AUSTIN, Tex. (3/18/09)--Key Texas Sunset bills that must pass the state legislature so the Texas Credit Union Department can continue operating until Sept. 1, 2021, have been filed, according to the Texas Credit Union League. State Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) sponsored Senate Bill 1012, and the identical House companion bill, House Bill 2735, is sponsored by State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton). The bills embody the recommendations of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. The recommendations include continuation of the Texas Credit Union Department for an additional 12 years. Two areas of concerns--elimination of the department’s ability to file consolidated Internal Revenue Service 990s (which save credit unions $500 to $2,000 in filing costs) and new authority to impose monetary fines--are not in the bill. These concerns were raised by the league during the hearing process. The bill next heads to the Senate Committee on Government Organization, and the league is organizing key contacts for those senators. “This bill is our top priority,” said league President/CEO Dick Ensweiler. “We are hopeful that it will move through the process quickly.” Another measure of interest to the state’s credit unions involves data breaches. The Texas House Business & Industry Committee held a hearing on data security breaches on March 9, and meetings are underway with stakeholders attempting to negotiate a bill. Texas banking trades joined with the league in publicly supporting the legislation at the hearing, said the league. The hearing went very well, said the league, with lawmakers receptive to the view that merchants had a duty to safeguard the sensitive personal information they collect from plastic cards. The league continues to attend stakeholder meetings to negotiate a bill in order to move the legislative process forward. “We are especially grateful to the bill’s author and the Banking & Industry Vice-Chair State Rep. Gary Elkins (R-Houston) for his unwavering support for finding a solution to the data security breach issue,” said Ensweiler. Gary Davis, CEO of Chocolate Bayou FCU, Alvin, testified for the league, noting the hundreds of thousands of cards compromised at Texas credit unions alone in the Heartland Payment Systems breach.