California Expands Certain Servicemember Protections

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On September 6, California enacted AB 526, which, among other things, expands certain financial protections for military reservists. Current state law allows U.S. Military Reserve and National Guard members who are called to active duty as a result of the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts, to defer payments on mortgages, credit cards, retail installment accounts and contracts, real property taxes and assessments, and vehicle leases for the period of active duty, plus 60 calendar days, or 180 days, whichever is the lesser. AB 526 extends those deferral provisions to a reservist who is called to active duty on and after January 1, 2014, and to a spouse or legal dependent, and authorizes deferral of payments on any obligations owed to a utility company. The bill limits the deferment period on financial obligations to not more than 180 days within a 365-day period and requires covered reservists seeking deferral to provide a copy of the activation or deployment orders and any other information that substantiates the duration of the service member’s military service.