Among the bills recently passed by California lawmakers and signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown (pictured) was Assembly Bill 3212, designed to strengthen the state’s consumer protections for service members and military families, including California National Guard soldiers and airmen.
AB 3212 extends the length of time that service members are protected against foreclosure, eviction, repossession and default judgments.
It also extends to them interest rate protections for student loans and clarifies that students in the National Guard and Reserve have a right to academic leave when they are called to active duty.
The bill updates current law to close loopholes that have been used to take advantage of service members and extends the protections of California law to cover all service members in California. Prior to this new law, some protections only applied to members of the Guard and Reserve who are called to active duty.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra sponsored the bill and worked closely with the bill’s author, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, to shepherd it through the Legislature.
“If you put yourself in harm’s way to defend our freedoms, you more than deserve your protections as a consumer,” Becerra said in a statement. “I am proud to have worked with Assemblymember Irwin to see Assembly Bill 3212 become law. This is another way we show all of our men and women in uniform that we appreciate their service and have their backs. My office collaborated with the military community to get this bill across the finish line. We won’t stop working to protect service members and military families.”
“We ask members of the armed forces to take great personal risk on our behalf, but the demands of military service go beyond the dangers of the battlefield,” Irwin said in a statement.
“A life in the military also means moving around frequently, moving your kids from school to school, updating addresses, and suddenly being called away to places where you may have uncertain access to the internet, or phones, or personal records,” Irwin said.
“Because of this, we’ve long recognized the need to provide service members with specific protections under the law to insulate them from predatory business practices, unscrupulous creditors and the risk of falling into financial distress that comes with a life that demands so much,” she said. “This bill will strengthen the protections California provides to those who protect us.”
Becerra is committed to working on behalf of our military service members and veterans. Among other actions, he has filed criminal charges against a San Diego jewelry merchant for unlawful financing and debt collection practices targeting active-duty military families; he reached a multistate settlement with VietNow National Headquarters, Inc., a charity that falsely claimed to help veterans; and he sued two bogus charities, Wounded Warriors Support Group and Central Coast Equine Rescue and Retirement, for pocketing the proceeds of charity raffles that were supposed to benefit veterans. The Attorney General’s Office has also provided training on military consumer protection to prosecutors and JAG legal assistance attorneys throughout the state.