The Alabama State GAC, held April 9-10 in Montgomery, offered credit unions a day-and-a-half conference going in-depth on federal, state and regulatory issues. The GAC was highlighted by a public hearing on
HB 500, a bill to update the State Credit Union Act, in the House Financial Services Committee. Attendees were able to attend the hearing and see how the committee process worked. LSCU Director of Governmental Affairs Jason Cochran and Alabama Credit Union Administration Administrator Larry Morgan told the committee the Act needed some updates to help credit unions and to help the ACUA communicate better with credit unions and the NCUA.
After the hearing, attendees met with House and Senate leadership, as well as their representatives and senators. The lawmaker reception on April 9 saw more than 50 legislators stop by and chat with credit unions. The relaxed atmosphere makes for a better environment to talk about the update to the State Credit Union Act, Public Deposits and the credit union tax exemption.
Another hit at the State GAC was Dr. Joe Perkins. He has more than 30-years of experience in advocacy and PAC fundraising. Perkins told credit unions to forget statewide politics and concentrate on local representatives and senators. This means to concentrate on your one or two representatives and senators instead of trying to follow the entire state. He said this would give a greater opportunity to get them to understand credit union issues. With more than 1.8 million members, credit unions have clout and need to use it. He said talking to legislators at local events like football games and community events makes a difference. He also said that credit unions need to explore every channel available including social media.
Attendees were given information to really understand the federal and state legislative issues. Sam Whitfield, vice president of legislative affairs at CUNA, talked about member business lending and supplemental capital. He said the Ways and Means Committee is committed to not bring up the credit union tax exemption. League staff, including contract lobbyist Kim Adams, updated attendees on the status of legislative and regulatory issues. There was good interaction between attendees and the speakers.
The GAC is designed for credit unions to bring back the tools they've learned at the conference to then implement with staff, their chapters and peers.
PAC fundraising awards were handed out to the credit unions and chapters that went above and beyond their goals. Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) was also recognized as the Alabama State Lawmaker of the Year. He told attendees that he has good days and bad days and this award shows him that the good days outweigh the bad days.
Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) accepts the Alabama State Lawmaker of the Year Award from LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine (left) and LSCU Director of Governmental Affairs Jason Cochran (right).
ACUA Administrator Larry Morgan speaks in favor of HB 500 to update the State Credti Union Act.
Rep. David Sessions (R-Mobile) talks with Azalea City Credit Union President/CEO Ola Anise (right) during the lawmaker reception.
Dr. Joe Perkins equips credit unions with advocacy tools.