Smith’s unclaimed property bill heads to governor’s desk

Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, speaks to the crowd after being sworn in at Oak Hills Elementary School in Valencia. Signal file photo Dan Watson/The Signal

Assemblywoman Christy Smith’s bill that aims to streamline the property claim process is headed to the governor’s desk after clearing the state Senate. 

Assembly Bill 1637, co-authored by state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, would allow the state controller to transfer property reported to the state under the unclaimed property request process to make it more “convenient, efficient and effective for crucial institutions of the community,” as the current law is considered “lengthy and complicated,” according to the office of Smith, D-Santa Clarita. 

Property returned would go directly to local and state agencies, such as schools, cities and departments that impact the state and the 38th Assembly District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley. 

“Supporting our local governmental bodies that provide so much for our area is a top priority for my legislative advocacy on behalf of constituents,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “AB 1637 helps accomplish this by streamlining the property claim process to be more accessible, strongly benefitting state and local agencies.”

There are more than 48 million unclaimed properties with an estimated worth of $9.3 billion in California — and more than 50 in Santa Clarita, according to the State Controller’s Office. 

The Santa Clarita City Council voted unanimously in May to support AB 1637. In a letter expressing support, Mayor Marsha McLean said the bill is a “common-sense, cost-saving proposal that will benefit both state and local agencies.” 

As of Monday, the bill had not yet been signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

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