Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to immediately dispose of unclaimed monies held by cities and towns, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
Chapter 200A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 9, as appearing in the 1986 Official Edition, the following section:-
Section 9A. (a) On or before November first of each year the treasurer of any city or town holding checks issued by said city or town which have not been cashed and which are deemed abandoned under section five may issue a written determination that it is in the best interest of said city or town to follow the procedures set out in this section rather than the procedures set out in sections seven, seven A, seven B, eight, eight A, eight B, nine, ten, ten A and eleven. In the event that the treasurer of a city or town issues a written determination that it is in the best interests of said city or town to follow the procedures set out in this section, all checks in the possession of the city or town which were issued by said city or town and which are deemed abandoned under section five shall be governed by the provisions of subsections (b), (c), (d), and (e) rather than the provisions of sections seven, seven A, seven B, eight, eight A, eight B, nine, ten, ten A, and eleven.
(b) Between November first and December thirty-first of each year, a city or town in possession of a check in an amount of ten dollars or more issued by said city or town and not cashed, which is deemed abandoned under section five shall send a notice by first class mail to inform the apparent owner of the check of the process necessary to rebut the presumption of abandonment; provided, however, that said city or town has the last known address of the apparent owner and the records of said city or town do not disclose that said address is inaccurate.
(c) The treasurer of each city or town holding checks in an amount of one hundred dollars or more issued by said city or town, which have not been cashed and which are deemed abandoned under section five, shall cause a notice of said checks to be published not later than March first of each year, at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation which is printed in English in each county in which an apparent owner of each such check had a last known address.
Each published notice shall be entitled, "Notice of Names of Persons Appearing to be Owners of Checks Issued by (city or town), Which Have Not Been Cashed and are Deemed Abandoned" and shall contain the names in alphabetical order and last known address if any of:
(1) the apparent owners having a last known address within the county; and
(2) in the county in which said city or town is located the apparent owners whose last known address is outside the commonwealth or who do not have a last known address.
Each published notice shall also contain a statement that information about each such check may be obtained by any person expressing an interest in said check by addressing an inquiry to the treasurer of said city or town whose name and address shall be included in the notice.
(d) Any person claiming an interest in a check issued by a city or town which has not been cashed and which has been deemed abandoned under section five, may establish his claim at any time on or before one year after the date of said publication. The treasurer of said city or town shall possess full and complete authority to determine all such claims and shall, forthwith, send a written notice of such determination to the claimant. At any time within twenty days thereafter, such claimant may apply for a hearing and redetermination of his claim. After an appropriate hearing, before the treasurer of said city or town or his designee, said treasurer shall make a final determination.
The treasurer of said city or town or his designee is empowered to take testimony under oath and shall have the power to subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and documents which may be pertinent to such hearing.
The treasurer of said city or town shall render a decision within thirty days after such hearing. A claimant adversely affected by such decision may appeal within twenty days to the district, municipal, or superior court of the county wherein the claimant resides or in which said city or town is located. The claimant shall be entitled to a trial de novo. An appeal shall be perfected by the claimant within twenty days after receiving notice of an adverse determination from the treasurer of said city or town. Any party adversely affected by a decree or order of the district, municipal, or superior court may appeal to the appeals court or the supreme judicial court within twenty days from the date of the decree.
If the validity of a claim shall be determined in favor of the claimant, the treasurer of said city or town shall pay over to the claimant the amount of the check at issue in said claim, with interest thereon at the rate of one-twelfth of one per cent per month from the date that the claimant first made his claim.
If the claimant is domiciled in a country or state outside the United States or its territories and the treasurer of said city or town determines that there is not a reasonable assurance that the claimant will actually receive the payment to which he is entitled under this section in substantially full value, the superior court upon petition of said treasurer, or in its discretion may order that the city or town retain such payment.
(e) A city or town in possession of a check issued by said city or town and not cashed, which is deemed under section five to be abandoned and which has not been determined to belong to a claimant within one year of the date said check has been deemed abandoned may retain said check. Said check shall thereafter be credited to the general treasury of said city or town.