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National Restaurant Association - Iowa association wins in PCI data security bill fight

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Iowa association wins in PCI data security bill fight

An Iowa Senate subcommittee has tabled a state bill that would have made the payment card industry's data security standards law for Iowa merchants.

According to Iowa Restaurant Association president and CEO Jessica Dunker, who testified against the bill, members of the subcommittee agreed that the terms of compliance would be too tough for restaurateurs and other small businesses to handle.

“The bill was presented and a number of groups, including the Iowa Retail Federation, spoke out in opposition to the bill,” Dunker said. “Credit unions and consumer protection organizations were for [the legislation], but they realized it would be difficult particularly for small businesses.”

She added that joining together with other associations opposing the legislation helped defeat it.

“It has been tabled at this point,” she said. “We all joined together and were very vocal about how this would hurt. Yes, it seems as if this is a win, but I always hesitate to say that until the gavel drops on the end of the session.”

Dunker noted that it was important for her to let the subcommittee members know that restaurateurs are just as much victims of data security breaches as consumers are and shouldn’t be penalized for the criminal activities of others.

“We told them that we, the restaurateurs, are the ones that bear the brunt of fraud,” she said. “We are victims along with the consumers. We serve food, pay our employees, take care of our businesses and then money is taken from us to pay fines levied by the credit-card companies and credit unions. We feel that consumer protection is extremely important, but as retailers we need to know who will protect us.”

She further noted that any future legislation on the issue must look at the best interests of small business owners, like restaurateurs.

“Right now it feels like restaurants are always the ones holding the bag,” she said. “Until we see legislation addressing this issue [of retailer protection], we will be fighting this.”

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