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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Support for Senator Wieckowski’s Economic Equity and Financial Stability Legislative Package

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced her support for State Senator Bob Wieckowski’s Economic Equity and Financial Stability Initiative, a three-bill package to protect consumers from abusive debt buyer practices and help struggling Californians manage their personal debt and gain a fresh financial start.

“This legislation will help many Californians manage their debt without being abused,” said Attorney General Harris. “Low-wage earners fighting to pay down debt are often harmed by abusive debt collection practices that keep them from reaching financial stability. This legislation will offer consumers a path to getting their finances back on track and give them the tools to fight back against predatory practices.”

The initiative consists of SB 308, SB 501, and SB 641:

  • SB 308 – Allows debtors to retain enough of their assets so that they can get back on their feet after a bankruptcy.
  • SB 501 – Establishes a tiered garnishment rate to lower the unjustly high percentage of income currently taken from low-income workers’ paychecks.
  • SB 641 – Provides low-income consumers with legal recourse to avoid being forced to pay off someone else’s debt or a debt they have already paid.

“Attorney General Harris is fearless when it comes to standing up to some of the abuses of banks and debt collectors, whose sloppy work and misconduct puts consumers in harm’s way and threatens their financial futures,” Wieckowski said. “She is a tireless fighter for consumers and I am proud to join countless working families throughout California in welcoming her support for this initiative.”

All three bills have passed the state Senate and SB 501 and SB 641 are on the Assembly floor.  SB 308 is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  The bills enjoy a broad array of support from a diverse coalition of organizations ranging from AARP to labor to legal aid groups.

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