New Laws for 2008

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In all, 31 states had new legislation go into effect on January 1, 2008.

There are new laws going into effect around the country this week. Some of them deal with personal finance and privacy issues. Here is a brief roundup of some of the laws ACCESS would like you to be aware of:


* Consumers who have been given gift cards for shopping can now request that their change be dispensed in the form of cash if there is less than $10 in purchasing power remaining on their gift card.
* Loan brokers will be required to follow federal disclosure guidelines on subprime loans.
* No employer will be able to require employees to have an RFID chip or other tracking device implanted under the skin.


* Just as in California, Colorado loan brokers will be required to follow federal disclosure guidelines on subprime loans.
* All mortgage brokers operating in Colorado must now be licensed by the state. Previously, they only needed to register with the state.
* Homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgage payments will now have 110 to 125 days to get caught up before their homes can be sold. Under the old law, homeowners had from 55 to 60 days.


* Homeowners who are going through a foreclosure will be allowed to live in their house until the foreclosure proceeding is completed.
* Gift cards and gift certificates can't expire for 5 years or have their value reduced due to fees charged by the merchant.


* The state has implemented a "car buyer bill of rights" that requires automobile dealers to show the actual costs of add-ons and their effect on monthly payments.

New Hampshire:

* HB 227 is intended to offer identity theft victims some resolution. The bill allows the victim to bring private, legal action against the perpetrator in the county where they live, regardless of whether the person who committed the violation was ever actually present in the county. Also, if a favorable judgment is received by the victim in court, he or she can use that judgment to help repair and correct credit or public records
* HB 169 makes it an unfair insurance trade practice for insurers and adjusters to knowingly underestimate the value of an insurance claim.

New York:

* The state now requires a criminal background check on anyone who is employed as a mortgage loan officer.


* Out of all the laws we've reviewed so far, this is our favorite. In Oklahoma taxpayers will be able to go to website that lists corporate tax breaks and discloses how the state is spending its money.


* Oregon is implementing one of the strongest laws in the country to stop security breaches involving employee data. From now on, companies that keep personal information on their employees must designate a "security officer", establish security procedures to protect employee data and establish a plan to safely dispose of old data.


* Both the State and businesses operating within the state will be barred from including Social Security Numbers in their mailings.


* Businesses that offer high-interest rate loans to people waiting for tax refunds will now be required to tell consumers prior to taking out such loans that they will get their tax refund in 2 to 3 weeks.

by Jim Malmberg
Executive Director

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