Maria Hinojosa, NPR

I’m Maria Hinojosa and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the state of Texas is trying to get its voter I.D. law back in place just in time for the fall elections. The Justice Department blocked the law in court earlier this year, but the fight isn’t over.

But, first, California lawmakers have just approved a so-called Homeowner Bill of Rights. The law, signed just yesterday by Governor Jerry Brown, is supposed to stop what the governor calls abusive home lending tactics. It also makes it harder for lenders to seize a home and lets homeowners sue to stop the foreclosure process.

One of the top supporters of the reforms is California Attorney General Kamala Harris. She says more than 500,000 homes in California are in the foreclosure pipeline and she joins us now on the line from San Francisco.


KAMALA HARRIS: Thank you, Maria. It’s great to talk with you.

HINOJOSA: So the California – the state of California is the first one to enact protections like these at the state level. Why did you and California lawmakers fight so hard for these bills? Why are you convinced that they will make a real difference?

HARRIS: Well, it comes on the heels of the National Mortgage Settlement that, you know, was negotiated by eventually about 49 of the attorneys general in the country around the robo-signing practices with the big five banks. And, through that process and the investigations that I’ve independently conducted in California on the foreclosure crisis, it became very clear that there are flaws in the system and they need to be fixed.

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