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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California league lobbyists are gearing up for a new legislative session that already includes a bill to require a regulatory consolidation plan in line with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Blueprint.AB33 was introduced on Dec. 2 by Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara), who chairs the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. It would require the state’s Department of Financial Institutions, Department of Corporations and Department of Real Estate to “develop a framework to consolidate operations,” said Keri Bailey, league director of state government affairs.“This bill would require the secretary of business, transportation and housing, in conjunction with the commissioner of financial institutions, the commissioner of corporations, and the real estate commissioner, to develop a plan to consolidate the operations and licensing frameworks of the three departments into one by Jan. 1, 2015,” reads the bill.Should the three departments ever consolidate, it would erase a 10-year-old victory by credit union and banking advocacy groups to create a separate financial regulator; financial institutions were previously regulated under the Department of Corporations umbrella, Bailey said.“We worked so hard to get our own professional regulator, one that has firewalls in place, allows input from the credit union community and allows our top regulator to be a credit union professional, so the uniqueness of credit unions is considered in regulatory process,” Bailey said. “We don’t know what this framework will look like, and there is always a danger that professionalism could be undermined.”The bill hasn’t seen the Assembly floor yet; in California, bills are introduced in a rolling process, from Dec. 1 through the end of February. So, the league’s government relations committee, chaired by the $1.3 billion California Credit Union’s CEO, Ron McDaniel, has time to formulate a strategy. Bailey said McDaniel was on his way to Sacramento to review bills that had been introduced so far.The entire committee will meet the first week in January, Bailey said.The bill is considerably troubling this year as legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are working to rectify an $11.2 billion budget deficit.“Whenever there are budget problems, as we have now, proposals to streamline government get more attention than usual,” Bailey said, “so we’re mindful of that moving forward.”–[email protected]

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