Attorney General Bonta, Senator Eggman, and Pro Tem Atkins Celebrate Signing of Legislation to Strengthen Consumer Protections for Military Service Members

Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), and Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) today applauded Governor Gavin Newsom for signing Senate Bill 1311 (SB 1311). SB 1311 strengthens financial and legal protections for active duty service members, veterans, and their families. The legislation, which was jointly authored by Senator Eggman and Pro Tem Atkins and sponsored by Attorney General Bonta, stems from the California Department of Justice’s experience protecting and working with military families in California, including a July 2021 roundtable event at Naval Base San Diego.

“Safeguarding the rights and dignities of our service members is both a legal and a moral responsibility,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The metric of a society’s greatness is how it treats those who serve it. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing this critical legislation, which strengthens protections for our military service members and veterans and gives my office new tools to hold accountable scammers and other predatory actors.”

“I am deeply thankful to Governor Newsom for his signature on SB 1311,” said Senator Eggman. “I’m proud to have partnered with Attorney General Bonta, and a long list of advocates from the military and veteran communities, to put together legislation that protects active service members and veterans from exploitation and ensures access to the rights they have sacrificed and fought so much for. Every aspect of this bill will go a long way to supporting all the incredible service members and veterans who make California their home.”

“Our military families make so many sacrifices in service of our country each day and deserve the strongest consumer protections. SB 1311 enhances these vital safeguards and demonstrates California’s commitment to support active duty service members, veterans, and their families,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “They provide assurance that our lives and liberties are protected – SB 1311 provides them the assurance that they’re protected from unfair and exploitative business practices.”

The military community is one of the communities most targeted by perpetrators of scams and fraud. Veterans, the military, and their families are nearly 40% more likely to lose money to scams and fraud than the civilian population. Four out of five military and veteran adults were targeted by scams directly related to their military service or the benefits they receive. The pervasive problem is particularly consequential for California, which is home to the largest population of active, reserve, and veteran service members in the nation.    

SB 1311 provides important new financial and legal protections to protect service members. Among other things, SB 1311:

  • Establishes the right to appear remotely, or through another military member, in small claims cases seeking the return of an improperly withheld security deposit;
  • Prohibits businesses from accessing the sensitive personal information stored on chip-based military ID cards (called Common Access Cards or CACs), or from using those cards to access sensitive military pay and personnel websites;
  • Clarifies existing law, which allows members of the Guard and Reserve to defer payments on mortgages and other obligations during a deployment, to ensure that interest is not accrued on a deferred mortgage obligation during the period of deferment;
  • Prohibits businesses from offering military discounts that are conditioned on the service member or veteran waiving their rights under federal or state law;
  • Amends state law regarding security interests to prevent businesses from taking advantage of a loophole and denying service members the full protections of the federal Military Lending Act;
  • Imposes enhanced civil penalties for violations of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) perpetrated against service members and veterans; and
  • Enhances the ability of service members to terminate auto leases when they are reassigned or deployed.

If you believe you have been the victim or target of a scam, you should immediately contact your local police department. If you are a service member, you can also reach out to your local JAG legal assistance office for advice and assistance. You may also file a complaint with the California Department of Justice at For additional information on military-targeted scams, visit our website here.

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