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States' priorities
Credit Union Journal asked the state leagues: what legislative or regulatory action are you currently monitoring in your state(s)? Is there anything specific that you are lobbying for or against?

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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Alabama
The League of Southeast Credit Unions' advocacy efforts in Alabama include:

Implementation of an 18-month exam cycle for state chartered credit unions.

Establishing Prize-Linked Savings Accounts for credit unions in Alabama. Our credit unions want to educate state legislators about the need to educate and promote savings for credit union members.

Supporting legislation aimed at regulating the growing payday and title lending establishments in Alabama. Recently, Alabama has had more payday and title lenders per capita than any other state in the country.

We made important strides for credit unions in Alabama and Florida in 2016, and we intend to build on that momentum in 2017 with very proactive legislative agendas. We have an opportunity in Alabama to provide regulatory relief to credit unions through the implementation of an 18-month exam cycle, as well as working to curb the influence of predatory lenders and encourage saving. -
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Alaska
Given the State of Alaska’s budget shortfall resulting from the drop in oil prices, we are keeping a close watch on bills this session to ensure that the quest to balance the budget doesn’t result in initiatives specifically adverse to credit unions.

Additionally, the Alaska Legislature is considering a bill related to the ride-sharing app Uber that failed last session but seems to have more legs this session.
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Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming
Last year the Mountain West Credit Union Association passed two modernization bills in Arizona and Colorado, so we have decided to use 2017 as a year to build relationships with new lawmakers and play defense. We have been more proactive in Wyoming, where we have been pushing for public funds legislation to allow public funds to be deposited in credit unions.

A highlight last year was taking a group of credit union professionals from our three states on a visit to Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. the week of Sept. 12. In addition to meeting with some of our regular delegation, the group met with Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his key staff, the Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and Deputy Majority Whip Patrick McHenry.

The group also met with Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and longtime credit union champion Ed Royce. The conversations included discussing credit union issues, but also took included the opportunity to hear their plans and concerns for this Congress and what changes they anticipate after the election in November.
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Arkansas
All three of the Cornerstone Credit Union League states are in legislative session this year. The 91st Arkansas General Assembly convened on Jan. 9, the 56th Oklahoma Legislature on Feb. 6, and the 85th Texas Legislature on Jan. 10. To date, several thousand bills have been filed, and Cornerstone staff identified about 200 bills for a “watch list” containing language that could directly affect credit union operations.

In Arkansas, several bills have been filed that would amend tax law, specifically income tax and sales and use tax. One of the bills would tax certain “digital products” and our concern is that credit unions would be subject to paying tax on the specified digital products and codes. Another bill would permit all credit unions to apply to hold public funds and reaffirms that all banks are eligible to apply.
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California
The bill introduction deadline is Feb. 17, and the league is tracking introduced bills and waiting for others. California credit union leaders will be in Sacramento to lobby with their elected officials April 3 and 4. Other items of interest:

Cannabis Banking—The California League is serving as a resource to the state Treasurer’s office and others on the federal barriers that restrict credit unions’ ability to serve legal cannabis businesses.

Arbitration Clauses—California legislators are looking into arbitration clauses as a fix to some of the fraudulent activity from large banks.

Affordable housing—A top agenda item for legislators this session; they are looking at a number of ways to address the problem of housing affordability.
Frank Mancini, Connex CU
Frank Mancini, president and CEO of Connex CU
Connecticut
The Connecticut League has provided testimony on more than nine bills so far during the 2017 Connecticut state legislative session. There are many proposed bills that were introduced that would affect credit unions as financial institutions and as business to still be scheduled for hearings, so that number will increase. One bill the league asked to be introduced will raise the asset threshold for credit unions wishing to take advantage of access to funds through the State Treasurer and another would protect credit union employees acting in the best interest of their elderly members when they fear elder financial abuse. We testified in support of a bill that would require anyone who has a data breach to notify the state police in addition to the attorney general so a criminal investigation can occur if appropriate. We would like to see this bill go further but support any legislation that begins to hold any business that has access to consumer data accountable to the same stringent data security and notification standards as credit unions and other financial institutions. In addition, we provided testimony against bills that create additional burden or introduce new risks for credit unions as lenders.
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Delaware
Better Values—Better Banking, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.’s consumer advocacy campaign was seen and heard across multiple media channels in 2016, helping to generate in excess of 164,000 page views of its website, and reaching more than 181,000 consumers through its ad exposures in Facebook. In Delaware, the campaign delivered its message primarily through radio commercials placed strategically on stations throughout the state and through its popular “In Your Neighborhood” gatherings that saw consumers enjoying conversation and a coffee or pizza paid for by credit unions. The gatherings provided an ideal opportunity for credit union execs to engage consumers about their banking habits and preferences, and to educate them directly about the many ways credit union values make for a better banking experience.

Delaware’s credit unions promote awareness with their state lawmakers through membership in the Small Business Caucus. This group of key lawmakers meets with small business owners to discuss current and pending legislation while Delaware’s legislature is in session. In addition to providing credit union professionals with an opportunity to increase awareness of the value of credit union membership, the executives have an opportunity to establish and deepen relationship with their local legislators.

Ever vigilant on behalf of their members, the credit unions of Delaware are a proud resource for their local lawmakers. From enacting legislation to ensure financial literacy education is available to all students; to expanding legal protections related to online privacy and protection; and to providing a mechanism for financial institutions to freeze transactions when financial exploitation of an elderly person is suspected—Delaware’s legislators know that protecting the most vulnerable of the state’s residents will ensure the financial well-being of all its residents.

Pictured above: CCUA President/CEO Paul Gentile and Delaware credit union execs meeting with Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
Patrick La Pine, LSCU
Florida
The League of Southeastern Credit Unions' Florida advocacy efforts are focused on member-identified priorities such as:

Allowing Florida credit unions to accept public deposits.

Adding financial literacy to high school graduation requirements.

Protecting credit unions from lawsuits under the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

We made important strides for credit unions in Alabama and Florida in 2016, and we intend to build on that momentum in 2017 with very proactive legislative agendas. In Florida, we want credit unions to have an equal opportunity to serve their communities by accepting public deposits and have taken the lead in making that happen.
Attorney General Chris Carr stands with President/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates Mike Mercer at the GCUA Legislative Reception.
Georgia
The Georgia Legislature runs for 40 session days, and as of Feb. 17 has hit the midpoint. And by this midpoint there are already 200-plus bills being monitored and addressed by GCUA. With more bills introduced each day, significant effort is put forth on behalf of credit unions in the narrow three months of the legislature to protect credit union interests and mitigate negative issues that can impact how they operate. In addition to the issues addressed daily, three bills being pursued for the credit unions in Georgia:

Operational Improvements to Credit Union Charter: HB 143 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) contains multiple provisions for credit unions that are a direct result of dialogue between the Department of Banking and Finance and a credit union task force that met in the summer of 2016. The enhancements in the bill include flexibility on audit requirements for smaller credit unions, field of membership enhancements, clarification of nonmember deposits, operational improvements to permitted investments, merger votes, and improvements to fixed asset requirements.

Prized Linked Savings: “Save Earn Win Bill” SB 134 by Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) is an issue that GCUA has been in dialogue with the senator prior the session to institute the ability for credit unions to offer prize-linked savings accounts.

Board of Director Protections: HB 192 by Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) is a credit union-supported bill that seeks to strengthen the business judgment rule for financial institutions and strengthen the protections of board members from charges of “ordinary negligence” in their decision-making, leaving them liable only for gross negligence, fraud or bad faith.

In addition to the lobbying efforts, the Georgia CU Association holds two events in conjunction with the session: the State GAC/Grassroots Academy, an educational event for credit unions that was held on Jan. 24 and a credit union reception for all legislators on Feb. 7. This reception is held to create the opportunity to engage the industry with elected leaders and develop in-person connections.

Pictured above: Attorney General Chris Carr stands with President/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates Mike Mercer at the GCUA Legislative Reception.
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Downtown Seattle Space Needle and Mt. Rainier captured from Queen Anne.
Idaho/Oregon/Washington
A record number of advocates—206, to be exact—delivered some sweetness to legislators in Olympia, Wash., on Feb. 15. They shared the headline that

Washington’s not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions drove $5.5 billion in economic impact to the Evergreen State. That includes $369 million in direct benefits to members — a story only not-for-profit credit unions can tell. The messages were delivered on iced cookies, a tradition the legislators love.

Last month, advocates met with lawmakers in Boise and continued productive dialogue advocating for a progressive charter all in the interest of member services.

At the upcoming CUNA GAC and at Oregon’s Credit Union Day, the headline will continue to be the positive economic impact only not-for-profit credit unions can deliver. As well, we support legislation promoting common sense regulation that frees credit unions up to focus more on member service. And why not? Six million Northwest members—nearly 50% of the population — enjoy the credit union difference. Our focus is on raising awareness and removing unnecessary regulatory barriers, so millions more can benefit from CU membership. Idaho credit unions converged on the state capitol for their day at the legislature last month. There was a good atmosphere and lots of productive dialogue with lawmakers. The legislative session there is going well.
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Illinois
In Illinois, the 100th General Assembly began in January and the focus remains on the lack of a state budget. The Illinois Credit Union League is actively pursuing several measures this legislative session that would improve the operating environment for credit unions in the State. First, we are pursuing several amendments to the Illinois Credit Union Act which would: reduce the minimum par value of membership share; authorize credit unions to invest in pools of loans and corporate bonds; authorize member electronic voting; and update the network credit union authorization provision, in addition to making other favorable amendments to the Act. ICUL has also filed trailer legislation to a bill passed in 2016 which requires repair shops and tow lots to provide notice to lienholders when storage fees are accruing on a vehicle in their possession. Credit unions have experienced non-compliance on the part of the shop required to provide notice, and as a result this year’s legislation will bring clarity to the law as well as providing for penalties for noncompliance. ICUL also remains actively engaged in amending or defeating proposed legislation that would negatively impact the operating environment for credit unions in Illinois. On the regulatory front, ICUL is supporting proposed updates to the state member business lending rule following changes to the federal rule approved by the NCUA.
Freshman Congressman Jim Banks (IN-3) attended the Indiana League’s Legislative Affairs Forum on Feb. 13. He is shown with members of the League board and leadership. From left: League SVP Governmental Affairs Chris Beaumont; League President John McKenzie; League Director David Abernathy, Via CU; Rep. Banks; League Director Doug True, FORUM CU; League Board Secretary / CUNA Board Member Dallas Bergl, INOVA FCU; League Board Treasurer Kevin Ryan, Financial Center First CU.
Indiana
As the Indiana General Assembly reaches the halfway point of its 2017 session, the league has already successfully amended a financial services bill to include language that would provide state-chartered credit unions with the authority to purchase bank assets. The league amendment also included significant improvements to our Uniform Consumer Credit Code related to real estate loan prepayment penalties. The league is actively engaged on other issues including towing storage fees and mechanics’ liens, county recording fees, financial elder abuse and changes to the notary public law.

Pictured above: Freshman Congressman Jim Banks (IN-3) attended the Indiana League’s Legislative Affairs Forum on Feb. 13. He is shown with members of the League board and leadership. From left: League SVP Governmental Affairs Chris Beaumont; League President John McKenzie; League Director David Abernathy, Via CU; Rep. Banks; League Director Doug True, FORUM CU; League Board Secretary / CUNA Board Member Dallas Bergl, INOVA FCU; League Board Treasurer Kevin Ryan, Financial Center First CU.
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Iowa
Iowa is pursuing payment deferral legislation that will continue to allow credit union members to have important tools to manage their own financial lives. This legislation is progressing through both the House and Senate. ICUL is also aware of attempts by bankers to raise the taxes of credit union members, and is working with legislators to oppose that effort. This session, legislative leadership has tackled several non-financial services issues—collective bargaining, reproductive rights, minimum wage—which has taken a tremendous amount of legislative attention.
A record crowd of 191 Kansas credit union advocates shared these priorities and credit union successes with lawmakers during Credit Union Day at the Capitol  in Topeka on February 15.
Kansas
The Heartland Credit Union Association has several priorities for the 2017 Kansas legislative session, including efforts to preserve the independence of the state’s credit union regulator. An efficiency study commissioned by the Legislature called for consolidating certain functions of the Kansas Department of Credit Unions (KDCU) with 11 other state agencies, including the state bank commissioner.

HCUA and member credit unions continue their educational efforts on the purpose and value of the state’s tax exemption for credit unions. As the legislature looks to close a continuing shortfall in the state budget (currently at $350 million), all revenue opportunities and tax exemptions are on the table. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, Kansas credit unions do not pay the privilege tax that for-profit banks pay on their retained earnings.

HCUA Advocacy is working in conjunction with the state regulator on guidelines for the launch of prize-linked savings accounts in Kansas. HCUA helped pass legislation last year to permit state-chartered credit unions to offer PLS accounts, and HCUA has partnered with the Save to Win program for a roll-out of PLS accounts by Kansas credit unions.

A record crowd of 191 Kansas credit union advocates shared these priorities and credit union successes with lawmakers during Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Topeka on Feb. 15.
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Kentucky
This is a short session, 30 days, and we now have one party in control of both chambers and the governorship, leadership has flipped—so for us, it’s a time of staying under the radar and keeping a close eye on the landscape, especially the late hour amendment process. Tax reform will most likely be taken up in a special session mid to late summer. Although credit unions are currently not in the discussion, anything and everything could end up on the table. Although education and relationship building is always a priority, the new dynamic in our state puts these items at the top of our priority list.
Rep. John Picchiotti, who also serves as Chair of the Board at KSW FCU, and John Murphy, President of the Maine CU League, at a pre-session event the League held for legislators.
Maine
In Maine, the Maine Credit Union League has introduced two pieces of legislation this legislative sessionk including a bill to update and modernize the state CU charter, as well as a bill that would require tow companies and storage lots to notify lien holders within a certain period of time. Without notification, the fees for storing and keeping a vehicle can sometimes exceed its value. These issues were identified through our Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as our annual meeting with state chartered credit unions. Both bills have not yet been printed but we have completed final language and anticipate them being printed and sent to committee in the coming weeks. We have developed a multi-pronged strategy and talking points to help strengthen our case on both issues. Additionally, there are other bills we are taking an active role in and opposing, such as a bill that would charter a new state bank, a bill that would allow merchants to place a surcharge on credit cards and several other issues. In preparation for a busy legislative session, we have been reaching out to legislators and legislative leaders to outline and discuss legislation that could impact credit unions. Because the possession of recreational marijuana was legalized by Maine voters this past November, there is also a bill that would create a credit union for marijuana-based businesses. We are working to educate the sponsor and other legislators about the challenges surrounding the marijuana issue and the fact that it is still against federal law.

Pictured above: Rep. John Picchiotti, who also serves as Chair of the Board at KSW FCU, and John Murphy, President of the Maine CU League, at a pre-session event the League held for legislators.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, MD|DC CUA President/CEO John Bratsakis, SECU President/CEO Rod Staatz, Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing & Regulation Secretary Kelly Schulz, & Lorenzo Bellamy, Alexander & Cleaver.
Maryland/District of Columbia
The MD|DC Credit Union Association has been focused on paid leave bills in Maryland and the District of Columbia. While not credit union specific, the legislation will impact virtually all employers in both jurisdictions in some way. In the District, the DC Council passed a bill on Dec. 20, 2016 mandating up to eight weeks of paid leave for eligible district employees, making it one of the most generous leave policies in the nation. All employers in DC will pay into an account to fund the program which will be administered by the District. Mayor Muriel Bowser did not sign or veto the bill, which means it becomes law. Congress now has a small window to weigh in, but it is unlikely to be blocked.

In Maryland, the General Assembly is debating two competing bills on paid leave, one in which the employer threshold (to pay for employee leave) would kick in at 15 employees, and another proposed by the Governor with the threshold kicking in at 50 employees. Unlike the District, the employer would be responsible for administering and paying the employer. With the governor’s support, some version of paid leave is expected to pass before the legislature adjourns in mid-April. The MD|DC Credit Union Association is engaged with legislators and stakeholders in both jurisdictions on the issue.

Pictured above: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, MD|DC CUA President/CEO John Bratsakis, SECU President/CEO Rod Staatz, Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing & Regulation Secretary Kelly Schulz, & Lorenzo Bellamy, Alexander & Cleaver.-
Mass. CU League - 030117
Massachusetts
Better Values—Better Banking, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.’s consumer advocacy campaign, was seen and heard across multiple media channels in 2016, generating in excess of 164,000 page views of its website, and reaching more than 181,000 consumers through its ad exposures in Facebook. While the campaign delivered its message primarily through radio, airing more than 2,500 commercial spots on a variety of stations, it also tapped television, seeing CCUA President Paul Gentile appearing on a special news segment and in a series of commercials on WFXT, FOX25 in Boston. Credit union members also shared the TV spotlight, talking about their reasons for banking at a credit union in commercials for cable TV in Western Massachusetts. The campaign also hosted more than a dozen “In Your Neighborhood” gatherings, inviting consumers to enjoy a coffee or pizza paid for by credit unions. The gatherings provided an ideal opportunity for credit union execs to engage consumers in conversation about their banking habits and preferences, and to educate them directly about the many ways credit union values make for a better banking experience.

CCUA strongly advocated for change before the Massachusetts Legislature and provided a combination of written and oral testimony on 41 bills covering key credit union issues. Support was provided on such issues as patent reform, financial literacy, and data breach legislation; opposition on such issues as mortgage disclosures, interchange, and judicial foreclosure requirements.

Significant improvements were made in state regulation—five of 26 regulations repealed, 12 amended, and a new parity regulation to include supplemental capital authority. CCUA launched a key partnership with the MA Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, resulting in the development of an online ATM Skimming Toolkit.

Pictured above: CCUA President/CEO Paul Gentile with Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks Terence McGinnis
Representatives from Minnco CU and Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt.
Minnesota
The Minnesota Credit Union Network has several state legislative priorities for the 2017 session. First and foremost is general credit union education. Following November’s election, we have dozens of new lawmakers at the state capitol. Therefore, it is as important as ever that credit unions educate their representatives on the credit union difference, and develop strong relationships with legislative decision makers. As a result, MnCUN held four Credit Union Days at the Capitol in late January/early February, attended by credit union professionals from across the state.

In addition, Minnesota Credit Unions are pushing for the following specific initiatives this session:

* Support of a bill that includes state credit union charter enhancements and common-sense regulatory relief

* Working with the State Realtors Association on the Minnesota Home Buying Savings Act: a first-time homebuyer savings account to provide Minnesotans who want to become homeowners with tax incentives to save for the purchase of a first home within the state

* Working with law enforcement to ensure that financial institutions are able to share the proper information for them to charge and prosecute

* Support of changes to forfeiture statutes in order to protect lienholder rights in DWI instances.

Pictured above: Representatives from Minnco CU and Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt.
Missouri credit union advocates shared these concerns and credit union successes with lawmakers during Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City on Feb. 1.
Missouri
Common-sense reforms to Missouri’s outdated Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) are a top priority for the Heartland Credit Union Association with the Missouri legislature. MMPA reform legislation (SB 5) was introduced and HCUA Advocacy is working with a coalition in support of the measure. MMPA is being used instead of other remedies to target businesses, including credit unions, alleging paperwork required prior to selling repossessed collateral contains minor errors and is in violation of state law. MMPA lawsuits are expensive to defend and judgements often result in egregiously out-of-proportion penalties (six or seven digit judgements are common).

HCUA Advocacy is also working in support of a bill to fund technology upgrades for the Department of Revenue to implement electronic lien and title (ELT) technology.

HCUA Advocacy is closely monitoring a number of bills that may negatively impact credit unions, including changes to Missouri’s foreclosure process, legislation exposing credit unions to potential lawsuits for prohibiting guns on the premises, and others.

Missouri credit union advocates shared these concerns and credit union successes with lawmakers during Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City on Feb. 1.
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Montana
Montana’s credit unions are supporting a bill to amend the state statutes related to gambling to provide the ability for CUs to offer prize-linked savings programs. The earned income tax credit is also coming up again in this session, and credit unions back that effort, as well.

The state’s credit unions are also keeping a close eye on a bill to amend the concealed carry laws to allow individuals with the concealed carry license to carry a gun into a financial institution.

But no matter what issues are being debated, a primary focus for the Montana Credit Union League is in developing relationships with lawmakers and even other lobbyists to make sure that credit unions are always part of the conversation.
State Senator Dan Quick; Gene Siadek, Director with Family Focus FCU; Steve Edgerton, VP Operations & GA Officer with Centris FCU.
Nebraska
In Nebraska, credit unions are seeking several updates to Nebraska Revised State Statutes. Legislative Bill 208 would amend the State Real Estate License Act to include credit unions on the list of permissible depositories for real estate brokers to consider when opening a real estate trust account. Legislative Bill 454 would allow state-chartered credit unions to opt-out of the requirement to license their loan officers with the Department of Banking and Finance. Legislative Bill 375 would update the State Credit Union Act by making several technical changes, eliminating outdated sections, and allow credit unions to purchase the assets and assume the liabilities of other financial institutions. LB 582 would amend the membership section in the State Credit Union Act to clarify the community charter by adding “persons within a well-defined geographical boundary”.

In addition to supporting these bills and several others, the league will be fighting bills harmful to Nebraska credit unions. Legislative Bill 52 would create the “Modern Tax” and levy a 5.5% tax on the interest paid on qualified loans which would include home mortgages, car loans, personal loans, credit cards and others. Legislative Bill 559 would prohibit the collection of interchange fees on the taxes or fees charged on an electronic payment transaction.

Pictured above: State Senator Dan Quick; Gene Siadek, Director with Family Focus FCU; Steve Edgerton, VP Operations & GA Officer with Centris FCU.
Financial Horizons CU (Hawthorne, NV) EVP Theresa Lupori with Nevada state Assemblywoman Robin Titus on the Assembly Floor on Feb. 15, 2017—the date of the Nevada Credit Union League Government Relations Rally in Carson City, NV.
Nevada
The 2017 legislative session began Feb. 6; bill introduction deadline is March 20. The Nevada League is tracking legislation. Nevada credit unions leaders were in Carson City Feb. 15 to lobby their elected officials. Other items of interest:

HOA super-priority lien—the Nevada League continues to have conversations about the impact of the Nevada homeowners’ association (HOA) super-priority lien and the risk the HOAs’ ability to extinguish a first mortgage has on credit unions and other financial institutions. The super-priority lien allows HOAs to foreclose on a property to collect delinquent assessments and extinguishes all other liens on the property.

Green Energy Financing Program: A bill has been introduced and the Nevada League is working with the governor’s office to make sure consumers are protected when receiving these types of loans.

Pictured above: Financial Horizons CU (Hawthorne, NV) EVP Theresa Lupori with Nevada state Assemblywoman Robin Titus on the Assembly Floor on Feb. 15—the date of the Nevada Credit Union League Government Relations Rally in Carson City, NV.
New Hampshire CU League - 030117
New Hampshire
Better Values—Better Banking, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.’s consumer advocacy campaign, was seen and heard across multiple media channels in 2016, generating in excess of 164,000 page views of its website, and reaching more than 181,000 consumers through its ad exposures in Facebook. While the campaign delivered its message primarily through radio, it also tapped digital advertising through pre-roll videos posted to the WMUR TV website in Manchester, and through “In Your Neighborhood” gatherings that saw consumers enjoying conversation and a coffee or pastry paid for by credit unions. The gatherings provided an ideal opportunity for credit union execs to engage consumers about their banking habits and preferences, and to educate them directly about the many ways credit union values make for a better banking experience.

Judicial victory scored by New Hampshire credit unions and other mortgage lenders in the Pinewood Estates Condominium Association case before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc. joined the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority and other lenders in a legal challenge to represent the interests of credit unions. The Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court’s decision marking a significant victory for credit unions offering condominium loans. The victory gives lenders a clear understanding of the risks involved in extending condominium mortgage financing. This result protects the interests of not just lenders, but also existing associations, unit owners and developers. It also ensures continued growth and availability of condominiums in New Hampshire.

Dedicated advocacy resources to protecting credit union rights in the world of emerging technology, such as with lien-holder notification relative to Uber and other transportation network companies.

Pictured above: New Hampshire credit unions meet with representatives from New Hampshire Banking Department and New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services.
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New Jersey
There are five things the New Jersey Credit Union league is working on right now and two of them are nearing completion.

Firstly, we got legislation enacted in January 2016 to enable credit unions to offer prize-linked savings accounts, so we’re lobbying the Division of Banking to adopt the final rules that will impact the state-chartered credit unions.

Secondly, there’s a bill that has to do with kill switches [remote shut-off devices that can be used on delinquent auto loans] that would have prevented those in New Jersey. We worked with the sponsor of the bill and got the sponsor to change it from an outright ban on them to setting up some parameters [around interest rate caps whether or not borrowers can be charged the device].

That bill has passed both houses of the legislature but received a conditional veto from the governor, who sent it back to the legislature. The Assembly has blessed the new language and we’re waiting for the Senate to do the same.

The three other areas we’re focused on are a state interchange bill; legislation that would mandate the motor vehicle commission to adopt electronic lien and titling; and a data breach bill that we’ve pushed for a number of sessions which limits the data a retailer can retain after the sale, authorizes a card user to identify the breaching entity and provides for recovery of associated costs.
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New Mexico
We are currently supporting three bills in the New Mexico Legislature.

A Data Breach Notification Act has been unanimously adopted by our House of Representatives and we are now moving into the Senate. New Mexico has no protection for consumers who are victims of data breaches, and we feel this legislation will go a long way to provide consumer protection and assist in reducing fraud losses.

A CDFI bill is now moving through several legislative committees. The bill would establish a CDFI fund to assist with economic development in the state. We have a number of CDFI credit unions and this bill would create a new mechanism designed to grow the economy.

Finally we are supporting a bill that would end the practice of municipalities seizing the property of individuals charged, but not convicted of a crime. This practice results in legal and lawful lien holders forfeiting collateral, such as autos, that have been pledged to secure a loan.
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New York
The New York Credit Union Association will continue to focus on advancing pro-credit union bills this year, including legislation addressing demand note robbery penalties, ride-hailing companies, data security, local government deposits, a state funds deposit program, mortgage foreclosure reform, the inclusion of credit unions in the state’s Banking Development District program and the creation of a state CDFI fund.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has laid out an ambitious wish list of items he’d like the legislature to take up this session, some of which intersect with our legislative agenda. For example, in recent public comments, the governor has supported expanding ride-hailing services throughout the state. He’s also expressed support for new cybersecurity requirements, which the state Department of Financial Services recently finalized.

NYCUA will work to ensure that any ride-hailing legislation contains a requirement for adequate insurance coverage and an equitable regulatory framework.

On the data security front, we’ll continue to push for higher merchant security standards, increased flexibility with respect to consumer notification, and the ability to seek restitution from the responsible party in the event of a data breach.
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North Carolina and South Carolina
The Carolinas’ general assemblies convened in January and will likely adjourn midyear. Carolinas Credit Union League Governmental Affairs Committees meet regularly and had confirmed League advocacy priorities amid election season, so League work had begun well before 2017’s legislative sessions.

In North Carolina, league-supported measures that could not overcome late-2016 political standoffs are expected for reintroduction. Among those are technical corrections and conforming changes that address escrow and bond accounts for credit unions, giving them parity with banks in several areas and providing consumers a wider array of financial institution choices when conducting business with public and private entities. Also, improvement in regulatory flexibility for state-chartered credit unions would extend the current annual exam cycle to 18 months.

The league also looks to make long-needed updates to the South Carolina credit union charter and improve an environment in which only 11 state-chartered credit unions operate. Active legislation would: (1) permit credit unions to offer certain services to certain nonmembers; (2) clarify procedures for adding community groups; (3) provide flexibility for boards to meet ten times per year rather than monthly and allow for remote participation; and (4) permit credit union investment in certain charitable donation accounts. The League has called for staff and member grassroots communication urging legislator support amid banker objection.
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North Dakota
No one can argue that this election cycle has been anything short of a head shaker, full of surprises that impacted down-ticket races right here in North Dakota.

Trump, who took over 63% of the vote in the state, directly led to many veteran, incumbent Democratic down-ticket legislative races being impacted.

Most notably, the Democrats lost both of their minority leaders in the Senate and House. Probably even of a more demoralizing hit for the party was the loss of their party chairwoman.

And if that weren’t enough, they also lost their long-time former Senate minority leader as well. All told, seven key Democrat incumbents lost in the state Senate, and eleven Democrat incumbents lost in the state House. The Republicans currently hold a massive majority in both chambers with an 81 to 13 seat advantage in the House, and 38 to 9 seat advantage in the Senate.

This means that there are 36 new or first-time legislators this session, with nine in the Senate and twenty-four in the House. That kind of turnaround in an election cycle does present a challenge for credit union advocates in educating new legislators on the credit union difference. This makes any new legislation that we would want to move forward this session more difficult. Not impossible, but certainly more challenging.

Leading into the session, the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) was working with the ND Department of Financial institutions on modernizing the state credit union statute, most notably the Member Business Lending rules. However, with the looming ICBA MBL lawsuit against the NCUA and ABA’s lawsuit over Field of Membership (FOM), the CUAD Advocacy team is proactively playing more of a defensive role this session.

The latest revenue forecast for the North Dakota biennium is $1.4 billion lower than the legislative forecast. So, as the state continues to bounce back from low returns on oil, coal and agriculture commodities, the new governor, Doug Burgum, and the assembly leadership are focused on reining in expenses and have called for an additional 2.5 percent reduction in General Fund spending this biennium.

That is in addition to previous cuts recommended by the outgoing governor’s administration with total General Fund spending cuts down 21 percent.

As it is, North Dakota is still rated AA+ by Standard and Poor’s. The unemployment rate of just three percent is still the third lowest in the nation, and we still have nearly 14,000 jobs that are open and available. Despite strong growth in assets, membership, and loans, we are anticipating a handful of significant credit union mergers in the state this year.
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Ohio
Here are some of the top issues the Ohio Credit Union League and its member credit unions are monitoring:

* Biennial budget: Our governor has proposed a tax structure that could hamper state-chartered credit unions. We’ll be looking to ensure the current tax status/structure is protected/enhanced, and be ready for bank attacks on credit union tax structure throughout the budget process.

* Linked deposits: We had a pro-business lending bill that created parity between banks and credit unions that passed the house but fell short in lame duck in the Senate in 2016. We’ll look to get that across the finish line, either through a budget amendment or a standalone bill.

* CU code modernization: We’ll be working with the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Ohio General Assembly to update the Ohio credit union charter to ensure a more modernized operating framework is in place.

* Bank code modernization… We were successful in thwarting bank attempts to attack privately-insured credit unions and credit union use of the term “bank” as part of bank modernization language last General Assembly. We also pitted our linked deposit bill against their modernization in lame duck in a “if you don’t pass ours, don’t pass theirs” match. The same fight will surface this year.

* Webcam notarization: We have had several larger credit unions ask for more modern use of technology to allow for notarization of loan documents remotely via webcam. We are working with a coalition to make this happen

* Good funds: We are working with a coalition of other financial trades to raise the monetary cap that was recently placed on the use of certified/cashier checks during a real estate closing.
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Oklahoma
All three of the Cornerstone Credit Union League states are in legislative session this year. The 91st Arkansas General Assembly convened on Jan. 9, the 56th Oklahoma Legislature on Feb. 6, and the 85th Texas Legislature on Jan. 10. To date, several thousand bills have been filed, and Cornerstone staff identified about 200 bills for a “watch list” containing language that could directly affect credit union operations.

In Oklahoma, we are advocating for a data breach bill that would give the state attorney general increased authority to seek damages from retailers who fail to report any data breach within a time certain. Other priority issues include perfection of liens, release of information to judgment creditors, and one to tighten regulations against the state’s wrecker industry and better protect lienholder interests.
CEO Partick Conway, VP Gov. Relations Christina Mihalik and Senator Pat Toomey.
Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania General Assembly convened on Jan. 23 to begin its next two-year session of business. There are several state issues we are monitoring closely including state legislation that addresses compliance concerns if/when federal overtime rules come into effect, legislation that would eliminate property taxes by expanding the tax base (e.g. professional services, financial services), and legislation that would speed the foreclosure process for blighted properties.

We are also tracking legislation that strengthens protective measures for seniors, including financial abuses, and spot assessments legislation that strikes an appropriate balance between providing fair taxing policies for all property owners and allowing local taxing authorities to appeal assessments under appropriate circumstances. Of course, we are closely watching the state budget process to ensure credit union taxation does not become part of the conversation.

On the regulatory side, we are engaged in discussions with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities regarding NCUA’s new FOM and MBL rules, and their impact on state-chartered credit unions.

Finally, there are also several larger issues that we will be monitoring like pension reform, property taxes, and shale drilling taxation and regulation. Once again, we expect 2017 to be a very active year.

Pictured above: PCUA CEO Partick Conway, VP Gov. Relations Christina Mihalik and Senator Pat Toomey.
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Rhode Island
Better Values—Better Banking, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.’s consumer advocacy campaign was seen and heard across multiple media channels in 2016, generating in excess of 164,000 page views of its website, and reaching more than 181,000 consumers through its ad exposures in Facebook.

While the campaign delivered its message primarily through radio, it also tapped advertising opportunities at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and the state’s High School Basketball Championship Tournament.

Credit unions of Rhode Island also took the spotlight during the campaign’s popular “In Your Neighborhood” gatherings that saw consumers enjoying conversation and a coffee or sandwich paid for by credit unions.

The gatherings provided an ideal opportunity for credit union execs to engage consumers about their banking habits and preferences, and to educate them directly about the many ways credit union values make for a better banking experience.

Highly successful state legislative session with no negative credit union legislation enacted. Proposals adverse to credit unions were sent for further legislative study or stalled in chambers, including legislation on fines relative to foreclosure filings, fines on motor vehicle lessors relative to default procedures, increased notice requirements relative to automobile leases, and multiple restrictive foreclosure bills.

To combat the elder financial exploitation which continues to occur with increased frequency, a roundtable summit was launched to identify local concerns, issues and available resources.

Partners included representatives of the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs, the FDIC with its Money Smart for Older Adults training and state credit union and securities regulators.

Pictured above: RI Credit unions with representatives from Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation during CCUA's Financial Elder Abuse program. L-R: Stephen Ormerod, VP, chief security officer, Navigant Credit Union; John Clarkson, AVP, Security, Pawtucket Credit Union; Gary Furtado, president/CEO, Navigant Credit Union; Matthew Gendron, legal counsel, Director's Office, Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation; Ken Poyton, president, PGE Federal Credit Union; and Don DeFedele, chief securities examiner, Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.
Pat Tollefson, Aberdeen FCU, Jay Kruse, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas, and South Dakota Senator Scott Parsley.
South Dakota
The 92nd South Dakota Legislative Session, which began the second week of January 2017, consists of 38 legislative days and will conclude on March 27. Republicans have expanded their supermajority in the House, where they now hold 60 of the 70 seats, and in the Senate, where they hold 29 of 35 seats.

The 2016 South Dakota election will be remembered as the year of the ballot question. Ballot questions are nothing new for voters in South Dakota, however this year’s ballot included ten separate ballot questions covering a wide range of topics.

The two receiving the most attention were Initiated Measure 21, which capped interest rates at 36% for payday lenders operating in the state, and Initiated Measure 22, which placed tight restrictions on lobbyists’ gifts to legislators and would have created a taxpayer-funded democracy credit system of campaign financing for legislative and statewide candidates.

Sections of IM 22 were subsequently ruled to be unconstitutional by Circuit Judge Mark Barnett.

Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers and voted to repeal IM 22, which was immediately supported and signed by Governor Daugaard.

As a result, legislators from both parties are attempting to pass other stand-alone bills that keep faith with voters’ intent for reforms expressed in IM 22.

The fallout from IM 21, capping interest rates, had a rippling effect. The measure went into effect the day after the election, and many payday lenders across the state responded by closing their doors, and in many cases, calling loans due. Supporters of IM 21 called on credit unions in the state to fill the void left by the payday lenders.

Pictured above: Pat Tollefson, Aberdeen FCU, Jay Kruse, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas, and South Dakota Senator Scott Parsley.
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Texas
All three of the Cornerstone Credit Union League states are in legislative session this year. The 91st Arkansas General Assembly convened on Jan. 9, the 56th Oklahoma Legislature on Feb. 6, and the 85th Texas Legislature on Jan. 10. To date, several thousand bills have been filed, and Cornerstone staff identified about 200 bills for a “watch list” containing language that could directly affect credit union operations.

Several thousand bills have been filed in Texas, and we expect many more by the filing deadline in early March. Priority issues include modernizing Texas home equity law, reducing government mandates, data security breaches, elder financial abuse, and maintaining the independent credit union regulator.
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Vermont
Vermont’s Legislature has been in session since early January.

Our association advocacy team reviews about 1,000 bills per legislative session for relevance or concern to credit unions.

Although none this year are aimed specifically at credit unions or initiated by them, there are many consumer protection-oriented bills that certainly have potential to affect credit union operations.

In addition, there are efforts to create a state-owned bank, which are being monitored very closely for significance to credit unions.

Lastly, legislators and a new administration are working to fill a budget deficit, which always keeps us on alert even though credit unions enjoy a very strong supportive position with statehouse legislators
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Virginia
Virginia has a short legislative session every two years lasting only 45 days. This abbreviated session concludes next week.

The state budget was the highest priority due to a shortfall partly attributable to federal sequestration.

Tax reform is certainly an option but there is no imminent credit union threat. We monitored about 60 bills due to their impact on credit union operations but it is fair to say 2017 will be a fairly uneventful year for state legislative issues in Virginia.

For that reason, we have chosen to focus on federal priorities and in particular regulatory reform. Restructuring the CFPB to ensure that the small financial institution exemption is enacted when appropriate is the immediate focus.
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