Coronavirus Update: March 24

The news is moving faster than most of us can keep up. Which states have issued shelter-in-place orders? Which states have placed prohibitions on debt collection? What is the federal government doing? There are so many more questions than answers. Read on for updates on where things stand, as of Tuesday morning.

SENATE CLOSING IN ON DEAL: REPORT

Published reports appeared to indicate that Senators on both sides of the aisle were closing in on the particulars of a stimulus package. The specific details of the package are still being worked out and it was unclear whether they would include a moratorium or prohibitions on debt collection activity.

“We expect to have an agreement tomorrow morning,” Sen. Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.], said Monday night, according to a published report, after a bargaining session with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “There’s still a few little differences. Neither of us think they’re in any way going to get in the way of the final agreement.”

There are bills circulating in the House of Representatives, including one from Rep. Maxine Waters [D-Calif.], the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, that would include a virtual complete shutdown of the collection industry for the duration of the pandemic and then for 120 days after to give people time to get back on their feet.

Another bill, H.R. 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey [D-N.Y.], does not include any specific reference to debt collection.

MASSACHUSETTS PLACES RESTRICTIONS ON COLLECTION OF STATE-OWNED DEBT: ACA INTERNATIONAL

ACA International reported on Monday that the state of Massachusetts has placed a two-week hold on the collection of debts owed to the state.

This appears to be similar to the type of restriction on debt collection that New York state put into place last week, where the hold applied only to debts that were owed to a state agency.

ACA International has more details about the types of debt that are affected by the notice from the Massachusetts Comptroller of the Commonwealth.

MORE STATES INSTITUTE SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDERS

Here is a list of the states that have instituted shelter-in-place orders as of Monday night:

  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts
  • Indiana
  • New Jersey
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Connecticut
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

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