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The 88th Texas Legislature will adjourn on May 29. In just two weeks, the deadlines for various stages of the House bill process will begin.

First, some good news. Throughout the past decade, IBAT has worked on a variety of fronts to minimize payment card fraud and its adverse impact on your banks and customers. SB 761 (Hughes) makes permanent a merchant’s right to ask for photo identification and decline a transaction. It has passed the Senate and been voted out of the House committee. The companion bill, HB 2400 (Lambert) has also been voted out of committee. The hope is that this bill will swiftly be placed on the calendar, heard on the floor, pass overwhelmingly in the House and become law.

Last week, IBAT weighed in on a variety of bills. This included testimony on HB 4641 (Meyer), an initiative to provide debt relief for victims of identity theft, human trafficking, domestic abuse and coerced debt. Despite our understanding and empathy for these issues and individuals facing tragic circumstances, our goal is to put in place safeguards that protect lenders from bad actors who abuse the system to escape liability for debts incurred. Special thanks to IBAT’s Christy Bussey for her efforts on this sensitive issue.

IBAT engaged on several bills designed to limit foreign ownership of Texas real estate, especially that of countries hostile to our interests. In a marathon hearing concluding after 2:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, IBAT testified on HB 1075 (Harris), HB 2788 (Jetton) and HB 4006 (Spiller) to reinforce the concerns of community banking.

IBAT also supported HB 4342 (Plesa) to tighten financial literacy requirements in high school curriculum and SB 1613 (Perry) to provide incentives for movie production in rural areas.

Lastly, it’s not too late to contact your House member about HB 3395. As detailed over the past several weeks, HB 3395 (Capriglione) is an especially onerous bill requiring sales tax be deducted from the calculation of interchange on debit and credit card transactions. Aside from significant implementation costs, at its core, this bill transfers 8% of your bank’s revenue to merchants. Financial trade associations, including IBAT, have expressed strong opposition and are highly engaged in efforts to kill this very bad idea.

Please know that the proponents are highly engaged on this important issue. You can contact your representative through the Grassroots Action Center or by phone. Your engagement makes a difference, and we extend our sincere thanks to the hundreds of community bankers who have joined this fight.