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Tong, Leone Host Legislation Public Forum in Stamford

The pair, co-chairs of the state Banks Committee, opened up the mics for public input on a number of proposed bills.

State Representative William Tong and state Senator Carlo Leone hosted a public hearing at the University of Connecticut-Stamford campus Tuesday evening to receive feedback on a number of proposed bills.

Tong and Leone, co-chairs of the Banks Committee, sought comment from the public on five different bills focused on financial issues, home ownership and banking. 

"We're trying to hold these public hearings in all the counties around the state," Leone said. "Stamford is the financial center of the state of Connecticut, We thought it was appropriate to hold at least one of our meetings in this area."

One of the hottest topics was bill 971, which proposes changes for the handling of foreclosures and short sales. The statement of purpose reads that the bill is an attempt to provide a faster mechanism of short sales and discourage "double-tracking" of short sales and foreclosures by lenders. Double-tracking is, while a homeowner attempts to modify a loan structure with a lender, that lender also continues to pursue foreclosure.

Many offered support for the issue. Residents taking to a microphone often said modifications to the process appeared to offer an advantageous solution to all involved, including litigators, homeowners and lenders alike. Many said a streamlined, formalized process could benefit the speed at which cases can be resolved.

Robert McCarthy, a self-described small builder, called the current process "arduous."

"[The changes] would take a lot of pressure off the people involved," he said.

Other bills open for discussion were:

  • No. 912, regarding prepaid gift cards
  • No. 6436, regarding attorney fees for traveling to real estate closings
  • No. 6496, regarding the establishment of a public infrastructure bank
  • No. 6355, regarding homeowner protection rights

Tong said events like Tuesday's provide valuable insight to legislatures looking to form laws that are most generally satisfying.

"We have a joke in Hartford that no one seems to care what's going on under the golden dome," Tong said. "This a way we change that. We need the people of Connecticut to see our efforts to be open, more transparent and come and take part in opportunities like these."

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