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Top topic at Vt. legislator event credit card bill
MONTPELIER, Vt. (4/12/10)--A delegation of Vermont credit union leaders from across the state met Thursday with Gov. Jim Douglas, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, and House Commerce Committee Vice-Chairman Michael Marcotte before the credit unions' annual Legislator Appreciation Reception. The No. 1 topic: S. 138, a credit card bill that passed from the Senate to the House last week.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas talks with Karen Thomas-Cedergren, vice president of branch administration, River Valley CU, Brattleboror, Vt., at Thursday's Legislator Appreciation Reception.
The bill will be sent to the House Commerce Committee, the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) learned, and will fall under the supervision of Rep. Marcotte (R-2), said AVCU's Newslines Express (April 9). Marcotte owns a convenience store in Newport and as a store owner like Sen. Richard Mazza, who expressed serious concern over the Senate legislation, Marcotte understands the complexity of the electronic payments system, said AVCU. He told credit union leaders that when the legislation reaches the committee, he would ensure it receives extensive input from all concerned parties and studies thoroughly the possible consequences before a vote is taken on the measure.
Dozens of Vermont state representatives and senators attended Thursday's Legislator Appreciation Reception hosted by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions.and the state's credit unions. (Photos provided by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions)
Speaker of the House Smith spoke about many challenges facing the House during the rest of the legislative session, which tentatively is set to end in early May. Among other topics of discussion, Smith said he is aware of the controversial issues around S. 138 and confirmed that it would be sent to Commerce. During a 15-minue meeting with Gov. Douglas in his ceremonial office, Douglas gave a brief legislative affairs status report. At one point, he semi-seriously told the group he hoped some of them would seek election to the legislature so the state government could benefit from their leadership, business experience, and the care and compassion with which they treat their members. He expressed concern that if SB 138 passed, it could separate Vermont from the rest of the country in terms of credit and debit card acceptance. He later stopped at the reception to continue chatting with credit union leaders. S.B. 138 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 in the state; and * 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.
The provisions are detrimental for credit unions, their cardholders and Vermont's economy, Bergeron has said (News Now April 5 and April 2).
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