By Adam Baker/News editor
They say the third time’s a charm. That wasn’t true, though, for Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, in this year’s General Assembly. For the third year in a row Westrom’s proposed legislation to restrict credit card legislation on college campuses failed to be made law. House Bill 130 would have barred credit card companies from enticing students to sign up for cards with gifts. The legislation also would have required public post-secondary institutions and encouraged nonpublic post-secondary institutions to include credit card and debt education sessions as part of student orientation days and require companies to register with school officials before soliciting on campus.
The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Westrom said it “never hit the radar screen of the Senate leadership.”
“Anyone who was able to get legislation through was just plain lucky,” she said. “They were just too tied up to address any other bills.”
Westrom explained another year without her bill being law is bad news for college students.
“This means classes will begin in the fall with a new wave of freshmen, many of which have not had any debt counseling or education,” she said. “Many will likely fall prey to the credit card sharks who love gullible, inexperienced persons because the freshmen orientation class will not include debt counseling.”
Eastern currently allows one credit card company, MBNA American Bank N.A., to solicit an Eastern-sponsored MasterCard to the campus community.
MBNA may set up booths six days a year at public athletics events, locations near or in the Powell Building and near the food court. Their visits and promotional gifts must be approved by the university prior to the company’s visit, according to the contract through Alumni Relations.
“The key is simply education. Students need to know to read the fine print, understand interest rates, overcharge fees and late-service charges,” she said.
Westrom promised if elected she would file the bill again in the next session with no changes.
“It has been supported by higher education, and the banks are eager for our students to build a credit history based on a sound economic education foundation,” she said.
Westrom suggests college students e-mail the Senate leadership to move for passage on the bill next session.
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