According to Oklahoma Credit Union Association Director Nate Webb, "One of the most bizarre legislative sessions in Oklahoma history ended—maybe—Friday night as lawmakers adjourned but left open the possibility of returning if something comes up." That "something" is Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoing more of the bills on his desk.
Last year, Stitt vetoed 16 bills for the entire legislative session. In the past week alone, 15 bills received his veto, and seven were delivered on Tuesday. The governor signed 37 bills into law, as well.
Unprecedented were legislative proxy voting and a change in the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act, so public bodies could meet by video or conference call, Webb said.
Although lawmakers are, for all practical purposes, done for the year, they did not adjourn sine die (a Latin phrase meaning final adjournment). Lawmakers adopted a resolution that would allow them to return any time before the May 29 constitutional deadline for adjournment. That resolution forces Stitt to either sign or veto all legislation presented to him, with time remaining for lawmakers to return for another override.
The good news for Oklahoma credit unions is, despite the odd way the session unfolded, Oklahoma credit unions fared well.
“This was a first for all of us,” said Webb. "Like so much of America, everyone was forced to adapt. But given the circumstances, I believe this was a very successful session for Oklahoma credit unions.”
"Before lawmakers were forced to abandon the capitol," Webb added, "we were able to kill a few significant bills, amend others, and advance bills that we either supported or requested and/or supported. While many of the latter advanced, they did not have time to work their way through the entire legislative process, and because a new legislature will be seated next year, none of these bills can be carried over."
Highlights from OKCUA's legislative agenda
The following bills were killed or amended:
- A bill to allow the Oklahoma wrecker industry another chance to submit the appropriate notice of possessory lien. The result would have been increased profit at the expense of lienholders.
- A bill attempting to broaden the availability of Property Assessed Clean Energy Program loans was amended and would, for all intents and purposes, maintain the status quo.
- A bill preventing late payments from being charged unless at least 14 days have elapsed between a statement receipt date and a delinquency date specified in a statement. It requires any party assessing a late payment fee to establish with reasonable certainty specified information.
- A bill to prevent credit unions from purchasing state-chartered banks.
- A bill that extends, from 35 days to six months, the time period during which a mortgagor has from the date a notice of default is sent to cure a breach or default and satisfactorily refinance the property.
The following bills were stalled (requested or supported):
- A bill to allow credit unions and banks to offer prize-linked savings.
- A bill requiring a data breach be reported to the Oklahoma Attorney General and giving the AG authority to prosecute for noncompliance.
- A bill to limit the various fees charged to lienholders by wrecker operators.
- A bill requiring registration and an annual fee for individuals processing Title 42 notices of possessory liens.
OKCUA also supported a bill introduced in the final days of the session that would provide employers a degree of liability protection against any COVID-19-related lawsuits from members, employees, vendors, etc. As of this writing, the bill is awaiting the governor's signature. By all indications, it appears he will sign it.
This is just a brief recap of the 2020 legislative session. In the coming days, we will compile a comprehensive report for distribution.