The Alabama Credit Union Association State Governmental Affairs Conference concluded on Wednesday with a look at state issues, federal credit union issues, and a visit to the State House. Attendees got a special welcome at the State House when they visited the Senate Chambers viewing gallery and the video board above the Senate floor read, "The Alabama Senate Welcomes the League of Southeastern Credit Unions."
The lawmaker visits revolved around the update to the state credit union act, patent trolling, and public deposits. With patent trolling being a relatively new issue, the League, along with a handful of credit unions, was able to meet with Rep. Phil Williams (R-Madison), the bill's sponsor. Rep. Williams was excited to talk to the credit unions who have had first hand experience with patent trolling, including Corporate America CU CEO Pete Pritts. This was one of the first real accounts of patent trolling that Rep. Williams had experienced in person. Attendees also met with the chief of staff for the Speaker of the House and we able to talk about the update to the State Credit Union Act and public deposits. The Senate chief information officer talked to attendees about the rules of the Senate, how bills came to the floor and the process of getting them passed. Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) spent some time with credit unions talking about the issues.
Before heading to the State House, League staff updated attendees on the various bills in the Alabama legislature that concerned credit unions. The update to the Alabama State Act is continuing on a good path with the next movement on the bill possibly coming next week. The snow days last week set the legislature back a few days. The update also included a few bills that did not directly affect credit unions but could have some unintended effects. The League is following the bills closely and will update credit unions at the appropriate time.
On the federal side, the League's federal contract lobbyist John McKechnie updated the group on tax reform, supplemental capital, and regulatory issues. He said credit unions seemed very well positioned on tax reform, however Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) might be on the table. He also said changing the name on the secondary capital issue to supplemental capital was a good idea because it implies helping credit unions and Congress wants to help entities. McKechnie also said that data breach is the hottest topic on Capitol Hill right now. He emphasized to credit unions to prepare to speak about it on visits to the Hill later this month as part of the CUNA GAC.