Enforcement of money judgments: exemptions
Senate Bill 616, authored by Senator Wieckowski and sponsored by CLICC and the East Bay Community Law Center, will reform the bank levy system for low-income California debtors. When a creditor attempts to collect debts owed by a borrower, they can get a court to automatically take money out of the borrower's paycheck, called a wage garnishment, or they can simply convince a court to seize money directly from a debtor's bank account, called a bank levy. When a creditor garnishes your wages, they can only take up to 25% of your earnings—the law says you need the rest to live. But when it comes to savings and bank levies, current California law allows creditors to seize 100% of the funds in a debtor's bank account with little or no warning; this can leave people without enough money to pay for life's most essential needs such as food, rent, and prescription medications. Senate Bill 616 will protect $2000, enough to cover life's essential needs for a few months, from being seized by a creditor who levies a bank account. For seasonal workers like farmworkers or substitute teachers, this law could make the difference between stability and homelessness, or between health and hunger.
Signed by Governor