Call Kurtis Investigates: 16-Year-Old Viewer Helps Change Unclaimed Property Law
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — 16-year-old Tanner Call thinks it’s pretty cool a state law just passed started with him after realizing someone took money right out of his savings.
“No money should be taken. It’s not theirs,” he said.
The $30.75 he had in the bank ended up getting sent to the state’s unclaimed property division because he hadn’t touched his account in a while. State law didn’t require his bank to send along his name as the owner of the money because it was less than $50. With no name, there was no way for California to return his unclaimed property to him.
“It’s my money, so I mean it makes me mad,” he said.
With our help, Tanner got his money back. He then testified at the Capitol after we learned the state took in $68-million since 2007 without any property owner information. That money ended up in the state’s general fund.
Attorney WIlliam Palmer, a long time critic of the unclaimed property program calls it stealing.
‘That’s absolutely ludicrous,” he said. It’s just taking money from people. It’s a fundamental violation of the United States Constitution.”
Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal drafted a bill co-sponsored by Controller John Chiang that would drop that $50 and up rule, requiring names be sent with all unclaimed money sent to the state regardless of the dollar amount.
“I think it was unreasonable for people who have small amounts of money to be treated differently than people who have large amounts of money,” the Democrat from Long Beach said.
However, lawmakers felt her bill would cost too much money trying to return such small amounts of money.
“It was a little too expensive to get that bill passed,” she said.
Her bill just signed by Governor Jerry Brown was watered down. Instead of requiring names be sent in with all money, it was modified to $25 and up. It goes in effect in July 2014.
Tanner wishes it included all unclaimed money, but he says it’s better than nothing. He’s also celebrating changing state law.
“Not everyone gets to make a bill after themselves.”
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