Washington Legislative Week in Review

Public Funds for Credit Unions. Association staff learned this week that Sen. Hobbs, Chair of the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee, is drafting a public funds bill for credit unions. He intends to pre-file in the next few weeks and to pass it out of his committee in the 2012 legislative session. Staff is setting up a meeting with the senator to discuss the need for a new bill as House Bill 1327 has already been passed by the House and the senator could simply vote that bill out of his committee next year instead of starting the process over with a new bill. The new bill may include an amendment offered by the State Treasurer that the Association did not find objectionable.

Prize-Linked Savings Accounts. Senate Bill 5232 passed the House on Friday, April 1 by a vote of 91-2 with four excused. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence. The bill was amended on the floor by Representative Alexander to allow for periodic or monthly drawings in addition to the grand prize drawing at the end of the year. The bill would allow financial institutions to participate in prize-linked savings promotions that incent consumer savings by entering participants into drawings for cash prizes.

Foreclosure. House Bill 1362 passed the Senate on Tuesday, March 29 by a vote of 36-11 with two absent. The bill now goes back to the House for concurrence. The bill includes language that will exempt all credit unions that conducted less than 250 deed of trust foreclosures in the last calendar year from the bill’s mandatory mediation provisions. It also exempts these credit unions from paying for the cost of the mandatory mediation scheme created by the bill. Other provisions in the bill are applicable to credit unions, however, adding new meet-and-confer requirements. The bill will make Washington the third non-judicial foreclosure state in the nation to require a third-party mediation process.

Short Sales. Senate Bill 5590 is awaiting floor action in the House. The bill requires that, under certain circumstances, a senior beneficiary of a deed of trust on owner-occupied residential real property must respond to a short sale offer within 120 days of receiving the offer. The bill includes an exemption for any financial institution that conducts fewer than 250 trustee sales per year, thereby making the bill inapplicable to most, if not all Washington credit unions.

Small Business Reg Relief. House Bill 1150 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 30 by a vote of 47-0 with two excused and will now go to the Governor for her signature. The bill extends from two to seven calendar days the grace period allowing a small business to correct a violation of a law or rule before sanctions can set in.

UCC Art. 9. House Bill 1492 is awaiting floor action in the Senate. The bill makes modest changes to Washington’s Uniform Commercial Code relating to secured transactions (loans secured by property). The Association has some concerns about various provisions of the bill, and the bill’s sponsor has agreed to work with financial institution representatives over the legislative interim to address those concerns.

State Bank (& Son of State Bank). Both House Bill 2039 and House Bill 2040 were introduced last week. House Bill 2039 establishes the Washington Economic Prosperity Bank as an agency of the Washington State government, with the mission of financing Washington businesses and public infrastructure in order to promote economic growth, revitalize communities, encourage a healthy jobs climate, and enhance the quality of life for the state’s residents; and increase the effective, efficient, and accountable use of state resources by decreasing the number of state agencies and programs authorized to finance businesses and public infrastructure. The bank would achieve this objective by acting as a clearinghouse that provides a single point of decision making and accountability for allocating major economic development grant and loan funds. The state bank would be authorized to issue bonds to pay for projects and exercise any powers necessary to achieve its objectives. House Bill 2040 creates a 20-member task force, responsible for developing a means to use the state’s money to finance public works infrastructure, student loans, and economic development; and find alternate approaches that the state can use to assist in the financing of local infrastructure, and the cash management and banking needs of the state. House Bill 2040 was scheduled for a hearing before the House Committee on Capital Budget this morning, Tuesday, April 5.

Posted in Advocacy News.