May 10, 2011
Governor Chris Gregoire will put pen to paper today, signing the prize-linked savings bill (Senate Bill 5232) and successfully completing months of work by the Association’s legislative affairs staff. The signing ceremony is slated for 4:00 p.m. PST.
The bill will allow financial institutions to participate in prize-linked savings promotions, which incent consumer savings by entering participants into drawings for cash prizes.
“This is an important piece of legislation for American consumers,” said NWCUA CEO John Annaloro. “Credit unions exist to promote savings and the wise use of credit, and prize-linked savings are another way of achieving that goal.”
A great deal of lobbying and education was required to pass this bill as legislators were concerned these savings competitions could open the door to gambling. Staff testified four times, held countless meetings, and worked with the legislation’s sponsors to ensure that potential issues were resolved.
“Traditionally, one of our core missions within the credit union movement has been focused on increasing consumer savings,” said SVP Stacy Augustine. “We have seen great results from the Michigan pilot program, which resulted in first-time savings plans for 55 percent of participants. Of participants, 44 percent had household incomes of less than $40,000.”
SB 5232 is the 22nd bill introduced by the Association over the past 14 years—eight of which have been signed by Governor Gregoire (with a number of the bills representing companion measures in both the House and Senate).
The bill was delivered to the governor on Friday, April 22, after it passed through the state Senate and House of Representatives with overwhelming support. Since the legislature adjourned its regular session on that day, the governor had 20 days to sign or veto the bill before it became law automatically on May 16.
Senators Derek Kilmer (D-26), Steve Hobbs (D-44), Mike Carrell (R-28), Karen Keiser (D-33), and Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), were the original sponsors of the bill.