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Louisiana lawmakers consider approving state debt collection office

May 10, 2013 Phil Burgess

The Louisiana House Committee on Ways and Means sent a bill that would establish the Office of Debt Recovery to the house floor recently. House Bill 629 would create a debt collection office that would seek to take casino winnings from residents who have outstanding debts to the state government, according to The Advocate.

Statewide agencies are not authorized to collect their own debts, the source said, which has led to the need for a centralized debt collection branch.

Louisiana has millions of dollars worth of debt owed to it, with officials telling The Advocate the latest estimate shows $690 million is owed in payments to various state agencies that are more than 180 days past due. The new legislation would allow the state to pursue payments that are just 60 days past due.

According to the stipulations in the proposed bill, all state agencies that did not have debt collection contracts with the state's attorney general before the start of 2013 will have to refer delinquent accounts to the new office. They would have until January 1, 2014 to comply if the law is passed.