In a development that was first pointed out by the team at Troutman Pepper, the Governor of Wyoming has signed a bill into law that requires debt buyers to be licensed as collection agencies starting later this year.
A copy of the bill — House Bill 284 — can be accessed by clicking here.
The bill was introduced at the request of RMA International, according to Troutman, as a means of settling a debate over whether debt buyers needed to be licensed or not, even though the state licensing board has been granting exemptions to debt buyers for two decades.
The bill defines a debt buyer as:
any person that is regularly engaged in the business of purchasing charged‑off consumer debt for collection purposes, whether the person collects the debt, hires a third party for collection of the debt or hires an attorney for collection litigation
The law goes into effect on July 1. It also states that it does “not affect the validity of any civil action or arbitration filed or commenced by a debt buyer, or any judgment entered for a debt buyer” prior to July 1. The bill passed in the state House of Representatives by a vote of 39-to-23 and passed in the Senate by a vote of 17-to-14. Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, signed the bill into law the same day it was passed by the Senate.