U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has introduced a bill with bi-partisan support that exempts collection attorneys engaging in litigation from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The proposal mirrors a current House bill that has been gaining steam. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) introduced the Fair Debt Collection Practice Technical Clarification Act in the House of Representatives in July 2013.

Sen. Toomey’s bill would, “preclude law firms and licensed attorneys from the definition of a debt collector when taking certain actions, and for other purposes." It would "amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to preclude law firms and licensed attorneys from the definition of a debt collector when taking certain actions."

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. It currently has one co-sponsor, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

The House bill has been heavily supported by the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA).

The group has noted that the bill offers a highly technical fix to the FDCPA and would apply only when collection attorneys are “engaged in litigation practice within the purview of a court.” All other communications from collection attorneys must still comply with the FDCPA, according to the group.

Joann Needleman, president of NARCA, noted that bi-partisan support is a crucial element of the legislation. She called it a common sense fix that should continue to gain support from all political sides.

The Congressional Printing Office has yet to publish the full text of the bill, but the title language is identical to that of HR 2892, the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Technical Clarification Act of 2013.”

ACA International, the largest association representing collection agencies, has aid its Legislative Committee will be reviewing the Senate version of the bill and will provide members with updates on its progress.

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