State Legislature passes trio of bills restricting debt collectors

Apr 16, 2019, 10:06 AM | Updated: 3:08 pm
Debt relief Washington state...

The Washington Legislature recently moved forward on a trio of debt-related bills with the aim of relieving pressure on residents struggling to make ends meet.

RELATED: State ranks sixth in nation for per capita state debt
RELATED: New universal healthcare proposal for Washington state

KIRO 7 TV reported that the bills fall within a comprehensive consumer debt package that State Sen. Manka Dhingra hopes will give families new protections amid financial troubles.

“All of these bills strike that balance between making sure people are able to collect on their debt, but also make sure that consumers are protected,” said Sen. Dhingra.

A House bill from Rep. Kristine Reeves’ protects 80 percent of a debtor’s wages, and up to $2,000 in money in bank accounts from being garnished. That number jumps to $2,500 for private student loan debts.

“What we’ve heard loud and clear is that folks are suffering, budgets are breaking, and folks are trying to do the right thing by paying their debt, and having a hard time doing that,” said Rep. Reeves.

A bill related to medical debt from Rep. Lori Jinkins prohibits the sale of debt to a collection agency for 120 days, and reporting of debt to credit bureaus for 180 days.

A third bill from Sen. Dhingra prohibits a controversial tactic called pocket service, when collection agencies send a summons to a debtor prior to filing a lawsuit.

The hope is preventing incidents akin to what happened to one woman, who received a court summons, but couldn’t find the case in the court file.

“I just said, ‘you know what, there is no court summons, I spoke to the court, this isn’t my debt, cease and desist, don’t contact me again,” she told KIRO 7 TV.

A few months later, she discovered both her bank account and her son’s savings had been garnished.

Federal law currently allows debt collectors to garnish the higher of either up to 75 percent of employee wages, or 30 times the federal minimum wage from a weekly paycheck.

All three bills were passed out of the Senate in bipartisan votes on Monday. Two will move to Gov. Inslee’s desk to be signed, while the bill concerning wage garnishment heads back to the House for the approval of an amendment.

KIRO Radio staff contributed to this report

Local News

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)...
Nicole Jennings

Skykomish businesses staying open amidst Bolt Creek Fire

Between evacuations and repeated closures of Highway 2, the Bolt Creek Fire has created a challenge for small businesses in Skykomish.
20 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell introduces $7.4 billion biennial budget

Mayor Bruce Harrell unveiled a new budget that plans to address homelessness, rising crime rates, and increase funding for transportation infrastructure.
20 hours ago
Iran Protest...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Local business owner urges immediate action after death of Iranian woman

On Sunday evening the death of Mahsa Amini earlier this month at the hands of the Iranian police sparked protests 6,600 miles away in Bellevue.
20 hours ago
Meteorologist Nick Allard, KIRO 7 News

Hazy sunshine with reduced air quality in some areas

Friday through next weekend will be mainly sunny and warm with highs in the 70s. Nice start to October as summer tries to hang on one more weekend!
20 hours ago
Frank Sumrall

New Seattle Kraken mascot to be announced on Saturday

The Kraken did not have a mascot last year, joining the New York Rangers as the only mascot-less franchises.
20 hours ago
IG: @hilareenelson...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Mountaineer and Seattle-native Hilaree Nelson missing in Nepal

Hilaree Nelson, a ski mountaineer and the first woman to summit Everest and Lhotse in one 24-hour push, is missing after apparently falling into a crevasse in Nepal, according to The New York Times.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
State Legislature passes trio of bills restricting debt collectors