I was disappointed to see The Signal misrepresent state law and legislation I am sponsoring to update our outreach options. When the unclaimed property law was enacted nearly 60 years ago, it made sense to require the state Controller’s office publicize the program using printed newspaper advertisements – the only way to reach many people without the Internet, email and other inventions since then.
However, as traditional newspapers pivot to more online readership and social media outreach, so should others. Assemblyman Tom Daly’s AB 772 would give the state Controller’s office flexibility in the program’s very limited outreach budget to prudently advertise in newspapers, whether in print or online.
While our once-a-year advertising budget tops out at around $60,000, I partner with many organizations to creatively increase awareness of the program without spending taxpayer dollars. For instance, I worked with state legislators, including Santa Clarita Sen. Scott Wilk, to get out the word through communications with constituents, community meetings and websites.
As state Controller, I want to return every piece of lost and forgotten property to its rightful owner, and newspaper stories help make people aware that they should check our website. We offer a free, centralized database (claimit.ca.gov) to check what is turned over by businesses from around the nation.
Most importantly, there is absolutely no time limit for making a claim. My team safeguards the property for rightful owners and their heirs until they claim it.
California State Controller Betty Yee administers the state’s unclaimed property program.
Editor’s note: We wonder how the editorial “Keep public notices public” can misrepresent AB772 when it describes notice publication site choices in the exact words of the bill itself. Statewide public notices may be found at http://capublicnotice.com/.