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Friday, June 2, 2023

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A Wisconsin group criticizes two of its members of Congress, a new report says the Phoenix area cannot meet its groundwater demands, and Nevada's sporting community sends its priorities to the governor.

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The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

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Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

OR Bill Would Protect Against Poverty-Inducing Debt Collection

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Thursday, April 27, 2023   

Predatory lending practices can leave people in a cycle of debt and even drive them into poverty. Legislation in Oregon would strengthen protections for consumers.

House Bill 2008 would provide a number of protections for Oregonians. Currently, debt collectors can leave people with as little as $254 per week.

Chris Coughlin, policy director for Oregon Consumer Justice, said the bill would increase this amount substantially.

"This will allow Oregonians to make reasonable payments on their debt, while maintaining minimum wage amounts to meet basic needs and protect against the risk of homelessness," Coughlin explained.

Coughlin emphasized Oregon has some of the weakest protections against aggressive debt collecting in the country. In a report from December, the National Consumer Law Center gave the state a 'D' grade its laws.

Coughlin added the bill also protects people's bank accounts from seizure in collection cases. It is scheduled for a public hearing in Salem today.

Wally Walls was caught in medical debt because of the high price of insulin, and after a stay at the hospital. He said debt collectors hounded him.

"It was awful. It was never-ending. It's all I could think about," Walls recalled. "My phone would ring nonstop, off the hook, multiple times a day. Even if I answered them and said I couldn't pay, they would call me back."

Walls noted he was working full time at a dog kennel when collectors told him they wouldn't accept partial payments of his debts.

"That's when the garnishments came and I had to get a second job, because only taking home $250 a week isn't enough to barely survive, let alone be garnished," Walls pointed out. "So, I got a second full-time job at Burger King, down the road."


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