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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, January 29, 2019

House passes three bipartisan financial services bills

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

Three financial services bills passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support.

The House of Representatives has passed three bipartisan House Financial Services Committee bills geared toward responsible oversight to protect the American people.

H.R. 624. The Promoting Transparent Standards for Corporate Insiders Act, sponsored by Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-Calif), would protect "Mom and Pop" investors from the harmful effects of illegal insider trading and help the Securities and Exchange Commission better understand how to prevent illicit activity. The bill passed by a vote of 413-3, with 16 legislators abstaining.

Speaking about the bill, Waters stated that the bill "would require the SEC to study whether to amend its rule for trading plans to limit the ability of corporate insiders to, for example, adopt multiple, overlapping plans or change their plans to indirectly take advantage of inside information. The bill would then require the SEC to report to Congress and revise its rules based on the results of the study."

H.R. 502. The FIND Trafficking Act, sponsored by Reps. Juan Vargas (D-Calif) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo), would direct the Government Accountability Office to study how virtual currencies are linked to the supply chain for drugs and human trafficking and give lawmakers insights into how to sever that link. The bill passed by a vote of 412-7, with 17 legislators abstaining.

Waters emphasized the importance of this bill to protect victims who have been exploited by bad actors forcing men, women, and children into horrifying situations from which it’s difficult to escape. Wagner added that "The FIND Trafficking Act will provide us with valuable intelligence on the different tools traffickers use to avoid detection and prosecution. We have taken tremendous steps forward in the fight against traffickers through passage of my Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which has severely diminished the online trafficking business. But there is still more to be done." Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va) gave his first floor speech in support of the bill.

H.R. 56. The Financial Technology Protection Act, introduced by Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) and Ted Budd (R-NC), would establish an Independent Financial Technology Task Force to combat the use of financial technologies, like digital currencies, to fund terrorism. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.

According to Waters, the bill would strengthen and expand efforts to deter terrorist and illicit abuses of financial technology through interagency coordination and research, and through collaboration with private institutions and citizens, including a public-private sector task force, a grant program to encourage the development of largely open-source tracking technology, and a whistleblower reward program to counter terrorist uses of digital currencies.

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