N.J. Senate to Vote on Bill Restricting Collection Activities

A number of coronavirus response bills were introduced yesterday in the New Jersey Senate and will be voted on this coming Monday, in the chamber’s first-ever remote session. Among the bills is S.2330, the “COVID-19 Financial Security for Consumers Act,” which, among other provisions, would include restrictions on debt collection activities.

A companion bill has been introduced in the New Jersey Assembly — A3908.

A full text of either bill was not yet available on the New Jersey legislature’s website.

The Senate bill was introduced by state Sen. Nellie Pou and state Sen. Joseph Cryan, both Democrats. The Assembly bill was introduced by state Rep. Mila Jersey, state Rep. Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, and state Rep. John Mckeon, also Democrats.

A summary of the bill indicates that it will “prohibit certain debt collection activities” without going into specifics about which activities will be restricted. Among the other provisions included in a summary of the bill was that it will require “insurance carriers to cover COVID-19 treatment expenses without cost sharing.”

The bill was one of more than two dozen bills introduced yesterday in the New Jersey Senate aimed at providing relief for residents of The Garden State. New Jersey has more than 50,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the second-highest total in the United States.

A growing number of states are enacting legislation or emergency regulations aimed at protecting consumers and providing relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have enacted emergency regulations that dramatically restrict how individuals can be contacted about their debts. North Carolina has enacted a 30-day deferral of debt payments. A bill in South Carolina called for a moratorium on medical debt collection. In Ohio, a bill was introduced that would halt all debt collection activities for the duration of the pandemic.

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