Washington Legislative Week in Review, Jan 19-23

In the second full week of the 2015 Washington legislative session, several NWCUA legislative priorities successfully moved through the process.

Two bills that contain Washing Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and NWCUA-supported updates to the Washington Credit Union Act (WCUA) passed out of their respective policy committees and await action by their rules committees. HB 1062 had already passed the House Business & Financial Services Committee and was sent to the House Rules Committee. Its senate companion measure, SB 5300, received a hearing and was passed out to the Senate Rules Committee by the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee on January 21. 

These NWCUA update bills make several changes to the Credit Union Act including:

  • Expanding the definition of low-income qualification to include “household income,” whereas the current definition is for individual income only.
  • Providing that when two State Credit Unions merge, one or more members of State Credit Union A’s board may be added to State Credit Union B’s board for the duration of State Credit Union A’s unexpired term, and one or more members of State Credit Union A’s supervisory committee may be added to State Credit Union B’s supervisory committee for the duration of their unexpired term.
  • Providing a consistent 90 days in which to hold a special membership meeting, whereas under current law the timing to hold a special membership meeting ranges from 30, 60, and 90 days in various sections of the Act.
  • Updating the “parity-power” date to be the effective date of the bill (2015). This would then permit a State Credit Union, without a specific finding by the DFI’s Director of Credit Unions, to invoke the powers and authorities that a federal credit union had on December 31, 1993, or any subsequent date up to and including the effective date of this bill. (Parity is an essential feature in the Act for State Credit Unions to maintain a spirit of competition with federal credit unions.)
  • Amending the Act in regard to a State Credit Union’s investment powers, to state the current name of the trade association to which State Credit Unions belong (i.e., Northwest Credit Union Association). It would also clarify that State Credit Unions may use investment products related to employee benefits.
  • Changing the requirement for approving a merger or conversion by a State Credit Union from two-thirds to majority vote to a simple majority, unless the credit union prescribes in its bylaws a higher percentage approval vote than a simple majority.
  • Clarifying that a person may not hold itself out as engaging in the business of a credit union, or call itself a credit union unless it is a State Credit Union, federal credit union, out-of-state credit union, or foreign credit union.
  • Authorizing DFI to examine the electronic data processing of a CUSO.
  • Providing that when a person is prohibited from working with a State Credit Union, the prohibition also extends other depositary institutions, trust companies, bank holding companies, thrift holding companies, or financial holding companies doing business in Washington State.
  • Clarifying the administrative process by which DFI may remove a director, supervisory committee member, officer of employee.

Association staff continues to pursue additional changes to the Credit Union Act through a second bill. This second bill will include changes to the Act not included in DFI’s agency request bill.

Other bills we are tracking:

Public Funds

House Bill 1304 and its companion measure Senate Bill 5265 are related to public funds and are being supported by the Community Bankers of Washington. The bills allow a public depository to arrange for reciprocal deposits of public funds and authorize public funds to be deposited in institutions located outside of the state if certain conditions are met.

HB 1304 received a do-pass recommendation from the House Business & Financial Services Committee on January 21 and was referred to the House Rules Committee.

SB 5265 is scheduled to receive a hearing before the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee on January 29.

First Mortgage Interest B&O Tax Deduction

House Bill 1543 and its companion measure Senate Bill 5475 are related to the B&O tax exemption for income on loans secured by a first mortgage, and is being supported by the Community Bankers of Washington. The bills require the Department of Revenue to administer the deduction for income on loans secured by a first mortgage fully and according to the original intent of the legislature, without regard for accounting peculiarities required by GAAP. HB 1543 has been referred to the House Finance Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing on oHouse

Financial Fraud

House Bill 1090 and its companion measure Senate Bill 5058 reauthorize and expand the Financial Fraud and Identity Theft Crimes Investigation and Prosecution Program.

HB 1090 received a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on January 20. Association staff signed in, in support of the bill.

SB 5058 is scheduled to receive a hearing before the Senate Law & Justice Committee on January 26.

Financial Literacy

House Bill 1121 changes the composition and duties of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP), authorizes teachers appointed as members to be paid travel expenses from funds available, requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to make financial education curriculum available to school districts with sufficient content to be equivalent to one-half of one high school credit and to select the courses with input from FEPPP. The bill also requires school districts to provide students in grades nine through twelve the opportunity to complete a financial education course. The bill received a hearing before the House Education Committee on January 22. Association staff testified in support of the bill.

Senate Bill 5202 contains all of the same provisions of House Bill 1121 with the addition of adopting the Jumpstart Coalition national standards in K-12 personal finance education as the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) for financial education. The bill received a hearing before the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee on January 20. Association staff testified in support of the bill.

Senate Bill 5349 would require institutions of higher education to take reasonable steps to ensure that each enrolled student participates in a live financial literacy seminar. The bill has been referred to the Senate Higher Education Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, January 29.

Data Breach Notification

House Bill 1078 and its companion measure Senate Bill 5047 are AG request bills which would strengthen the state’s data breach notification requirements and make violations subject to the Consumer Protection Act. HB 1078 received a hearing before the House Technology & Economic Development Committee on January 21. Association staff signed in, in support of the bill.

Unclaimed Property

House Bill 1551 and its companion measure Senate Bill 5543 would require unclaimed property reports to be filed electronically beginning July 1, 2016. The Department of Revenue may however relieve any holder or class of holder from the electronic filing requirement if the department determines the new requirement does not support the efficient or effective administration of the program. HB 1551 has been referred to the House Finance Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, January 27. 

Credit Union Day at the Capitol

Join us! On Thursday, February 19 we will be holding our annual Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Olympia. Our goal is to have every legislator receive a visit from a credit union constituent on that day. The conference is free and the short program makes sending branch staff easier.

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Free registration
Free parking (space limited)
No tie required (dress as you would for work – logo-wear encouraged) 

If our state legislators don’t know anything about credit unions or the great things we do for our members and our communities, then they assume we are just like banks.  

Come help us spread the word about how different credit unions actually are. Register today!

Look for the Washington Legislative Week in Review each week during session in Anthem. If you have questions or comments, please contact Mark Minickiello, mminickiello@nwcua.org, 206.340.4812.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

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