|Congressional Swearing In, Congress Tackling Regulatory Reform Measure in First Week (Issue 1 of 5)
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!
|State 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:
|How 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:
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!
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.
|Credit 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."