PEWAUKEE, Wis. (2/27/08)--Wisconsin lawmakers are advancing two companion bills through the state legislature that Wisconsin credit unions have backed, and that aim to keep safer the personal data stored on credit and debit cards. The legislation--AB 745 and SB 439--introduced by State Rep. Brett Davis (R-Oregon) and State Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie), gathered 43 co-sponsors with strong bipartisan support during its initial circulation period at the Capitol, said the Wisconsin Credit Union League. AB 745 passed through the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions last week by a vote of 9-1 and is expected to pass through committee in the state Senate today. “This legislation is just common sense,” said Brett Thompson, league president/CEO. “It has no effect on the state budget, but enormous impact on every consumer in Wisconsin who uses plastic cards for purchases.” Sensitive authentication data from credit and debit cards often is retained without cardholders’ knowledge and lost by companies who, by the credit industry’s existing standards, shouldn’t have collected and kept it in the first place, Thompson explained. The proposals would toughen industry standards dictating what information can be taken, transmitted and stored from a consumer’s credit or debit card. “Current law has allowed misbehavior related to payment card processing to go unchecked, and the result has been a tacit declaration of open season on consumers’ private information,” Thompson said. Nearly 75% of Wisconsin consumers support measures that would prevent merchants who accept plastic cards from keeping personal information after processing a transaction and require the breaching party to bear any restorative costs. The Community Bankers of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Bankers Association, the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, CUNA Mutual Group and the Wisconsin Federation of Co-ops also support the legislation.