Governor Dayton will soon be signing a new bill that includes new protections for homeowners facing foreclosures. This new law is known as the Homeowners Bill of Rights.
Some of the ways that it protects homeowners are as follows:
- Loan servicers are required to communicate all options to homeowners.
- Loan servicers are required to offer loan modifications to all eligible homeowners.
- “Dual tracking” is banned. Dual tracking is when servicers foreclose without a clear yes or no on loan modification.
- Servicers are required to assist homeowners in submitting documentation regarding the foreclosure process.
- Homeowners are allowed to take the servicer to court to stop a foreclosure if the servicer fails to comply with any aspect of the law.
This news exploded in the media and social media. Minnesota is set to become the first Midwestern state and the 12th state in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriage.
Yesterday, Minnesota Senate voted 37 to 30 in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. Earlier, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted 75 to 59 in favor for it. As a backdrop, in the prior election, Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Governor Dayton stated that he will sign the bill once it comes to his desk.
via Minnesota Senate joins House in approving same-sex marriage | MinnPost.
Minnesota Lawyer (subscription required) reports on the bill for public defenders’ funding. The background of the funding for public defenders is as follows.
In 2008, public defenders were funded through attorney’s registration fees. The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld this type of funding. Through this funding, the state Board of Public Defense was able to generate around $1.9 million annually. This request was reapproved in 2011.
However, in December, the state Board of Public Defense withdrew its request to earmark funding from the attorney registration fee. This decision came in December, when various committees and group sections of the Minnesota State Board Association removed its support for the petition.
On Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, the state Senate passed a judiciary funding bill that increases funding for public defenders. The bill provides $5 million for increased employee salary and benefits for public defenders. The bill also provides $5.6 million for new public defenders positions that will reduce caseloads. The Senate bill was passed by 47-18 votes.
The Senate Judiciary Finance Division Chairman Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) stated that the bill helps alleviate a public defender system that is “overworked, overburdened, [and] has some of the biggest caseloads in the country.”
via Minnesota Senate passes increased funding for public defenders | Minnesota Lawyer.
Minnesota Lawyer (Dec. 24, 2012, subscription required) has an interested article regarding Minn. Stat. 256B.0659 (2011). In 2011, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill stating that non relative personal care attendants were to receive a pay rate of 80% of the non relative pay. In other words, relative personal care attendants would receive a 30% pay cut. In Healthstar v. Home Health, Inc. v. Jesson, the Court of Appeals reversed the Ramsey District Court decision. The court struck down the statute.
The court held that the statute did not meet the prong of showing that the bill was not manifestly arbitrary of fanciful, but that it must be genuine and substantial. The court stated that the commissioner’s argument was “based on an assumption that relative PCAs will continue to provide care even if affected by a pay cut.”
The court further stated that “the rationale for the distinction advanced by respondent is based purely on assumptions rather than facts, including the apparently unchallenged assumption that a moral obligation to provide care for a relative necessarily equates to a moral obligation to personally provide such care at a lower rate of pay than a nonrelative PCA would receive for the same work.”
The Court of Appeals also held that the statute did not meet the prong that the classification must be genuine or relevant to the purpose of the law. The court stated that the commissioner did not show any facts in support of its assumption.
I came across this very interesting piece of news. Mississippi and Texas proposed and called for bills to make it illegal to enforce any of the new federal gun control measures.
Mississippi Governor Bryant called for a bill that would make it illegal for state and local enforcement to enforce any executive order from the President. Similarly, in Texas, State Representative Toth introduced the “Firearms Protection Act.” The bill would make “any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries” and “anyone trying to enforce a federal gun ban could face felony charges under the proposal.”
The question is, of course, how would a federal statute or executive decision interact with the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The second amendment provides,
A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
The Supreme Court’s most indicative decisions call for an interesting debate. The Supreme Court has ruled that the government can enforce several restrictions on the right to bear arms. Presser v. Illinois, 116 US 252 (1886) (upholding the state’s or Congress’s regulation of militias); Miller v. Texas, 135 US 535 (1894) (upholding the state’s ability to press criminal charges for owning an unlicensed gun); Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 US 275 (1897) (upholding state’s regulation of concealed weapons); and United States v. Miller, 307 US 174 (1939) (upholding the National Firearms Act which banned the interstate transportation of unregistered Title II weapons).
This, however, does not mean that we would know to what extent a regulation would be constitutional.
via State Lawmakers Say No to President Obamas Gun Control Proposal – ABC News.
A state judge on Friday struck down Gov. Scott Walkers anti-union Budget Repair Bill, finding it unconstitutionally created separate classes of state workers, who are treated differently and unequally. In a 27-page ruling, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan B. Colas found that 2011 Wisconsin Acts 10 and 32 “single out and encumber the rights of those employees who choose union membership and representation solely because of that association and therefore infringe upon the rights of free speech and association guaranteed by both the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions.”
Walkers Act 10 set off statewide protests and recall elections, and then nationwide copycat legislation. The bill stripped public workers unions of the power to negotiate anything but salary, and made it harder for them to retain certification – except for state patrol troopers and state patrol inspectors, who tend to vote Republican.
You can read the opinion here: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/09/17/WiscAct10Ruling.pdf
via Courthouse News Service.
Minnesota prosecutors have new authority to arm themselves on duty. Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday signed a bill allowing county attorneys and assistant county attorneys to carry firearms on duty as long as they have a valid permit. County attorneys can impose restrictions in their respective offices.
The new law takes effect Tuesday.
via New law lets prosecutors carry guns | Minnesota Public Radio News.
Federal Distrct Court Judge Conley struck down parts of the anti-union bill supported by Wisconsin Governor Walker. The provisions that were struck were (1) requiring the re-certification of unions by a majority annually, and (2) making the payment of union dues voluntary.
The case is Wisconsin Education Ass’n Council, et. al, v. Scott Walker, et. al., 11-cv-428. Plaintiffs (the Unions) challenged the anti-union bill (known as “Act 10”) on two grounds: Equal Protection and First Amendment. You may read the opinion here.
Via Federal judge strikes down part of Wisconsin union law – Yahoo! News.