In Oregon, CUs Get Public Deposits, But Bank-Backed Bill Dies

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Oregon's state House Business, Labor & Consumer Affairs Committee last week approved a bill that would allow CUs to accept deposits from public entities.

Just as importantly to credit unions here, however, is what the committee did not do -it did not vote on a CU taxation bill sponsored by the state's bankers. As the legislature has adjourned, that means the bill is dead, but a spokesperson for the Credit Union Association of Oregon said the issue still could be heard at a future time.

The committee approved the public deposits bill, known as Senate Bill 331, by a five-to-one vote on May 19. SB 331, which previously was passed by Oregon's Senate, will be allowed to bypass the House Revenue Committee and move directly to the Oregon House floor.

No floor session currently is scheduled, said Pamela Leavitt, senior VP-governmental affairs and PR for the CUAO."We are thrilled to move this bill out of committee, and skipping the House Revenue Committee is a major victory," she told The Credit Union Journal. SB 331 will "get in line" with other pieces of legislation on the House floor, she added. Leavitt said no date has been set for a vote, but she assumes it will take place some time during the last week of May.

According to the CUAO, public deposits are public funds deposited into a financial institution by the treasurer of any state or local government unit, or one of its agencies. The CUAO asserts the passage of SB 331 will allow government agencies diversified investments and enhanced returns thanks to increased competition for public deposits.

The House Business, Labor & Consumer Affairs Committee is now closed for the year, but Leavitt said that does not mean the bank-backed bill that seeks to tax credit unions with more than $100 million in assets is dead.

"The committee can meet at the call of the chair, or the bill can be heard in a number of other ways," she explained. "We are hoping the bill won't be heard, but we are staying on top of it, continuing our grass roots efforts and educating legislators."

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