New CA laws crack down on mortgage lenders, trans fats; honor slain gay rights activist

by Samantha Young
Washington Examiner

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Hammered by a housing downturn that contributed to the state’s budget crisis, California is boosting protections for home buyers and punishing brokers who mislead borrowers and steer them into costly loans.

Statutes requiring individual loan officers to register with the state, making it a crime to give inaccurate information during the mortgage-application process and ensuring that banks inform potential borrowers of all their loan products are among hundreds of California laws that take effect Friday.

Other new laws will ban restaurants from cooking with trans fats, honor gay rights activist Harvey Milk with a day of recognition, make it easier for celebrities to sue the media for invasion of privacy, ban the practice of cutting cow tails and establish a commission to promote blueberries.

The most high-profile legislation in a year dominated by budget cuts was a package of bills that seeks to change how the state uses water and manages the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the estuary that funnels fresh water from north to south.

Part of that package is an $11.1 billion water bond that will appear on the November ballot. Lawmakers filled the bond with special-interest earmarks to win passage, a potential weak point as they try to persuade voters to pass it.

The mortgage bills crack down on what critics say was irresponsible subprime lending that left California among the states hardest hit by the meltdown in the housing market. That has led to higher unemployment and lower tax revenue, adding to budget crises for local and state governments.

The complete article, with list of new laws, is at the Examiner.

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