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Key Bills Move Forward as State Lawmakers Head Home for Spring Break

It was a busy week in advance of the Missouri General Assembly's annual spring break, March 23 - 27.  Lawmakers heard a number of bills with potential impact to credit unions in various committees, putting those bills in position to move forward following the break.

Bills to Clarify Overdraft Charges are Fees Voted Out of House, Senate Committees

Two companion bills that clarify overdraft charges are a fee and not interest were unanimously voted out of their respective committees this week.  HB 1064, sponsored by Rep. Noel Shull (R-District 16), was voted out of the House Standing Committee on Banking 10-0 on March 16 and then out of the House Select Committee on Financial Institutions and Taxation 10-0 on March 18.  The Senate version, SB 524 sponsored by Senator Mike Cunningham (R-District 33), was voted out of the Senate Financial Institutions Committee 10-0 on March 18.  The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) testified in support of both bills.

"Unlike federal law, state law does not specifically delineate that overdraft charges are a fee, rather than interest," says David Kent, director of state legislative affairs for the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA), who testified on the bills.  "It's important for our state to have parity with the federal law because state chartered credit unions may be subject to competitive disadvantages compared to out-of-state or federally chartered financial institutions with respect to contractual fees for overdrawing a deposit account."

Both HB 1064 and SB 524 now head to the floor for debate, but must first be assigned to the Calendar.  It's uncertain at this time when the bills will be called for floor debate.

(Photo:  Rep. Noel Shull)

House Committee Passes Bill to Allow Certain Auto-Dealers 60 Days to Deliver Title

A House bill that will allow certain auto-dealers - those that have secured a surety bond not less than $100,000 - up to 60 days to deliver title to the buyer was voted out of the House Standing Committee on Transportation on March 17.  HB 1002 is sponsored by T.J. Berry (R-District 38) and is identical to SB 456, which is sponsored by Senator Mike Kehoe (R-District 6).  HB 1002 will now head to the House Select Committee on State and Local Government, where committee members will further vet the bill before it comes to another vote.

MCUA worked with both bill sponsors and other interested groups to share credit union concerns and provide information on the legislation prior to it being filed.  MCUA previously reported on the Senate version of the bill.

Bank Robbery Bill Voted Out of House Judiciary

A bill clarifying the definition of bank robbery as a Class B felony was voted out of the House Select Committee on Judiciary March 18.  HB 254 is sponsored by Sandy Crawford (R-District 129) and was voted out of the House Standing Committee on Civil and Criminal Proceedings March 11.  MCUA testified in support of the bill during the Standing committee.

The bill will now head to the House floor for debate, but must be assigned to the Calendar first.  It's uncertain at this time when it will reach the floor for debate.

(Photo:  Rep. Sandy Crawford)

MCUA Testifies Against Senate Version of TNC Bill

MCUA shared concerns about the lack of clarity over insurance coverage for transportation network company (TNC) drivers and the implications this may have on lienholders during a hearing on March 17.  SB 351, sponsored by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-District 19), was heard during the Senate Commerce, Energy and the Environment Committee.  The bill is nearly identical to HB 792 - which MCUA also testified in opposition to on March 9.

"Our concern is strictly about the insurance coverage gap that currently exists for TNC drivers," says David Kent.  "While we testified in opposition to SB 351, we are working with a number of interested groups to find a solution to this coverage gap.  We look forward to continuing that conversation and helping pass a bill that protects both the lienholder and the driver."

Bills You Want to Know About

Click here for an overview of the bills with potential impact to credit unions.  MCUA provides information each week, with regular updates as more bills are introduced and tracked.

MCUA's Jefferson City Office Hosts 3 Events for 5 Lawmakers

Click here for the full story.

Overview of the Week - March 16-19

The House and Senate began their sessions Thursday morning as several hundred citizens in favor of debating Medicaid expansion demonstrated in the halls on the third floor of the Capitol.  Those participating in the rally walked the halls carrying signs and urging lawmakers to debate Medicaid expansion.  The House and Senate have been clear they will not support Medicaid expansion.   

As the General Assembly began its annual spring break recess, the budget bills are further along in the process than ever before.  As was noted previously, the intent of the House and Senate is to send the bills to Governor Jay Nixon (D) well in advance of the end of session.  The Governor will be required to take some action on the bills prior to session adjourning on May 15.  This will enable the House and Senate to review the Governor’s possible vetoes and to determine if they will seek to override any of those vetoes.

The pace of hearings hasn’t slowed appreciably even though bill filing has stopped in both chambers.  Upon returning from spring break, both chambers will continue to work primarily on bills originating in their body.  However, toward mid-April it's expected the General Assembly will begin to hear and debate bills which originated in the opposite chamber.