The Florida Advocacy Conference was last week in Tallahassee and credit union advocates filled the halls of the Capitol to meet with elected officials on behalf of the industry. Attendees hiked the hill then spent time with lawmakers at an evening legislative reception, and had the opportunity to sit in on the House Insurance & Banking subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Danny Burgess (R – Zephyrhills). Rep. Burgess, a member of San Antonio Citizens FCU’s supervisory committee, was kind enough to recognize and thank the credit union advocates in the committee room for being there. Conference attendees had the pleasure of hearing from keynote speaker, Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis, and engaged in a thought-provoking discussion about advocacy best practices with industry thought-leaders followed by a regulator roundtable with representatives from both NCUA and OFR.

Last Monday, the Senate Commerce & Tourism committee passed SB 920 by Sen. Rob Bradley (R – Orange Park) on a 7-1 vote. The legislation would change regulatory requirements on the payday-lending industry, which consumer advocates criticize for creating debt traps for Floridians. The proposal is backed by Amscot and Advance America, who are looking to avoid the new CFPB small dollar loan rules by creating an installment payday loan that carries more than 200% interest on loans up to $1000 payable over 60 or 90 days. The House companion, HB 857 by Rep. Jamie Grant (R – Tampa) passed its first committee of reference and has two more stops before it can be heard on the House floor. The League advocacy team opposed these bills in committee and will continue to advocate for the protection of consumers from payday and other predatory lenders. In a bit of good news, a committee reference to Appropriations was added to the Senate bill which means it also has two stops before it can be heard on the floor.

On Tuesday SB 1302 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R – St. Petersburg), had its first of three committee hearings and passed the Senate Banking & Insurance committee unanimously. This legislation would allow a data breach victim or a consumer wanting to protect themselves from fraud to freeze their credit report without paying a fee. Florida law currently allows credit report agencies to charge a fee of up to $10 to freeze credit reports, and data breach victims are required to submit paperwork to prove their identity is in jeopardy to avoid paying the fee. The House companion bill, HB by Rep. Shawn Harrison (R – Tampa) is ready for a full House floor vote. This measure is a priority of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

HB 323 by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R – Fort Myers) as originally filed would require high school students to take a course in financial literacy to graduate.  As a condition of hearing the bill, the Pre-K – 12 Quality subcommittee filed an amendment that would reduce the required course down to an elective. Stakeholders, including the League, respectfully opposed the amendment. The amended bill passed committee so it has one more committee stop before it goes to the House floor. Since the Senate version has worked its way completely through the process and has passed the Senate floor, there is still a possibility of passing the bill in its original form this session.

If you have any questions, please contact any member of your Advocacy Team:
Jared Ross, SVP of Association Services
Jennifer Martin, Senior Director of Governmental Affairs
Jordan Burroughs, Political Affairs Coordinator