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(TRENTON) – With the holiday shopping season kicking into high gear, Assembly Democrats Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr., and Paul D. Moriarty are advancing legislation to reverse Gov. Chris Christie’s anti-business and anti-consumer law that made it easier for the state to claim unused money orders, traveler’s checks and gift cards.
The bill (A-3250) was advanced Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It reverses changes governing the state’s treatment of unclaimed property that were made as part of the budget signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in June 2010.
“The governor’s changes aggressively shortened the abandonment periods for money orders and travelers checks and created a state claim on unused gift cards,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “These changes have caused a significant amount of uncertainty for consumers and businesses alike. It was anti-business and anti-consumer. It was the wrong thing to do and must be fixed.”
“The governor’s changes were decidedly anti-consumer and anti-business at a time when we should be protecting both,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “This bill restores sanity to the system and protects the public’s rights to their unclaimed property. The last thing we should do is allow such a terrible law to continue creating uncertainty for consumers and businesses.”
As a component to the state fiscal year 2011 budget proposal, Gov. Christie and Republicans made revisions to the state’s statutory treatment of unclaimed property, aggressively shortening the periods of abandonment for money orders and travelers checks.
The law also authorized state escheatment of unused stored value cards.
The Diegnan-Moriarty bill reverses the 2010 changes.
It restores the 15-year abandonment period for travelers checks and the seven-year abandonment period for money orders.
Under the Christie and legislative Republican 2010 changes, travelers checks and money orders were subject to a three year abandonment period.
The bill also provides that stored value cards issued on or after the bill’s date of enactment are not subject to state escheatment.