1. OVERDRAFT FEES HB 824 asserts that overdraft fees are not subject to usury laws and are not considered interest. By Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) Did it pass? YES. This bill was heavily lobbied by GCUA to move it forward. PATENT TROLLS HB 809 will help protect against entities that use low-quality patents to extract money from credit unions and others. By Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) Did it pass? YES. GCUA testified in favor of this legislation to make Georgia less attractive to those that sue credit unions for the use of ATM technologies, check applications, and mobile payment options. SQUATTERS HB 985 to address a growing issue of foreclosed homes falling victim to organized trespassers who set up false liens on property that deter them from being evicted. By Rep. Tom Kirby (R-Loganville) Did it pass? YES. GCUA helped promote the legislation. IDENTITY THEFT HB 915 to provide a procedure to place credit freezes on minors to help protect against identity theft. By Rep. Josh Clark (R-Buford) Did it pass? YES. It was not altered in the process to impact credit unions, and will help prevent against fraud to the individual and institution. SB 386 will provide an avenue to redact information (such as social security or financial account numbers) in court documents. By Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) Did it pass? YES, but after it was amended to have full information on garnishment notices. MORTGAGE LICENSING EXEMPTION HB 750 to add Habitat for Humanity to those entities (which include credit unions) exempted from mortgage licensing requirements. By Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) Did it pass? YES. GCUA worked to prevent unwanted amendments that cast uncertainty on the current mortgage licensing exemption for credit unions. DBF HOUSEKEEPING HB 982 rewrote regulations for check cashers (but no changes for credit unions). By Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) Did it pass? YES, with no changes to impact credit unions. HB 883 made technical changes to the Merchant Acquirer Limited Special Purpose Bank code. By Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) Did it pass? YES, with no changes to impact credit unions. PAYMENT CARDS HB 138 sought to reign in the misuse of state issued EBT (electronic benefits) cards. Versions of the bill would have prohibited ATM use and/ or gift card purchase, signage and penalties for noncompliance. By Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough) Did it pass? NO. It was also added to another bill in the last hours of the Session, which did not pass either. The bill was amended multiple times to address credit union concerns to limit compliance burdens, and in the end carried a sign only provision for any entity that sells prohibited items (including gift cards). HB 947 would allow businesses the option to pay employees with prepaid debit cards, and was monitored to protect against card and/or interchange attempts. By Rep. Josh Clark (R-Buford) Did it pass? NO. It was bogged down in amendments on the final day. GCUA worked to prevent onerous language on fees, and to ensure that credit unions were not blocked from being an individuals primary financial institution. Including resolutions, there were over 4,900 pieces of legislation introduced and reviewed for potential credit union implication for the 2013-2014 Session, with almost 250 that required close monitoring and work in the process. But as challenging as the Session was, it ended well for credit unions. A rundown of the top 20 issues for credit unions:
2. FORECLOSURES HR 1643 would have created a study committee on foreclosure practices in Georgia, emphasizing judicial foreclosure. By Rep. Paulette Braddock (R-Powder Springs) Did it pass? NO. SR 1186 would have created a study committee on foreclosure practices in Georgia, emphasizing judicial foreclosure. By Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) Did it pass? NO. HB 917 sought to regulate deficiency judgments (where a guarantor of a loan that is not performing is sued by the lender or purchaser of the debt obligation). By Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) Did it pass? NO. HB 903 would have allowed the debtors to inhabit homes past the point of foreclosure until the deed is recorded, and require the foreclosing party to pay all fines associated with the property. By Rep. LaDawn Jones (D-Atlanta) Did it pass? NO. GCUA was one of several parties to testify against the legislation. HB 47 would have allowed a debtor to cure a foreclosure by making all past-due payments, late fees and charges up to five calendar days prior the sale of the property. By Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) Did it pass? NO. LENDING HB 295 sought to add options and protections on property tax assessments, and had a small provision that would require the inclusion of the fair market value of the property when filing the deed. By Rep. Paul Battles (R-Cartersville) Did it pass? NO. Prior the final day it was amended to remove the reference of fair market value on deeds. On day 40 the bill went to conference committee to address changes sought by others, but failed to move forward. SB 363 sought to provide subcontractors an avenue to request the schedule of funding from the financial institution. By Sen. Lindsey Tippens (R-Marietta) Did it pass? NO. OTHER HB 1042 will amend the code of law pertaining to auctioneers. In earlier drafts, the bill had contained a definition of an auction that defined as the sale of items by bid process. By Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) Did it pass? YES. GCUA worked to amend the bill to prevent the unintended consequence of wrapping credit unions into auctioneer licensing and compliance burdens before final passage. HB 1 was a two year legislative effort to make sweeping changes to civil forfeiture laws, and as drafted provided credit unions and other financial institutions avenues for obtaining property. By Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) Did it pass? NO. HB 643 sought to overhaul how electronic documents can be discovered in legal proceedings, and was monitored closely to protect credit unions as non parties (and parties) to lawsuits. By Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) Did it pass? NO. This bill failed on the final week of the Session. HB 815 would have completely revamped how one can become (and continue to be) a notary public. By Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough) Did it pass? NO. GCUA addressed logistical and compliance concerns that this bill would have created (if passed) to protect credit union operations.