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From Collector: State Advocacy Efforts Leading the Way


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ACA’s state and regional units are fighting for accounts receivable management industry priorities. Vice President of Government and State Affairs Andrew Madden reports on what they’ve been up to so far this year.

8/6/2019 12:00

ACA International and our 36 state and regional units have been busy working on legislative activities during the 2019 legislative cycle. These units and their network of more than 30 lobbyists continue to fight for the accounts receivable management industry priorities and educate elected officials about the impact changing technology and new regulations have on the day-to-day operations of our members and their clients, reports Andrew Madden, ACA’s vice president of government and state affairs, in the August issue of Collector magazine.

It’s been a busy year because all 50 states convened legislative sessions in 2019. Many state legislatures have new leadership in the wake of the 2018 elections, and over 1,600 newly elected state legislators took their seats for the first time. These leadership changes present opportunities for our industry as well as obstacles. This spring, ACA worked with state units to launch a national grassroots campaign aimed at introducing or reintroducing the ARM industry to state lawmakers across the country. The campaign has reached more than 2,500 state legislators, and more units are considering an additional push later this year.

Legislative activity impacting the ARM industry has been high this year. Given the bills introduced over the last several legislative sessions, this intense level of activity is no surprise to our legislative teams working in each state. Currently ACA is tracking more than 620 state-level bills that, if enacted, would impact the ARM industry.

A key component to successfully working on such a high number of bills is communications across state lines. This enables our lobbying teams to hear about strategies that are working and can be duplicated, as well as notifying them of trends before they happen. As part of this effort, ACA’s Unit and State Affairs Committee, chaired by Christian Lehr, chief operating officer for Healthcare Collections, LLC, hosts a monthly call for all state unit legislative teams and their lobbyists to discuss the issues they are facing and strategies they are using in their state. These forums continue to be critical in developing strategies to address national legislative issues impacting the industry.

In the August issue, Madden reviews recent legislative trends including garnishment and data security and privacy in states such as Arkansas, Colorado and Florida.

In addition to the legislative work being done by ACA’s state units, Madden reports that ACA continues to work closely with several national associations of state regulators, including the North American Collection Agency Regulatory Association, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and three national state attorneys general associations. ACA uses these groups to build relationships and educate policymakers on the pressing issues facing our industry at both the state and federal levels. These efforts complement the work of our units and our federal team.

If you are interested in getting involved in advocacy this month, August is a district work period for the 116th Congress. ACA has resources available on its Advocacy Resource Center including an association fact sheet, research and an advocacy booklet. You may visit congress.gov  to plan an agency tour and find your local representatives. Read more in Speak Out: Connect with Legislative Leaders During Congressional Recess. And, on the regulatory side, ACA is working diligently to compile feedback from members to file a comprehensive comment letter on the industry’s behalf in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule proposal to modernize the severely outdated Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Join our campaign to weigh in on the rulemaking before the Sept. 18. comment deadline.

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