businessman with whistle. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The full House passed a slew of bills Tuesday, including bipartisan legislation to expand whistleblower protections as well as legislation reinforcing federal and state securities regulators’ collaboration.

The Whistleblower Protection Reform Act of 2019, H.R. 2515, expands whistleblower protections by amending the Dodd-Frank Act to clarify that whistleblowers who report misconduct to their employers and not to the Securities and Exchange Commission also have protections against retaliation under the law.

This bill, which passed by a 410-12 vote, was introduced by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, and Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., both members of the House Financial Services Committee.

The Emphasizing the Importance of State Regulators bill, H. Res. 456, passed by voice vote and emphasizes the investor protection and education missions of state and federal security regulators and calls on the SEC to collaborate with state securities regulators.

The bipartisan resolution honors the 100-year anniversary of the North American Securities Administrators Association. Michael Pieciak, NASAA president and Vermont’s commissioner of financial regulation, said that “as NASAA proudly celebrates its centennial anniversary, we are humbled to be honored by the House of Representatives and appreciate its affirmation of the vital role NASAA members serve in protecting Main Street investors and facilitating responsible capital formation for small businesses across our country.”

Speaking on the House floor, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said “The primary mission of both state securities regulators and NASAA is to protect and advocate for the protection of investors, especially the most vulnerable investors, like our nation’s seniors, who may lack the expertise, experience, and resources to protect their own interests. These grassroots regulators are often the first line of defense against investment fraud and often respond to emerging frauds and investment scams before they are detected at the federal level.”

The House also passed on Tuesday H.R. 2919, the Improving Investment Research for Small and Emerging Issuers Act, which requires the SEC to report on investment research regarding small issuers, including emerging growth companies and companies considering initial public offerings.

The Expanding Investment in Small Businesses Act of 2019, H.R. 3050, also passed by a 417-2 vote. It directs the SEC to report on topics such as the availability of such research and potential conflicts of interest relating to its production and distribution, and to make recommendations for increasing small-issuer investment research.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee passed a package of credit reporting bills.

H.R. 3622, the Restoring Unfairly Impaired Credit and Protecting Consumers Act, would shorten the time period in which adverse information would stay on a consumer report from seven years to four.

H.R. 3642, the Improving Credit Reporting for All Consumers Act, is designed to improve the process for consumers to resolve credit report inaccuracies, including creating a new right to appeal credit reporting decisions; it also directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to develop minimum standards for the credit reporting agencies.