Amended in Assembly April 9, 2013

California Legislature—2013–14 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 508


Introduced by Assembly Member Ian Calderon

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(Coauthor: Assembly Member Ammiano)

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February 20, 2013


An act to add Section 1463.012 to the Penal Code, relating to debt collection.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

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:

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SECTION 1.  

Section 1463.012 is added to the Penal Code, to
2read:

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1463.012.  

(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 thanbegin delete the averageend deletebegin insert nonveteranend insert homelessbegin delete personend delete
6begin insert personsend insert. Those who return from serving and become homeless are
711 percent more likely to develop life-threatening diseases than
8nonveteran homeless.

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9(2) According to the United States Department of Housing and
10Urban Development’s most recent annual survey for point-in-time
11estimates of homelessness, there were 16,461 homeless veterans
12in California in January 2012, of whom 11,949 were considered
13unsheltered and living on the streets.

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14(2)

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15begin insert(3)end insert Homeless veterans are routinely ticketed for offenses that
16are the inevitable symptoms of homelessness. These offenses
17include loitering, curfew violations, and illegal lodging.

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18(3) The California Research Bureau has documented that if

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19begin insert(4)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertIfend insert a homeless veteran fails tobegin delete show upend deletebegin insert appearend insert to contest or
20pay a ticket, that homeless veteran’s wages or bank accounts may
21be garnished.

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22(4)

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23begin insert(5)end insert 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
26and initiative.

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27(5)

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28begin insert(6)end insert 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.

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32(6)

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P3    1begin insert(7)end insert 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
5they commit.

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
15datebegin delete the ticket issuesend deletebegin insert that the court obtained that informationend insert.

16(c) For purposes of this sectionbegin insert,end insert 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
361463.010.

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 homelessbegin insert, or that the court had, on a
3previous occasion, suspended garnishment of that person’s wages
4or levying against that person’s bank accounts pursuant to
5subdivision (b)end insert
.



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