Letter: Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry Please Support SB 298

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By Linda Deos

I am writing this letter to urge Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry to vote in favor of Senate Bill 298. This bill recently passed out of the Senate (Senator Dodd abstained) and is headed to the Assembly for consideration.

This bill would keep Californians from suffering catastrophically when essential funds are seized without warning. I see these folks when they come into my office to seek protection from the bankruptcy courts.

Every year, California sheriffs serve tens of thousands of levy orders on banks and credit unions – rightly or wrongly. People whose assets are frozen or seized are at high risk of hunger, illness, unemployment, auto repossession, homelessness, loss of child custody. This bill would automatically exempt eight weeks’ earnings or $4800 in total from bank levy.  Accounts could still be levied for judgments related to unpaid child support, spousal support, and unpaid wages.

While California law provides people accused of owing a debt the right to file a claim of exemption to seek return of seized funds, there are at least three problems with the current claim process. Consumers often receive notices of levy too late to timely file claims. SB 298 would clarify those timelines. Second, debtors often find themselves without access to frozen funds for months while claims and any resulting court orders are processed. This bill ensures that all consumers with financial hardship have continuous access to essential funds and alleviates burdens on the public safety net, families, and employers. Third, the exemption process can be daunting for the average person, particularly those with disabilities or limited English proficiency.

By allowing debtors more time to file claims and automatically safeguarding a minimum dollar amount per consumer, SB 298 will lower the procedural hurdles that average Californians must clear to obtain these vital protections. For these reasons, I strongly support this bill and ask that Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry be the consumer advocate she says she is and vote in favor of this bill when it comes to a vote on the Assembly floor.



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