Consumer Protection

Rates of foreclosure are at levels not seen the 1930s, and some communities in the Midwest have been particularly hard hit by a rise in the number of blighted properties. States are responding with new measures and investigations designed to help troubled communities and homeowners.

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has been soliciting support for Senate Bill 40. If passed, this bill will punish charities by stripping them of their tax-deductible status from donations to charities that spend less than 30 percent of their money, averaged over three years, on programs and services.

For example, Kroger wants to target charities operating in Oregon such as Shiloh International Ministries which raises $900,000 a year in donations but spends less than 4 percent on programs and services. The state would...

This Act limits how life insurers can deny a policy to someone or cancel or charge different rates to policy holders based upon the applicants‘ or policy holders‘ past or future travel to lawful destinations. It makes for exceptions when the insurers‘ decisions are based upon sound actuarial principles or reasonably anticipated experience.

In 2005, the Uniform Law Commissioners promulgated the Uniform Debt-Management Services Act (UDMSA). It provides the states with a comprehensive Act governing these services that will mean national administration of debt counseling and management in a fair and effective way. UDMSA may be divided into three basic parts: registration of services, service-debtor agreements, and enforcement.

The practice of “robo-signing” by banks and other loan servicers in the mortgage foreclosure process has resulted in new legislation in Illinois and a first-of-its-kind lawsuit in Ohio.

The November Question of the Month provides a brief overview of state laws in the Midwest regulating the short-term lending industry.

While the modern office of the attorney general continues to perform its traditional role of providing legal advice and legal representation in matters affecting the state’s interests, those state interests now include an infinitely broader range of social and economic policies and protection of the public interest. Three of the top issues for attorneys general this year are cybercrime, consumer protection and tobacco. As the chief legal officer of each state or jurisdiction, attorneys general are committed to arresting online predators and providing services to victims of child pornography, protecting consumers during the economic downturn from lending abuses and scams, and continuing to interpret, implement and enforce the Master Settlement Agreement reached with the tobacco industry in 1998.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments opposes any effort to remove or transfer oversight and regulation of the 529 college savings plans from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board to any other federal entity, including any organization that might be established to provide oversight and regulation of consumer credit.

Suggested State Legislation: According to a Florida legislative bill analysis, Florida Chapter 2008-66 makes major changes to state insurance law.

Suggested State Legislation: Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) are businesses that administer and manage prescription drug benefit plans either through health insurance products or separately. Approximately 95 percent of all patients with prescription drug coverage receive benefits through a PBM. In recent years, concerns have been raised by consumer organizations and states regarding the business practices of PBMs.

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