Tuesday, February 14th, 2006
Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Today was a unusual Valentine's Day for me. It was Predatory Lending Lobbying Day in Columbus. Though I do work on a contract basis for the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC), which through its Predatory Lending Solutions Project helps victims of predatory lending, my job is web design and database development, not fair housing. My boss (and friend) wanted me to come along anyway, and it was certainly an interesting educational experience for me.

All the MVFHC staff plus some of the MVFHC board plus some MVFHC clients went to Columbus along with people from across the state to lobby state representatives to support Senate Bill 185 which would extend the Consumer Sales Protection Act to the mortgage industry and establish a fiduciary responsibility for mortgage brokers to act in the best interests of their clients (the day was organized in part by COHHIO). I got to meet one of

Rep. Dixie Allen
Rep. Dixie Allen's staffers (Rep. Allen, who was out of the office, covers the district in which I used to live),

Rep. John White
Rep. John White (who covers part of Dayton's south suburbs) and Speaker Jon Husted, in whose district I live now.

Allen was already on board to support the bill, but it looks like White and Husted will both support the bill too. Husted was interesting though because he explained that although he supports the bill, that it'll be difficult to get Republican representatives from suburban and especially rural districts to support it since they don't see predatory lending as a problem affecting their constituents.

What was even more interesting for me, though, were brief conversations I got to have with White and Husted about House Bill 515, a bill that would ban gay people from being foster or adoptive parents in Ohio and would also ban heterosexuals whose households included gay members from fostering or adopting. One of the co-sponsors of the bill is

I guess Seaver
hadn't taken enough
English classes yet
at Wright State
to be able
to write his
autobiography himself
Rep. Derrick Seaver, who is a student at Wright State. Apparently Seaver thinks people such as my pastor and his partner shouldn't offer homes to unwanted babies.

I hadn't planned on mentioning HB515 to White, but we actually met with White in Seaver's office, which White pointed out as we were leaving (the office features pictures of Seaver's "as told to" autobiography Kid in the House, which tells how he ran for office at age 17), and I couldn't resist saying that, yes, I knew who Seaver was, a co-sponsor of HB515, which White should oppose, and White actually said that he did oppose that bill, that it was a hate bill. Interesting coming from him since he touts his religious background and many religious people from his background would say this bill wasn't hateful but necessary.

Speaker Husted
Husted I had intended to say something to about the bill since I live in his district and had brought a letter to him about the bill. I stayed behind as people left his office so I could tell him that I hoped he would oppose the bill, and he actually had quite a bit to say about it, including that he wouldn't let the bill even get to committee to be considered and that he thought such bills were divisive and turned focus away from the real issues facing Ohio. Apparently Husted is himself adopted and knows that many kids in Ohio still need homes.

So that was a little encouraging, that there are Republicans willing to oppose such hateful nonsense. Of course I doubt that the proponents of HB515 see the legislature as their only avenue. They'd love to put a gay adoption ban on the ballot to get conservatives to come out to the polls in November and vote Republican. But we'll know by May if they plan to do that since they'll have to get their ballot measure language approved.
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