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AB-1477 Unfair Practices Act. (2019-2020)

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Date Published: 09/12/2019 09:00 PM
AB1477:v94#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  September 12, 2019
Passed  IN  Senate  September 05, 2019
Passed  IN  Assembly  September 09, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  August 15, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 10, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 03, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 02, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1477


Introduced by Assembly Member Gloria
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Boerner Horvath)

February 22, 2019


An act to amend Section 17206 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to business.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1477, Gloria. Unfair Practices Act.
The Unfair Practices Act makes various practices unlawful and provides that any person who engages, has engaged, or proposes to engage in unfair competition is liable for a civil penalty. That act specifies who is authorized to bring an action to enforce it, including a city attorney of any city having a population in excess of 750,000. That act requires 1/2 of the penalty collected to be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was entered and the other 1/2 to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered if the action was brought by a city attorney or city prosecutor.
This bill would instead require the penalty collected to be paid to the treasurer of the city whose attorney brought the action if the action is brought by a city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000, unless a county agency participated in the prelitigation investigation of the action, in which case the bill would require 1/2 of the penalty collected to be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was entered, and 1/2 to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. The bill would provide that those provisions do not apply to a penalty collected by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office on or before January 1, 2021, and would further require that on or before January 1, 2021, 1/2 of a penalty collected by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office be paid to the treasurer of the County of Los Angeles.
This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special statute for the County of Los Angeles.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 17206 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

17206.
 Civil Penalty for Violation of Chapter
(a) Any person who engages, has engaged, or proposes to engage in unfair competition shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each violation, which shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General, by any district attorney, by any county counsel authorized by agreement with the district attorney in actions involving violation of a county ordinance, by any city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000, by any city attorney of any city and county, or, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor in any city having a full-time city prosecutor, in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) The court shall impose a civil penalty for each violation of this chapter. In assessing the amount of the civil penalty, the court shall consider any one or more of the relevant circumstances presented by any of the parties to the case, including, but not limited to, the following: the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, the number of violations, the persistence of the misconduct, the length of time over which the misconduct occurred, the willfulness of the defendant’s misconduct, and the defendant’s assets, liabilities, and net worth.
(c) (1) If the action is brought by the Attorney General, one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the General Fund.
(2) If the action is brought by a district attorney or county counsel, the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered.
(3) (A) If the action is brought by a city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000, the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city whose attorney brought the action, unless a county agency participated in the prelitigation investigation of the action, in which case one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered.
(B) Except as provided in subparagraph (A) and subdivision (e), if the action is brought by a city attorney or city prosecutor, one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered.
(4) The aforementioned funds shall be for the exclusive use by the Attorney General, the district attorney, the county counsel, and the city attorney for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
(5) Paragraph (3) shall not apply to a penalty collected by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office on or before January 1, 2021. On or before January 1, 2021, one-half of a penalty collected by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office shall be paid to the treasurer of the County of Los Angeles.
(d) The Unfair Competition Law Fund is hereby created as a special account within the General Fund in the State Treasury. The portion of penalties that is payable to the General Fund or to the Treasurer recovered by the Attorney General from an action or settlement of a claim made by the Attorney General pursuant to this chapter or Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3 shall be deposited into this fund. Moneys in this fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, shall be used by the Attorney General to support investigations and prosecutions of California’s consumer protection laws, including implementation of judgments obtained from such prosecutions or investigations and other activities which are in furtherance of this chapter or Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, any civil penalties deposited in the fund pursuant to the National Mortgage Settlement, as provided in Section 12531 of the Government Code, are continuously appropriated to the Department of Justice for the purpose of offsetting General Fund costs incurred by the Department of Justice.
(e) If the action is brought at the request of a board within the Department of Consumer Affairs or a local consumer affairs agency, the court shall determine the reasonable expenses incurred by the board or local agency in the investigation and prosecution of the action.
Before any penalty collected is paid out pursuant to subdivision (c), the amount of any reasonable expenses incurred by the board shall be paid to the Treasurer for deposit in the special fund of the board described in Section 205. If the board has no such special fund, the moneys shall be paid to the Treasurer. The amount of any reasonable expenses incurred by a local consumer affairs agency shall be paid to the general fund of the municipality or county that funds the local agency.
(f) If the action is brought by a city attorney of a city and county, the entire amount of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city and county in which the judgment was entered for the exclusive use by the city attorney for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. However, if the action is brought by a city attorney of a city and county for the purposes of civil enforcement pursuant to Section 17980 of the Health and Safety Code or Article 3 (commencing with Section 11570) of Chapter 10 of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, either the penalty collected shall be paid entirely to the treasurer of the city and county in which the judgment was entered or, upon the request of the city attorney, the court may order that up to one-half of the penalty, under court supervision and approval, be paid for the purpose of restoring, maintaining, or enhancing the premises that were the subject of the action, and that the balance of the penalty be paid to the treasurer of the city and county.

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares that a special statute is necessary and that a general statute cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique circumstances and characteristics of the County of Los Angeles.