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Foreclosure: Initiative 84 passes latest hurdle with Supreme Court's okay

Opponents huffed and puffed, but the Colorado Supreme Court did not allow the Colorado Bankers Association and the Independent Bankers of Colorado to blow the house down on Initiative 84's official language. In a ruling made public yesterday, the court decided to allow the proposed foreclosure amendment to move ahead as currently written, despite objections from opposition groups that call it vague and say it doesn't focus on one subject, as state law dictates.

The court dismissed both concerns, making this the second time a state body has done so. In April, the Colorado Title Board reviewed the amendment's original language, which changed slightly before earning final approval. So in May, Initiative 84's detractors took the issue to the Supreme Court, arguing that the title board made a mistake by not stopping its language -- and the entire effort.

Organizers at the Colorado Progressive Coalition, the main group behind Initiative 84, drafted the proposed amendment after House Bill 1156, a similar foreclosure measure, died in committee before making it to the floor. Instead of moving forward on a second bill, they changed direction, continuing their role in the Campaign to End Unjust Foreclosure with an amendment that would allow citizens to vote on the measure, rather than only legislators.

Initiative 84's primary purpose is to reverse 2006 legislation that altered the legal standards for processing foreclosures. With the shift in 2006, it became legal for lawyers to sign a statement indicating that the financial entities they represent have the ability to foreclose on a property. Initiative 84 seeks to require documentation of ownership before any proceedings begin.

Now that the Colorado Supreme Court has pushed the measure past its latest hurdle, Initiative 84 is heading toward the election in November. The last step depends entirely upon numbers: Supporters must raise a minimum of 87,000 signatures by August 8 to guarantee that the initiative makes it onto a statewide ballot. Right now, at least 50,000 are in circulation.

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Last week, supporters of the Campaign to End Unjust Foreclosure met at the Aurora home of Marla Sneed, a property owner who says she narrowly missed being foreclosed upon. Accompanied by by her neighbors and state representative Joe Miklosi, Sneed spoke out about her experience with the state's current foreclosure laws to raise awareness for Initiative 84.

"We need to insure that the financial industry has credibility and accountability to the American people," CPC economic justice director Corrine Fowler told the crowd gathered on Sneed's front lawn. "We have found that fraudulent foreclosures are a real problem in Colorado. This issue does not discriminate."

More from our Politics archive: "Foreclosure: Coalition gathers signatures, stories for Initiative 84."

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