|Credit Union Priority Bills Signed into Law! (Issue 1 of 6)
Governor Nathan Deal’s office has completed the final analysis of all the bills that passed the state Legislature in the 2016 session, signing or having the bills automatically become law this week. While media attention was centered on the veto of the “campus carry” bill, there were a large volume of bills decided on this final day, including two credit union priority bills. GCUA is pleased to share that all of the lobbying and work has paid off, as these two bills have become law:
The Credit Union Clarification for Lending/Operation Procedures Bill
Credit Union Law Enhancements in the Department of Banking and Finance's Housekeeping Bill
It is not uncommon for the Governor to veto bills; he generally vetoes a handful each year. Yet the vetoes of 2016 generated more media attention than those bills that were signed due to the polarized viewpoints on both sides on multiple issues. However, one of the vetoes that did not get much attention was HB 1060 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), one of the various gun bills in the Legislature that became the “vehicle” in the final days of the session for the Firearms Dealer and Manufacturer Discrimination Act SB 282 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro). Readers of Creating Influence will recall that this was lobbied heavily by GCUA throughout the process to obtain amendments and remove language that would have negatively impacted credit unions.
What the bill was: SB 282 is pursued by the gun industry in states around the country to send a message to the federal government and regulators against "Operation Choke Point" actions. The bill originally would have allowed a private right of action lawsuit against credit unions or banks that discriminate against a gun retail establishment by refusing or ceasing to serve. That private right of action lawsuit language was removed due to concerns of credit unions and others in testimony, and instead directed the Attorney General’s office to investigate those accused of discrimination. HB 1060 was the bill the gun industry added it to to get it through the Legislature (not an uncommon move by the Legislature, and one of the reasons GCUA monitors hundreds of bills).
What else was changed in the bill: After the lawsuit language was removed, GCUA continued to work against the gun industry to obtain specific amendments for credit unions that outline that it is not considered discrimination to follow law, regulation, or for denial of service due to membership restrictions. In addition, the bill was also amended to create parity between state and federal charters – if federal regulators pre-empt federal charters from the reach of the bill, state-chartered institutions would have an avenue to be pre-empted as well. That version with the credit union protections was what was inserted into HB 1060 in the final days of the session.
Why it was vetoed: The Governor’s statement on the veto referenced breaches of a compromise contained in a previous gun bill that allowed guns in churches. But from an insider’s viewpoint: HB 1060 had become the “catch-all” gun bill to house a variety of firearms issues and bills that had not made it through the process, including the above SB 282 that GCUA lobbied. HB 1060 was also the bill that was thought to address the Governor’s public concerns on the “campus carry” bill, but those amendments were not considered. As such, general consensus by political players was that HB 1060 was in tandem with the campus carry issue - if vetoed, so would HB 1060.
What this veto means for credit unions: The bill that had been sent to the Governor contained all the hard-fought amendments and protections for credit unions, and with the veto nothing changes. From that perspective, it’s positive. Credit unions were protected by the amendments obtained in the process if the bill had become law, and without the bill becoming law it makes it a non-issue, for now. Therein lies the challenge, but a typical one that is faced each year as there is no limit to what can be introduced. If and when this bill is pursued again by the gun industry, the fight will resume with no guarantees on what language the bill will hold. With 2017 being a non-election year, it may not be an attractive issue for the gun industry to pursue. However, if your credit union serves firearms dealers/manufacturers in the normal course of business, please let us know. Credit unions were referenced in hearing testimony as some of the entities that discriminated against firearms dealers/manufacturers, and our continual effort dispelling that sound bite is key to protecting our industry.
|U.S. Sen. Isakson Introduces Resolution Against Fiduciary Rule (Issue 3 of 6)
The Morning Consult reported that Georgia’s senior U.S. Senator, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R), introduced a resolution on April 18th that would block the Obama administration’s conflict-of-interest rule for retirement investment advisers. The resolution is an official rebuke of the Department of Labor fiduciary rule under the Congressional Review Act. It marks a step beyond existing congressional efforts to pre-empt the rule through legislation in both chambers of Congress, including S. 2502, which Isakson has championed. While thirty-two GOP senators support the resolution, the path forward is unclear as it would almost certainly be vetoed if it passes.
|Credit Unions Supporting Candidates in Primary Elections (Issue 4 of 6)
Credit unions across Georgia are making an impact on the 2016 primary elections by getting involved. Engaging with candidates through physical campaign support is a powerful action; it strengthens relationships with elected officials and helps support those candidates who go out of their way to support credit unions. By getting involved with campaigns as an industry, it grows the legislative influence for all credit unions.
With the primary elections early on May 24th and the state Legislature working up until March 24th, it creates a narrow window of time to run a campaign (much less catch up to competition who have been working all year). And many races ONLY have primary competition, which equates to whoever wins in May takes the seat. Because of the narrow window and challenging primaries, the efforts of credit unions have been timely and needed in multiple races:
Stay tuned for more efforts by credit union individuals and how they help shape the elections. Politics is a personal matter, but to be strategic any industry should engage in the elections. Doing so helps credit unions have a voice on legislative issues in the future; take advantage of the opportunities this election year to engage in campaigns!
|Get Social Next Week at GCUA Annual Meeting
(Issue 5 of 6)
Next week credit unions all across the state descend on Savannah for the GCUA Annual Convention. This year’s theme, Do Great Things, embodies the positive way that credit unions touch the lives of members – and illustrates how credit unions can and do make a difference. This event offers a combination of individualized educational programming for executives, professionals and board members, networking, and a wide lineup of keynote speakers to help chart out how credit unions can continue to do good things!
Attending, want to attend, or want to get an idea of what the Annual Convention is in general? Get social and follow the meeting as it unfolds:
|Credit Unions in the News (Issue 6 of 6)
Credit unions continue to earn media coverage statewide and beyond. Whether it’s in a local newspaper, niche magazine or radio show, the credit union message is shared through a multitude of outlets across Georgia. Click here to see recent coverage of Georgia’s credit unions "In the News."