The Tacoma News Tribune's Political Buzz blog reports that the senate has approved a Rep. Tina Orwall's (D-33, Des Moines) bill that establishes a mediation process to protect underwater homeowners in the state to stave off foreclosure.
The bill still needs to be reconciled with the version that passed the House and signed by the governor to become law, but if that happens, it would increase the number of housing counselors in Washington, set up third-party mediation and extend a requirement that lenders “meet and confer” with borrowers facing foreclosure. The measure would be funded through a $250 fee banks would have to pay every time they foreclose on someone.

As we've previously reported, the bill's use of a fee— versus a new tax, which requires a two-thirds majority—is one of the only revenue raising measures moving through the legislature this year. The fee would raise an estimated $7.5 million a year to pay for the expansion of housing counselors.
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