The state House of Representatives today approved a bill that would halt the filing of new non-judicial home foreclosures in Hawaii for five months.

The measure, which is now forwarded to the Senate, would impose a five-month moratorium on new foreclosures filed outside of the state court system.

Legislators are considering long-term fixes to the foreclosure system here and passed the bill out of concern that lenders were “trying to rush foreclosures” before any reform measure is adopted, said Rep. Robert Herkes,  D-5th, (Puna, Ka’u, South Kona, North Kona), chairman of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.

Lenders would still be able to file mortgage foreclosure actions in Circuit Court.

Rep. Gil Riviere, R-46th (North Shore), who works in the mortgage lending business, cast the only no vote on the bill.

He said the measure would have “severe repercussions on the lending industry.”

Also in the House today, a bill that would the pave the way for slot machine and video poker gambling on Oahu provoked brisk discussion among members before passing second reading and moving on to the Judiciary Committee.

The measure would allow voters to decide on a constitutional amendment  legalizing the gambling machines “in designated resort areas” on Oahu.

Proponents emphasized the state’s budget woes in urging consideration of the measure.

Opponents cited social problems and attendant expenses created by legalized gambling elsewhere in the country, as well as Hawaii’s long history of opposition to professional gaming.

Speaker Calvin Say repeatedly advised members that the proposal would receive a full public airing before the Judiciary Committee.

The measure passed by a 29-22 vote.

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