JANUARY 13, 2017
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Creating Influence will be published weekly while the Georgia Legislature is in session.

U.S. Capitol Congressional Swearing In, Congress Tackling Regulatory Reform Measure in First Week (Issue 1 of 5)
After official Congressional swearing-in ceremonies, the U.S. House got down to business, passing a bill that would require Congressional approval of any "major rule" before it could be enforced.

  State Session After Week One (Issue 2 of 5)
Even before launching its legislative session on Jan. 9, the Georgia Legislature was busy with pre-session hearings, political events and pre-filing of bills; some of the early measures include wire transfer fees and the foreclosure process.

  How to Stay Informed on the Issues that Impact Credit Unions (Issue 3 of 5)
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates offers several ways to keep up with legislative issues that could affect the credit union industry, including this newsletter, Twitter, a legislative tracking tool and others.

  2017 CU Political Involvement Kicks Off with Eggs and Issues Breakfast (Issue 4 of 5)
Representatives of GCUA and Georgia credit unions were among the 2,000 attendees at the annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast, hosted by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce as the unofficial kickoff of the state legislative session.

  Credit Unions in the News (Issue 5 of 5)
The credit union message continues to spread, as evidenced by coverage of the industry in a wide range of media outlets, from newspapers to magazines to the broadcast media.

Congressional Swearing In, Congress Tackling Regulatory Reform Measure in First Week (Issue 1 of 5)
Newly elected Rep. Drew Ferguson (left) meeting with credit union advocates in April of 2016

On the week of January 2nd, the new Congress was sworn in with Georgia credit union advocates on hand for the official ceremonies for newly elected U.S. Representative Drew Ferguson (R-3). Credit unions, represented by Janet Davis-Kinetic CU, Mike Mercer-GCUA and Diana Houston-GCUA, had been invited to attend the festivities as credit unions were one of the few industries to engage with him early in his race (which was flooded with candidates in the 2016 primary election). Rep. Ferguson shared with the credit union group his excitement about working in Congress to help Georgians and supporting the job creation process, while minimizing unnecessary regulation or overreach. And, he made a specific point to the credit union group that he will always remember the instrumental support the Georgia credit union industry provided in his campaign.

While in Washington, D.C., the credit union group took the opportunity to meet with several members of the Georgia Congressional delegation: Reps. Buddy Carter (R-1), Sanford Bishop (D-2), John Lewis (D-5), Rob Woodall (R-7), Jody Hice (R-10),and Rick Allen (R-12), to share the need for sensible regulation (and alleviate some of the compliance burdens credit unions face). This message is one that all members of Congress are hearing through the campaign for common sense regulation that CUNA has launched.

And for the first week in Washington DC filled with ceremony and events, Congress has already engaged on a variety of issues. One of credit union interest: On the evening of January 5th the U.S. House passed the CUNA-supported Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This bill, introduced by Georgia Congressman U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-9), would require that Congress approve any new major rule before it can be enforced. “Major rule” is defined as any rule that Office of Management and Budget finds may result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity or innovation.

In addition, the bill that would allow for a retrospective review of all rules currently in effect, including several that CUNA has expressed concerns with. Those rules include the Department of Labor's overtime and fiduciary rules, all Dodd-Frank regulations and net neutrality legislation. Thank you for the consistent message from Georgia credit unions to Rep. Collins and all of Georgia’s federal delegation on the need for regulatory reform!

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Georgia LegislatureState Session After Week One (Issue 2 of 5)

The state legislative session began on January 9th, marking off four days of the 40-day schedule this week. However, the week prior to this is truly the unofficial start, as there are 100-plus political events, multiple hearings, and various interviews for committee chairmanships that take place. During the week of January 2nd, there were more than 57 political fundraising events that were supported on behalf of credit unions. These events provided insight into the legislative issues that may arise in the 2017 state session, as well as helped grow and strengthen relationships for the credit union industry.

Amid these events, on January 5th GCUA was also engaged in the first hearing for 2017 in the House Judiciary Committee, which will address power of attorney reform during the session. In the hearing, GCUA testified on behalf of credit unions to ensure that the route that was pursued by the committee also takes into consideration the importance of ensuring that burdens are not placed on credit unions, and that the assets of the consumer are protected. A bill has not been introduced yet, but this issue will be monitored closely.

A hearing during the week right before the start of the session is atypical, and the state Legislature held multiple ones during this time span, leading one to conjecture that this session will run quickly and may adjourn by the start of April. And while the first week is full of formalities, activity of note to credit unions included:

  • New Leadership of Senate Banking: Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) is the new chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, a key committee for credit unions. The previous chairman, Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson), received the chairmanship of the Insurance Committee. Sen. Ligon understands credit unions and has a strong working relationship with the GCUA lobbying team thanks to the early efforts of the Southeast Georgia Credit Union Chapter for hosting him multiple years, as well as United 1st FCU, which had held a credit union tour for Sen. Ligon and his family early in his legislative career.
  • Wire Transfer Fee Legislation: HB 12 by Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) was pre-filed before the session began. This bill seeks to require a fee on all wire transfers and would create added compliance burdens as well as operational disparities between state and federally chartered credit unions. GCUA has been in communication with Rep. Jones on the concerns his bill would create, and he has shared that he will reintroduce his legislation to hopefully exempt credit unions and banks. However, it is early in the session and everything is subject to change, and work continues.
  • New Bill to Provide a Right to Cure/Reverse a Foreclosure: HB 27 by Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) was introduced on January 11th, and seeks to provide a debtor the right to cure/reverse a foreclosure if the previous fees and back payments have been made current. This bill has been introduced over the past few sessions, and is being monitored closely as it is an ideal vehicle for other changes to the entire foreclosure process.
  • Hearing on Auto Insurance Practices: On Wednesday, January 11th the House Insurance Committee met to discuss the growing number of insurance carriers that are seeking significant rate increases, and heard a presentation on how Georgia is unfortunately one of the leaders in the nation for auto deaths on the roads. During the discussion it was referenced how auto insurance is also a requirement for auto loans, so GCUA will continue to monitor this issue.
  • Cybersecurity at the Forefront: Governor Nathan Deal (R) delivered his “State of the State” address on January 11th, and among his points was the need for increased cybersecurity technology, the need to create a cybercrime lab run by the GBI, and the fact that the state budget would include $50 million to aid in this effort. GCUA was engaged in multiple cybersecurity Senate hearings during the summer and fall months, and this emphasis on cybersecurity for the state was one of the outcomes.
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Stay informedHow to Stay Informed on the Issues that Impact Credit Unions (Issue 3 of 5)

During the 40-day state legislative session legislators will address multiple issues that can affect credit unions. While health care, education and social issues (as well as the budget) will dominate much of the media’s coverage of the state Legislature over the coming weeks, the issues of importance to credit unions often happen quietly in the halls of the Capitol through the constant interaction of legislators, lobbyists and coalition groups. There’s a variety of avenues to keep your team informed of the legislative issues:

  • During the state session, Creating Influence is advanced to a weekly schedule due to the fluidity of issues that impact credit unions. Sign your team up to receive this newsletter today as their awareness and insight on the issues is an asset not just to the industry’s efforts, but also to the operations of your credit union.
  • Follow @GCUAGov on Twitter for a window into the activity as it happens.
  • See the various bills being lobbied on behalf of credit unions through the GCUA legislative tracking tool.
  • Curious who your legislators are? You can find out here on GCUA’s site (as well as their contact information), and
  • Attend the State GAC for credit unions: The Grassroots Academy held on January 24th!

As the Georgia Legislature works through the schedule, there will be no shortage of bills that impact credit unions, requiring constant lobbying efforts by the industry. In the last edition of Creating Influence there was an overview of the 10 issues of interest to credit unions (pre-session); stay tuned over the next 40 legislative days on how these changes and the numbers of issues grow!

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Eggs and Issues
From left: Megan Contreras, Atlanta Postal CU; Brandee Bickle, GCUA; Kabir Laiwalla, Platinum FCU; Britney Bailey, GCUA
2017 CU Political Involvement Kicks Off
with Eggs and Issues Breakfast (Issue 4 of 5)

On January 10th credit union representatives and GCUA joined 2,000 business leaders, state legislators and local officials at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues breakfast. This event is the unofficial kickoff to the legislative session, and at the credit union table were State Representative Brian Prince (D-Augusta), Chuck Head-Atlanta Postal CU, Megan Contreras-Atlanta Postal CU, and Jennifer Fiorenza-Mutual Savings CU. Also at the event was Kabir Laiwalla-Platinum FCU and credit union Board Chairman Kas Jinnah.

Attendees were treated to insight from U.S. Senator David Perdue (R), Governor Nathan Deal (R)Lt. Governor Casey Cagle (R), and Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). Their presentations highlighted the priorities and initiatives of their offices for the upcoming session, ranging from tax reform and health care revamping in Congress from U.S. Sen. Perdue; encouraging further economic development of the state from Governor Deal; addressing educational issues from Lt. Governor Cagle, and addressing transit, rural health care issues, and protecting Georgia’s military bases from Speaker Ralston. In addition, Chamber CEO Chris Clark shared how the Chamber will place a renewed focus on helping the “non-Atlanta” areas of the state, as well as continue to pursue and increase their political action to leverage their lobbying capabilities.

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NewsCredit Unions in the News (Issue 5 of 5)

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."

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