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New law extends foreclosure notification period

ASSOCIATED PRESS

New law extends foreclosure notification period

A new state law provides a 90-day cooling off period for Massachusetts homeowners facing the prospect of foreclosure.

The law, which took effect last Thursday, requires that lenders give borrowers 90 days after a notice of delinquency to resolve their debt.

The previous law required only 30 days’ notice.

Gov. Deval Patrick says the new rules are aimed at avoiding unnecessary foreclosures and allowing more people to stay in their homes. He’s asking lenders to use the 90-day period to restructure as many loans as possible.

As of July 1, the new law will also require the licensing of all mortgage loan originators.

A recent report by the Warren Group, a Boston-based publisher of real estate data, said foreclosure deeds in Massachusetts more than doubled last month compared with the same month a year ago.

Patrick taps corrections vet to head criminal information board

Gov. Deval Patrick is appointing a veteran corrections official to head the state’s Criminal History Systems Board.

Curtis Wood of Winthrop had served as the board’s deputy executive director since 2002 before the governor announced his elevation to executive director last Thursday.

Wood now oversees a $6.3 million budget and is responsible for Criminal Offender Record Information services — known as CORI information — as well as the Criminal Justice Information System and the daily operation of the agency.

Wood previously was the commanding officer of the Department of Correction Fugitive Apprehension Unit and the Governor’s Warrant Task Force.

Public-interest group warns against utility cuts for poor

A moratorium against shutting off utility service during the cold weather has ended, raising the chances that low-income Massachusetts residents could lose their electric or natural gas service.

Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) — a nonprofit group that arranges fuel assistance — said last Friday that up to 100,000 households could be affected after the moratorium ended May 1.

State officials aren’t sure of the number, but say they’re working to reduce it.

Homeowners have until May 16 to sign up for ABCD assistance programs.
Meanwhile, the state is examining how to expand discount programs, reviewing termination regulations and promoting participation in energy-efficiency programs by low-income residents.

Embattled speaker DiMasi proposes secure voting system

House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi is proposing a secure voting program following allegations that one lawmaker made votes while out of the country.

State Rep. Charles Murphy, a Burlington Democrat, reportedly voted seven times in April even though he was in the Virgin Islands.

Such “phantom voting” is prohibited by House rules.

DiMasi won approval last Friday on an order calling for a nine-member committee — consisting of three DiMasi appointees, three by the House Republican leader, the House clerk, House counsel and chief information officer — to issue recommendations by July 30.

The state Republican Party has called on the attorney general to investigate allegations against DiMasi. It says DiMasi should not rely on the House to reform itself.

(Associated Press)