Capitol Report - 'Patent Trolling' Bill Passes in the Senate
Missouri state senators voted unanimously to pass a bill that would protect credit unions from so called ‘patent trolls.’ The bill, SB 706, was voted out of the Senate 32-0 on April 10. It sets clear criteria to help distinguish legitimate from illegitimate patent infringement assertions and provides restitution for businesses affected by patent trolling - including credit unions. SB 706 is sponsored by Senator Mike Cunningham (R-District 33) (pictured).
“A number of credit unions in Missouri have received frivolous demand letters alleging patent infringement and shared that information with us,” says David Kent, director of state legislative affairs for Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA). “Being able to provide examples to lawmakers and show them firsthand the severity – as well as the ridiculousness – of these demand letters helped the bill gain such strong support.”
SB 706 now moves to the House. HB 1374, sponsored by Rep. Stan Cox (R-District 52) is identical to SB 706. It was recently voted out of the House 142-3. MCUA Advocacy testified in support of both bills during their respective committees.
Senate Committees Voting out Legislation Affecting Credit Unions
There are a number of bills affecting credit unions and credit union members starting to move through the legislature. Here are a few of interest heard in various committees this week:
- HB 1217 was heard in the Senate's Seniors, Families, and Pensions Committee on April 8. Also known as the 'pension advance bill', HB 1217 bans the transfer of a public employee's retirement benefit. Pension advance contracts have been known to be predatory in nature and often lead to financial distress for retirees. HB 1217 is sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-District 141) and is expected to be voted out of committee next week. The House already passed the bill 149-3.
- HB 1218, also sponsored by Rep. Dugger, was heard and voted out of the Senate Financial Institutions Committee. HB 1218 protects a credit union’s lien priority over a condo association’s special assessment. However, the condo association will have limited lien priority only to the extent of the unpaid common assessments for the six months preceding the foreclosure sale. The House voted this bill out 142-0.
- SB 913 is identical to HB 1218 and also was voted out of the Senate Financial Institutions Committee this week. SB 913 is sponsored by Senator Jay Wasson (R-District 20).
- SB 954, sponsored by Senator Mike Cunningham (R-District 33), was voted out of the Senate’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Wednesday. SB 954 would allow the Department of Revenue to create and implement an electronic lien release system for vehicles and trailers.
MCUA Advocacy spoke in support of each of the above bills in their respective committees. Each bill is expected to move to the Senate floor for debate.
Other Bills of Interest
Click here for an overview of the bills with potential impact to credit unions. MCUA provides this information each week, and it is updated regularly as more bills are introduced and tracked.
Financial “Tip of the Week” – Saving for a Rainy Day
During the 2014 legislative session, MCUA provides lawmakers with a financial “Tip of the Week” to share with constituents. MCUA provided tips on ways to save for a rainy day. Credit unions are welcome to share these tips with members. Read the full tip here.
If you have any specific examples to share with legislators on this topic, please contact Amy McLard or David Kent and we will be happy to help you get that information in to the hands of the right lawmakers. MCUA Advocacy also welcomes suggestions for timely financial education/news topics with a consumer focus to share with lawmakers.
April Events Calendar
- 15 - Last day to report House Consent bills from Committees
- 15 - Lincoln Hough & Dave Hinson Reception – Gumbo Bottoms – Jefferson City - 6:30 p.m./adjournment
- 21 - Easter Break – No Session
- 23 - Zerr, Gannon & Pfautsch Reception – Gumbo Bottoms – Jefferson City - 6:30 p.m./adjournment
- 30 - John Diehl & HRCC Reception – 106 E. High – Jefferson City – 7-8:30 p.m.