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

September 27, 2010 The Governor signed SB 1142, providing a funding alternative for the Williamson Act farmland-conservation program.

To learn more about Governor Schwarzenegger’s work to promote California’s vibrant agricultural industry, see “Promoting California Abroad.”