DLLR at Your Door - A Monthly Update from DLLR Secretary Thomas E. Perez

Legislation to protect homeowners

 Governor O'Malley and Secretary Perez Announce Initiative to Protect Homeownership
DLLR Secretary Perez applauded Governor Martin O'Malley's new legislation, emergency regulation and initiatives to help thousands of Maryland homeowners at risk of losing their homes. The goal is to prevent future generations of homeowners from losing their homes due to foreclosure as a result of the sub-prime mortgage crisis facing our entire nation today.

The Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Secretary Thomas Perez and Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond Skinner, along with local elected officials and community leaders in Prince George's County. The purpose of the event was to roll out a comprehensive package of initiatives and reforms aimed at addressing the drastic rise in foreclosures in Maryland.

From the 3rd Quarter of 2006 to the 3rd Quarter of 2007, foreclosure events in Maryland increased by 639 percent. The climb is expected to continue this year as many of the adjustable rate mortgages issued in recent years reset to higher interest rates. It is estimated that 33,000 Maryland homeowners are expected to face interest rate resets this year.

The package of initiatives and the emergency regulation will make Maryland the second state in the country to require loan servicers to file detailed monthly disclosure reports about their loss mitigation and loan modification efforts. The reports will outline the precise nature and extent of the actions being taken to assist homeowners who have defaulted on loans.

"There are thousands of Marylanders on the verge of foreclosure and we need information now to learn what actions services are taking to prevent foreclosure," said Secretary Perez. "Data collection and reporting are critical accountability tools, which only one other state, California, has in place."

Governor O'Malley's legislative package and regulatory proposals include:

1. Improving the regulation of mortgage industry professionals and reform lending practices by:

  • Banning pre-payment penalties for sub prime loans;
  • Assuring a borrower's ability to repay a loan and verify sources of income; and
  • Increasing the mortgage licensing requirements, including the surety bond requirement for mortgage lender licensees and a minimum net worth requirement.

2. Create a criminal mortgage fraud statute that covers all potential actors engaged in mortgage fraud.

3. Modify the 2005 Protection for Homeowners in Foreclosure Act (PHIFA) by banning the conveyance of real property in the foreclosure rescue context.

4. Reform the foreclosure process by: Maryland homeowners can call DLLR for assistance at 1-888-784-0136

  • Requiring a lender to wait 90 days after default before filing the foreclosure action;
  • Sending a uniform Notice of Intent to Foreclose to the homeowner 45 days prior to filing an action; and
  • Requiring personal service to notify a homeowner of impending foreclosure and requiring a minimum of 45 days between service and sale.

5. Reform lending practices in Maryland by:

  • Requiring a duty of good faith and fair dealing for mortgage industry professionals;
  • Requiring brokers and lenders to show a reasonable net tangible benefit for borrowers when refinancing;
  • Tracking rates of default and foreclosure of mortgage industry professionals; and
  • Strengthening the experience requirement to obtain a license.

The package of initiatives also includes the "Bridge to HOPE" Loan Program, which provides small gap loans at zero percent interest to homeowners facing difficulty, giving them time to get back on their feet or find a solution. The statewide program will be administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development's Community Development Administration.

Foreclosure sign

 

On January 16, 2008, Secretary Tom Perez testified before the House Economic Matters Committee on Mortgage Foreclosure. Click here to read the Secretary's testimony.

Homeownership Preservation Plan for Maryland Tour Secretary Perez, Senator Currie, and DHCD Secretary Skinner

Secretary Tom Perez began a “Homeownership Preservation Plan for Maryland” tour in Prince Georges County on January 3, 2008. The town-hall style meeting was held at the Henry Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro.

A number of positive changes were suggested to help deal with the mortgage foreclosure issue head-on. The idea of gathering again in the near future with a group of faith-based leaders is a suggestion Secretary Perez whole heartedly supports. Secretary Perez also agreed that a concerted effort to educate the senior population is needed. All agreed there is an urgent need to get to the homeowners before they end up on the County Court steps, and is one of the most challenging concerns. The Prince George’s attendees are all willing to gather again in the next few months to continue their dialog.

Panelist included:
Maryland Senator Ulysses Currie
Secretary Tom Perez
Secretary Ray Skinner – Department of Housing and Community Development
Cora Ganzglass - Executive Director Coalition for Homeownership Preservation in Prince Georges County
Mosi Harrington- Director- Home Investment Partnership, Inc.
Tommy Thompson – Prince George’s Housing Commission
Samuel Dean – Prince George's County Council
The Honorable Herman C. Dawson - Judge, Prince George's County Circuit Court, 7th Judicial Circuit

Distinguished audience members included:Students and staff of Dr. Henry Wise, Jr. H.S. With Secretary Perez, Secretary Skinner, Senator Currie and Judge Dawson
Delegate Michael L. Vaughn
Delegate Aisha N. Braveboy
Senator Nathaniel Exum
Delegate Doyle L. Niemann
Prince George's Council Member Ingrid Turner
Madeline E. Richardson, Mayor of Fairmount Heights
Bill Gardiner, Mayor of Hyattsville
Adam Ortiz, Mayor of Edmonston

"Homeownership Preservation Plan for Maryland” tour will travel to Western Maryland, the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland in the near future.

Division of Workforce Development

Senate Bill 203/ House Bill 367- Workforce Creation and Adult Education Alignment  

The quality of Maryland’s current and future workforce is vital to the State's economy. While Adult education classroomMaryland currently enjoys a healthy, diverse business climate, many Maryland industries are facing worker and skills shortages. The situation is exacerbated by the approaching retirement of close to one-sixth of Maryland’s population and the job growth associated with the Base Realignment and Closure process. Maryland’s continued economic success is directly linked to our ability to create and continuously develop a highly-skilled workforce. 

  • There are nearly 750,000 Marylanders with limited literacy skills, no high school diploma or ineffective English language skills in need of services.
  • The 2003-2004 Maryland Adult Education Score Card shows that only three to five percent of Marylanders in need of adult education receive it.
  • Currently, adult education programs in Maryland are not fully progressing sufficient numbers of students to the post high school skill levels necessary to compete in today and tomorrow’s economy.

Recognizing the importance of linking adult education and workforce creation and aligning those programs with the needs of businesses, a number of states have transferred responsibility for adult education from their K-12 systems to state workforce development agencies.

  • 19 states now have adult education programs housed either in workforce development or in a higher education context.
  • Six states have integrated adult education with workforce development, including Alaska, Michigan, New Jersey, South Dakota, Tennessee and Arkansas.
  • In local jurisdictions within Maryland, the distinct trend has been to move adult education away from K-12 and into community colleges, where services are better aligned with career training and other workforce services.

Senate Bill 203/House Bill 367 will ensure that our system meets the workforce needs of Maryland’s employers by aligning adult education and literacy programs, career preparation, postsecondary education and workforce development.

This legislation moves responsibility for administering and supervising policy and funding for adult education and literacy, currently a function of MSDE, to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The Adult Education and Literacy Services Office will be part of DLLR’s Division of Workforce Development.

Under DLLR’s leadership, this new alignment will:

  • Serve more people through more programs
  • Create synergies between our workforce one-stop system, community colleges, nonprofit providers, state agencies and the business community
  • Ensure a stronger evaluation component for adult education programs
  • Provide career development opportunities for adult education instructional and administrative staff
  • Streamline accountability for our adult education system
  • Build a seamless system of adult education in Maryland that strengthens the case for more funding

DLLR’s goal is to shape a new vision for adult education in Maryland that has the support of the many stakeholder groups around the State while recognizing regional differences.

The new system will continue to serve everyone but ensure that the pursuit of lifelong learning includes access to postsecondary educational opportunities and a clear pathway into Maryland’s workforce.

DLLR will establish strong accountability standards and align them effectively to assure that adults can transition among various levels of English for Speakers of Other Languages, adult literacy, GED, career preparation, and our postsecondary system.

DLLR will identify best practices around the country to ensure that Maryland leads the way in the education of our adult population.

DLLR will also promote programs that provide financial literacy, through our Division of Financial Regulation and will partner with state agencies and nonprofits working to enhance the health literacy of Maryland adults.

The community colleges have the potential to become local resource centers for adult education and workforce training, and have already been stepping up to this challenge across the State.

Under DLLR’s leadership, the community colleges will also help provide curriculum alignment and professional development for adult education professionals.
 

GOVERNOR O'MALLEY'S FY09 BUDGET

Secretary Thomas E. Perez remarked on how Marylanders will benefit from Governor O’Malley’s vision of Growing Maryland’s Middle Class through Workforce Creation and new laws to protect Maryland employees.

“The Governor saw our need for additional resources and answered with additional dollars to ensure services that protect the consumer,” said Secretary Perez. “We will be able to retain experienced bank examiners, enforce the Living Wage Law, provide employment training to better prepare for Base Realignment and Closure and serve our customers on the Eastern Shore with a new Call Center in Salisbury.”

The Division of Financial Regulation’s budget totals $8.4 million, an increase of $900,000 over the FY 2008 appropriation. The increase to the budget will immediately address the recruitment and retention of bank examiners, who play a critical role in enforcing laws protecting consumers against mortgage fraud.

The Division of Labor and Industry’s budget saw an increase of 5.2% over FY 2008’s appropriation and totals $15.3 million. $200,000 will go to the implementation of the nation’s first “Living Wage Law” and enforcement of the existing Prevailing Wage Law, including funds to support four new wage investigators.

The Division of Workforce Development has a budget that totals $49.7 million, an increase of $3.2 million. The increase is attributable to additional federal funds received for Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) planning activities.

With 1,500 calls a week for claim purposes expected, the Division of Unemployment Insurance will receive $744,000 in the capital budget for equipping a new Unemployment Insurance Call Center on the Eastern Shore. It is scheduled to open July 2009. This new unemployment insurance office, one of six, will process initial unemployment claims and adjudicate claim disputes. UI is funded at $53.9 million.

Funding for the Division of Racing totals $5.8 million.

The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing is funded at $10.4 million.
 

Division of Labor and Industry

Free Health and Safety Training Seminars for Maryland Employees and Employers
Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) Continues Outreach Efforts

The following health and safety training seminars will be held at the MOSH Training and Education Office located at 312 Marshall Avenue in Laurel, Maryland:

Respiratory Protection - February 12, 2008 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
Recordkeeping - February 14, 2008 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
Seguridad en La Construccion (Construction Site Safety) - February 21, 2008 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Occupational Exposure to Noise - February 26, 2008 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm

An additional class is being held at the SHA, located at 5111 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, Maryland.

Construction Site Safety Scaffolding - February 27, 2008 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm

“The MOSH Outreach Training Program is designed to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses through education,” said Labor and Industry Commissioner Ron DeJuliis.

MOSH Assistant Commissioner Roger Campbell added, “Our safety and health programs are geared towards raising the awareness of attendees while providing an overview of the topic.”

Attendance at these sessions does not substitute for training required by OSHA/MOSH standards.

To register, please visit the website at MOSH or call 410-880-4970 ext.335.
 

Division of Racing

Bowie Race Training Center Breaths a Sigh of Relief

Maryland Horse RacingThis time of year, horses are susceptible to the Equine Herpesvirus everywhere, not just at racetracks. But, one case of the Equine Herpesvirus was suspected at the Bowie Race Training Center. The animal tested negative for the disease. The disease can be devastating and sometimes fatal. Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) and (EHV-4), both respiratory diseases, affect the horse population world wide. The EHV-1 neurological viral strain is more infrequent, which causes the most concern since the outcome of the disease may require that the animal be destroyed. The clinical signs are loss of appetite, fever and lack of control of the rear legs. This disease is highly contagious and is spread by nasal discharge, aborted fetuses, placentas, or placenta fluids. Upon observation of clinical signs the suspect animal is quarantined, nasal swabs and blood specimens are collected for analysis. Bio-security protocols are put into place to help prevent the spread of the disease. This disease is a “reportable” disease which means a veterinarian who suspects an infection must contact the State Veterinarian at Department of Agriculture of their observations.
 

State of Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
500 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202