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Updates on Oklahoma Credit Union Concerns at the Capitol
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 6:45 AM

Nate Webb, President, Oklahoma Credit Union Association

The main focus at the state Capitol this week is the state budget and how to reconcile a deficit of nearly $1 billion. On Monday it appeared the House, Senate, and the Office of the Governor were still far apart in the negotiations.

Because appropriations bills cannot be filed during the last week of session, the legislature has until Friday to present their proposal to the governor.

However, at this point in the process, details of negotiations are known only to a few key players and a complete proposal not unveiled until budget negotiators from both chambers and the governor’s office have come to a final agreement.

With the constitutionally mandated end of session looming, there is speculation a special session in June may be necessary.

Issues of Interest to Credit Unions
Throughout the session we have kept you informed on key credit union legislation. Below are a few key issues we continue to watch in the waning days of this legislative session.

Budget negotiations could have an impact on Oklahoma credit unions. In her state-of-the-state address, the governor proposed a laundry list of revenue-raising ideas. One of them was a tax on financial transactions, and while that proposal seemed to have been quickly taken off the table, budget negotiators are scrambling to find revenue sources. The Oklahoma Credit Union Association is closely monitoring to make sure this tax proposal is not resurrected.

Payday Lenders
On April 5, credit unions achieved a significant victory when Gov. Fallin vetoed HB 1913, a bill that would have allowed payday lenders to expand their predatory lending practices in the state.

The governor’s veto message reflected many of the objections voiced by Oklahoma credit unions.

“House Bill 1913 adds yet another level of high-interest borrowing (over 200 percent APR) without terminating or restricting access to existing payday loan products," said Fallin. "In fact, I believe that some of the loans created by this bill would be more expensive than the current loan options."

Credit unions answered a call to action by writing emails and calling the governor’s office, and their actions played an important role in defeating the bill.

Pace Loans
Earlier this session, we were able to kill a bill that would have allowed so-called PACE loans in Oklahoma. Last weekend, we learned proponents might make an effort to hijack yet another bill and insert the same language, and we worked preemptively last week to prevent the language from reappearing. We were successful but will remain vigilant to ensure it does not reappear.

Politics
On May 9, the first of several special elections to fill vacant legislative seats was held. Republican Zack Taylor won a special election to take over the unexpired term of Tom Newell in House District 28.

Also on May 9, Republican Tressa Nunley and Democrat Karen Gaddis won their respective races to advance to the general election to fill the seat currently held by Rep. Scott Martin. Last month Martin announced the he will retire at the end of the current session. Special elections to fill four other vacant seats will be held later this year.

For more information, please contact Oklahoma Credit Union Association President Nate Webb at nwebb@okcua.coop or 405-445-1510.