OLYMPIA, Wash. (2/25/11)--One of a handful of proposals that seem to be on a fast track through the Washington Legislature, the Northwest Credit Union Association’s (NWCUA) Prize-Linked Saving (PLS) bill (SB 5232) on Wednesday passed a Senate floor vote, 46-2. With its affirmation of the PLS legislation, the Washington State Senate has voted to “encourage financial institutions to develop innovative products that create incentives to encourage consumer savings, particularly savings by low-income consumers,” according to the bill. “The household savings rates in America have been in a decade-long decline,” said NWCUA CEO John Annaloro. “Credit unions are seemingly the only group offering such innovative solutions to a complex societal trend, and always in keeping with the credit union historical mission of building the personal wealth of the average working woman or man.” The bipartisan support of the legislation that would allow savings by linking a special savings account to a series of monthly prizes and a larger, yearly prize, was summarized by its prime sponsor, State Sen. Derek Kilmer (D-26) and Ranking Minority member State Sen. Janéa Holquist Newbry (R-13). “This [legislation] rewards thriftiness, and that is a good thing,” Kilmer said. “This program doesn’t just encourage people to save, it’s actually shown to improve their saving habits. This isn’t a new government program. Rather the bill just enables the private sector to offer this product and I’d urge the body’s support.” Speaking in support of the legislation, Holquist added, “I think this is an innovative, creative way to encourage savings and I would ask for your support.” The legislation will now move to the House State Government & Tribal Affairs Committee, a body that has already heard and passed a companion measure to SB 5232, House Bill 1326. House Bill 1326 is currently in the House Rules Committee awaiting floor action. The NWCUA expects that the House State Government & Tribal Affairs Committee will schedule a hearing for SB 5232 in the next few weeks.