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AUSTIN, Texas – In the final days of the 79th Legislature, Texas lawmakers approved HB 900 by Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso), a bill that will add financial education to the state’s workforce development programs. Texas Credit Union League’s Mance Bowden, grassroots and legislative director called the measure “a life vest for the workers who are drowning in a sea of subprime and predatory lenders.” “Through local workforce development boards, these workers can now be trained to know a good loan from a bad loan and the benefits of saving their money so that their paychecks go toward necessities, not toward paying off high interest rates and fees,” he said. “Texas’ average credit score ranks dead last in the nation. Regions of the Texas border rank even lower,” said Courtney Nickles, manager of the non-profit early financial education organization Texas Jump$tart Coalition. “This bill will improve the financial health of our most vulnerable working citizens and will ultimately lead to stronger, more economically sound communities.” If signed by the Governor, the bill would take effect September 1, 2005. During this session, state lawmakers also passed HB 492, a bill that makes financial literacy training a prerequisite for high school graduation.

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