WASHINGTON--Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas, the Senate Republican leader, has introduced legislation to reduce a range of bank regulation.

The Community Bank Regulatory Relief Act would limit lender liability for environmental cleanup and, among other provisions, exempt community banks in small towns from the Community Reinvestment Act.

While the measure is given only a slim chance of passage this year, it includes many of the concessions community bankers are demanding as their price for supporting an interstate branching bill.

If a branching bill begins to move, it could become a vehicle for a measure like Sen. Dole's. Branching, however, is also believed to have little or no chance of passing this year.

Separately, Rep. Frank Annunzio, D-Ill., said that he will hold a hearing June 23 on bank regulatory burdens.

Officials from the bank and thrift regulatory agencies will testify, as will industry representatives.

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