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WASHINGTON – Legislation amending the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 was passed by the House May 7 by a vote of 425-0. H.R. 100, introduced Jan. 7, would rename the act the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act and revise some civil protections that service members enjoy while on active duty. It clarifies that the 6% interest rate cap is intended to lower monthly payments during the active duty period and that the lender cannot recoup any lost interest during that time from the servicemember. The new legislation would provide a 90-day stay of proceedings against default judgments regarding payment of any tax, fine, penalty, insurance premium, or other civil liability. H.R. 100 would up the maximum rent from $1,200 to $1,700 for the prohibition of eviction during military service. The bill also increases the amount of life insurance coverage to the greater of $250,000 or an amount equal to the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance maximum limit and provides greater protection against vehicle repossessions. It also permits servicemembers to waive their rights under the law in writing. The bill is sponsored by House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) and Ranking Member Lane Evans (D-Ill.) and has 39 other cosponsors. A related bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

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