BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 508
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 17, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                 AB 508 (Ian Calderon) - As Amended:  April 9, 2013 

          Policy Committee:                              JudiciaryVote:9-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               

           SUMMARY  

          This bill prohibits courts from garnishing wages from homeless  
          veterans for certain unpaid citations. Specifically, this bill:

          1)Prohibits the courts from garnishing wages or levying a bank  
            account of a homeless veteran for five years for outstanding  
            unpaid citations regarding loitering, curfew violations, or  
            illegal lodging.

          2)Provides that (1) applies when the court, during its routine  
            debt collection efforts, obtains information indicating that  
            the person subject to wage garnishment or levy against a bank  
            account served in the military within the last eight years and  
            is homeless.

          3)Stipulates that the prohibition does not prevent wage  
            garnishment if the court subsequently determines that the  
            person is no longer homeless or that the court had previously  
            suspended garnishment of the homeless veteran's wages.

           FISCAL EFFECT  


          Minor absorbable costs for the courts to implement the bill's  
          requirements within the existing scope of its current debt  
          collection efforts, as required in the bill. 


           COMMENTS  

           1)Purpose  . According to the author, homeless veterans are often  
            caught in a catch-22 situation where their homelessness  








                                                                  AB 508
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            results in citations for offenses like loitering. Garnishing  
            their wages to collect unpaid fines makes escaping a cycle of  
            homelessness more difficult, leading to yet further citations  
            for similar offenses. This bill temporarily prohibits courts  
            from garnishing wages or levying against a bank account of  
            veterans in these circumstances.

            It should be noted that the bill does not absolve the homeless  
            veteran of offense or relieve a legal obligation to pay a  
            fine, but temporarily suspends court collection methods  
            against such penalties. Also, the bill does not impose new  
            collection duties on the courts, stipulating that the bill's  
            provisions apply only when relevant information is obtained in  
            the course of routine court collection activities. 

          2)Prior Legislation  . This bill is modeled after AB 1111  
            (Fletcher and Mitchell)/Chapter 466 of 2011, which prohibits  
            wage garnishment or levying the bank account of a homeless  
            person under age 25 for citations related to truancy,  
            loitering, curfew violations or illegal lodging. 

           3)Why Apply Only to Homeless Subgroups  ? It would seem that wage  
            garnishment related to quality of life offenses for any  
            homeless person-not just those encompassed by AB 1111 or this  
            bill-would hinder that person's ability to break the cycle of  
            homelessness. This begs the question as to why a more general  
            statute on this topic would not be the appropriate public  
            policy.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081