The governor of Minnesota has issued an executive order that protects the economic stimulus funds received by individuals from being garnished except as part of a Domestic Support obligation, but also going a step further and prohibiting the service of a garnishment summons on individuals and suspending the permission of creditors to obtain information about an individuals assets and earnings.
A copy of the order, signed earlier this week by Gov. Tim Walz can be accessed by clicking here.
A number of states have been actively issuing regulations, guidance, and emergency orders aimed at restricting what collectors can do during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically related to the CARES Act payments, California, Oregon, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Vermont, and Ohio have issued orders prohibiting that money from being seized by garnishment orders.
But Gov. Walz’s order appears to go a step further and not just protect CARES Act payments from being garnished from bank accounts, but also by delving into the realm of non-CARES Act garnishments, too. For example, the order suspends the provisions in Minnesota statutes that “permit service of a garnishment summons on a consumer debtor or consumer garnishee,” defining a debtor as someone “who are natural persons and whose debt originated from the purchase of goods or services purchased primarily for a personal, family, or household purchase, and not for a commercial, agricultural, or business purpose.”
Anyone who violates the order, which will remain in effect until the state of emergency in Minnesota is declared to be over, faces a fine of up to $25,000 per violation.
“This public health crisis falls hardest on Minnesotans who were already in crisis,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a prepared statement. “This executive order ensures that relief funding goes toward helping folks take care of themselves and their families first during this unprecedented time so that we can all stay safe and make it through together.”