PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A state lawmaker has introduced a bill to protect people from losing the value of gift cards when a business closes in Rhode Island.

Democratic Rep. Arthur Corvese, of North Providence, says his bill would require that businesses in the state hold funds from the sales of gift cards and gift certificates in an escrow account for at least three years or until the card or certificate is redeemed, whichever comes first.

It would also prohibit businesses from declaring gift cards or certificates invalid in the event of bankruptcy.

The bill has been assigned to the House Corporations Committee.

Corvese says a number of local businesses have closed abruptly in recent years and this is a fair way to ensure that gift cards really are worth the money people pay.