Privacy Bill Again Dies In California

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Senate Bill 1, a financial privacy bill authored by California state Sen. Jackie Speier and supported by the California Credit Union League, was defeated last week in the state's Assembly Banking and Finance Committee.

John Van Etten, legislative lobbyist for state governmental affairs at the CCUL, said the league was concerned about the legislation's chance of passing what he termed a "pro-business" committee before Tuesday's vote.

"We felt this committee was the greatest hurdle to the course of this bill passing," he said. "Turns out, our fears were well founded, because it didn't pass."

Van Etten said three assembly members in the committee supported S.B. 1, four voted "no" and five abstained. Similar privacy bills have failed to get enough support to pass the California legislature the past three years. He noted the California league supported S.B. 1 because it contained an "opt-out" provision, and would have cost less for credit unions to implement than previously proposed bills.

"We are working with other supporters of the bill to figure out the next steps," he said.

One possible route would be a ballot initiative. Van Etten said a coalition of consumer groups said they were a little over halfway to gathering the 380,000 signatures necessary to put the measure before California's voters.

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