Amend the bill in section 1 in subsection 2-A in the first line (page 1, line 3 in L.D.) by striking out the following: " Notwithstanding any provision of" and inserting the following: ' Except as prohibited by'
Amend the bill in section 1 in subsection 2-A in the 5th line (page 1, line 7 in L.D.) by inserting after the following: " shall" the following: ' reinvestigate the debt. If after the investigation it is determined that the debt is the result of economic abuse, the consumer reporting agency shall'
Amend the bill in section 3 in subsection 3-B in the 3rd line (page 1, line 18 in L.D.) by inserting after the following: " unauthorized" the following: ' or coerced'
Amend the bill by striking out all of section 4 and inserting the following:
‘Sec. 4. 19-A MRSA §4007, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2017, c. 288, Pt. A, §§23 to 26, is further amended to read:
Amend the bill by relettering or renumbering any nonconsecutive Part letter or section number to read consecutively.
The bill adds remedies for economic abuse to the relief a court may include in a protection from abuse order. This amendment makes revisions to the bill ensuring that it does not conflict with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, including provisions concerning identity theft, as well as modifying the monetary relief generally available to the court to allow the court broader discretion in addressing economic abuse issues.
This amendment addresses concerns about preemption of state law by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and makes clear that a credit reporting agency's removal from a consumer's credit report of references to debt or any portion of a debt determined to be the result of economic abuse is not intended to conflict with federal law but complement the federal law and protect survivors of economic abuse when possible. The amendment requires the credit reporting agency to reinvestigate the debt, and if it is determined that the debt is the result of economic abuse, the credit reporting agency must remove reference to the debt, or any part determined to be the result of economic abuse, from the consumer's credit report.
The amendment clarifies the definition of "economic abuse" to include both unauthorized and coerced use of credit, recognizing that there are already remedies for the crime of identity theft. This amendment is not intended to address identity theft, which is covered by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act in 15 United States Code, Section 1681c-2. Instead, the amendment includes, but is not limited to, the exploitative use of joint credit accounts without authorization by both joint owners and debt incurred through coercion.
The amendment adds language to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 19-A, section 4007, subsection 1 to ensure that it is clear that the abuse for which a plaintiff may seek the issuance of a protection from abuse order is what is defined as abuse in Title 19-A, section 4002, subsection 1. The bill does not add economic abuse as a type of conduct for which a protection from abuse order may be sought, although it does provide that if a protection from abuse order is issued, the court has expanded discretion to order appropriate monetary relief to help address the impact of any economic abuse that may be found by the court. The amendment makes clear that the court may make a finding of economic abuse.
The amendment strikes from the bill language specific to economic abuse relief that may be included in a protection from abuse order and instead amends the current law concerning monetary compensation. The amendment broadens the available relief by changing the monetary compensation in current law to monetary relief to the plaintiff that includes, but is not limited to, the existing types of relief and adds transitional living expenses, which are often necessary for plaintiffs who have suffered economic abuse. It also provides that the monetary relief component of a protection from abuse order does not limit the court's discretion to provide any other relief in a protection from abuse order, either as the statute specifically enumerates or as the court may find necessary and appropriate to issue as part of the proceeding under its discretion in section 4007, subsection 1, paragraph M, and does not preclude the plaintiff from seeking monetary relief through other actions as permissible by law.
FISCAL NOTE REQUIRED