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WASHINGTON-While overall support for the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 3579) is strong and continues to grow, some states are doing better than others at getting their members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors. Chris Kerecman, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Vice President of Federal Government Affairs, attributed his states’ success to “.our people. We have such great CEOs who get it. They look at what we tell them we need and they do it.” He added that about 25 to 30 credit unions have hired political professionals for their staffs, though they may perform other duties as well. In California, 16 of the state’s 53 delegates have signed on to the bill, with more to come, according to Kerecman. Nevada has 100% of its three-member congressional delegation co-sponsoring the bill. The lobbyist said that the leagues’ goal for the legislation, which it was involved in drafting with main sponsor Congressman Ed Royce’s (R-Calif.) office, was to get a hearing and garner support. “I see CURIA, at this stage, as an unqualified success,” Kerecman stated. New Jersey has also been successful in getting four of 13 of their lawmakers to sign on. New Jersey Credit Union League President and CEO Tom Shaughnessy said this is due “to the hard work of New Jersey’s credit union members and the League’s Governmental Affairs Department in explaining the benefits to New Jersey consumers and businesses if certain unneeded regulatory burdens are removed from credit union operations.” He added that they are continuing to encourage member credit unions to contact their legislators. But for some other state league’s the going has been rough, even though many generally enjoy a positive relationship with their representatives. Right now, Georgia has none of its 13 delegates co-sponsoring the bill. Georgia league Senior Vice President of Advocacy Cindy Connelly said that even though CURIA is a priority for the league, “We’re not asking [representatives] to make it an election year priority.” She added that some of the Georgian members of Congress have expressed support for the legislation in discussions, and the league plans to refocus on gaining co-sponsors in January, after the election season. Connelly also pointed out that not many of the Georgia delegation cosponsored H.R. 1151, but all of them voted in favor of it. More than half the states, 27, currently have no co-sponsors on CURIA. Pennsylvania, the state with the most credit unions, is also lagging behind many others with just two of its 19 members of Congress signed on as co-sponsors. Of course, they do have the main Democratic cosponsor, Paul Kanjorski, in their corner. Pennsylvania Credit Union Association Senior Vice President of Communications Mike Wishnow said, “We have asked a number of key contacts, like chapter leaders, to visit or write their congress people.” The league is continuing to work on adding a number of other lawmakers as well. “Part of the hesitancy, if there is any, with campaign season being what it is, you never want to anger a friend,” Wishnow said, explaining that some are concerned about angering the bankers at election time. The league will be Hiking the Hill twice in September and recently met with some of the delegation during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs and Communicators Conference. [email protected]

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