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Four MCUL-backed bills see success in 08
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (1/13/09)--Four pieces of Michigan state legislation deemed beneficial to credit unions and supported by the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) saw successful passage during 2008. The year was a successful one for credit union legislative advocacy, MCUL said (Michigan Monitor Jan. 12). “We were able to help push some key bills through the legislature this year, which is not always easy when lawmakers are dealing with sizable issues such as a looming state budget deficit,” said MCUL Executive Vice President Patrick La Pine. “Between credit union legislative breakfasts back in the district and the efforts of MCUL governmental affairs staff in Lansing, the credit union voice is consistently heard regarding issues important to the industry,” he added. Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed HB 5085--now Public Act 145 as of 2008 June 2. It requires that all lien holders of a financed snowmobile be listed on the vehicle's registration--the same structure that applies to motor vehicles and boats. The law will help credit unions by creating consistency across different types of vehicle registration systems, La Pine said. The bill was introduced by State Rep. Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City). Three other MCUL-backed bills were sent to the governor’s desk during the lame duck session in December, including SB 834--a bill to permit a financial literacy course to satisfy a part of high school math curriculum requirements. It was signed into law Dec. 19, the final day of session. “To see the financial education bill become law is encouraging and serves as a significant step toward teaching students the money management skills that will serve them their whole lives,” La Pine told Michigan Monitor. The bill was introduced by State Sen. Michael Switalkski, D-Roseville, in October 2007 with support by MCUL. Also on the final day of session, the House passed SB 786, which will raise the small claims court monetary ceiling to $4,000 beginning July 1; $4,500 on July 1, 2010; and $5,000 on July 1, 2011. The higher monetary ceiling will allow credit unions to more frequently use the lower-cost, small claims alternative to pursuing matters in district courts, La Pine said. Once the bill passed the House, the Senate immediately concurred with its latest form. It is expected to be signed by Granholm shortly, MCUL said. The bill was introduced by Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland). On the same closing day of session, the House passed and the Senate concurred with SB 1020, which permits businesses that make contributions to individual development accounts held by financial institutions to take a credit against their Michigan Business Tax liability. The bill is also expected to be signed by Granholm soon. It was introduced by State Sen. Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit). One area of legislation that stalled throughout 2008 was related to the foreclosure crisis and assistance to homeowners. Bills designed to mimic North Carolina laws that provided help to homeowners with subprime loans who forced foreclosure were introduced, but disagreement between the House and Senate on specific language caused the bills to ultimately fail as the year came to a close, MCUL said. “One of the MCUL's priorities in 2009 will be backing credit union-friendly legislation that helps homeowners coping with the housing crisis,” La Pine said. “The credit union industry has done quite a bit to help people facing foreclosure, but state government has struggled with passing laws in this area.”


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