CUANM makes great strides with state data-breach bill

February 6, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (2/9/15)--With strong support from the Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM), a New Mexico House subcommittee last week unanimously passed House Bill 217, which would require notification by merchants when security breaches involving personal identifying information occur.

Credit unions were well represented at the meeting, as CUANM President/CEO Paul Stull and David Woodruff, chair, CUANM governmental affairs committee and president/CEO of Zia CU, Los Alamos, N.M., with $131 million in assets, provided comments during the hearing.

Stull explained to the committee that requiring data breach notifications will raise awareness among consumers of the potential for fraud and identity theft. Stull also said that because New Mexico has no data breach notification law, citizens currently are more likely to miss the signs that their personal data has been compromised.

New Mexico is one of three states without this type of legislation.

"We can't do everything to stop criminals from breaking in, but if it should happen we're going to let you know, so that you can protect yourself," Stull told News Now.

"I think most reputable business owners would be proud to take steps if something goes wrong," Stull added. "It's not a 'Gotcha' bill, it's a bill about protecting consumers."

Under the proposed legislation, if more than 1,000 citizens are affected by a data breach, the merchant involved would be required to alert both the New Mexico Attorney General's office and the major credit reporting agencies within 14 days (News Now Jan. 21).

The bill also would require secure storage and disposal of data containing personal identifying information, and it would give the attorney general authority to pursue legal action against those who fail to report breaches.

Credit unions received a glowing review during the meeting from Jane Powdrell-Culbert (R-Corrales), chair of the Business and Employment Committee, who commented that she was a big fan of credit unions and noted that they take care of their members.

The bill now moves to the Judiciary Committee and then likely to the House floor. "We're very optimistic that we will get this legislation approved this year," Stull said. "We certainly were very pleased with the fact that it got through its first committee hearing (Thursday)."

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