Multiple Committee Hearings and Meetings Make for a Busy Week in Augusta

It has been a busy week for legislative advocacy. On Tuesday, there was a floor vote on LD 676, An Act to Protect Financial Privacy. This bill would have prevented credit unions from sharing information with federal regulators. The House voted ought not to pass via unanimous consent. The bill is now in the Senate, where we hope it dies.

Also on Tuesday, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce held its “Strictly Social” event, where legislators had a chance to meet community members. Credit union representatives including Krista Simonis, League Director of Governmental Affairs, and Scott Johnsen, Chief Relationship Officer at the League and Synergent, attended. This event offered valuable time to continue getting to know elected officials and advancing the credit union cause.

The Joint Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services (HCIFS) unanimously rejected a proposal on Wednesday to change the terms of Certificates of Deposit. The bill came from a constituent who was concerned about not being able to provide advanced notice to his credit union with directions for his share certificate account. However, the committee was persuaded that additional regulations and guidelines in this area were not necessary since credit unions already accept written, phone, or in-person disbursement directives ahead of time.  

On Thursday, the HCIFS held a public hearing for LD 1546, An Act Regarding Nondiscrimination in Financial Services. The bill attempts to ban ESG scores from being used to inform lending decisions but it would have disastrous effects on the ability of credit unions to make personally informed community-driven decisions. The League is grateful to have received input and examples from credit unions in preparation for this committee hearing. Credit union participation strongly enhances the League’s efforts. There was strong opposition to the bill from many different financial and insurance sectors. It is anticipated the HCIFS Committee will work LD 1546 at a later date, where the League will strongly urge members to vote ought not to pass.  

Also on Thursday, the Transportation Committee reviewed LD 1072, a bill from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The proposed legislation contains a provision that would allow the BMV to waive fees when the circumstances justify a waiver. This has been an ongoing issue for our credit unions, who often bear the burden of late fees for title applications that were delayed through no fault of their own. We hope this proposed legislation will ease the fee burden for credit unions and were grateful to have several credit unions submit testimony in support of the Bureau’s efforts in this area. The League actively engaged with Secretary of State Bellows and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for the inclusion of the fee waiver provision. We thank them for including this important proposal in their department bill.