AB 508, as amended, Ian Calderon. Debt collection: homeless veterans.
Existing law requires the Judicial Council to adopt guidelines for a comprehensive program concerning the collection of moneys owed for fees, fines, forfeitures, penalties, and assessments imposed by court order. Existing law prohibits a court from garnishing wages or levying a bank account for the enforcement and collection of fees, fines, forfeitures, or penalties imposed by a court against a person under 25 years of age who has been issued a citation for truancy, loitering, curfew violations, or illegal lodging that is outstanding or unpaid if the court obtains information that the person is homeless or has no permanent address, as defined.
This bill would prohibit the issuance of an order for the garnishment of earnings or the levy of a bank account or the earnings of a homeless veteran, as defined, for the enforcement and collection of fees, fines, forfeitures, or penalties imposed by a court due to the violation of state or local law related to loitering, curfew violations, or illegal lodging for a period of 5 years, as specified, if the court has reason to believe that the debtor is a homeless veteran, as defined. The bill would make related findings and declarations.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Section 1463.012 is added to the Penal Code, to
(a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:
4(1) According to a new study, homeless veterans are more likely
5to die on the streets than
begin delete the averageend delete homeless begin delete personend delete
6. Those who return from serving and become homeless are
711 percent more likely to develop life-threatening diseases than
15 Homeless veterans are routinely ticketed for offenses that
16are the inevitable symptoms of homelessness. These offenses
17include loitering, curfew violations, and illegal lodging.
18(3) The California Research Bureau has documented that ifend delete
19 a homeless veteran fails to
begin delete show upend delete to contest or
20pay a ticket, that homeless veteran’s wages or bank accounts may
23 Garnishment of the wages and savings of homeless veterans
24makes it far more difficult for homeless veterans to rent their own
25apartments and end their homelessness by their own willpower
28 In many cases, taking money from homeless veterans makes
29it more, and not less, likely that they will continue to be homeless,
30and may actually encourage the commission of offenses the laws
31are meant to dissuade, including illegal lodging and loitering.
P3 1 It is therefore in the best interest of the state to discourage
2wage and bank account garnishment practices that make it more
3difficult for veterans who are homeless to obtain housing through
4their own hard work without being exculpated from the offenses
6(b) Notwithstanding any other law, if a court, during the course
7of its routine process to collect fees, fines, forfeitures, or other
8penalties imposed by a court due to a citation issued for the
9violation of a state or local law, obtains information indicating that
10a person who has been issued a citation for loitering, curfew
11violations, or illegal lodging that is outstanding or unpaid served
12in the military within the last eight years and is homeless or has
13no permanent address, the court shall not garnish the wages or
14levy against bank accounts of that person for five years from the
begin delete the ticket issuesend delete.
purposes of this section a person is considered to be
17“homeless” or as having “no permanent address” if that person
18does not have a fixed, regular, adequate nighttime residence, or
19has a primary nighttime residence that is one of the following:
20(1) A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed
21to provide temporary living accommodations, including, but not
22limited to, welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional
23housing for the mentally ill.
24(2) An institution that provides a temporary residence for
25individuals intended to be institutionalized.
26(3) A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used
27as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
28(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a court
29from engaging in any other lawful debt collection activities.
30(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a court
31to perform any further investigation or financial screening into
32any matter beyond the scope of its regular duties.
33(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the
34Judicial Council from altering any best practices or
35recommendations for collection programs pursuant to Section
37(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a court
38from garnishing a person’s wages or levying against a person’s
39bank accounts if the court, subsequent to its initial determination
40that the person was a homeless veteran exempt from wage
P4 1garnishment or levy under this section, obtains evidence that the
2individual is no longer homeless.