Milpitas, CA (January 9) -- Perhaps, only a few know that there are some laws that took effect January 1, 2013 that protect ordinary consumers and residents of California who suffered the economic crunch.
At the start of the new year, a total of 15 laws aimed at protecting consumers, families struggling through the bankruptcies, the working poor, and California environment took effect without many knowing it.
Foremost of these laws is AB 929, otherwise known as the Bankruptcy Exemption Law. This law creates a more fair structure to permit debtors to keep such essential items as tools of their trade and an automobile to help them get back on their feet and recover from financial insolvency. Author of the bill Assembly Member Bob Weickowski (D- Fremont, also representing Milpitas and other adjoining cities) explained that, "Some of these laws will help people who have been battered by this slow economy save a little more for groceries, rent, or medical needs."
Another law that caters to the consumers is AB 1534 - Used Car Fair Pricing. This law protects consumers from predatory pricing practices by simply requiring disclosure of the reasonable market value of a vehicle at "Buy Here, Pay Here" lots. A window sticker on used cars must state a fair market value and which nationally accepted valuation service was used.
The California Florist Act or AB 1581 requires floral retailers who use local phone numbers in their advertisements to also include their address in their advertisements. It protects local florists by prohibiting a company from misrepresenting the physical location of its business.
Wage Garnishment Minimum Wage Law (AB 1775), on the other hand, which will take effect in July, raises the garnishment floor by basing the wages on California's minimum wage rather than the lower federal minimum wage. The result will exempt $320 per week from garnishment rather than the existing rate of $217.50, allowing struggling families to keep more money for rent or groceries.
AB 1442 - Common Carrier Law allows health care facilities to ship unwanted pharmaceuticals designated as medical waste by common carrier rather than more expensive medical waste shipping. This will make the process of handling pharmaceutical wastes more economical, increase compliance, and help to ensure that we keep our water ways clean.
Also, AB 1566 or the Above Ground Storage Tanks Law assigns statewide oversight of the Above Ground Petroleum Storage Act to the Office of the State Fire Marshall and conforms APSA law to federal requirements.
Finally, AB 1701 - Underground Storage Tanks with some provisions starting in July, will provide a simplified local agency certification process for the cleanup of leaking underground tanks in California. The current process has multiple local agencies responsible for cleanup leading to delay and increased state and business costs.
These plus other laws "... will enable consumers to have more information in their fingertips before purchasing products," author of the 15 bills that became law Weickowski concluded.