The House has given approval to a bill that would prohibit stores from imposing surcharges when people use debit cards for their purchases.

The House voted 91-51 on March 17 for the bill, LD 1779. State law already prohibits stores from adding surcharges when customers use credit cards.

Local legislators who voted for the bill were Reps. Chuck Kruger, D-Thomaston; Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland; Joan Welsh, D-Rockport; Andrew O’Brien, D-Lincolnville; House Speaker Hannah Pingree, D-North Haven; Wendy Pieh, D-Bremen; Elizabeth Miller, D-Somerville; Jayne Crosby Giles, R-Belfast; Veronica Magnan, D-Stockton Springs; and John Piotti, D-Unity.

Welsh said although companies are not now imposing these surcharges, the bill would assure that would not occur later.

“Since more of our citizens are making purchases for normal, everyday items with debit cards, surcharges have the potential to add to their expenses,” Welsh said. “I see this as a consumer protection bill.”

Voting against the bill were Republican Reps. Wes Richardson of Warren, Jonathan McKane of Newcastle and Michael Thibodeau of Winterport.

Richardson said while the title of the bill sounds too good to vote against, he noted that the Maine Merchants Association is opposed to it because merchants will incur costs. Richardson said the bill was promoted by credit card company VISA.

The state Senate has yet to vote on the measure.