Creating Influence
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Staying Engaged: State Legislators Conference

While the state legislative session came to a close at the end of March, the work of legislators, and the work of credit union advocacy, is a year-round effort. There are countless informal meetings where issues are discussed, study committee hearings through December that weigh the merits of bills, and formal meetings where ideas for legislation are considered (along with examining trends seen in other states). One of the largest of these was held this week when more than 2,000 state legislators from across the country convened at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) from August 5th through the 8th. NCSL is a large annual event for legislators from across the country to learn what initiatives are trending in other states, get ideas for bills to introduce, and connect with other legislators and lobbyists.

NCSL group
From left: State Rep Billy Mitchell; State Rep. Pam Dickerson; Brandee Bickle, GCUA; State Rep. Carolyn Hugley

This meeting provided an ideal opportunity to engage on the issues, and GCUA was part of a collective effort of CUNA and other state Leagues to educate state leaders on credit unions and promote awareness.

There were more than 60 legislators and staff in attendance from Georgia, creating a window to connect throughout the conference and build relationships with individuals who vote on the bills that impact credit union operations. During the conference, GCUA, other Leagues and CUNA engaged legislators to help reiterate what makes credit unions unique as not-for-profit financial cooperatives – and NCSL is just one of the various avenues where this message is shared to help grow legislators’ understanding of credit unions.

This year’s conference was a bit different than those in years past; in the week prior to the conference it was uncovered that one of the standing committees had added a resolution urging Congress to make changes to the Consumer Reinvestment Act (CRA), and in it encouraged Congress to add other entities under its regulation. These included mortgage lenders, fintech companies and, of note, credit unions. With the quick work of CUNA and the state Leagues, the negative language in this resolution was debated and did not move forward – a great example of why it’s important to be involved with NCSL (and how it can impact the industry), as well as how the CUNA-League system can pivot quickly and lean on each other’s strengthens to achieve positive outcome for all credit unions!

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