Consent credit card bill passes, awaits senate approval

Shawntaye Hopkins

Some state legislators are attempting to keep college students out of debt.

A bill requiring students under age 21 to have their parents’ permission before they can get a credit card passed 56-31 in the state House of Representatives on Friday.

House Bill 63, sponsored by House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, requires credit card issuers to register with university officials before soliciting to students.

A parent or legal guardian must give written consent for the student to enter into a credit card agreement.

The bill gives parents more control over spending, said Rep. Mike Weaver, D-Elizabethtown, a co-sponsor of the bill. He said most college students are supported by their parents.

Students who are older than 18 don’t currently need permission to get a credit card. But many of them still ask for their parents help when they get into debt, said Rep. Richard Nelson, D-Middlesboro, who is also co-sponsoring the bill.

“I assume most parents are footing most of the bills for college students,” Nelson said.

Banks with offices on campus are exempt from the bill, he said.

Many young people feel they can purchase items they can’t afford using a credit card, Weaver said.

“It would be a travesty for someone to drop out of school because they bought a whole lot of stuff on a credit card and couldn’t complete their education,” he said.

John Bradley, Student Government Association president, said he understands legislators trying to protect students from getting into debt.

But some students don’t have those problems and, as adults, should not have to have their parents’ permission to get a credit card, he said.

President Gary Ransdell said Western currently only has one credit card provider.

Ransdell said anybody, regardless of their age, can get into credit card trouble.

“I personally think students are old enough to make a decision about whether they want a credit card or not,” he said.

Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, is sponsoring another bill to prohibit credit card companies from giving away free gifts for completing credit card applications.

House Bill 130 passed 96-0 in the House on Feb. 24.

Both bills are currently pending in the senate.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]