Washington Legislative Week in Review, Feb 2-6

It will be a busy week for credit unions in Olympia. House Bill 1871 and its companion measure, Senate Bill 5757, provide updates and modernize the Washington Credit Union Act, addressing credit unions’ corporate governance and investments powers.  House Bill 1871 is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, February 11 before the House Business & Financial Services Committee.  Senate Bill 5757 is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, February 12 before the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.

Another priority bill, House Bill 1872, authorizes credit unions to receive investments that would be treated as supplemental capital for purposes of calculating the credit union’s net worth.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, February 11 before the House Business & Financial Services Committee.

The Association and credit union leaders will testify before the committees in support of our legislation and to answer any questions the legislators might have.

Other Bill We are Tracking

Small Business Retirement Plan Marketplace

Senate Bill 5826 creates the Washington small business retirement marketplace, requiring the Department of Commerce to contract with a private sector entity to establish a program that connects eligible employers with qualifying plans.  The bill also requires DFI to review individual retirement account products proposed for inclusion in the marketplace to confirm that the products comply with certain requirements, and prohibits the Department of Commerce from offering and operating a state-based retirement plan for businesses or individuals who are not employed in this state.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee on February 11.

Overdraft Fees

Senate Bill 5611 addresses excessive overdraft fees.  The bill would prohibit a financial institution from charging a continuous overdraft fee beyond the initial overdraft fee or fees charged when the depositor exceeded the available balance of the account.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee on February 12. The NWCUA will be reviewing this bill closely with our Washington Governmental Affairs Committee this week.

Public Funds

Senate Bill 5265 allows banks that serve as public depositaries to arrange for reciprocal deposits of public funds and authorizes public funds to be deposited in institutions located outside of the state if certain conditions are met.  The bill was passed by the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee on February 5 and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

Patent Trolling

Substitute Senate Bill 5059 is attorney general-requested legislation that creates the Patent Troll Prevention Act prohibiting a person from making assertions of patent infringement in bad faith.  The bill was passed by the Senate Law & Justice Committee on February 5 and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.  The substitute version of the bill removes bad faith factors that were vague, and adds a good faith factor for those using a patent in connection with substantial research, development, production, manufacturing, processing, or delivery of products or materials.

Financial Fraud

Senate Bill 5069 creates the crime of possession of instruments of financial fraud and makes the unlawful possession of instruments of financial fraud a class C felony.  The bill was passed by the Senate Law & Justice Committee on February 3 and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

Financial Literacy

Substitute House Bill 1121 changes the composition and duties of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP).  The substitute bill provides that the partnership and OSPI shall work together to integrate financial education skills and content knowledge into the state learning standards (rather than specifying that they must be integrated into the Common Core State Standards), strikes the provision requiring the partnership to work with the State Board of Education to incorporate the standards into definitions and standards for career and college readiness, and requires that OSPI make available to districts a list of financial education materials that align with the integrated standards (rather than requiring that curriculum with sufficient content to be equivalent to one-half credit be made available to districts).  The substitute also requires districts to provide the opportunity to all high school students to access the financial education standards (rather than requiring districts to provide the opportunity to complete a financial education course or courses), and specifies that such access could be through a variety of means such as through a class, during lunch, before or after school, or via online opportunities.  The bill was passed by the House Education Committee on February 2 and was referred to the House Rules Committee.

Substitute Senate Bill 5202 also changes the composition and duties of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP).  The substitute bill replaces language directing the partnership to work with OSPI to integrate financial education skills and content knowledge into the Common Core state standards with language directing integration into the state’s academic learning requirements.  A provision directing the partnership to work with the State Board of Education to incorporate financial education into standards for career and college readiness is removed.  A section adopting the Jumpstart Coalition national standards in K–12 personal finance as the state academic learning requirements for financial education is eliminated.  A provision directing OSPI to make curricula available to all districts for courses in financial education is deleted and a provision directing OSPI to make a list of courses that align with the financial education standards integrated into the academic learning requirements available to all districts is added.  Also, the substitute requires school districts to provide the opportunity to access the financial education standards to students in grades 9–12, and online learning opportunities are added as potential access opportunities.  The bill was passed by the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee on February 5 and referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

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 was passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on February 3 and was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

First Mortgage Interest B&O Tax Deduction

Senate Bill 5475 would require the Department of Revenue to administer the banks’ business and occupation tax 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.  The bill was passed by the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee on February 5 and referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Unclaimed Property

Senate Bill 5543 would require unclaimed property reports to be filed electronically beginning July 1, 2016.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Government Operations & Security Committee on February 12.

Financial Fraud

House Bill 1090 reauthorizes and expands the Financial Fraud and Identity Theft Crimes Investigation and Prosecution Program.  After passing the House Judiciary Committee the bill was referred to the House General Government & Information Technology Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing on February 10.

Credit Union Day at the Capitol

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

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.  And this year we have the dramatic findings of the ECONorthwest credit union impact report on our side.

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

Look for the Washington Legislative Week in Review each week in Anthem during legislative session which runs January 29 – April 26, 2015. If you have questions or comments, please contact Mark Minickiello, mminickiello@nwcua.org, 206.340.4812.

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