FCRA Heads to Full Senate With State Pre-Emption Intact

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act is set to go before the U.S. Senate for a vote as early as next week with a change that would permanently pre-empt state laws regarding credit data.


The revised bill was unanimously approved in the Senate Banking Committee on Sept. 23 with the pre-emption in place as well as several added safeguards against identity theft such as the availability of free annual credit reports for all consumers.


The pre-emption provision, set to expire Jan. 1, prevents state and local governments from enacting stronger protections for credit data.


The FCRA passed Sept. 10 in the House of Representatives with a 392-30 vote.


If the full Senate upholds the pre-emption provision it would be the final straw for a piece of California privacy legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis on Aug. 27. The California law would mandate opt-in consent for the sharing of financial data and would take effect July 1, 2004, if the FCRA pre-emption were not extended.


Davis expressed his disappointment and urged Congress to uphold the California law in a statement yesterday.


The California legislation S.B. 1 was authored by state Sen. Jackie Speier and passed Aug. 19 after amendments were made and several financial institutions backed down in their opposition to avoid a stricter March ballot initiative.


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