ATMIA Tackles Key Issues on Capitol Hill During Productive Fly-In

Monday, March 25, 2024

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by David Tente

ATMIA hosted its sixth Washington, DC Fly-in last week – the most productive meetings to date. CEO Lonnie Talbert, USA Executive Director David Tente, and representatives of 7 members (both old and new) attended a total of 9 meetings on Capitol Hill. And perfectly timed to experience the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

Thursday, March 20, meetings began on the Senate side in the offices of Senators Mike Rounds (SD), Mike Crapo (ID), Mike Lee (UT), Jon Ossoff (GA), and Ben Lujan (NM). All of the meetings that afternoon were in House office buildings, including Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO), Barry Loudermilk (GA), Deborah Ross (NC), and Andy Biggs (AZ). Concerns over the rising rate of ATM crime led most of those conversations. The general consensus was that the Safe Access to Cash Act has a lot of bipartisan support and would pass if put to a vote. The group was also informed that a Senate version of the bill may be introduced. Retail crime is receiving a lot of attention, as well, and may be helping to amplify concerns over ATM crime.

Other issues of concern that were discussed included the Consumer Payment Choice Act, bank account closures, and Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Payment choice is not garnering the same level of urgency as ATM crime, but is still under serious consideration. Opposition to the bill takes the stance that businesses should be allowed to utilize whatever payment methods they wish. Our group noted that 10 states have already passed laws requiring retail merchants to accept cash for in-person transactions – and another 15 states are currently working on such legislation.

The entire group was also pleased to hear that the Senate is working on a bill to forbid the creation of a U.S. CBDC. David Tente pointed out that a number of states have already passed similar measures. Congressman Luetkemeyer’s office informed us that an “Operation Choke Point” bill is nearly complete and expected to pass this year.

David Tente and Lonnie Talbert met the following day with NACS (the National Association of Convenience Stores), which represents about 150,000 stores across the country. ATMIA participated in one of their podcasts last year and has continued discussions on how the two organizations can collaborate. ATM and retail crime were major points of last week’s discussion.

All involved were very pleased with the results of the meetings. ATMIA Fly-ins are typically scheduled for the week before or after the Easter recess. Planning for next year’s event will likely begin in December. Any ATMIA member in good standing is welcome to participate. Contact David Tente for more information or to express your interest in next year’s event.

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