Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/30/1996 03:02 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 434(L&C)                               
 "An Act relating to unclaimed property; and providing for an                  
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee               
 meeting to order at 3:02 and announced  HB 434  to be up for                  
 consideration.                                                                
                                                                               
 BOB BARTHOLOMEW, Deputy Director, Department of Revenue, said this            
 legislation came from recommendations from employees who work in              
 the unclaimed property program and from an audit done by the Office           
 of Management and Budget.  He explained that unclaimed property is            
 basically property like money that has been left in savings                   
 accounts, deposits with utility companies that aren't refunded,               
 etc.  This will be the first significant update to the statute that           
 passed 10 years ago.                                                          
                                                                               
 The changes streamline the requirements within the bill to make it            
 more efficient for both businesses and State.  There are letters of           
 support from four businesses.  He said it would reduce the workload           
 for the State and with the saved time they will try to locate more            
 owners and return property and make sure that all businesses that             
 should be reporting to the State are.                                         
                                                                               
 They added three guidelines to protect citizens who lose property             
 for having to pay unreasonable amounts to fee finders.  Those                 
 guidelines put a cap on the percentage that a fee finder could                
 charge an owner to get their property back and it allows the State            
 a two year window within which to return the property or for the              
 owner to find it without a cost, and it also says you have to                 
 inform the person what they found so you would know what you were             
 dealing with.                                                                 
                                                                               
 This program puts about $2 million per year into the general fund.            
 Over the last three years 3,000 people have had their property                
 returned to them by the program, Mr. Bartholomew said.                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY noted that there were letters of support from Key               
 Bank, Chugach Electric, and State Farm Insurance.                             
                                                                               
 MR. BARTHOLOMEW noted that those letters point out two issues.                
 They are raising the dollar limit upon which you have to do the               
 detailed tracking.  If you lose under a $100 now the businesses and           
 the State have to do a lot of detailed recordkeeping and tracking             
 and they think it's getting to the point where it costs more to               
 return the property than it's worth when it's under $100.  The                
 letters also supported the guidelines for the fee finders.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved CSHB 434 (L&C) from committee with                    
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
 ordered.                                                                      

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