Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to exempt telephone calls from Governor Christie’s newly implemented escheatment law was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3159) exempts gift cards or gift certificates usable solely for telephone services from the escheatment processes imposed by the budget signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in June.
“This law is bad enough to businesses and consumers,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “The least we can do it try to ensure it doesn’t begin adversely affecting those who rely on telephone cards, such as soldiers on active military duty, for instance.”
“The ultimate goal is to repeal this law, but since we still have many unanswered questions from the administration, we know we can at least move forward on this aspect to better protect consumers,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Soldiers, for example, rely on telephone cards to keep in touch with their families, yet under this law could find their telephone cards taken out from underneath them while they’re busy defending our nation overseas.”
“The impact this anti-business and anti-consumer law has on telephone cards is perhaps the most glaring example of how this law is unfair,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “It would be wrong on so many levels to allow the state to seize telephone cards typically used by people such as low-income residents, students and soldiers.”
Several states exempt pre-paid telephone services cards from their definition of gift card, or stored value card, and the federal Credit CARD Act of 2009 which, in part, regulates the use of stored value cards, also excludes stored value cards usable solely for telephone services.
The bill was released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.