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On January 2, the Ohio governor signed SB 131, which, among other things, requires “an occupational licensing authority to issue a license or government certification to an applicant who holds a license, government certification, or private certification or has satisfactory work experience in another state under certain circumstances.” The Act eases licensing burdens by allowing licensed professionals to apply for and be granted a license to work provided they meet certain criteria. Specifically, a licensing authority shall issue a license or government certification to an applicant if the authority determines that the applicant meets several conditions, including: (i) the applicant holds either a “substantially similar out-of-state occupational license that authorizes the applicant to engage in the same profession, occupation, or occupational activity as the license or government certification for which the applicant is applying in this state” or a “government certification in the same profession, occupation, or occupational activity as the license or government certification for which the applicant is applying in this state from one of the uniformed services or a state that does not issue an out-of-state occupational license for the respective profession, occupation, or occupational activity”; (ii) the applicant possesses a valid out-of-state license for at least one year immediately preceding the date the application is submitted and has been actively engaged in the profession (a licensing authority may choose to waive this requirement); (iii) the applicant is in good standing; (iv) the applicant satisfied minimum education, training, or experience requirements or passed an examination to receive an out-of-state occupational license or government certification (this provision is waived if applicable law does not require these requirements); (v) the applicant has not surrendered or had revoked a license, out-of-state occupational license, or government certification, and does not have any disqualifying criminal history or is the subject of a complaint, allegation, or investigation related to unprofessional conduct or a violation of a law; and (vi) the applicant pays the required fees. The Act also discusses additional pathways for licensure through private certification.
In December, the New York governor signed A 7737-B, the “Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act,” which amends the rights of parties in foreclosure actions. Among other things, the law provides that a lender or servicer’s voluntary discontinuance of a foreclosure action does not reset New York’s 6-year statute of limitations on foreclosures, according to New York CPLR §213. Further, pursuant to the new law, if an action to foreclose a mortgage or recover any part of the mortgage debt is time-barred, any other action seeking to foreclose the mortgage or recover the debt is also time-barred. The amendments are effective immediately and, notably, apply to all pending actions in which a final judgment of foreclosure and sale has not been enforced.
On November 22, the New York governor signed AB 7389, which establishes a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transaction. Among other things, the bill also establishes a section on the moratorium on air permit issuance and renewal that states that the state cannot approve a new application, or issue a new permit, for an electric generating facility that utilizes carbon-based fuel and that provides behind-the-meter electric energy consumed or utilized by cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions. The bill is effective immediately.
Recently, the Arizona governor approved Proposition 209, which decreases the maximum lawful annual interest rate on “medical debt” from 10 percent to three percent. Among other things, the proposition defines “medical debt” as “a loan, indebtedness, or other obligation arising directly from the receipt of health care services or of medical products or devices.” Accordingly, in addition to judgments on medical debt, the three percent annual rate limit applies to loans or other financing for health care services or medical products or devices. The proposition also decreases the share of borrowers’ wages that lenders can garnish. The current limit is 25 percent, but that percentage will decrease to 10 percent for many consumers, and to five percent for consumers dealing with extreme economic hardship. Additionally, the proposition increases various exemption amounts, including: (i) $400,000 (up from $150,000) for the homestead exemption; and (ii) $15,000 (up from $6,000) for household furniture, furnishing, goods, and appliances. The proposition is effective immediately.
On December 7, a state court granted a temporary restraining order, which stopped the enactment of the approved measure. An evidentiary hearing is set to happen in December where the plaintiffs are seeking to have the proposition nullified.
On November 23, the New York governor signed S6522A/A7363A to prohibit certain hospitals and healthcare providers from placing liens on the primary residences of individuals with unpaid medical debts or garnishing wages to collect on unpaid bills or satisfy judgments arising from a medical debt lawsuit. “No one should face the threat of losing their home or falling into further debt after seeking medical care,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in an announcement. “I’m proud to sign legislation today that will end this harmful and predatory collection practice to help protect New Yorkers from these unfair penalties. The bill is effective immediately.
On November 3, the Pennsylvania governor signed HB 2667, which amends the definition of “remote location” in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. In order for a mortgage loan originator sponsored by a licensee to be permitted to work from a “remote location,” the location must meet certain criteria. The amended definition includes a prohibition against “in-person consumer interaction” that is limited to “in-person consumer interaction” at a mortgage loan originator’s personal residence. It also removes a requirement for a “remote location” to maintain “physical records regarding the licensee’s mortgage loan business . . . at the location.” The bill is effective immediately.
On November 2, the Delaware governor signed SB 296, which increases the threshold for licensed property appraisers so that they may appraise complex one to four residential units valued up to $400,000. Among other things, the bill also amends the requirements for licensure and registration, such as that property appraisers must renew their licenses every other year instead of yearly, whereas appraisal management companies are now required to reregister and certify annually, rather than biennially. The bill is effective immediately.
On November 3, the Pennsylvania governor signed SB 696 to amend the Breach of Personal Information Notification Act. The bill, among other things, prohibits employees of the Commonwealth from using non-secured Internet connections. The bill also includes data storage policy provisions, which establish that an entity that maintains, stores, or manages computerized data on behalf of Pennsylvania that constitutes personal information must develop a policy to govern reasonably proper storage of the personal information. The bill further notes that a goal of the policy must be to reduce the risk of future breaches of the security of the system. The bill is effective 180 days after approval by the governor.
On October 12, the New York governor signed S7862B, which prohibits state agencies from assessing certain additional collection fee charges on certain outstanding student debts. According to the bill, no state agency is permitted to assess an additional collection fee charge on any debt “owed by a debtor to a state agency for a liability resulting from tuition, fees, room and board, educational benefit overpayments, student loans, or other such charges incurred by a student in furtherance of such student's education,” under certain circumstances. The act is effective April 1, 2023.
On September 27, the California governor signed AB 156, which, among other things, amends various provisions of the Debt Collection Licensing Act to allow any debt collector that submits an application to the commissioner of the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation before January 1, 2023, to operate pending the approval or denial of the application. The amendments also authorize the commissioner to issue a conditional license pending the receipt and review of fingerprints and related information. Additional provisions state that a conditional license will expire under certain conditions, including the issuance of an unconditional license. The amendments also grant the commissioner authorization to deem an application abandoned. The amendments take effect January 1, 2023.