In the states–Calif. (again)

In the states–Calif. (again)

For the second time this year, lobbyists for financial institutions and insurance companies succeeded in getting a key committee in the California legislature to scuttle an attempt to bolster the ability of consumers to prevent disclosure of their personal information.

The San Francisco Chronicle conducted a relentless campaign for the passage of the measure, SB773 sponsored by Sen. Jackie Speier. It succeeded apparently in getting Assembly Business and Finance Committee Chair Lou Papan to back off his opposition to the bill [see PJ Jun 01]. After some arbitrary maneuvering May 30 to secure a negative vote, Papan agreed to a four-hour hearing on the bill June 18. He even voted for an amended version at a crucial meeting June 25. Yet the bill died when it fell one vote shy in the committee. Two wavering Democrats abstained, including Assemblyman Carl Washington, a co-author of the original proposal, who said that he did not understand the amendments to the bill. Another committee member said that Washington also did not understand that his vote was pivotal.

The bill would go beyond federal law and require affirmative consent before a bank could provide personal information to outside companies. Speier agreed to soften her bill’s original provision that consent (“opt-in”) would be required before a financial institution could use account information among affiliated companies as well. “This building succumbs to powerful special interests,” Speier said bitterly after the vote in the state capitol building. BANKS 1, CONSUMERS 0, said the Chronicle afterwards.

Copyright Privacy Journal Jul 2001

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