Gatto's senior account bill passes Assembly

A bill designed to protect senior citizens and others from having their bank accounts drained passed the state Assembly recently by a 69-0 vote.

The legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), stipulates that funds in bank accounts with more than one signer belong to each person based on their contributions.

Gatto wrote AB 1624 after a divided California Court of Appeal ruled that whoever withdraws money first from a bank account becomes the owner of the money, which can lead to accounts held by seniors and others being emptied by individuals who did not put funds into the account.

“We cannot continue to exonerate those who commit these bad acts,” Gatto said in a statement. “Change is necessary to ensure that vulnerable Californians who entrust others with their finances do not find themselves penniless victims.”

The bill currently is awaiting a Senate committee assignment.

Gatto also introduced a bill that would rev up a program to replicate license plates from California's past, such as the yellow-and-black plates from the 1950s, black-and-yellow plates from the 1960s and blue-and-yellow plates from the 1970s and '80s.

Called the California Legacy License Plate Program, it would start issuing plates if 2,500 applications for them are received by the Department of Motor Vehicles on or before Jan. 1, 2014.

The bill requires that, upon determination that there are sufficient funds for the program, the department could start dispensing plates.

The cost is $50 for the first issuance of plates and $40 for renewals. There would be a $15 fee to transfer a plate to another car and a $30 charge to replace a plate.

If fewer than 2,500 applications are received by the deadline, application fees already received would be refunded, according to the legislation.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Twitter: @LAMarkKellam

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