Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1996-01-19 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

1996-01-19                     House Journal                      Page 2486
HB 434                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 434 by the House Rules Committee by request of                  
the Governor, entitled:                                                        
An Act relating to unclaimed property; and providing for an                   
effective date.                                                                
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Labor &             
Commerce and Judiciary Committees.                                             
The following fiscal note applies:                                             
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Revenue, 1/19/96                                    
The Governor's transmittal letter, dated January 19, 1996, appears             

1996-01-19                     House Journal                      Page 2487
HB 434                                                                       
Dear Speaker Phillips:                                                         
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am     
transmitting a bill that would update Alaskas law governing the                
handling of unclaimed property to streamline the process for the               
convenience of both the state and the property holders.                        
Unclaimed, or abandoned, personal property includes money left in              
bank savings or insurance accounts or deposits left with utilities             
because the businesses cannot locate the owners.  The state acts as the        
custodian for such property and protects it until an owner or heir             
claims it.  This bill includes recommendations from an audit performed         
last year that would reduce paperwork and improve efforts to locate            
unclaimed property owners.                                                     
Under this bill, mutual funds would be defined in unclaimed property           
statutes, allowing for reporting and payment to the state of unclaimed         
interests in mutual funds.  This bill also requires that all unclaimed         
property holders report to the state at the same time.  This will              
eliminate duplicate reports and provide for payment of unclaimed               
interests at the time the report is made.  The value of interests that can     
be reported to the state without complete detail is raised from $25 and        
$50 to a uniform $100.  This will mean less paperwork and                      
administrative overhead for unclaimed property holders.                        
The bill also puts a statutory limit on the amount of finders fee that         
a person can charge to search for owners of unclaimed property.                
There have been reports of some abuses nationwide of finders fees              
being charged at up to 50 percent of the value of the property, even           
when the person was easy to locate.  This bill would protect Alaskans          
claiming property abandonment in this state by limiting these fees to          
10 percent of the value of the property.                                       
In addition, this bill places restrictions on agreements between owners        
of unclaimed property and their finders, in order to protect the property      
owners and the state.  An  agreement would be void if it does not              
disclose the value of the property involved or if the agreement was            
reached before the state has held the property for at least two years.         

1996-01-19                     House Journal                      Page 2488
HB 434                                                                       
This bill represents an important step forward to update Alaskas               
unclaimed property laws.  I urge your support.                                 
						Tony Knowles