Garnishments resumed in Washington State - mostly
On May 29, 2020 Governor Inslee issued proclamation 20-49.4.This continued with modifications the various line of proclamation 20-49 concerning garnishments and post judgment interests.
Since our original post addressing 20-49 there have been modifications to the proclamation in subsequent proclamations. For clarity each of them are available on the Governor's website:
20.49 (April 14, 2020)
20.49.1 (May 1, 2020)
20.49.2 (May 22, 2020)
20.49.3 (May 26, 2020)
20.49.4 (May 29, 2020)
Under the original 20-49 the Governor Inslee prevented the accrual of interest and garnishments based on consumer debt for both wage and bank garnishments. The original proclamation was in effect from April 14, 2020 until May 28, 2020. This was based on an assertion that garnishments to collect consumer debt and allowing post-judgment interest could hinder the response to the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency.
20.49 was in effect from April 14, 2020 until May 15, 2020.
20.49.1 extended the proclamation, without modification, until May 21, 2020
20.49.2 extended the proclamation, without modification, until May 28, 2020
20.49.3, however, changed the proclamation, and extended it until June 1, 2020. There were two changes of substance. First, the proclamation was limited to garnishment of bank accounts being prohibited, but wage garnishment not being prohibited. Second, post-judgment interest is no longer frozen (April 14 to May 27th inclusive being the frozen dates).
20.49.3 indicates that it is the "intent of this amended proclamation ...to continue to protect...stimulus payments, as well as state and federal unemployment payments, from bank account garnishments."
20.49.4 extended, without further modification, the proclamation (as amended) until June 17, 2020.
The short take-aways:
Creditors: interest was frozen for at least April 14, 2020 until end of day May 27, 2020. It is likely safest to round those 43 days up to 45 days. Most courts are likely to require any calculations of interest to demonstrate this period being eliminated for consumer debt and shown. Several counties have made this express.
Debtors: bank accounts remain safe, but wage garnishments may resume. If you had any wage garnishments occurring prior to 20-49, then now would be a good time to contact the creditor to try to reach a resolution.