Washington Legislative Week in Review: Bills Continue Steady Progress as Deadlines Draw Near

The Washington State Legislature continued its steady march toward the March 1 committee deadline, with Friday looming as the last day to read in committee reports from House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees in their house of origin. Bills that have not passed out of committee and into Rules by March 1 are considered dead.

The House Business & Financial Services Committee spent much of its time last week passing bills out of committee—also known as executive session—but did make time to hold hearings on payday lending, credit card surcharging and military experience towards meeting licensing requirements.

The Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee spent all of its time last week in executive session as well, passing previously heard bills out of committee.

Washington Credit Union Act – Senate Bill 5302 passed the Senate this morning by a unanimous vote of 49-0, and it will now head to the House, where it will be scheduled for another floor vote.

Substitute House Bill 1582, a companion measure to SB 5302, remains in the House Rules Committee, and Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Vice President of Legislative Affairs Mark Minickiello said the Association will now focus on having the bill pulled out of the House Rules Committee this week.

Financial Literacy – House Bill 1173 received a do pass recommendation from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education on Feb. 20 and was referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill modifies membership and certain procedures and duties of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP) and requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to make available to all school districts the curriculum for a course or courses in financial education.

Collection of Unpaid Wages – House Bill 1467, which addresses the collection of unpaid wages remains in the House Rules Committee. The bill modifies procedures for the collection of unpaid wages by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). As part of the bill, L&I is authorized to match its outstanding warrants against deposit accounts held by financial institutions registered in Washington State. The Association is working to reduce the regulatory burden on credit unions should the bill be passed into law. An amendment is being proposed that would require L&I to parallel the process that the Department of Revenue (DOR) currently uses to perform data matching with financial institutions.

Credit Card Surcharging – Substitute House Bill 1870, addressing methods of payment received a hearing before the House Business & Financial Services Committee on Feb. 19. The bill then received a do pass recommendation from the committee on Feb. 21 and was referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill prohibits a person that accepts credit cards for the transaction of business from imposing a surcharge for the use of a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means. The substitute version of the bill exempts government entities.

Payday Lending – House Bill 1658 raising the cap on the total number of small loans a borrower may have in a 12-month period received a hearing before the House Business & Financial Services Committee on Feb. 19. The bill then received a do pass recommendation from the committee on Feb. 20 and was referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill raises the number of small loans a borrower may have in a 12-month period from eight to 12.

Small Consumer Installment Loans – Substitute Senate Bill 5312, authorizing small consumer installment loans passed the Senate on Feb. 20 by a vote of 30-18 with 1 excused. The bill creates the Small Consumer Installment Act and requires businesses offering the small consumer installment loan to be licensed and regulated by DFI. A small consumer installment loan may not exceed $1,500. A licensee may provide more than one loan to a borrower as long as all scheduled payments in any month to all licensees does not exceed 15 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income. The maximum interest rate is 36 percent, excluding fees, penalties, and other authorized charges, and an origination fee may not exceed 15 percent of the loaned amount. The minimum repayment term is six months. Payments are to be substantially equal and consistent with payments every 14-35 days. A licensee may charge a monthly maintenance fee of $7.50 per $100 loaned.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Advocacy News.