FRESH START ACT

Provide Financial Relief to Washington Families

During the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing numbers of Washington families rely on exemptions to protect their property from creditors. Yet, outdated laws put this option out of reach for many at the time they need it the most. The Fresh Start Act addresses that problem.

The Issue
Washington personal property exemptions are too low.

Currently, the National Consumer Law Center, gives our state a "C" grade for protecting the personal property of working families.

"Our personal Property exemption has not kept up with the increased cost of living on our state"

Washington exemptions must protect working families. Families like Nadia's (right) are all over Washington. Her story shares the concerns of the thousands who relied on industries like hospitality which were shut down as Covid-19 cases got worse.

The Solution
Personal property exemptions protect working families.

When filing for bankruptcy, a debtor can protect the equity in their personal property up to a certain limit. If the value of the property is less than the limit, the bankruptcy trustee cannot seize and sell the home. The exemption also protects small business owners struggling to stay afloat in the face of COVID-19 shutdowns.

The Outcome
Families will see real pandemic relief at no cost to the state.

The Fresh Start Act provides real, tangible relief to vulnerable working people without costing taxpayers a cent.

Washington's current exemption levels fail to keep individuals out of poverty. Amiee (left) was unable to work due to an unforeseen medical condition and left with minimal state assistance after a horrific car accident. People like Amiee get forced into debt due to resorting in credit cards for basic needs, leaving them with a bill they'll have eventually deal with during their hardship. Without stronger exemptions, people like Amiee will be forced to turn over personal injury settlements -- money needed to pay for medical expenses, lost wages and more -- to out of state debt buyers.

What does the Fresh Start Act do?
  • Helps working families keep their cars by raising the exemption to the average value of a vehicle
  • Helps people keep enough money in their bank account to cover rent and necessities
  • Helps small business owners keep the tools they need to run their business
  • Helps injured persons protect their compensation for their pain and suffering
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