Restrictions on debt collections advance in Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A trio of consumer protection bills has cleared major votes in the state Legislature, including one targeting a type of undated lawsuit which the state attorney general called potentially confusing for consumers.

The proposals also target the handling of medical debt and the timeline for reporting debt to scorekeeping credit agencies, along with revisions to wage garnishing rules and interest rates.

All three bills passed floor votes in the Senate Monday, and had earlier passed the House. Although one of the three still needs House approval of an amendment, clearing full votes of both chambers is a key hurdle before Legislation is sent to Gov. Jay Inslee for a signature.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested one of the bills, which targets a practice where debt collectors serve a lawsuit before filing it, potentially leading debtors to miss court dates. In a release Monday Ferguson called the practice “confusing.”