For Immediate Release
Contact: Greg Butler
TORRES FAILS CALIFORNIA HOMEOWNERS
Assemblyman Chuck Quackenbush today charged Senator Art Torres with "failing California's homeowners" when two bills designed to attack the homeowner's insurance availability crisis died in his committee without action when the legislative session expired. In the critical, final weeks of session, Senator Torres, Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, failed to pass either of the bills out of his committee and on to the full Senate.
"As Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, Art Torres spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to hold committee hearings in Los Angeles and San Francisco in his promise to 'get to the bottom' of the homeowner's crisis," said Quackenbush. "When the grandstanding was done, Art Torres didn't even fulfill his responsibility as Chairman."
AB 1132 (Conroy) and AB 1388 (McDonald), sat in the Senate Insurance, Claims, and Corporations Committee for the entire month of August without Senator Torres scheduling either for a vote. Even a plea from Governor Wilson to the legislative leadership to solve the homeowner's crisis didn't move Senator Torres to pass a proposal on to the Senate floor.
"As insurance companies pulled out of the homeowner's market, more and more young families have reported problems securing the necessary insurance to close escrow on first homes. Art Torres stood by and did nothing," said Ron Lewis, President-elect of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California, who's organization is neutral in the Insurance Commissioners race.
Although several compromise ideas were discussed by various interest groups during the month of August, consensus was never reached.
Added Lewis, "A major sector of California's economy is at risk, and Senator Torres wouldn't even allow a vote in his committee. That's not the kind of leadership we need."
* News from the Quackenbush for Insurance Commissioner Campaign
As the dust settled from last week's legislative session, one thing was clear--Art Torres failed young families throughout the state.
During July and August, one by one, insurance companies announced that they would no longer write homeowner's policies in California. Others announced huge increases in their deductible or rates for current policyholders who elect to carry earthquake insurance.
Meanwhile, Senator Torres stood by. Two bill designed to attack the problem, AB 1132 (Conroy) and AB 1388 (McDonald), sat in the Senate Insurance, Claims, and Corporations Committee for weeks without Senator Torres scheduling either for a hearing. While first time homebuyers struggled to close escrow because of the lack of homeowners' insurance, Art Torres held up the legislative process with petty demands and partisan aspirations.
In July, Senator Torres promised to "get to the bottom" of the homeowner's crisis by holding two, highly publicized, hearings at taxpayer expense in Burbank and San Francisco. Could it be that Art was only using his chairmanship to gain publicity for his Insurance Commissioner race?
Because the reality is, after basking in the glow of television cameras in July, Art Torres froze in the Senate in August.
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