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    N.J. Senate Committee Advances Measure to Halt Gift Card Seizures

    Governor's plan is to claim the unused value of gift cards after two years.

    TRENTON, N.J. -- The New Jersey Senate's Budget Committee passed a measure that would halt Gov. Chris Christie's plan to seize the unused value of gift cards two years after their purchase, according to a CBS Philly report. The measure will now move to the full state Senate for a vote.

    Under the state's existing unclaimed property law, New Jersey retailers that sell gift cards would soon be required to collect the purchaser's ZIP code. The law has prompted an ongoing lawsuit filed by American Express and the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, among others.

    It also prompted American Express and prepaid gift card vendors Blackhawk Network and InComm to suspend gift card sales within the state.

    "For a governor who puts it out there as a conservative [who] wants to help business, this is actually hurting businesses across the state," said Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), who sponsored the repeal measure. "That's troubling to us that some of these bigger retail merchants, some of the larger companies such as AmEx, are willing to take their business out of New Jersey."

    The Budget Committee's vote went along party lines, with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans abstaining, according to the report. Insiders believe it will eventually reach Gov. Christie's desk.

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