COLUMBUS—State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today introduced legislation to halt all debt collections until after Gov. DeWine’s state of emergency declaration expires and to declare an emergency. The legislation is modeled after federal legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
“During this unprecedented crisis, Ohio families and small businesses should not have to worry about the looming threat of debts and associated fees that they simply cannot afford to pay at this time,” said Rep. West. “We must give hardworking Ohioans a chance to recover and rebuild from the devastating effects of this outbreak.”
This legislation would protect consumers and small business owners from collections efforts by creditors and debt collectors until after the COVID-19 emergency has subsided. It would also prohibit the following:
- Harassing phone calls;
- Disconnecting electricity and other utilities;
- Charging higher interest or penalty fees;
- Lawsuits to collect debts, evictions, garnishments, and other efforts to collect on the debt.
The bill also contains an emergency clause and would go into effect immediately if passed by both chambers of the legislature and signed by the governor.