Collector - March 2021 - 18

Plugged
The tsunami of state-level legislation we
saw last year highlighted the importance of keeping up with state laws and regulations.

By Anne Rosso May

W

hen the New York City
Department of Consumer Affairs
initially-and, some might say,
quietly-promulgated information about
its new Foreign Language Services Rules in
March 2020, it did so just as the COVID-19
pandemic was cresting in the U.S. and
everyone was primarily focused on grasping
the reality of the crisis.
The rules would have a significant impact
on how accounts receivable management
companies communicate with New
York City consumers. Considering the
circumstances, the legislation might have
flown under the radar if it hadn't been for
the attentiveness of the New York State
Collectors Association. Thanks to its strong
relationships with external groups, it didn't
take long for emails about the rulemaking
to start circulating. Once tipped off, ACA
International members sprang into action.
" As rules like this are being proposed,
the earlier you learn about them, the better
chance there is to get a seat at the table
to impact the final rule, " said Matthew B.
Corwin, partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson
LLP. " When members learn about rules
during the proposal period, it allows us to
solicit input and feedback on the rule from
those who it is going to affect most and
then try to effectuate positive change in
the final rule. "

18

Keeping up with legal changes at the state
and city level can be challenging, especially
in the current environment. In 2020, ACA
and its 36 state and regional units tracked
more than 900 state-level bills and more
than 1,300 executive orders and dozens of
emergency regulations on state closures and
requirements for employers and agencies
licensed in the industry, according to
Andrew Madden, ACA's vice president of
state government and unit affairs. That's a
significant uptick from the activity we saw
in 2019, when ACA tracked and worked on
640 state-level bills and only a handful of
executive orders related to natural disasters.
Paying close attention to the regulatory
goings on at the state level can improve
your business operations while preventing
costly mistakes. As Corwin pointed out, city
and state rules for the ARM industry often
come with arduous compliance burdens
that require careful planning and strategic
thinking, so the sooner you know about
them, the better.
" Like any other business operation, the
longer the ramp up, the more efficient the
rollout can be from a compliance and cost
standpoint, " he said. " Things done at the
last minute tend to be more expensive than
things that are done thoughtfully. "
Another incentive to actively keep up with
state rules and regulations? Failure to comply

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Collector - March 2021

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