Improving California’s Homestead Exemptions, Politics & the Power of Money
For those of you who don’t know about it, consumer bankruptcy attorneys, most notably the “National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys” have been fighting to pass Senate Bill 308. This was legislation to increase the homestead exemptions and the vehicle exemptions and make several corrections to protect consumers.
Details of This Exemptions Bill
Presently those exemptions were $75,000 for a single person, $100,000 for a household and $175,000 for senior citizens, the disabled and people over 55 with very low incomes. The present auto exemptions is $2,900.
This battle was waged starting in the State Senate where the new amount for everyone was supposed to be a $300,000 homestead for everyone.
It was also supposed to increase the vehicle exemptions from $2,900 to $6,000.
It kept being whittled away by the politicians until the final proposed bill had homestead exemptions reduced to $100,000 for a single person, $150,000 for a household and $300,000 for senior citizens, the disabled and people over 55 with very low incomes.
The bill was supported by NACBA and its California members, the California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the California Treasurer John Chiang, the AARP, the California Labor Federation, Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) just to name a few.
So What Happened to This New Exemptions Bill?
Unfortunately it was opposed by lobbyists representing the California Bankers Association, the California Credit Union League and the California Association of Collectors, representing the debt collectors/debt buyers. No surprises there.
In the last couple of weeks a bunch of Lobbyists representing the banks and the credit industry went pounding on their favorite politicians to kill the legislation. The politicians heard many lies about the legislation. That was not a surprise either.
Attorneys representing consumers don’t have the funds to hire a bunch of lobbyists and give large “political contributions” to politicians. We did not able to have the clout to get the final bill passed. It failed to pass the final step to get it to the Governor for his signature to become law. The vote was set for Thursday September 10, 2015. The final vote was 21 yes votes and 35 no votes. We needed 41 votes to pass the legislation. A huge number of politicians, 24 to be exact simply refused to vote on the bill this either way.
There is an old saying “money talks.” Here it sank the legislation that would have helped Senior Citizens, the disabled, people with low income and the middle class.
You can go to my website, SacramentoBankruptcyAttorneys.com and click on the “FAQs” button to see how your Assembly person voted or did not vote on SB 308. You can find out just who’s side your Assembly person is on.
We are gearing up for next year to take on this fight again. However, we will need to have you, and all California residents on board for the fight.
This effects everyone even if you are not going to file bankruptcy. It may effect your friends or relatives who hit hard times.
If you and as many California residents as possible tell your politicians that they will not be getting your vote if they are on the wrong side of this. If enough people do this we may get some of the ones that voted against or did not vote at all to support it. With enough California residents go to their California politicians about this we may just get a bill passed for the benefit of real people, not the banks and debt collectors.
I will update this post in 2016 as soon as we know information about the new Exemptions Bill.