MONTPELIER, Vt.-Members of the Vermont Credit Union League may have a lot to celebrate at their upcoming annual meeting in a few short weeks. Legislators from the Vermont Senate unanimously have passed H. 149, the state’s modernized credit union statute. The next stop for the bill is a brief return to the Vermont House for approval of a few technical-largely grammatical-changes made by the Senate that affect language but not content. Once the bill is re-approved by the House, Governor Jim Douglas is expected to sign it into law. While members of the Vermont Credit Union League are savoring this latest step towards victory, they also may have reason for concern. During the second reading of the bill, senators questioned Finance Committee Chairwoman Ann Cummings about issues in several of the rejected banker-proposed amendments to the bill, including credit union tax status, business lending and field of membership. And, in a Senate Finance Committee meeting following H.149 floor discussions, Senator Phil Scott presented a draft amendment requiring credit unions to file a report on the amount of sales tax they would be required to pay if they were not exempt from taxes. After extensive discussion, committee members rejected the proposed amendment. Finally, prior to the vote, Senator Scott-while not proposing his amendment on the Senate floor-did express concerns regarding credit union tax exemption. Passage of H. 149 into law will mark the first major recodification of credit union legislation in Vermont in nearly 40 years. At that time, the Vermont Credit Union League will begin an education campaign to explain regulation changes to member credit unions.

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