From Collector: Building Opportunity
ACA’s state and regional units are on the front lines of advocacy, working on hundreds of bills that could affect the accounts receivable management industry. (Think: mass dispute letter mills, data breaches, robocalls and more hot-button issues.) Here's what your fellow members are doing to make the industry better for all of us.
8/10/2018 8:00 AM
ACA International and its 37 state and regional units have been busy working on over 670 bills introduced in 46 state legislatures across the country. Using more than 30 lobbyists, ACA and its units continue to lead efforts both supporting and opposing state-level legislation, often organizing and participating in broad coalitions that collectively advocate for shared interests, ACA International’s Vice President of Government and State Affairs Andrew Madden writes in the August issue of Collector magazine.
The 2018 legislative cycle has been one of the busiest in recent memory, and that high level of activity is expected to continue right up until the November election, Madden reports.
Here, we explore some of the state-level legislative highlights we’ve seen this year, including in Maryland, Indiana, Oregon and several other states.
For example, the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association (MACA) faced several legislative proposals in Maryland that, if enacted, would have significantly hindered third-party collection activity in the state. This included in S.B. 22 and H.B. 673, which aimed to significantly increase the amount of wages exempt from garnishment. After the legislation was successfully amended to reduce the proposed exemption, the legislation stalled and eventually failed upon adjournment, Madden reports.
In Indiana, the Indiana Collectors Association (ICA) has worked diligently over the last year to craft legislation to combat mass dispute letter mills. Earlier this year, S.B. 420 was introduced to help alleviate the letter mill problem and provide some much-needed transparency to consumers.
The legislation would require a simple notification on communication from credit repair organizations to consumers or a business indicating the communication is from a credit repair organization. S.B. 420 successfully passed the state Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and passed out of committee in the House. The legislation did not pass before the legislature adjourned for the year, but ICA will continue to work on this issue.
Like many ACA units this year, the Oregon Collectors Association (OCA), saw several legislative proposals dealing with data breaches, according to Madden.
There was a significant uptick in legislative activity in this area following several high-profile data breaches last year. Close to 100 bills that touched on security breach issues were introduced in the state legislature over the last year.
Other top legislative issues in states include the assignment of consumer debts in Florida, the statute of limitations in Massachusetts, garnishment in California, and employment verification and court fees in Colorado.
In addition to dealing with local activity, each month during the busy legislative cycle ACA’s Unit and State Affairs Committee hosts a call for state unit legislative teams and their lobbyists to share and discuss the issues they are facing and the strategies they are using in their state, Madden reports.
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