Amended in Senate June 17, 2013

Amended in Assembly April 9, 2013

California Legislature—2013–14 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 508


Introduced by Assembly Member Ian Calderon

(Coauthor: Assembly Member Ammiano)

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 prohibitbegin insert, for a period of five years,end insert 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 lodgingbegin delete for a period of 5 years, as specifiedend delete, 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:

P2    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert
begin insert

The Legislature finds and declares the following:

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2(a) According to a new study, homeless veterans are more likely
3to die on the streets than nonveteran homeless persons. Those who
4return from serving and become homeless are 11 percent more
5likely to develop life-threatening diseases than nonveteran
6homeless.

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begin insert

7(b) According to the United States Department of Housing and
8Urban Development’s most recent annual survey for point-in-time
9estimates of homelessness, there were 16,461 homeless veterans
10in California in January 2012, of whom 11,949 were considered
11unsheltered and living on the streets.

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12(c) Homeless veterans are routinely ticketed for offenses that
13are the inevitable symptoms of homelessness. These offenses
14include loitering, curfew violations, and illegal lodging.

end insert
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15(d) If a homeless veteran fails to appear to contest or pay a
16ticket, that homeless veteran’s wages or bank accounts may be
17garnished.

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18(e) Garnishment of the wages and savings of homeless veterans
19makes it far more difficult for homeless veterans to rent their own
20apartments and end their homelessness by their own willpower
21and initiative.

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22(f) In many cases, taking money from homeless veterans makes
23it more, and not less, likely that they will continue to be homeless,
24and may actually encourage the commission of offenses the laws
25are meant to dissuade, including illegal lodging and loitering.

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26(g) It is, therefore, in the best interest of the state to discourage
27wage and bank account garnishment practices that make it more
28difficult for veterans who are homeless to obtain housing through
29their own hard work without being exculpated from the offenses
30they commit.

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31

begin deleteSECTION 1.end delete
32begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

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

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1463.012.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:

2(1) According to a new study, homeless veterans are more likely
3to die on the streets than nonveteran homeless persons. Those who
4return from serving and become homeless are 11 percent more
5likely to develop life-threatening diseases than nonveteran
6homeless.

7(2) According to the United States Department of Housing and
8Urban Development’s most recent annual survey for point-in-time
9estimates of homelessness, there were 16,461 homeless veterans
10in California in January 2012, of whom 11,949 were considered
11unsheltered and living on the streets.

12(3) Homeless veterans are routinely ticketed for offenses that
13are the inevitable symptoms of homelessness. These offenses
14include loitering, curfew violations, and illegal lodging.

15(4) If a homeless veteran fails to appear to contest or pay a
16ticket, that homeless veteran’s wages or bank accounts may be
17garnished.

18(5) Garnishment of the wages and savings of homeless veterans
19makes it far more difficult for homeless veterans to rent their own
20apartments and end their homelessness by their own willpower
21and initiative.

22(6) In many cases, taking money from homeless veterans makes
23it more, and not less, likely that they will continue to be homeless,
24and may actually encourage the commission of offenses the laws
25are meant to dissuade, including illegal lodging and loitering.

26(7) It is therefore in the best interest of the state to discourage
27wage and bank account garnishment practices that make it more
28difficult for veterans who are homeless to obtain housing through
29their own hard work without being exculpated from the offenses
30they commit.

31(b)

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32begin insert

begin insert1463.012.end insert  

end insert

begin insert(a)end insert Notwithstanding any other law, if a court, during
33the course of its routine process to collect fees, fines, forfeitures,
34or other penalties imposed by a court due to a citation issued for
35the violation of a state or local law, obtains information indicating
36that a person who has been issued a citation for loitering, curfew
37violations, or illegal lodging that is outstanding or unpaid served
38in the military within the last eight years and is homeless or has
39no permanent address, the court shall not garnish the wages or
P4    1levy against bank accounts of that person for five years from the
2date that the court obtained that information.

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3(c)

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4begin insert(b)end insert For purposes of this section, a person is considered to be
5“homeless” or as having “no permanent address” if that person
6does not have a fixed, regular, adequate nighttime residence, or
7has a primary nighttime residence that is one of the following:

8(1) A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed
9to provide temporary living accommodations, including, but not
10limited to, welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional
11housing for the mentally ill.

12(2) An institution that provides a temporary residence for
13individuals intended to be institutionalized.

14(3) A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used
15as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

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16(d)

end delete

17begin insert(c)end insert Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a court
18from engaging in any other lawful debt collection activities.

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19(e)

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20begin insert(d)end insert Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a court
21to perform any further investigation or financial screening into
22any matter beyond the scope of its regular duties.

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23(f)

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24begin insert(e)end insert Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the
25Judicial Council from altering any best practices or
26recommendations for collection programs pursuant to Section
271463.010.

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28(g)

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29begin insert(f)end insert Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a court
30from garnishing a person’s wages or levying against a person’s
31bank accounts if the court, subsequent to its initial determination
32that the person was a homeless veteran exempt from wage
33garnishment or levy under this section, obtains evidence that the
34individual is no longer homeless, or that the court had, on a
35previous occasion, suspended garnishment of that person’s wages
36or levying against that person’s bank accounts pursuant to
37subdivisionbegin delete (b)end deletebegin insert (a)end insert.



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