California Enacts New Law Expanding Protections for Military Servicemembers

AB 3212, which amends California's Military and Veterans Code, provides a wide range of legal and financial protections for military servicemembers.

By , Attorney

On September 19, 2018, California enacted Assembly Bill No. 3212 (AB 3212). This new law, which takes effect January 1, 2019, amends California's Military and Veterans Code and expands the protections available for eligible military servicemembers under state law.

Among other things, AB 3212:

  • Applies the existing 6% interest rate cap to student loans, with the cap remaining in effect for one year after military service ends. It also permits a servicemember to defer payments on student loans.
  • Extends many existing protections until 120 days after military service ends.
  • Provides servicemembers with the right to terminate leases of motor vehicles used by the servicemember or the servicemember's dependents. (A federal law, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, also provides this right. To learn more, see How to Break a Car Lease If You're in the Military.)
  • Requires a person receiving a servicemember's request for relief under the law to acknowledge the request within 30 days and, if the request is denied, explain why the request is incomplete or the servicemember is not entitled to the relief requested, specifying the specific information or materials that are missing, and providing contact information. If the recipient doesn't respond to the servicemember's request for relief within the 30-day period, the servicemember automatically gets the relief sought.

The new law also imposes criminal penalties for certain violations of its provisions. (To learn more about AB 3212, see Legal and Financial Protections for Military Servicemembers Under California Law.)

Effective date: January 1, 2019