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Texas House fails to take up data security bill
AUSTIN, Texas (5/18/09)--A Texas data security breach bill, House Bill 345, died late Thursday night, missing a deadline as the Texas House became bogged down in floor debates on bills preceding it on the House Calendar. The bill stipulated that merchants have a duty to safeguard the sensitive personal information they collect from plastic cards, the league said. “The league and Texas credit unions worked very hard, and are obviously very disappointed,” said Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) Chief Advocacy Officer Buddy Gill. “Since 2007, the retailers fought strongly against the bill every step of the way, yet every time this legislation has gotten to vote whether in committee or on the floor, lawmakers have unanimously favored the bill” (LoneStar Leaguer May 18). A recent Texas voter poll confirms overwhelming public support for legislative changes sought to address the problem, with 29% of Texas voters reporting having a debit or credit card canceled due to fraud or a merchant's lax security and resulting data breach, TCUL said. Three in four voters said retailers would safeguard their card data better if the merchants were held financially responsible for any losses. Four in five said the Texas legislature should pass a law requiring businesses to take reasonable steps to protect the data they collect from debit and credit card transactions. There is no question public opinion favors the credit unions’ position on the data security breach issue, TCUL said. Major retailers at the national level activated grassroots efforts, urging Texas House members to oppose the bill, the league said. “As long as data security breaches occur and lax security is determined to be the culprit, with major impacts on our credit unions and thus our members’ bottom lines, this issue is not going to go away,” Gill said. “If we see the same big, costly data security breaches occurring in the remainder of 2009 and in 2010, then you can bet in 2011 the gloves will come off again on this issue,” he added. “Until merchants have some ‘skin in the game’ and are on the hook for possible losses due to their own lax or lapsed security, they have no effective motivating incentive.”


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