NCSL CFI Committee State-Federal Newsletter

NCSL Capitol Forum, Dec. 5-7, 2018

Please join the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee (CFI) at the 2018 NCSL Capitol Forum in Washington, D.C. The meeting promises to be full of interesting and provocative speakers, informative forums and the NCSL Lobby Day that address some of the most difficult issues you are facing in your state. We look forward to seeing you there!

The CFI Committee Business Meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 6, from 10:15-11:30 a.m. The deadline for submitting amendments or new policy directives and resolutions is 5 p.m. (ET), Nov. 7. For more information regarding submitting policy directives and resolutions, please review the NCSL Policy Process Memo. Please note, the policy directives and resolutions will be accessible electronically through the NCSL app and the agenda and resources page on the Forum webpage.

Additionally, the CFI Committee’s NCSL Capitol Forum agenda is now available online. As you will note from the agenda, the CFI Committee will explore the following topics: Sports betting; robocalls; cybersecurity and insurance; and internet regulation.

The Insurance Task Force will meet on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, as a post-conference to the NCSL Capitol Forum. The task force gratefully acknowledges the American Bankers Association for hosting the Task Force. CLICK TO REGISTER

Financial Services and Commerce

BCFP Reconsideration of Payday and Small-Dollar Loan Rule in 2019

At the end of October, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as the CFPB) announced that it expects to issue proposed rules in January 2019 that will reconsider the bureau's rule regarding Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans and address the rule's compliance date. The BCFP will make final decisions regarding the scope of the proposal closer to the issuance of the proposed rules. However, the BCFP is currently planning to propose revisiting only the ability-to-repay provisions and not the payments provisions.

Cannabis and Alcohol and Financial Services State Legislation

As voters in Michigan, Missouri and North Dakota will decide on adult-use and medical cannabis initiatives on election day, California and Michigan enacted legislation to prohibit the use, possession, and selling of cannabis-infused alcohol.

As of June 2018, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Marijuana Banking Update reports that 411 depository institutions actively bank marijuana businesses in the United States as reported in the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). In the 2018 legislative session, 12 states have addressed the financial services-cannabis issue: California, Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and West Virginia.

Interstate Insurance Compact Upheld

In October, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado upheld the validity of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact as a proper delegation of authority by a legislature under the state’s Constitution. Sadly, the case Amica Life Insurance Company v. Wertz, arose from the suicide of a Colorado resident, Martin Fisher, 14 months after the plaintiff, Amica Life Insurance Company issued him a life insurance policy. The policy contained a two-year suicide exclusion, which is lawful under a regulation promulgated by an administrative agency created by the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact, an interstate compact to which Colorado is a party. The court concluded “to its surprise—that the Colorado Legislature may validly delegate to an administrative agency the power to promulgate a regulation that modifies a statute. Moreover, there is no barrier to the Colorado Legislature delegating such authority to an interstate administrative agency.” This case was one of first impression with respect to addressing the fundamental issue of whether states can enact legislation to create and delegate to an interstate collective body of member states the power to develop and agree upon uniform insurance product standards without congressional intervention.

communications and technology

U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Transportation Approves $110 Million Grant Program for 911

Both departments announced final rules for a grant program for states, territories, tribal organizations and the District of Columbia to upgrade 911 call centers under the Next Generation (NG911) standards. The program will be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under the Department of Commerce, and the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NG911 upgrades the entire emergency response system, so that citizens, first responders and 911 call takers can all use IP-based, broadband enabled technologies to coordinate emergency responses. As way of background, about 70-80 percent of all 911 calls are placed from wireless phones, but 911 call centers rely on outdated networks that are capable of only receiving voice calls under limited amounts of data. If a caller wishes to send a text, image, video or other communication that utilizes large amounts of data, the center will not be able to receive the information. NG911 updates the network to enhance call location accuracy, receive a diverse set of incoming emergency information, and improve rerouting and coordination efforts. They will release information on how to apply for the grants in a forthcoming Notice of Funding Opportunity.

FCC Declaratory Ruling on Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment

At the end of September, the FCC issued its Declaratory Ruling and Third Report on Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment. In response, NCSL and the National Governors Association wrote a letter urging the FCC to oppose the declaratory ruling, report and order. As NCSL and NGA point out in the letter, the FCC’s proposed shot clocks—the time state and local governments have to review wireless facility siting applications—and the fee caps will preempt all 20 states that have passed small cell legislation in cooperation with industry and localities. Not only will these 20 states be affected, but it also ties the hands of any other state that is looking to ensure inclusive and equitable access to high speed internet services to residents. State and local governments have an important responsibility to protect and respond to constituents concerns regarding access, equity and safety, and these preemption measures compromise that traditional authority.