MONTPELIER, Vt. (4/5/10)--The Vermont Senate took no action Friday on Senate Bill 138, the state's credit card bill that is opposed by credit unions, banks and payment processors, according to the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU). "Nothing happened today," AVCU President/CEO Joe Bergeron told News Now
Friday. He said that the expected vote did not occur because the Senate was bogged down on other measures. "This means that the next time the bill could come up [for a final reading and vote] would be Tuesday morning." If passed by the Senate, the bill would cross over to the House for consideration. The amended bill would:
* Allow merchants to set minimum and maximum amounts for acceptance of debit and credit cards. * Forbid electronic payments system network processors from imposing penalties or requirements on the way merchants advertise, thus allowing merchants to add a surcharge for customers using a credit or debit card. * Require a state regulatory study, due Dec. 15, 2011, to determine the economic impact on banks, credit unions and consumers of prohibiting electronic networks from inhibiting merchants as to whose cards they can not accept.
Although the bill removed a controversial provision that would have let merchants decline certain cards, including credit union-branded cards, "we still have grave concerns about the remaining provisions," Bergeron said in the association's Newslines Express
newsletter Friday. AVCU and credit unions will get a critical opportunity to lobby their case with lawmakers on from 4 to 5:30 p.m. ET Thursday during credit unions' Legislator Appreciation Reception at the State House, he said. (News Now
April 2). "We always schedule the legislators' appreciation reception for the latter half of the [legislative] session. It stands out during the hectic pace of rushing through bills and provides an opportunity for everyone to take a break," he said. AVCU expects about 180 legislators to stop by. Earlier credit union representatives will meet for briefings and private meetings with key legislators.