COLUMBUS, Ohio (5/29/14)--The Community Access and Local Government Choice Act, House Bill 221, which would permit credit unions to accept public deposits up to $250,000, was voted out of the Ohio House of Representatives State and Local Government Committee Tuesday by an 11-6 vote.
"This is the first time we've got this bill out of committee after working more than a decade on this legislation," Patrick Harris, the Ohio Credit Union League's director of legislative affairs, told News Now Tuesday. "But we aren't celebrating by any means. It's just one of several hurdles we have yet to clear."
The bill now moves to consideration before the full House, which goes into recess June 4. "We're going to push to have it heard before then," Harris said. "It will be a tough challenge with such a short time frame. If that doesn't work, we will look toward a lame duck session in November to try to get it out of the House and into the Senate."
The bill faced strong opposition from banks in the House committee process--and that opposition will continue before the full House and Senate, Harris noted.
On Monday, banks introduced an amendment to the bill that would subject state-chartered credit unions to a financial institutions tax. The amendment was defeated by an 11-6 vote after Harris provided testimony in which he defended the intent of the legislation and asked legislators to consider the difference between the structure of credit unions and banks.
"If the playing field is to truly be level, then those same institutions should operate as cooperatives, and return their corporation's profits to their members, rather than a select number of stockholders," Harris testified.