Yesterday I quickly covered some recent reporting from the Dispatch and the PD about State Rep. Mike Foley’s foreclosure bill (HB3) that could have helped keep a good many Ohioans from having to suffer through the trauma of a foreclosure. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support nearly a year and a half ago and has been waiting for some action from the Senate ever since.

And now that Senate President Bill Harris has all but said this bill is going to die – along with another foreclosure-related bill introduced in the Senate by Republican Shannon Jones – I thought it was worth reminding everyone what he said earlier this year.

Back in March Foley and HB3’s co-sponsor Denise Driehaus were trying to get some movement on the important parts of their legislation and they publicly offered to compromise on the bill with Republicans in the Senate.

Harris told them they should look at Senate-sponsored legislation by Jones instead.

Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland, said it was ‘good” that House Democrats would give up on the moratorium but expressed little interest in working on House Bill 3.

Rather, he said House Democrats should work with Senate Republicans on Senate Bill 197, sponsored by Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, setting up mandatory mediation in foreclosure cases.

Jump ahead nine months and no action has been taken on Jones’ bill either. And last week Senate finance committee chairman John Carey, said “he doesn’t anticipate [the bill] getting a vote.”.

It’s sad, really. Bill Harris is getting term-limited out of the Senate this year and he was given many opportunities to do something memorable and commendable at the end of his Senate career by helping to stop the disastrous foreclosure mess from ruining even more lives in Ohio.

When crisis strikes we expect our leaders’ to take action not only for the solutions these actions might provide but also for the hope they give us that somewhere, someone is looking out for us and working to help make things better.

Harris has not only ignored at-risk Ohioans and the crisis that threatens to wreak havoc on their lives but he has also actively pushed aside bi-partisan attempts that could have, at best, saved many from financial ruin and, at worst, given them some hope that their leaders were doing something to help get them through this disaster.

Bill Harris says he believes “it is the responsibility of leaders to put those they serve first.” It’s a damn shame he can’t turn that belief into action when it really counts.

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  • Gloria Ferris

    By not serving at risk constituents he risks all constituents who cover the costs of those Ohioans unable to continue to struggle on their own who then turn to the safety nets put in place when all else fails. By not understanding that rising tides raise all boats, Bill Harris and his ilk doom us all.

  • Anastasjoy

    So right, Gloria. And it puts all Ohioans at risk in another way: with fewer people paying taxes and with less taxes collected as ALL property values plummet, the services we’ve come to rely on can’t be funded, let alone the increased safety net use. I feel like the Republicans are saying “Let the cities collapse,” maybe because they’re heavily Democratic. The problem with that is that cities are your economic core and if they collapse, everything else collapses with them. In the same way, waves of foreclosures in a neighborhood tear down the value of the healthy housing and the equity of people who have paid their mortgages.

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