Pennsylvania legislators have been making noise for several months about amending dormancy periods, to help balance the current budget issues in the state. Last week, we finally got to see the proposed bill when the Senate amended House Bill 278. Generally speaking, the dormancy periods would change from five years to three years.
The bill also adds general audit provisions common in many other states' statutes. Of specific interest in light of the Computershare audit is the section allowing for the examination of an agent's records. Such agent may include a dividend disbursing agent or transfer agent. The bill would provide only limited confidentiality protections, as the state would be permitted to share the records with unclaimed property departments in other states. The audit provisions also permit "reasonable method of estimation" if a holder's records are not adequate to permit preparation of a report.
The bill also has other modifications to the unclaimed property law, including:
* Modernizes the unclaimed property law to allow for electronic communications in certain circumstances to prevent dormancy.
* Removes conflict with CARD Act for gift certificates and gift cards for non-qualified gift certificates.
* Adds general language ("owner has not indicated an interest") regarding dormancy requirements.
* Adds criminal penalties for non-compliance.
* Extends the authority of the Auditor General to include unclaimed property accounts.
The bill also places additional burdens on unclaimed property finders.
The House as concurred on the amendments passed by the Senate.