President’s Point – 2019 Legislative Update
As your LSCU Advocacy team concludes another legislative session in Florida and is still moving full speed ahead in Alabama, we are seeing positive outcomes for credit unions in both states.
This past week, the Alabama House of Representatives passed SB 33 on a vote of 99 to 0. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Shay Shellnut (R – Trussville), addresses several issues in the Alabama code including giving state-charted credit unions the ability to expand their supervisory committees and to pay for the travel for a guest of a board member on official credit union activities without being considered compensation. SB 33 will now head to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk where she is expected to sign it into law.
In recapping Florida’s session which ended May 4, our minds naturally move to bills and issues that have passed and await the governor’s signature. Issues such as Financial Literacy and Electronic Legal Documents (Electronic Notaries) made it to the finish line. Over 3,500 bills were filed between the House and Senate this year, and fewer than 10 percent were able to navigate the legislative gauntlet.
You may ask, “what’s the difference between the issues that passed and those that failed? Is it simply that some issues were more important than the others?” In some cases that answer is yes, while in other instances people, organizations, and activists’ groups are able to use influence to push an issue. In most cases, however, influential individuals and organizations begin and finish with strong grassroots efforts, combined with long term plans – supporting like-minded candidates who share our beliefs.
What does this look like for credit unions and LSCU?
In a given year credit union volunteers, as well as LSCU Advocacy staff vet candidates and officials at all levels of government that may have the credentials deserving of our support. Once chosen, our PACs and grassroots network moves into place. Not only do candidates and officials receive monetary support, but we take it one step further. A grassroots delegate will contact the candidate or official and ensure each lawmaker has a robust understanding of credit union issues, as well as a comfort level to contact a volunteer or staff with questions anytime.
As the 2019 Legislative Session comes to a close, we need volunteers now more than ever. We need to fill many slots in our Grassroots Delegates program, and we need each of our credit unions, and staff at all levels to consider giving to CUPAC, State ACULAC and FedPAC. Those we support at all levels of government are likely to be the next lawmaker at another level of government, and so on. If we’re not vigilant in our support of credit union friends, others will support them and credit union issues could immediately be in jeopardy.
Planning, grassroots advocacy and monetary support guarantee continued success in a future landscape that could otherwise be unfriendly.
Please feel free to reach out to me or the League’s Advocacy team to discuss how your credit union can become more engaged in our grassroots efforts.